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With any new system order, there's nothing to lose. Go today to simply save Dotcom Rogen that simply save dotcom slash Rogen. My guest today is an amazing person, a frequent guest on this podcast.
He is a professor in evolutionary psychology and an author of a new book that just came out.
It is called The Parasitic Mind How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense. He is brilliant. I love him to death.
Please give it up for the great and powerful God Sad Girlfriend podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience Train by Day. Joe Rogan podcast My Life All Day. Hello. What's up, man? Good to see. The Godfather. You, too. How are you doing, man? I miss you, man.
It's been a long time. I wish we could do it in studio, but I don't think you're allowed to travel from Canada right now, right? I'm not.
But I'm so worried about your covid results that just like my hero Joe Biden told me, I need to wear a mask. What do you think of that of marketing?
I like it. The parasitic mind mask. Excellent. Are you selling those? We will be eventually.
But my publisher is still working out all the final details. Yeah. All right. Beautiful. Beautiful. I want to know, how are you doing with the covid? How is the truth seeker Jamie doing?
Young Jaimie's all good to go. He was only really sick for a day because he's young and virile and he takes his vitamin D and zinc and vitamin C and all that stuff. He caught it. We don't know where he caught it. He believes might have caught it at a bar or on a patio, but really was only sick for a day. But, you know, we had to do the right thing. And so we were locked out.
He was locked out for ten days and he had four positive covid results in a row. Now five. Did you get one today?
That's negative. There are negative excuse me. Positive in a good way.
Negative, negative in terms of him having the disease, but positive in a good way. So as you have always been negative.
Yeah, I've always been negative. Oh, good. Yeah. Well fortunately. Yeah, but we're good to go now so no issues, no one else has gotten it. It's amazing that Jamie is the first person in studio that actually tested positive. We've tested everyone. Today was my forty eighth test. I've been tested forty eight different times. Yeah.
Is that the invasive one where they really go up and tickle your brain or is it unless they don't have to do that anymore, they found they just I mean it doesn't feel good, but they just they don't go all the way up, they go kind of midway and they just do it for ten seconds and each nostril and then they stick it in the machine and you get a result in fifteen minutes. How how how much has this whole thing affected your life?
I mean, other than having to do things remotely and so on, it's affected everyone's life, right?
Doing things remotely. We've we have actually shockingly done not that many remotely. A lot of the people we brought in and just tested everybody. It's just so much better. I mean, you know, when we're face to face, I mean, you and I have been friends for a long time now. How many years have we been doing these things together?
Oh, I don't know, maybe eight years or something.
It's nice to see you and hug you and to talk and to, you know, look look each other in the eye.
But this is a great second best of the metrics changed in terms of your listeners as a function of whether you do it in person.
No, no, that hasn't changed. They the numbers just keep going up because people are at home and they're trapped and they look for content and they also look for honest content. And there's not a lot of that shit out there headed up to the election. Everyone is so twisted and biased and it's just such a weird, weird time. I mean, I just I want it to be over in hopes that not just the election, but also covid so that people can get back to work, which I think will calm people down.
When the financial situation starts to improve, I think people will be less on edge. It's just such a divided time. So it's so unfortunate. But I think, you know, I think we're going to learn a lot from this and I really do. Yeah, I hope so, too.
I mean, it's been it's been tough over here because I'm on sabbatical this semester and it's at the time when my book came out.
So I was planning on doing all kinds of, you know, world book tours and also, you know, all sorts of stuff. And everything has been shut down. So it's been a bummer. But at least I get to spend more time with the family, I guess.
Well, yeah, there's some as long as people take advantage of this time, you can do some self-improvement. You can you know, people can meditate and exercise and write. And there's a lot of things you can get done. Yeah, these are minor concerns, I believe, in comparison to the people whose businesses are shut down and the people who've lost family members and, you know, have struggled personally healthwise with the disease. The number of people that are losing their businesses is just insane.
I mean, this is unprecedented. There's nothing like it. And one of the reasons why we left California is because of their draconian measures that they're using to shut things down. You know, the initial conversation, they were going to shut it down until they flatten out the curve.
And the hospitals were at you know, we're we're able to accept people and they weren't overburdened. Well, they're not overburdened now and they still have everything shut down. It doesn't make any sense. And they're saying now that after the election, after the elections, what they keep saying. So they're not even trying to hide that it's political.
And, you know, Jamie and I and the rest of the crew, we were all pretty sick of it. And it just our freedoms are being impinged upon. It just didn't it didn't infringed upon. Rather, it didn't seem like the what we signed up for. You know, we never signed up for an autocrat. We never signed up for the government to be able to tell us that we can't work. And this is insane. This has never happened before.
And, you know, it makes all the wacky tinfoil hat conspiracy theories actually seem to make more sense than they've ever made before, which is even more terrifying because people have already been cunegonde out the ass online. Everyone's so crazy already online. And this is what gives them it adds more fuel to the fire that this is real. And it seems to be in a lot of ways. I mean, that they are they're doing this for political purposes, which is terrifying.
You know, I analogize it to, you know, if you want to raise children, well, you need to have consistent parenting so that the child knows what he or she needs to do to get the strokes and what he or she needs to do if they're going to get punished. When you have a haphazard parental style, it's a form of mindfuck, if I might say, for the child, because they don't know when to expect your love or your scorn.
And in a sense, I view the current covid regulations akin to a inconsistent parent. Right. I don't know if tomorrow I'm allowed to invite people over for a small barbecue at my house or not. It all seems very sort of flying by the seat of your pants. And I think that's what stresses me the most, that I can't really have any sense of regularity or any predictability in my life. I think that's a really tough spot.
What are the regulations in Montreal in terms of what you're allowed to do and not allowed to do? And are they as draconian and as they are here in the United States?
Well, particularly in California and Texas, Texas, they give you a lot more freedom. It's really nice.
So right now, we're on our second month of pretty complete lockdown, not lockdown down in the sense that you can't go out on the street, but you can go to the restaurants are closed. You could only take out the cafes are closed, the gyms are closed. So you could certainly walk around the. Freely, but most of the things that you and I might do if we're going to leave our house, we can't do. I can't go to the gym, I can't go to a cafe.
I can't go to a restaurant. So in that sense, it's quite tough. So I end up spending most of my time either at home or I go for long walks.
Is this a national thing or is it a regional thing? I think it varies across each province because of all of the provinces for you know, for much of the current crisis, Quebec and Montreal in particular, where some of the hotspots, as a matter of fact, where I live, was one of the hotspots within the hotspots of Montreal. And so we were quite, quite concerned. And so we've tried to limit to the best of our abilities, you know, going out.
But, you know, especially in Montreal, where, as you know, you lived in Boston. Winter is coming. So it was easy to kind of go through covid when it's April, May and June and July. It's going to be a lot more challenging to do the lockdown when it's, you know, minus 20. And I haven't been outside for three weeks.
You know, what they tried to do in L.A. is really bizarre. They try to tell people you can't have people over for like a party. You can't have families over for your house. And they were actually asking people to turn their neighbors in. Yeah.
Which is to say they were offering rewards for people who were turning their neighbors in.
You know, in the beginning it made sense because we were worried that two million people were going to die and this was a disease that was going to ravage the entire country. But then when you look at the survival rate, it doesn't pan out. If we knew coming in to if covid, we had all the information that we have now at the beginning, if we had all that information now and they propose the same lockdown, I think people would have resisted.
They would have been furious. The problem is they initially agreed to it thinking that it was going to be way worse than it was. And then when it turned out to not be nearly as deadly as we feared, there was no adjustments made. I hear you.
And, you know, I've had a few, you know, virologists on my show, and I think you have as well. And several of them have told me that they eat early in the lockdown, that they thought that there wasn't a very good cost benefit analysis in terms of the repercussions of such a lockdown that many of the costs of the lockdown were not being taken into account within the modeling. And I think their position has turned out to be true.
Right. Very few people talk about the cancer screenings and the heart disease and the anxiety and the depression and the spousal abuse and the child abuse. And so I don't know when that corrective mechanism is going to work, but I suspect that people are not going to tolerate this for much longer, I think.
Well, I don't know what they can do outside of, like a revolt. And that's what's terrifying. You know, I agree with you, though. I think the World Health Organization is the that was what we were supposed to be paying attention to. And YouTube literally said that they were going to censor anything that didn't agree with the World Health Organization. But now the World Health Organization has come out and said that the lockdown's should end. Now, they were saying that the economic despair, suicides, drug addiction, everything has skyrocketed, right.
And the World Health Organization is saying that the effect of the lockdown has been so detrimental that they don't support this economic lockdown. But yet the lockdown continues. So now they don't support the World Health Organization anymore, which is like, OK, well, who is the authority now? Who's the authority?
Because it can't be the mayor of Los Angeles or the governor of California because they're both so rabidly Democrat. It's so they're so rabidly liberal that it seems like they would be happy to watch the economy tank if they could blame it on Donald Trump. And this is where we find ourselves.
I hear you, by the way, is is is California the most democratic state at the various levels of any state? Is that would that be true to say?
I wonder? New York's pretty Democratic as well. It's the coastal cities. You know, it's something it's interesting because maybe I could ask you this. Why do you think cities become so liberal? Because it seems like there's no real conservative cities. City cities almost always go blue. I suspect that's because that's where sort of the intelligentsia end up going. And as far as you know, most of the folks with that are within the intelligentsia are typically exactly the people that I discuss in the Pacific mind, the people who are parasitized by all these idea pathogen's.
And so I suspect that, you know, if you are an up and coming person who lives in Binghamton, New York, no disrespect to New York, to Binghamton, and then you want to make it, you you move to to New York and then you get some degree in the liberal arts college. You get parasitized by these idiotic ideas. And then slowly, all of these urban areas become ultra progressive. I can't think what would be another explanation.
There's so few intellectuals and academics that have avoided this. How have you managed to be so steadfast? Because you have avoided this from the beginning.
And I know you've been criticized, but you come out of it smiling always. Your attitude is very admirable.
It always has been, because you're always smiling through all the nuttiness. You seem to have a great disposition about this.
You know, I'm I'm well, it's a it's a lovely question. Thank you. I think I'm endowed with a happy disposition so that when I wake up in the morning, notwithstanding all of the possible challenges I might face in a day, I'm like a kid in a candy store. I wake up and I'm excited. Oh, my God. I'm going to speak to Joe Rogan today. I'm happy. If I weren't speaking to Joe Rogan, I would be working on the next paper.
And so this positionally, I'm someone who's happy, which I think protects me against the lunacy, because even though, of course, I get stressed, of course I get beaten down, my my innate disposition is to be smiling. And so, in a sense, I'm lucky enough to have got to have won the genetic lottery of being someone who views the world through an optimistic lens. And I think that's what allows me to to fight the fights that I do, because otherwise I think I would have beaten down long time ago.
I mean, the only way that, as you know, you could survive in the cesspool of academia saying the things that I say is, first of all, to be, as you said, happy and optimistic, but also to be. So I talk about in Chapter eight of the book, I talk about activating your inner honey badger. The Honey Badger is an incredibly ferocious animal, as you know, Joe. So he could withstand the approach of eight adult lions.
The honey badger is the size of a small dog. How could it be that lions are intimidated by the honey badger? Well, because he's ferocious. And so while I may have a happy disposition, as you know, if you've seen me in some of my battles in social media, I'm also an intellectual honey badger. If you come after me, you better come. Correct, because I'm going to come after you. I'm going to come after your ancestors.
I'm going to come after your dead ancestors.
And so I think, you know, that tenacity coupled with the optimistic outlook is kind of the right cocktail of traits to have to be able to fight the lunacy.
You're also a person who embraced early on alternative media in terms of your ability to spread your word, YouTube, podcasts, all these different things.
You recognize that there is a real benefit in particularly long form conversations where you're able to express yourself unchecked, uncensored, and really get your full idea out there so people can understand, like you're not some bizarre reactionary who's not making any sense. You're a you're a man who has studied this your whole life and you've thought through this very deeply and written about it, you know, very accurately. Exactly.
And I think I might have mentioned the story before to you on the show, but it's it's worth repeating. It's actually a story that I discuss in the book. It relates to you. So, you know, when I went to Stanford Business School several years ago to give a talk, you know, as you might imagine, it's a very, you know, highfalutin, elitist environment. The the host who took me out that evening prior to my talk, the night before my talk, I said, oh, you know, I hear you're going on Joe Rogan.
I said, yeah, yeah. You know, we're friends. And I'd love to go on, Joe. It's such a great forum to spread ideas. And he was very hot. Right? Well, you know, at Stanford, we don't support, you know, doing research so that you could appear on Joe Rogan. I said, well, what do you mean? You don't think it's a good idea to appear on a platform that allows you to spread your ideas, the ten million people, instead of writing a paper that will be read by you, your mom to reviewers and an editor?
Well, I guess he didn't like that response. But the reality is that that's the kind of elitism that you see in academia where I mean, I'm happy to see that a growing number of academics are coming on a platform like yours because it is insane to not take advantage of such platforms. I am in the currency of creating knowledge and then spreading knowledge. Well, I could appear on Joe Rogan's podcast for five minutes and have greater impact than if I published ten papers and.
The most elite scientific journals, so so, yes, I embrace those forums because pragmatically, it's a wonderful way to have fantastic conversations, right?
It is. And it's beautiful that brave academics are being rewarded. The people that are willing to go on my podcast and other podcasts, you know, that you might get looked down upon by these scholars.
You know, they get rewarded by enormous audiences and also curious people that, you know, maybe have full time jobs, maybe didn't go to college, but are curious folks that want to explore these ideas and explore them being described by a person such as yourself who has deeply studied them.
Joe, do you know how many and I know you know this already. I don't have to tell you how incredible your platform is. I could be walking on a beach in the Bahamas. And that literally happened, by the way, where a local Bahamian will come up to me and say, oh, my God, aren't you didn't you appear on Joe Rogan? So, I mean, and I don't say this, too, to talk about fame, but to to demonstrate the kind of platform you've created where I could be in a bathroom and some little town and someone's going to recognize me because I appeared on the show.
And I say this not because of the recognition factor or the fame, but again, if I am in the business of discussing ideas, I should use every possible tool, whether it be your podcast or if I create my own podcast, any way that I can spread ideas, I'm going to jump on it. I think a lot of academics don't do it because of an ego defensive reason, which is they know that they may not be able to pull it off appearing on Joe Rogan and therefore they denigrate those who can write because they've mastered one form of communication, which is, you know, the the rigid academic paper that they can do well.
And that's great. I mean, we are professors. We should be publishing academic papers, but why not try to tip your toes on, you know, so that the public can get excited about your ideas. Right.
Well, I've had a lot of academics on the show, and I I applaud them. I'm happy that they're willing to do that. But I do understand that the environment of academia, it's kind of a thought bubble, right? They're all they're all echoing sort of the same ideas and reinforcing those ideas within each other. And, you know, but in their defense, this is how it's been forever. I mean, social media and alternative media like podcasts and YouTube, we're talking a decade or two.
I mean, it's not that much time in this podcast is 11 years old. That's nothing.
But doesn't it suck that I couldn't? I mean, I always analogize academics to Navy SEALs, right? When we choose Navy SEALs, we're picking people who hopefully have athleticism, have great courage, bravery. So shouldn't we be picking similar traits in our intellectuals? But we're not. Right, so we don't create intellectual seals who are willing to go in uncharted intellectual terror territories. Rather, we create, you know, tepid, sheepish academics who stay in their lanes, who never rock the boat.
And as you and I know, the world is shaped by people who are unorthodox. Right. Whether it be Sigmund Freud telling us about the unconscious mind or Charles Darwin developing his theory of natural selection or Galileo or Socrates, the world is shaped by those who weren't fed fence sitters. Right. You became who you are with your podcast because you decided to step out of the bubble and create something that no one else had created before a three hour intimate conversation with incredible guests.
So I always tell people, yes, you could play it safe, but no one will remember you. If you take risks, the great rewards will befall you.
Well, honestly, the risks, they're not that great. That's what's crazy like that, especially this podcast rewarding me. It's hilarious because I never intended to do this in the first place. This is all just an accident.
I started this podcast Smoking Pot and talking to my friends on a laptop and it became like slowly but surely a place where I could get guests and then explore things that I'm interested in.
And I don't even remember how you and I first got in contact with each other.
I know we have in common your nephew, like Ariel Juani, who is an MIT journalist for ESPN. And I've known Ariel for years.
But other than that, how did we even get in contact with each other?
I think it was through Twitter. Maybe I was communicating with Ariel or vice versa. We got onto a thread together and that's how we first connect. And you said, hey, come on my show and so on. And of course, I was very excited to come. That's, I think, how it started. It was through some, you know, connection through our. Yeah, I don't remember the details, but look where we are now, man.
What do we have. Twenty one twenty five hours of content between the two of us.
Yeah. And. When was the last time you were on, how long ago was I think it was December twenty eighteen. So almost two years. Well, the podcast is probably five times six times bigger now. Are you kidding me? Oh, yes. Are you able to share any metrics? Just that you can make me super envious.
Hundreds of millions of downloads a month. That is insane. Yeah, it's insane. The weird thing is that when we went over to Spotify, it actually got bigger, like the numbers on YouTube and iTunes didn't shrink. They just we just picked up new listeners. It's very bizarre. I expected that the numbers would drop on iTunes because we have this new platform. But since we're on both platforms now, what happened is we just gained new people on Spotify that really maybe were Spotify loyalists that, you know, just had always been accustomed to it.
And they said, let me check it out. And then the numbers on Spotify just keep growing and growing. So it's it's real weird.
How do you I mean, when you wake up in the morning, can you can you believe that you've become this cultural icon that sort of moderates all these unbelievable conversations with all sorts of incredible people? I mean, isn't it incredible?
It's incredible in that it's not credible. It doesn't make it seem modest. I I'm yeah.
I'm always modest. Right. But but I'm also honest. This is I'm not really because I'm not qualified. That's probably why I'm qualified. Because it works. Because I don't have the the barriers. Like I don't I don't have the I don't have the the sense to say, well, this is probably not a good person to have on for my career or like this is not a wise topic of discussion is going to I'm going to get a lot of criticism for this because I don't think that way.
That's probably why it's worked.
But I'm going to tell you two things, if I may. Number one, I think it's your intellectual curiosity. And that's one thing that I always tell my graduate students what they're looking to do, their doctoral dissertation and so on. You can be the hardest working person and the brightest person if you don't have that intellectual curiosity. Right. Sort of waking up every day excited about things that you're going to learn that day, then you're not going to be a good scholar, let alone a great host on a podcast like yours.
And I also think it's exactly what you said is your your honesty, right? There's that comes through on the camera that there is no B.S. coming from you. And I love the fact, by the way, that you said that you don't modulate who you bring on. So let me let me share my own personal experience. I was just contacted a few days ago, and if she's listening now, I'm sorry. If I haven't responded yet, I will.
I was contacted by a very famous former porn star. I won't mention her name. I didn't actually know her work. But I have since gone and done my research on her.
And and if my wife is listening, it was completely for research purposes. And so anyway, so so I she reached out to me, said, hey, would you come on my show? You know, I'm a fan now. If I were the typical academic, I would be doing all sorts of machinations in my head and calculation as well. Is it good for my brand to be speaking to a porn star? Doesn't it make me look less professorial?
And actually, I it never even entered my mind. I saw that she had a sufficiently large platform, that she was certainly an intelligent person. And I'm very likely to reply to her and say, hey, let's let's do it. So and I think that comes across with you. There's no pretense. Let's just sit down and have conversations with interesting people. Of course, in my case, my show is infinitely smaller than yours, but it's been successful within my sphere for, I think, similar reasons to why yours has been so successful.
The porn star thing is very interesting because people avoid even the topic of porn, but yet clearly a lot of people are watching it. And a good example, and I don't mean to throw this guy under the bus is the the journalist from The New Yorker who unfortunately was on a Zoom call recently and thought he had muted his video and did not. And why was why was it work on the Zoom call decided to start masturbating and he didn't know.
Jeffrey Toobin. Jeffrey Toobin. I wasn't going to say his name. I just want to say that you said his name and not me. I guess I feel terrible for the man because first of all, because I masturbate, I know that's going to sound crazy, but I do. And I know there are many men who masturbate while you're married, so of course you masturbate.
Well, I even before I was married, I masturbated. I'm going to be honest with you. I am a lifelong masturbator. I think I discovered it in my teenage years and I've been an avid pursuer of it ever since. I think it's a clarity device, but it's also I mean, in terms of like when you get horny, you get very confused. Like men who are horny have one thing on their mind. And it's it's a good tool to eliminate that one thing from your mind.
And you could look, you don't want to be fixated by something.
If you're hungry, you should eat. You know, you don't want to be just, like, starving all day. Just eat it.
I'm sorry. Go ahead. But my point is we all sort of want to pretend that we're not doing that. It's very strictly intellectually. We all know that we do it. Everyone knows we do it. Everyone does it. Pretty much everyone does it. But when you discuss it, people like. They roll their eyes, they pull their head, it's not a shame, it's a very strange thing. We have biological needs and if you don't attend to these biological needs, I believe that you can have very confusing motives.
And people that are excessively horny, they're distracted.
It's not healthy to Seinfeld references that speak exactly to that point.
You're ready. So the first one is actually one that I discussed in my first book, my 2007 book, The Evolutionary Basis of Consumption, where I was talking about how you can analyze cultural products, including, you know, sitcom themes via an evolutionary lens. And so I take the example of the classic episode from Seinfeld, master of my domain, right where my domain, of course, is a euphemism for who could withstand their masturbatory urges the longest.
And then I say, well, let's analyze that plotline of that particular show from an evolutionary perspective. And so the first thing you might remember is that there are three male characters and one female one. They all recognize that she has to put in more money into the into the pop, the better part, because it isn't as difficult for women to resist their master masturbatory urges. So that was the first point then as each one was losing the bad meaning, they were succumbing to their masturbatory urges.
It's interesting to look at what was the trigger that caused them to lose the bet. So in the case of Kramer, it's because he is seeing a gorgeous young woman, scantily clad, doing all sorts of sexy positions as she's exercising. So what triggered him to masturbate was the visual imagery. Whereas when it came to Elaine losing the bet, it's because she fantasized about becoming the long term partner, the wife of John F. Kennedy Jr.. Right. And she wasn't she wasn't she wasn't masturbating over the cabana boy who was 18 years old with a nice ass.
And so that spoke to the differences in terms of the content, of the fantasies of men and women. And then the second point I want to make that is also from Seinfeld is there's an episode where George decides to forgo sex and by freeing his mind from having to focus on sex, he starts learning a whole bunch of new languages. And he's solving a chemistry equation problems because ninety nine percent of his brain is no longer focused on, you know, sex.
And so there you go.
Yeah, that's that's a real issue with people. But again, discussing porn or especially having a conversation with someone who participates in the actual production and acting in part, I'll say acting with air quotes.
It's it's forbidden. It's taboo. It's it's you get looked down upon for some very bizarre reason. It probably has to do with our puritanical shame.
I'm not sure if we've discussed this before, but even if we have, I think it's worth repeating. It's probably many years ago that we discussed it. So in one of my other books, I talk about the evolutionary explanation of pornography and I specifically talk about porn that is directed at heterosexual males. So typically you might think that because men are interested in sleeping with many women, that pornography is going to have one man sleeping with multiple women in a particular scene.
Right. And that's called polygyny. One man, many women, whereas actually the study has been done scientific study.
It turns out that there's a lot more what's called polyandry depictions in porn. Polyandry is one woman with multiple men. So why is it that porn directed to heterosexual men has a lot more scenes with one woman having sex with multiple men? And there it turns out that the explanation comes from something called sperm competition hypothesis, the idea being that men and actually males and many species get a rise literally and seeing other men having sex. So, for example, when you are trying to get a stud, let's say a horse or a dog to mate with a female, you often will make him watch another male having sex and that will get the rise out of him.
And so there are some really interesting scientific ways by which you could study a product like pornography, which, of course, is one of the most, you know, the products that we spend the most money on.
That's so bizarre. So the sperm hypothesis theory, there was a wasn't there? It was a book or a paper on sperm wars that was later discredited. Yes. Yeah.
So that's I tried to get that guy on my show. His name is Robin Bass. It's you're exactly right. It's a book that came out in the 90s called Sperm Wars, and at the time he had retired, and so he replied to me very graciously and said, look, I'd love to come on your show, but, you know, I'm out of the whole thing. So thanks, but no thanks now. So let me just mention what this theory was and then what people have said since.
So he argued in his book and in several studies that he had published that when men ejaculate, they actually have three types of sperm within their ejaculate. There is the traditional sperm that you could think of sort of the fertilizer, right. The the traditional, you know, the head with the tail that's looking for the egg to to fertilize. But then he argued that there are also blockers. So these are kind of malformed spermatozoa that actually don't look for the for an egg, but rather place themselves at the entrance of the reproductive track of a woman so that it could stop any incoming new sperm from other men.
And then there are killer sperms that don't look for the egg to fertilize, but look for other men's sperm to kill. Now, if that theory is correct, and you're exactly right, that there's been contentious points about whether it is as accurate as he said or not. And I think the jury is still a bit out if the theory is correct. This basically argues that women, evolutionarily speaking, would have been extraordinarily promiscuous because sperm within a woman's track is only viable for about 72 hours, so that if men have evolved the chemical weaponry to block other men's sperm and kill other men sperm, that means that, evolutionarily speaking, women would have been very likely to have mated with at least two guys within a 72 year, 72 hour period.
Now, when I mentioned this theory in front of a crowd, the feminists will come up to me and say, thank you, Dr. Saad. What a great, you know, lecture, because that theory supports the idea that women could be just as salacious and their sexuality as men. And that supports the feminist argument. If I propose and an equally, if not even more sound evolutionary theory that doesn't support the feminist narrative. Dr. Side, you're a Nazi boo.
So it shows you so right. So it shows you what happens when you use ideology to judge the veracity of a theory. If it occurs with my narrative, you're a great scientist. If it doesn't occur, you're a Nazi.
And anyone that knows your past, if you've described your past and your history on my podcast, the idea of calling you a Nazi becomes incredibly offensive and ridiculous.
Isn't it fantastic? And it's happened many, many times. But but most famously was the time when and I know you've become very good friends with Jordan Peterson. Jordan and I had been invited in twenty seventeen to speak at Ryerson University, which is a university in Toronto, and the title of the that the talk was the stifling of free speech on university campuses. And guess what happened to that speech?
It got canceled because you're a Nazi. No, no, no. Well, because you know where these controversial guys and the people who are the agitators will cancel this, put out Facebook flyers where they said, you know, neo-Nazis and white supremacists are not welcome in Toronto.
And so when I wrote and said, well, but I'm Lebanese Jew, that didn't alter. I was still a neo-Nazi. And so it shows you what happens when people are completely parasitize by political tribalism. It's insane.
Not just a Lebanese Jew, a Lebanese Jew who feared for his life and fled Lebanon because you're a Jew.
Isn't that amazing? It's disgusting. It's just such a stupid way to discredit someone's ideas instead of instead of having conversation. This is one of the weirdest things about our current climate, is that instead of engaging with people on these ideas and discussing them, they look to discredit and they look to discredit with these disingenuous labels. And it's very unfortunate. And it's it's an anti intellectual approach.
Oh, it's it's unbelievable because you know why? Because it's so there is something in psychology called a fast and frugal juristic. So. Right. So most of us, when we're making a decision, don't necessarily sit at weighed all the pros and cons of a multi attribute choice that we're making, rather that we want to use some simplifying decision rule to arrive at a choice. Well, to label your debate opponent, one of these names, in a sense, is a ugly manifestation of a fast and frugal heuristic.
Right, because it takes very little cognitive effort for me to deploy it. Right. I don't have to really engage the. Merits of your point, you're a Nazi. Shut up, we're done. And as you said, I mean, it is the height of anti intellectualism. And by the way, it's not just, you know, the typical social media blue haired person who does it. Even academics engage in this form of anti intellectual ism.
And that's what upsets me the most, that they should know better. And yet they succumb to the same kind of fascist fascist strategies.
Well, there's a spectrum of intellectuals as well. Right. And some of them are simple minded in many ways.
I mean, although they're intelligent and although they're well read and they're scholars, they they still they I hate to use the word, but they're lazy.
They they don't want to engage in this intellectual gladiatorial combat about their ideas. And that's what it adds.
So certainly that and I would also say that academia has regrettably created, if you like, the reward mechanisms for hyper specialization. Right. So when you're thinking about becoming an academic, a scientist, you really can sort of follow one of two strategies. You can become a unbelievable expert in a very, very narrow area because that creates economies of scale. Right. I don't have to continuously go back and check the literature because I really know everything there is to know about this very, very small area of expertise.
Or you could be a polymath. You could be a broad thinker. And regrettably, much of academia promotes the former rather than the latter. Now, if you look at my own scientific career, I haven't done the things that I should be doing according to the rules of the academic game, because if I were trying to maximize, you know, according to the rules, I should only be publishing in journals that are within my narrow area of expertise, evolutionary psychology, consumer psychology, psychology of decision making.
But if you go and look at my CV, I've published in medicine and economics, insight and psychiatric issues and and consumer behavior and evolutionary theory and biblio metrics. I don't care where I publish. If you have a problem that I think I could contribute to sign me up. And that kind of speaks to what we talked about earlier when we were talking about willingness to speak to all sorts of people. It's an openness of spirit of mine. I'm willing to go to any intellectual landscape as long as it triggers my interest.
I don't play by the rules. I like to be free.
Well, it's it's part of being a curious human being, isn't it? And it is. Shouldn't that be encouraged? I mean, it seems like when a person is intelligent, as yourself chooses to take your your mind and apply it to other different disciplines and different ideas that should be rewarded, I've been told the exact opposite.
I've been told by colleagues that they were looking at hiring me at some other university. But then when they looked at my CV and saw that I had published and all these different areas, that it looked like I wasn't focused, I was scattered. I didn't mean so. And I'll give you a wonderful example of the the strategy of non not being scattered. So when I was a doctoral student at Cornell, one of the famous psychologists within my department was a lady who has since passed away, Professor Alice Isaan, and she was a great noted psychologist.
But her entire career was about affect, not effect. Affect your feelings. Right. So she studied how does affect affect variety speaking? How does affect affect word completion? So it was basically affect and fill in the blank. So for 40, 50 years, that's all she did. So if you talked about if you talk to her about affect, she certainly was the queen of the Hill. But if you talk to her about anything outside of offic, she was probably a babbling imbecile.
And I apologize for saying that. May she rest in peace. She wouldn't be able to get on the Joe Rogan show unless you talked to her for three hours about OFFIC. To me, she may be a great professor, but she's not an intellectual and intellectual is one who can go to different intellectual landscapes and engage in great conversations. And regrettably, there are very few public intellectuals today who have that capacity. But someone like Christopher Hitchens, whom I think you know.
Have you ever met Christopher Hitchens?
No. Unfortunately, he died before I could meet him. A huge fan of his work.
This is the kind of guy that you want to be hanging out with at a party. And by the way, he wasn't a professor. He wasn't a profession, a professional intellectual, but he was a true intellectual and the old style of European intellectuals. You could sit down with him and talk about art or literature or science. He was well read about everything. And in a sense, again, not to blow the proverbial smoke up your behind. I think that's what you do.
Yes. You may not have the fancy degrees, but you come with that in. The actual curiosity so that you could speak to Sir Roger Penrose one day and to a comedian who's every second word is F this and F that, and you could pull it off with both. That's the secret of your success.
Well, I had a conversation with Eric Weinstein about that once, and he was like, imagine what it would be like for someone who didn't know what your podcast was about. And they tuned in and saw Roger Penrose on one day and then Joey Diaz on the next day. They were like, what the fuck is this show? You know, but but this show, if it anything, it represents what I'm interested in. And I'm interested in a lot of things.
I think the term intellectual is such a grandiose and ridiculous term for someone who's a cage fighting commentator and a stand up comedian. But I am curious and I'm very fortunate that I do have friendships with people like yourself. And, you know, and Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson and I could get a guy like Roger Penrose to sit down and talk to me and many other brilliant people that I've had the pleasure of talking to.
Are you aware that he won the Nobel Prize? What and what? Oh, Roger Penrose. Roger. Yes.
I thought you meant Jordan Peterson was like, know Jordan because you can't really think that Jordan Peterson does.
Right. I am aware that Roger Penrose wanted. It's amazing.
I mean, isn't that I mean, that is I think the last time that I appeared on your show and someone maybe Jamie can check it, either he was the guest before me or after. So based on predictive models, I should be booking a flight to Stockholm to receive my own.
I don't know if it works that way, but maybe it should. Yeah, he was one of those guys where I was sitting down. And as I was talking to him, I'm like, what the fuck am I doing here?
How is this who talked this guy into doing this? And I have to, you know, do my best to not mess this up.
Now, does that does it when when you and I are speaking, of course, we can get very academic and so on. But we can also joke because we're friends and, you know, we're both funny and so on. Doesn't intimidate you when you speak to someone like Sir Roger because you don't have sort of that camaraderie outlet that otherwise you might have with other intellectuals with whom you are personal friends with.
I don't think it intimidates me as much as it confines me. But I was so curious to hear his thoughts on things that was fortunate that I had a lot of questions for him. And I really did want to dive into his intellect and try to find out, you know, what how he thinks about these things and what he's what he's studying and what his thoughts were. So it was it was very fortunate that I had a deep curiosity about the subject.
So it was. It was. But it was certainly intimidating, you know.
Right. It's you know. Are there are there any guests that you've yet to have that would be sort of here are my top three. I know you recently had Kanye West. What are some people that you think sort of are are you know, you must have them before this whole ride ends? Non-zero.
I don't have that thought. Yeah, I mean, even. Yeah, even Kanye.
I mean, I guess I guess the difference is I kind of avoided talking to him for a long time because I was worried it was going to be not good for him because I'm such a fan of his as an artist. I think he's a brilliant musician. But I also think that because of his I mean, he's been diagnosed as being bipolar and whatever you want to say, whatever mental issues that he's had, I think they contribute in some ways to his art because he's so prolific.
His mind is going in a million different directions all at once. And someone who is like that, but very different, of course, is Elon Musk.
His mind is going in a million different directions all at the same time as well.
And his his ability to focus on so many different subjects simultaneously is stunning. Kanye is the same way, but in a different realm. Right. His focus is on design and on rap and on now religion. I mean, he's become very religious and and even politics, but he's very misunderstood. Kanye is a very misunderstood person. And I think that he doesn't do himself any service by calling himself a genius.
And all the but all the that all the Chuck stuff similar to Trump. Right.
He's kind of, you know, pats himself on the back and pumps himself up and talks about his accomplishments and his financial success and all those. And for whatever reason, those put some people off. They don't put me off. But they did they do put some people off. But I understand why he does it. I understand that he's he's kind of looking to affirm that he's on the right path. Like, look, these are markers of success that he could point to.
Like you can say, he's an idiot. You could say all these different things.
But, hey, look at all he's accomplished. Look at what he's done. And if you listen to his music, I mean, he's brilliant. There's no doubt about he's brilliant. He's insanely prolific and his stuff is great. He's never put out a bad album. They're all great. And he's married to an Armenian woman, as is your good friend got. So that's a commonality that we both share. Well, there you go.
I'm a big fan of Armenians in general. I really am. Why is that?
Well, there's been a lot of great fighters that were Armenian or the greatest kickboxer of all time. One of the greatest kickbacks of all time is Giorgio Petrosian, who is an Armenian who lives in Italy, whose I'm a giant fan of his. And, you know, there's just been many, many fighters in the UFC that have been Armenian. And I just I'm a fan of the embrace masculinity in even though it's the term toxic masculinity so bandied about today in Armenian culture, masculinity is is praised in the just there, just openly masculine.
You know, I like it. I like them.
You know, I receive many, many I you know, maybe hundreds of emails from women who will sort of lament the fact that they no longer can meet a man who exhibits that kind of masculinity. Right. Because what's happened now, as of obviously, you know, is men are so confused.
Right. Am I supposed to pursue a woman or will I be accused of approach rape? If I give her a compliment, will that be considered a compliment? Rape, because all these words are now served. You just compliment rape is a real word.
No, no, no. I just maybe she's just scared me.
I thought we've gone so far, I don't know. But but like, by the way, you know, I had to do a one of those mandatory sex education tests at the start of last year at university. All professors, all students, everybody has to take it. And one of the questions I don't remember the exact words was, you know, if you see a guy, you know, cat calling a woman on campus, is that a form of sexual violence or something to that effect?
And, you know, I knew what was the answer going to be? So I answered no. And then it kind of prompts you and it's like, no, it is a form of sexual violence. And then they kind of explain it to me as if I were a three year old child who hasn't yet mastered the dynamics of being social amongst human beings. And so so while I might have been satirical about the compliment raid, we have gotten to the stage now where it is mandatory for university participants, whether they be faculty members or staff or students, to take these mandatory sexual, you know, training manuals.
I kind of understand why they want people to think differently about harassment. I get that. I mean, I would hate to be like I've been hit on by gay men.
And, you know, it's it's odd. It's complimentary. But when they get it. But I've been hit on only a couple of times in my life, but a few times where it was aggressive. And I was like, what's different is, first of all, the man who was doing one particular guy who was doing it there was the most aggressive that I can remember was not physically dangerous to me. Like I could have killed him if I wanted to.
Right. So I was like, listen, man, stop. But it wasn't. It wasn't. I wasn't. It was the roles weren't reversed. But like, if it was Mike Tyson who is doing that to me, I would feel terrified because if he wanted to beat me up and have his way with me, it's not a lot I could do. You know, I would kind of be.
And it's also called prison. Yeah. So I don't have the understanding that a woman would have on a woman is being approached by a man is a very real concern that she could be raped. This I don't have that same concern unless someone's drugged me or done something.
If the man is weaker physically than me, I don't have that concern. But I try to look at it from a woman's perspective and I get how catcalling if you're a woman, particularly if there's a large group of men and they say things to you, that's terrifying. It could be terrifying. I could understand, but it's not violence. The problem with the word violence is you start using that word with other like silence is violence. No, it's not.
Violence is violence. Silence. Silence is not violence. You can't bastardize these words.
You can't distort the meaning of these words, because as soon as you do, you're you're forcing people to comply with your resetting language.
You're changing definitions. You can't do that. You can say it's very disrespectful, it's rude and it's intimidating to cat call a woman. I would agree to that. And I would say I've never done it. I'm not a type of person. A girl walks by. I'm like, hey, baby, that's not I'm you know, I've I've not I've never been raised that way. I've never I don't I don't do it. I'd have never done it.
I don't appreciate it. But it's not violence. It's just gross. It's it's it's an. Imitating its harassment, and if I was a woman, I would fucking hate it, but we need clear definitions. We need I mean, words are noises that we make that convey intent. When you say that it's sexual violence to catcall your fucking with language and you're fucking with it in order to because everyone knows violence is bad, right? Everyone knows violence is evil.
Everyone knows violence should not be tolerated in a polite society. So when you you attach an extreme definition, an extreme word that doesn't apply, but you force it in to a situation where you're fucking with our definition of the way people behave and think.
And you're doing it to sort of force compliance into your ideology and what you what you feel the way people should should act and behave as.
I've got a psychological mechanism that I explain in the Pacific mind about how you redefined realities so that you can get the victimology narrative that you want. And I call it the homeostasis of victimology. And so let me explain what homeostasis is. So if you think about your thermostat in your room, it is a homeostatic machine because what it basically says is, OK, I'm going to set the temperature at 70 and it's going to sample the air. If it's too hot, it will release the air conditioning.
If it's to war, vice versa. Right. So our bodies are made of many homeostatic static systems. Right. If I'm hungry and my blood sugar goes below a certain point, I have approach behaviour to food. Right. So many of our physiological systems are homeostatic. Many of our psychological systems are homeostatic. And so I argue that this ever, never ending redefinition of words and and context to make it seem as though they are rape or violence or misogyny is what I call the homeostasis of victimology, which is what basically there is a set point that we need so that we could always argue that our society is evil and sexist and and racist and so on.
If the reality is that you can't identify that sexism and racism, you simply redefine words, redefine concepts so that you could get your set. The point you follow what I mean. So and there's a similar concept that's called concept creep from an Australian psychologist that argues along the same lines. Right. And it's exactly the reason, by the way, why someone like Jesse Smollett will engage in full victimology, because he is basically saying, look, I need to reach a set level of victimology so I can have the right currency to ascend the apex of victimology.
And if if I don't have that narrative, then I will manufacture it. And hence the homeostasis and victimology.
Well, in his case is extreme, right? Because he literally it's fraudulent. I mean, literally created a fake attack. And but this is you know, we we know that I hate the narrative.
Like, no one would ever fake an attack or no one would ever lie about being harassed or attacked or even raped. Of course they would. People lie about everything, like the idea that human beings would never lie about something that is such a gross generalization. There's there's a reason why there's a word called lie. There's a reason why as a concept. I mean, because people engage in it and because we can't read minds. And since we can't read minds, people can deceive.
And whenever we're allowing people to willingly distort language, we're in some ways at least encouraging a form of deception.
Exactly right. And I mean, isn't it incredible how the onus on believing changes as a function of the political affiliation of the supposed victim? Right. So when when I can't remember her name. Blassie Ford came up the night before his Kavanaugh's confirmation or whatever, to say that 36 years ago it may have happened somewhere. And I'm not sure where and I don't know if it happened. I don't have any details. Well, hashtag believe all women when a woman came up for or against Joe Biden with apparently more evidence.
Now, I don't know the veracity of each of their accusations, but it was certainly the case that the the accuser of Joe Biden had as convincing evidence, if not more, than the former case. But now it was no longer hashtag believe all women. Right. And so it demonstrates to you how ugly these hashtag fasta frugal strategies are rather than sticking to first principles, which is people are presumed to be innocent unless there is overwhelming amount of evidence we either fry someone or not as a function of political expediency.
It's grotesque, it is grotesque. And I'm glad there's someone like you out there that describes these things in a very clear way and explains the mechanisms behind them. But does it frustrate you that we are moving seems like even further in this direction as a society? And do you see a way out of this?
I think the way out of it is and I and I'm not sure that what I'm about to say is easy to implement because we are tribal animals. So I'm putting my glasses because I starts getting fuzzy. I'm getting I'm getting older. Look, I always tell people belong to the tribe of truth rather than to specific political tribes. Now, what do I mean by that? If you come to me and ask me, you know, it's hard to pin you.
God, are you are you conservative? Are you libertarian? Are you liberal? And I will usually answer. Well, it's hard to pin myself because I am an issues guy. So if it comes to the death penalty, I might give you a position that you might think I'm conservative or when it comes to immigration, you might think I'm conservative when it comes to social issues, gay rights, transgender rights, I'm about as socially liberal as they come.
So I don't belong to a group. I'm not conservative. I'm not liberal. I am a one idea at a time guy. Why? Because I use first principles and my ability to engage in critical thinking, to espouse a position on any topic that you wish to discuss with me. But I don't think that that's the natural state of most people. Most people are.
I am Republican. I am, you know, whatever Democrat. And therefore I must hold the line on issues one through thirty seven. And so what I implore people to do is don't be that like that, even though it's a natural reflex to want to belong to Team Blue or Team Red belong to team truth if you can achieve that possibility.
Yeah. And the United States at least I'm not really that familiar with your political system in Canada, but the United States, it's reinforced because we really only have two parties and so much so that Bret Weinstein created this thing, Unity 2020, where he's trying to bring together conservatives and liberals together and and find some common ground. And he was promoting this as an alternative to the two party system.
And they were banned from Twitter ban, you know, from Twitter. They banned his personal Facebook page and then tried to say that it was an error, but it was not was a conscious decision. You know, there are people that work for these social media companies that have since left and now talk about it openly, that they did have the freedom to edit things. They did have the freedom to delete things they did, and that they sort of took pleasure in doing so and that you were sort of given this leeway if you felt like something was ideologically opposed to the terms and services of of whatever social media organization you're working for, you were allowed to to make that distinction.
It's very subjective. You are to say, well, this is this is negative. This is negative towards our election. This is this is promoting something that's going to damage the Democratic Party. So we're just going to ban the Twitter account for violating terms of services. It's never been clear is what still banned the Twitter account is still banned and they just do this based on their own personal political beliefs. It's not about it's not about truth. It's not about the freedom of expression.
Like you should be free to express the idea that the two party system has major flaws. And one of the flaws is human beings, natural inclination towards tribalism. We're very aware of that. And if you find support within your tribe. And you have steadfastly, steadfastly adhered to these these these ideals that the left has or the right has, you'll be rewarded like you're a part of us. Yay, good job, Dad, or good job, Joe.
Like you are. You have adopted our conglomeration of opinions and you have stuck to them. And they're so predictable on both sides. Right on the left, you're supposed to be pro-choice and the right is supposed to be pro Second Amendment. And, you know, we have a series of these different things that you have to adhere to if you're on either side of that line and people take comfort in knowing that there's other people on their tribe that also think that way.
And they they find some some commonality in that. And they they find this this camaraderie in their knowledge that this person that they're talking to has also agreed to stay within these lines.
Oh, indeed. Look, I quick story that recently happened to me regarding all these social media platforms I posted on on all my social media platforms, including on LinkedIn, a post where I basically said, hey, you know, Joe Biden might have been a parasitic nothing for the past forty seven years, but just wait next year when in the forty eighth year he's really going to, you know, solve diabetes and cure cancer. It was a satirical thing where I was kind of arguing that, you know, he hasn't done much throughout his public life length and removed it because it violated their community standards of harassment and bullying.
Well, by harassing and bullying. Right. I mean, I was harassing and bullying a public figure who's running to become the president of the United States, but that was bullying to him. That's the world we live in. So I think guys like I don't know if you know these guys and you might want to consider if they're willing to come on your show to have them on. Guys like Senator Josh Hollick, Senator Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz have been trying to reform the legal, you know, taking these social media from being, you know, you know, so they don't get the protection anymore, their actual publishers.
Right. So that they don't get the protection of, hey, you can't sue us if we do stuff. But of course, most of the Republicans and Democrats never want to go after the social media platforms because the ability of all of these top players to fund the politicians, whether they are on the right or left side of the aisle, is so great that most people turn a blind eye. But I really can't see this being something that can be tenable in the future because just like Brett Weinstein was kicked out.
Look at the New York Post's account was removed. Isn't it shut down because they were running the Joe Biden story?
Well, it was locked out. And Jack Dorsey has since stated that they have amended their policy and that if The New York Post wants to post again, they can and then they can post the exact same story. What they have to do, however, is they have to go back to their original post, remove it that will reinstate them, and then they can repost the exact same story and then they'll have no issues with that whatsoever. And he said that in a conversation that he had with Ted Cruz.
It's very confusing. I think that might just have to do with the way their social media platform is structured. Jack Dorsey, though I can speak from knowing him on a personal level. He is a man that believes in free speech. And I think that inside the company, he's fighting a battle, but he is personally a person that believes that Twitter should be open and that it should be it should be an open platform. And he believes in free speech.
I don't think that idea is I don't think it's embraced by the vast majority of the people that make decisions over Twitter. And I think that his idea is probably unpopular. But he agrees with the sentiment, the original sentiment of the Internet, these the ability to distribute information for all people.
He thinks that all these people that have been de platformed should have a place and that the Internet should be treated like a utility and that it should be available to everyone. He believes that. I know he does. But I think it's very difficult when you're a CEO, something that is a publicly traded company and an enormous company that's arguably one of the three or four biggest platforms for disseminating information on the planet Earth and was never intended to be that they didn't see it coming.
I mean, obviously, you sound like a Twitter apologist, but I really like Jack Dorsey as a person. And I think he's he's a very honest and he's a very interesting human being. And I think he gets unfairly maligned. But in my conversations with him, I think he really does believe he's actually proposed that there be two Twitters, a Twitter that is. That there is some moderation and a Twitter that's a Wild West. Oh, wow, yeah, I actually I've had him on my show also, and just like you, I mean, I got the feeling that he's a real, genuine, you know, genuine person who really cares about the world.
But I think you're exactly right that there are so many different constituencies that are pulling him in different directions that even though, you know, he may be fully supportive of the freedom of speech that you and I would be would be behind. He's kind of beholden to certain different camps. And so I agree with you. Do you think that there will be eventually a regulatory mechanism that kind of sets all of these social platforms straight, or do you think forevermore we're going to be beholden to their jobs?
I think it's the only way out of this. I think someone has to step in and they have to impose First Amendment. Some protections on free speech on the Internet right now, the Internet, the social media platforms are there thought of as private companies, they can make their own decision. You know, like maybe if you had, you know, a party over at your house and someone came over your house and they started saying a bunch of really offensive things, you kicked them out of your house.
But that's your own house. It's private house. But when your house is the world and you get to decide what's offensive and what's not and other people disagree. The problem is.
But you're you're stifling. Free speech, and you're stifling the ability for people to make up their own mind as to what is and what isn't offensive, what's correct and what's incorrect. And, you know, it's been said a million times. I've said it a million times. But the answer to bad speech is not censorship. It's better speech. It's more accurate speech. It's like you have to win the battle of ideas. And much like a lot of these intellectuals that you were talking about that want to silence alternative perspectives on campus, you see the same thing on social media.
People that have these ideological perspectives where they've they've steadfast, adhered to this left wing agenda. They don't want to engage with anyone that has a disparaging opinion or a differing opinion. They don't want to. They just want to kick those people off, deep platform them, deep platform them, and they yell it out because it's been effective with people in the past. They've gotten rid of people like Miloje. They've gotten rid of Gavin McGuinness and Alex Jones and a lot of these people that they've they've cancelled their voice.
But but I think by doing so, they've done themselves a disservice. Whether they recognize it or not, they've done discourse. It's sort of a disservice. They've done free speech a disservice. And they've created this tyranny of information where they've decided that they're the ones who get to decide what gets disseminated and what doesn't. It's very dangerous.
Yeah. You know, ten years ago, I think it was in 2010. So I started I have a column on Psychology Today where I published these short psychology articles on all sorts of interesting topics. I haven't been writing for them as often these days, but when I started in 2008, I was a very heavy contributor and at the time, probably the most popular blogger at Psychology Today was a evolutionary psychologist by the name of Satoshi Kanazawa, who is a professor at the London School of Economics in England.
And he was a very sort of bombastic guy, very politically irreverent used language that was perhaps at times, you know, unadvisable. And he had published an article where he was talking about research, not his research. He was describing someone else's research where they had done a study looking at differences and how women across different races were perceived in terms of their beauty. And the results had not come out in a way that was politically correct, if you follow what I mean.
And now the way that he had handled that particular topic seemed maybe a bit bombastic, maybe it wasn't the right words. But right away there was a huge call to get rid of him from Psychology Today, which happened. But they also wanted to get him fired from his tenure position. And I had written an article and I think I was the only one who had written a public article where you can still go find it on my column where I said, you know, purging a blogger sets a dangerous precedent.
If Satoshi Kanazawa, his words are wrong, what better punishment is there than to keep his words up there? Because the light of of the sun will forever more condemn him. Right. What's the point of getting rid of him? But of course, people didn't listen to my warnings and now it's become common ground to get rid of anybody with whom we disagree.
Yeah, I go back to if you ever seen the the the documentary where what is his name, the Sir William F. Buckley. Oh yes. And was the other gentleman. He was a. Thank you, my memory stuck to the Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley did a series of national debates on prime time television in the 1960s, and they were fascinating, fascinating to watch these two guys go back and forth and debate ideas and two guys who really didn't like each other and hated each other.
But for the United States to be able to tune in to television, just regular television and watch these open debates of liberal and conservative ideas, I think was very rewarding for people.
I think and we don't do that now. We don't have that anymore. We don't have these open discussions where an intellectual on the left like Gore Vidal and an intellectual in the right like William F. Buckley, can engage in this sort of intellectual combat. And we could see who rises and who's whose ideas resonate with with more people.
And I think it was around that time where Thomas Sole was smacking down what we today would call social justice warriors when we were all in diapers. Right. I mean, I think if you go back to the 60s and 70s, some of the interventions that Thomas Sole had on many of the issues that we're still debating and discussing today, he was doing that in the 60s and 70s when we were in diapers. Right. I mean, this is a guy, by the way, I don't know if you've ever reached out to try to get him on your show.
This is someone that I think you'd want to have on your show.
I would love to have him on. Yeah, I would love to have him on in person. But unfortunately, that's not really possible right now. But Thomas is a guy who's quoted regularly on Twitter and often times by people that, you know, you would think of. I mean, it's what he's done. Essentially, he's had this entire career of doing this like well ahead of the curve and started out his life as a liberal and and sort of along the way reformed his opinions and changed him and became more pragmatic.
And, yeah, I'd like to see honest discussions with a guy like Thomas Sole and someone who disagrees with them and I guess do it on prime time now would actually be a waste. You know, really, we want to do it on a forum like this. We want to do it on the Internet.
Where do you think do you think they would ever be a context where some of the powers that be will kind of wake up to the power of your platform and try to replicate it in mainstream media? Or do you think it's simply too corrosive to actually allow to people who have different positions to share the same, you know, the same stage?
I think the only way to do something like this is to have a very small amount of people involved. And when you do something on mainstream media, just by definition, you're going to have an enormous group of people. You're going to have investors, you're going to have network network network executives. You're going to have producers, you're going to have writers. You're going to have all sorts of people that many of them, a vast majority, have a very liberal and left wing ideology.
And to have the ability to have on whoever you want, you really need a singular person, a singular voice, like a singular mind who is curious about a bunch of different issues, who's not easily influenced by people on the outside and their criticisms and their their intimidation, like people are intimidated by attacks and criticisms and insults. And so they'll change the way they participate, the way they communicate and what they put out based on that intimidation, the way it happened.
I'm sorry. That's what happens, by the way, when there are presidential debates where the moderators are typically less than ideal in terms of their expressed bias. And that's why I was very excited. And I think I had even shared when when when the rumor was coming out that, you know, you'd be willing to moderate a debate between Biden and Trump, I thought, God damn, that's a great idea. Whatever happened with that, either of their camps reach out to you or did you connect with them?
What happened with that whole story?
Trump was all in. He was all in. He wanted to do it. Yeah, he tweeted it. I mean, he wanted to do it. He contacted people that contacted me to do it. But I never reached out to the Biden people. I felt like if they wanted to do it, they would reach out to me. And if they did, I would have done it. But I just don't think that's a good forum for him.
I mean, as we've seen the debates themselves, specifically, the last debate was not good for him. But what I would have done is like when he was saying that I've never said I was going to ban fracking, Jamie would have just pulled up video of him saying I'm going to ban fracking. And that would have been horrible for him. It would have been much better in terms of getting some clarity on what he's actually said and what he's actually done.
And, you know, and then the other things about saying that his son never received any money from Russia, and that's that's a that's a lie. It's. In disproving, it hasn't been disproven, he knows it hasn't been disproven, but he knows that he can say that on the air and no one's going to call him on it. I would have stopped the moderation. I would have stopped the thing. I go, sir, we're going to pull up these articles.
And I want you to tell me, what about these articles is in factual, like what is what's a lie? And are you sure that's would you be willing to say this in court? Which would would you be willing to risk perjury? Would you say this in front of a judge like if you because you could be in real trouble if you did that, but you could just lie in a debate and the moderators don't check you. No one says anything about it.
No one Googles it. Why can't they just pull up a story, pull up a video? There's I mean, the fracking is particularly egregious.
Yeah, well, there's only one, Jamie. He's right here. We're not giving him up. But someone could have done that. And it would have been much better for the American public to just stop everybody in their tracks. And also, why do they have two minutes to answer that? That's so antiquated? This is so ridiculous. The idea that you're talking about something that literally can affect the free world, the decision of who gets control of the United States of America, who what party is in control, and that you're going to put some arbitrary two minute time limit on these discussions is crazy.
It's so ridiculous. And also the format is confined by these time blocks that they have this 90 minute time. But you should have a 90 minute time block. You should start it at like agreed upon time, 60 Minutes or six p.m. or whatever, whatever you want to do, and then work it out like Abraham Lincoln and some of the speeches that he gave when he was running for president. There were hours and hours long and he was talking without a microphone in like a town square and discussing these ideas that he had and they would last forever.
And that's how you find out what a person thinks and believes you have to. But now with the tools that we have available, the fact that they don't use those tools during a presidential debate, fact check Trump when he lies about something, pull it up, show show that he's not telling the truth, show what he actually said, showed he actually did, as opposed to what he said. He's call him out on it, call Biden out on.
Let's get to the bottom of this.
But, you know, even though those tools are available, mainstream media would have to give away control. They give away control of their ability to navigate and steer this narrative. Right. The narrative that they're trying to steer, you know, the bias that they're trying to exert on on our election process is really offensive.
It should be offensive to people. It should be offensive that they have the ability to Google whether or not Joe Biden really did say he would never ban fracking and they didn't. Why would you not pull up a video that's readily available online and say, sir, we're going to pause here for a moment. We're going to play this video and tell me what you meant when you said you were going to ban fracking. Tell me what you meant when you said you were going to embrace the green New Deal.
Tell me what you said when you when you said that you were going to do whatever, whatever the fuck you lied about and pull it up?
I think for me, what amazes me about when he says things like that, and I suspect maybe we can say the same thing about Trump, although I can't remember quite the same types of lies Trump usually lies about. My penis is the biggest that women have told me. I'm the greatest lover ever. Look at the number of people that he's it's bombastic, boasting, grandiose, I think. Guy Right. And the other guy is basically saying things that are demonstrably false.
And the only thing I can think of that could explain sort of the hutzpah of engaging in these types of lies. It's as if Joe Biden's brain still exists in the 1940s where he doesn't know that there is this thing called Google and computers where we can quickly have Jamy fact check you. Right, because what if. Right. So in the same way that he does the Corn Pops story, which which is difficult to to to know if he's telling the truth or not, because, again, it happened in the 60s or 70s or whatever, he could say something, thinking that it can't be falsified because how else could you logically explain that he would engage in such lies?
Well, not only that, like how was the Democratic Party not saying, hey, this is a mistake like this and the whole idea that there's a deadline to this process and it all has to be done a certain amount of time, and this is how we have to do it.
It's like, boy, it's so weird. It's so weird. It's such an important decision. I'm sorry.
I'm just stretching my neck from where I'm sitting right about that. Do you are you willing today to make a prediction? I'm not asking you to tell me who you're voting for, but are you willing to make a prediction in terms of who you think is going to win?
I do not know who's going to win. And my concern my concern is, is not going to matter in terms of a sense of peace in the United States. My concern is that if Trump wins, people are going to be furious. And if Joe Biden. Wins, people are going to be furious, and I think so I think there's a symmetry. I think that if Trump wins, the the lunacy will be much greater than if if Biden wins.
I think if Biden wins. Of course, people are going to be disappointed and upset. But the manner by which that disappointment will manifest itself, in my view, won't be as drastic as if Trump wins. I think if Trump wins, I'm going to be hiding under my desk forever more.
I don't know. Maybe you're correct. I hope you're not. You know, I. I really wish that people you know, one of the things that Trump said that was really kind of interesting during the debates or was it not, was during the 60 Minutes interview, which was I don't know if you saw that, but what I saw was what that was that ran on 60 Minutes, not the one that he released.
Did you see both? Yes.
You should see the one that he released because the one that he released, it's like this woman was so antagonistic the way she interviewed him. It's not the way to interview anyone. And it's definitely not the way to interview someone is going to be the president of United States. I understand that he he overpowers conversations. I understand that he does that. But I also think that this is also a function of the fact you only have 35 minutes to talk to this guy.
And so he can he could just filibuster. He can just keep going. He can just talk over you. He could ramble. He could say things that aren't true. He can he could rant and rave and do the things that he does when he does it. Campaign rallies. It's not that's not the ideal way to get to him to to really find out what he's really all about. The ideal way would be like this. Sit down in the podcast and have him here for four hours and have him sit down and talk and then stop him when he says things and stop him and go hold.
OK, I understand, sir. Sir, let's let's check that out and tell me tell me why you said that when you know, when he said that the biggest attendance ever for his inauguration and then you go and see this big open field and then you compare it to Obama's inauguration, whatever. It's packed so many more people like clearly there's more people in this photo like why is that? Is this propaganda? Did someone Photoshop it or you exaggerating?
Because you kind of exaggerate, you know, and I know it's part of his personality, like to make fun and exaggerate. He's an entertainer first, right?
He's a businessman first, but became an entertainer and knows really well how to say outrageous and then oftentimes reprehensible and make they make clips out of these things. They become sensational. And that's also how he got elected in the first place. The mainstream media thought that what they were doing was exposing what an asshole he was, what they didn't realize. They're giving him free press. They were constantly talking about him. I mean, it was really a brilliant strategy.
He would say outrageous things. They would take those outrageous things, put them on TV. People would laugh and they would go, oh, I like him.
And the mainstream media is like, no, what have you tried? The strategy didn't work. It backfired.
Do you feel as though a lot of the media it's as if the the the humor module in their brain is completely lacking because I watch when Trump does his trolling and again, people always wrongly presume that whatever I take some position, it is a manifestation of the fact that, you know, I must have posters of Trump in my bedroom, which my wife and I use as foreplay aid, which of course is not the case at all.
I'm just coming as a impartial guy from Canada. I don't have a dog in the fight. And I'm always telling people, well, wait a second, aren't you being a bit too tribal? And so that's really the extent of when I engaged a topic. And so I will objectively listen to something that Trump said and I will crack up laughing because I actually think it's funny. And so, for example, when he says, you know, you know, I guess when I finish my fourth term running, of course, because he is trolling.
Right. Because so they go crazy. He's a dictator. He's going to end. So how do you explain the fact that a adult with a functioning brain who is called a journalist is unable to recognize that when he says, in my fourth term, he is just joking? What explains that disconnect, in your view?
Well, I don't think that they can ignore it because I think that they have been programmed to catch people saying outrageous things and expose those things. So when he says outrageous things on purpose, they they can't help themselves and they have to.
And then people go. But, you know, he's just joking and they don't they don't they see that juicy carrot and they just run towards it and they don't realize it's on a stick.
And they're like, where's the give me that fucking carrot? And they can't get the carrot. It's very strange.
But it's also he's playing on their strategy, which is always.
In to catch people saying things that are unfortunate, but he says unfortunate things on purpose, and so it's it's so confusing to them he's hacked their their little system.
So my feeling is that if you sat down with Trump, you could have a fun time with him, but it will always be on his terms. He needs to be the funniest guy in the room, the coolest guy, the guy with the biggest dick. And so as long as you grant him that space, he could actually be a fun guy to to have dinner with. Whereas again, from by from distance, when I look at someone like Barack Obama, I don't get the feeling that I would like this guy.
He strikes me as haughty, arrogant. And again, I'm basing it simply on the fact that I see how they act from a distance. What's your view? Do you get a similar sort of personal feeling about these guys?
No, I don't. I have a completely different opinion on Barack Obama. I think you'd be a great guy to talk to. I'm a big fan of his as a human being. I like the way he communicates. I think in terms of a representative of the United States, you could never find a better person. He's well-educated, extremely eloquent. He's he's calm no matter what. He's always reserved. The way he communicates is smooth.
And I think, yeah. Is exactly what Trump is not. He's a statesman, a perfect statesman, probably the best one we've ever had. And I think that he there's one benefit of a guy like that is that we look at someone who's the president as a representative of the best aspect of the United States. When you look at a guy who came from a single mother, came from poverty and rose to become a lawyer, a senator, and then ultimately the president of the United States, and you see him and you go, wow, that is that's that's an admirable person like to be that.
But that was my son. I'd be immensely proud of the way he speaks, the way he carries himself. Now, if you want to get into policies, if you want to get into some of the things that it's not as impressive of you as you would have hoped when he was running for president, particularly in the defense of whistleblowers like their their take on whistleblowers in the press is some of the worst that any administration has ever had. But you also could say, I don't know how much the president actually has control of that, how much power they really have.
I tend to believe that our view of the president is grossly distorted in terms of their their real their real amount of influence over policy and decision making, particularly in terms of national security measures, whistleblowers, things along those lines. I think the intelligence community has far more power than we believe. And I think once a person gets in and not just the intelligence community, special interest groups, lobbyists, you know, the money and the power that got them into that position leaves them so ultimately compromised that they get into office and that they realize the task at hand.
And also, I think then they're probably briefed on the real problems internationally, the real problems security wise in the world, the real problems that we have with our national security issues, I think is probably terrifying.
And I think they probably have to amend all the ideas that they had, these idealistic notions that they had when they were running for office. And then they have to sort of regather and and just have a new approach. Obama's positions on a lot of things that he had when he was running for president. Like, first of all, how did he never legalize marijuana? How how did he never federally legalize marijuana?
A guy who smoked it, a guy this photos of him smoking it. Like, why would you want to keep people locked away when you know that the United States is incarcerated, so many people of color for decades and decades for a plant that makes them happy. Like how how is it possible that you got out of office and didn't do that your entire time? I don't understand. How is it possible that you didn't exonerate a lot of the people that were in jail for nonviolent drug offenses?
How did you not reform our definitions of like what is what's legal and what's not legal? You know, what is schedule one? What is scheduled to what is schedule three? How did you not change the laws in terms of like what people can be locked in a cage for? And when you're seeing states like Colorado, then ultimately California and all these other states becoming states that where it was legal in the state, why is it not legal federally?
We all understand that it's it's safer than people could say. Well, why do you worry about marijuana? Because it's a personal freedom issue. And this is and it's not it's not real. Like the dangers, the the reasoning for keeping it illegal. They're not real. They don't work. We know it's propaganda. We know it's bullshit and we know it, especially when you look at the revenue that's been generated by these states like Colorado and California and Washington and Oregon, all these states that have made it legal.
You realize it would be of great benefit to these. Places and now there was an article recently about Texas doing it, it would be of great benefit financially. I'm amazed that people are still buying it. They're just the United States is not getting the taxes from it. And it's foolish.
You can only I mean, you can only say that there's got to be some other motivation. And that motivation is probably the people that run pharmaceutical companies and all these other special interests that don't want it to be legal because it would fuck with their bottom line and it would it would interfere with their the money that they have coming in. And so that's that's very disappointing to me. Very disappointed that Obama didn't do that.
Yeah. And I hear you and I guess from that perspective, you would like the fact that Justin Trudeau did legalize.
Yes, I'd like it. Although I did notice that your views on your boyfriend, Justin Trudeau, has changed greatly from the first time when I told you that he is a schmuck, you now believe he's a schmuck. But you used to think he was a pretty boy, a lovely guy, a beautiful man.
He's beautiful. Very handsome. Yes. But I want to come back for a second, too. So as a psychologist who studies psychology and decision making, of course, I'm interested in how people make decisions and in this case, consequential decisions in terms of who's going to be president. Back in 2003, I had published a paper looking at the decision rules that people use when choosing presidents. And perhaps to your dismay, or perhaps you already you already have the intuition that this is happening.
People don't use heavily cognitive justifications in choosing their presidents. They use these very emotional driven, fast and frugal your mistakes and making decisions. So, for example, when you and I were both speaking about about Obama that, you know, he's majestic and he has a mellifluous voice and he speaks with the cadence of a Southern Baptist minister and he's presidential. All those things might be true, but it's exactly what I think I mentioned once on your show.
I'm going to take this to be akin to the core of a wine bottle. There's an expression in Arabic that says getting drunk by simply smelling the cork of the wine bottle. Right. You don't actually need to drink the whole wine before you get drunk. All you need to do is smell the cork and you're already drunk. And I think this is exactly what happens to people. They look at Trump, they get drunk by the cork bottle, which basically says what?
He's vulgar, he's brazen, he's aggressive, he's grotesque. They don't listen to his policies and similarly say would with Obama. And I wish people would spend more time, actually, as you correctly pointed, engaging the policy. So I'll give you an example. I could have a colleague who hails against critical race theory and how dreadful it is. And then when Trump bans critical race theory as a, you know, something to be taught to federal employees, he simply can't give him the kudos.
Because, you know, bruh, he's so disgusting. That's what I'm angry about, that people lose their ability to objectively look at people's policies rather than at the superficial clues of he looks majestic or he looks like a vulgar ogre. You see what I mean? I do.
I do. And in that sense, he does himself a disservice and a lot of ways well, a lot of people had hoped that once he got into office, he would become presidential like you would shift.
You know, that was that was the hope and that it absolutely didn't happen. And, you know, when people catch him saying things that aren't true, when he argues with them about it, it's just like then you're feeding the fire. But also you have to realize he's he's made enemies with so many groups, particularly groups of power, that have been in place in the United States forever, like the intelligence communities. He's the enemy of a lot of the intelligence communities, particularly the FBI.
I mean, they've shown that they were actively trying to get rid of them. And then there was a lot of the people in the intelligence community that decided that he was going to be someone that they attacked. And that's just crazy.
I mean, we talked about it yesterday with Glenn Greenwald where he discussed how Chuck Schumer had openly said that it's so foolish for Trump to attack the intelligence communities and become an enemy of the intelligence community.
And that's going to prove to be foolish. And as a threat like the intelligence communities, we're going to go after him. And they obviously have that. Yeah, that seems to me to it's it's fascinating to see it. It's fascinating to see these mechanisms being put into place in these stories like, you know, the Steele dossier where he's got Russian hookers peeing on him and all that jazz like the fact that that was printed and that they talked about that on CNN and it was printed in major newspapers is, you know, a possible true story like.
All that is so bizarre to say it's so bizarre to see his personality flaws amplified and weaponized and did not concentrate on just the policies, but in many ways, he's done that to himself. Yeah, he's you know.
Do you know who Victor Davis Hanson is? No, I don't. He's a he's a classicist who is a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, who has written a book.
I'm promoting his book now rather than my own. But he's written a book about why you should have voted for Trump and so on. And and because he is a classicist who has studied Greek mythology, he analogizes Trump to the classic example of Sophocles, of the tragic hero. Right. You know, you get the feeling that Trump simply wants someone because maybe because he is narcissistic, he wants someone to say good job, here's where it's well. And and the fact that he could never get the mainstream media to even remotely be minimally fair.
You know, if you ban critical race theory or if you support, you know, you know, absolute free speech, you should be congratulated for that irrespective of your political stripe. But yet, because they simply could never give him any kudos for anything, then his bombastic sort of bragging gets amplified because he is the tragic hero saying, look, what do I need to do to get you to just tap me on the back once? And I think that Victor Davis Hanson and the Analisa analogizing with the classic tragic Greek hero is exactly spot on for Trump.
But it is unfortunate that he has this desire to get them to pat him on the back, because this is never going to get it is never going to get it right.
By the way, you mentioned Glenn Greenwald. You know, in the past, I sort of always thought of him as kind of, you know, lefty, progressive, you know, don't don't pay attention to them. But I've seen him several times appear on Tucker Carlson, which is, of course, a show that you shouldn't appear on because it's Fox News and so on. And I've always found him to be incredibly fair. So my esteem of I have to apologize to him here on the record that I thought of him in the past as sort of this really annoying kind of progressive guy.
But I actually find him to be incredibly fair minded in the way that he handles these types of issues. I mean, do you agree with that?
I couldn't agree more. And I think that's one of the reasons why he decided to go on. Tucker Carlson in the first place is to expose his way of thinking to a lot of people that may have had these predetermined ideas of him as prejudiced ideas of him. You know, it's funny because he actually had the same opinion to me. You know, like what? When we did a podcast yesterday, he was like, I saw you before. I thought he was some guy who platform to many of these all right.
Assholes. And he hates trans people. And he goes, and then I started listening to your show. He's like, oh, he's not he's not that at all. And, you know, it's easy to do. It's it's easy to have this sort of reductionist perspective of someone and decide on that guy. He's a wacky leftist progressive, just ridiculous ideas.
But Glenn Greenwald is an honest man and he's a man of principles and and he's courageous. And that's why he released the Snowden papers. And that's why he's done a lot of very important work in Brazil on these. He's hated for it by some groups and loved by others. And that's you know, he's taken a lot of chances. And I find him to be incredibly intellectually honest. And he's also willing to discuss some real landmine issues. Real, real hot button topics.
You know, and we we got into some of them yesterday. And I respect him very much.
I mean, he strikes me as the journalist that we had 20, 30 years ago, that the real truth seeker who yeah, of course, we all come with our political preferences. Yeah. But once you put on the hat of the journalist, you're supposed to keep those at the door. And he really strikes me as a journalist of a bygone era. And so kudos to him.
Hats off. Yeah, I respect him a lot. I think there's there are journalists like him, Matt Taibbi. There's quite a few of them out there that are sticking their neck out. And, you know, and they take a lot of attacks because of that. But we need more of them. We need we need more people that are going this world is going mad. And we have to we have to look at things accurately. We have to look at things for what they really are rather than what you want them to be or rather than the description that you say where you know you're going to get love for you from your tribe because you've, you know, drawn the correct line in the sand.
Yeah, I got to. Can I switch topics completely? Sure. So I wanted to ask you something, and I hope it's not inappropriate for me to bring it up. So you recently obtained a, you know, huge deal with Spotify, of course, putting you in a whole new category in terms of wealth. Has that reality altered your level of happiness? And let me explain why I say this because. I received countless e-mails from people who say similar things to you of similar things to what you said at the start of our show today, where you said, you know, you're always seem so happy and positive and all this kind of stuff.
And I always try to give them an answer in terms of, you know, what are some pathways to happiness. And maybe I'll I'll write my next book on this topic. And I always tell people that, you know, don't rely really on money. I mean, money, in a sense, it's an inverted you up to a certain point. Having more money makes you happier. But beyond that point, it's diminishing returns. There's an inflection point where it doesn't really alter your level of happiness in any way.
Would that be correct of you? And that the fact that you've got this huge deal doesn't really alter your, you know, global holistic level of happiness?
No, it doesn't make me any happier. No, I'm happy when I could do stand up and I can't really do stand up right now. I'm happy when I could do podcasts. I'm very fortunate I could do that. I'm happy. My family is healthy. I'm happy. I have good friends. Those things are still there. Those are the things that make me happy. I'm happy to be able to talk to someone like you. I'm happy to be able to express myself.
You know, I'm not a guy who needs a lot of money for stuff. I don't I don't I don't live the most extravagant life. You know, I dress like a bum. I just I haven't really changed much about that kind of stuff. I think that if anything, it brings more pressure because once people realize you're making a lot of money and they put you in a different category and then they start criticizing you more, whether it's because of jealousy or because they realize, you know, you're more viable, target, you know, resonates with people more, especially during this climate where so many people are losing their jobs, so many people are losing their businesses to see someone make a lot of money.
It's like, fuck that guy, fuck him. And then you find more reasons to say, fuck that guy and even distort that person's opinions and perspectives because it fits your narrative and it helps you criticize them easier. No, it definitely hasn't. But also, I didn't trust I think it's good to be in with a company that has an interest in your show being successful instead of just being on a platform where they benefit from you, but they don't really have a vested interest in you.
The communications that I had with the head of Spotify and the people that made this deal, they want the show to be successful. They have an interest in it being successful, financial interest in it being successful. And also the head of Spotify, I was a fan. He likes listening to it. He didn't want it, didn't want it to change. And we've gotten insurance that it wasn't going to change. And, you know, a lot of people were really concerned, like now you're going to have a different kind of a show.
And no, I'm just going to do the exact same show. There's been zero input in terms of like someone telling me, hey, don't talk like that. Don't say this, don't bring the subject. There's been none of that. As much as people speculate, there has. There's been none of it. But it doesn't doesn't make you happier.
You know, you're happy when you don't have to worry, when you have to worry about your bills. That's when money makes you the happiest. That's that's the big leap. Because I remember when I was when I first got my first development deal and I went from being really poor and not not having any idea how I was going to pay my rent to having a lot of money in the bank, having like six figures in the bank. And then there's huge weight lift off my shoulders.
I remember that feeling. I remember the feeling like once I looked at my bank account. Like who?
Like I don't have to worry about my bills, like the first time in my life.
There you were on the increasing part of the curve. Right? You were in other words, more money led to greater happiness. Yes. But then you get to a point where there's diminishing returns, whether you have ten million or thirty million or one hundred million does absolutely not doesn't add one mm. Of happiness to your global like.
No, it doesn't. But what what it can do is add more pressure and that can actually make you less happy. And then you also like I said, you're the target of more criticism that can make you less happy if you pay attention to it. But what I've done is ramp up my physical exercise, my meditation and my well, as in California, at least my yoga. I haven't really been pursuing that out here, but I've been doing a lot of exercise.
And as long as I have physical struggle like like a tremendous amount of physical struggle, I I'm really good at letting the rest of it just wash off my back because I give myself so much physical struggle, like my workouts are so intense that whatever the pain or the frustration or the difficulty of criticism or is, it pales in comparison to what I do to myself.
Yeah. So right. And it sounds like a crazy person's approach to things, but I've really got a method to my madness. And in terms of the way my mind works, you know, I work out like I'm training for something like have some insanely difficult physical tasks. Out of me that I have to prepare my body for, but I really do that that task is maintaining sanity and that that I have a lot of my body has a lot of requirements.
And because I am in this high pressure, sort of stressful situation with this weird this place that I find myself in, where there's a skeleton crew of people, me and Jamie mostly that reach millions of people all over the world, like how did this ever happen? And like, if I just sat around and thought about all those people listening and all the people that are mad at me and all the people that love me and the expectations and the criticisms, I'd lose my fucking mind.
I really would. And if I got into it and I started engaging with those people and arguing with those people all day, I would have no time for my family. I have no time for anything. So I consult with myself. I think about it myself. I spend time meditating. I do deep breathing exercises in the sauna, and I work out like a fucking terrorist. And then at the end of the day, I'm OK and I can keep doing that.
Do you ever have, you know, that sort of the noisy brain where you're trying to sleep but you're thinking about thirty three thousand things? Because I'm thinking of someone like you who, you know, has multiple careers so that the stressors could be coming. Yeah, it's not as though you're only a podcast. Hosts are only, you know, an Emmy guy. So is there a particular area where it's difficult to shut off your brain because you're uniquely worried about those particular stressors?
The the biggest stressor or my own failings, the biggest stressor of my or my own errors and the things that I've done wrong? Those are the things that bother me when I've had a show where I wasn't at my best or I said something that wasn't accurate or I said it in a way where I could have done a better job of expressing myself. Those those are the things that bother me. I am, you know, my biggest self critic.
You know, it's so funny you say this because I'm going to relate what you just said to something that drives my behavior. So when people tell me, well, why do you take on all these fights, you know, to, you know, to fight against these bad ideas and add so much stress to your life, I always tell them that I have. And it's going to speak exactly to what you said about yourself. I have a very exacting code of personal conduct so that I am truly my, you know, my most severe critic, because I set the bar very high so that at the end of the night, when I put my head on the pillow in order for me to not suffer from insomnia and to not feel like a fraud, I need to know that I've done whatever I could to contribute to the battle of ideas, not however big or however small.
I don't have Joe Rogan's influence, but I certainly have some influence. And so for me to be able to go to bed with my whole personhood intact, I need to feel as though I've done all that I can. And that's what compels me to engage in the way that I do. And so I really do appreciate what you said about sort of having this introspection where you're now. It could be exhausting, right, because you become your worst critic.
Then I say the perfect thing that I say the right thing was I at my best. But in a sense, maybe it's best for you to be your own critic rather than others to be your critics, right?
Yeah, I always tell people I'm not a fan of my work. I'm like, if anybody has criticisms, believe me, I've worse criticisms. But I think that's a great regulatory mechanism. And some people say, oh, I should take time to smell the roses I do outside of my work. I do. I love friendships and I love life. And I love my family. And I love I love a lot of things. I love a lot of things.
But when it comes to my work, I'm pretty ruthless on myself. But that's a great regulatory mechanism for keeping sanity. Yeah. With something that's public because you're doing it publicly. So you are exposed to all these people's perspectives and views and criticisms and praise and and both of them are equally toxic. Right. The criticisms can change the way you feel about yourself to the point where you could, you know, lose all self-respect and hate yourself and and, you know, and just want to argue with everyone who doesn't like you, but also the praise.
You can get delusional and you could start to think that, you know, you are someone special, you are different than the rest. And you won't you don't have to try as hard. And everything you do is amazing. And that's probably worse. I think it's it's probably better to be like ruthlessly self-critical than ruthlessly self-congratulatory. I think that's that's actually probably more not actually. I definitely think it's more toxic. And the people that I know that lean in that direction, they all turn to shit like their work suffers.
They they lose their ability to understand whether or not they're doing something good or bad. And one of the things that people always say when someone become successful is like, how do you remain relatable? Like how how do you how do you maintain. For clarity, but that's that's the introspective part, that's the ruthlessly introspective part, like, I don't think I'm any different than anybody else and I'm constantly telling people all I've ever done is just keep working and grinding.
And so, like, if you're on a path and you're running and you're running for five minutes, well, you're going to get you know, you're going to get X amount of feet, thousands of feet ahead, a mile ahead or whatever you going to get.
But if you're running for five days, you're going to get further. It's just natural. If you run for five years, you're going to be further. You're going to run for 10 years, 15. It's it's just a grind. You just keep going. And if you find yourself 10 years into the run and you go, look how far I've gone, I'm amazing. I am the best. I am. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
You just kept going. That's all you've done. Anybody could keep going and get better. If you pay attention, you pay attention to what you're doing and you are ruthlessly critical. And you do have those days where you do something that you don't like, well, then you don't do it that way anymore. And then you think about what you did wrong. You think about what you could do better. And you apply that information and you apply some hard work and some discipline and you keep fucking going.
And as long as you do that, you're going to get better, even in something that doesn't seem like you get better at it, like with conversations. But you do you do get better at it. There's an art form to conversations where you can make it in a way where the people that are listening, it resonates. It's it's nice to hear they like. Yeah. Yeah, I think more than anything, there's an intimacy in these conversations, right?
I mean, right now I could completely presume that there's nobody listening to us and it's just two guys talking to each other in a very familiar, intimate way. And I think people pick that up. And even on my own show, I think that's exactly what happens. I often notice when people come on the show before before I turn on the camera, they're nervous. But then I, you know, set them at ease. And I say, look, forget about the fact that there's going to be some people watching.
Just have a normal conversation with me. And then within five minutes, you see the the morphology of their face change because they really just get into it. Yeah. And and I think it really speaks to, you know, there's this old kind of adage that, you know, people have short attention spans. They want, you know, clips to be three minutes long. And, my goodness, has your show proven that to be, you know, about as incorrect as you can get?
Because, again, people are you're speaking in people's brains, right. By the way, people were so upset when my latest book, I didn't do the narration because they had so gotten used to my voice that I received. I mean, I don't want to say hate mail because they were very polite. They were fans, but they said, we are so disappointed that you didn't narrate your own book because people didn't you? So I yeah, I thought.
Thank you for asking. I asked by the publisher. So my publisher, the publisher, sells the rights of the book to an audio publisher. And I proposed to the audio publisher. Look, I can narrate it myself. And they said, no, you know, we have in-house narrators and we're just going to go with that. So I don't know if it's because they don't want to set up the system for me to do it. Or maybe they thought it wouldn't alter the bottom line sales.
But they I proposed it. They said no and I said fine.
So that's a huge error on their part. And I wish so. Yes. And I wish I had talked to you before, and I would have had you insist that you narrate it. Yeah, I agree with your fans. Fuck that next book. Redo this one man read.
Now, I always tell people when you have as deep and as silky a voice as mine, if I were to narrate my own voice at my own book, it would be distracting. So maybe I'm doing them a service by having Azle guy read the book.
No, no. Is there a way to fix this? Can you contact them and redo it round, maybe round two? Oh man. They should do it right now. They should do it right now. Yes, 100 percent. You should be narrating your own book for sure. First of all, they're your thoughts and your words and your writing.
Who better to to read your writing than you? It should only be you. There should never been a consideration that anybody else would do it.
I mean, my only concern, to be honest with you, was, I mean, yes, you're right that the whole book should be narrated by me. But because I use a lot of sarcasm and humor and satire and the book has a lot of personal anecdotes, I was worried that the narrator might not be able to pick those. Now, based on what Michael Shermer, listen to the audio book early before it was released, and he said that the guy did a reasonably good job.
So I'm going on his opinion. But maybe you're right. Maybe I should have done it other.
Well, Sherman is being very charitable, as good as good a job as that guy could be. It's like, listen, if you wanted to have someone read George Carlin's act, wouldn't that be offensive?
When you want to hear those words from George Carlin's voice, you would you the same way with your work, man, you should have been no consideration whatsoever to anyone else doing it.
I'm going to take that small clip that we just had and I'm going to send it and shove it up the behinds of my publisher.
They're foolish. They do that all the time. They did it with my friend Steven Rinella. And then as the rights ran out, he eventually got the rights and he has a book on the American Buffalo. It's a fantastic book and it's a really brilliant book about his own journey to understand Native American Buffalo.
And it's a great book, but it's greater with his voice narrating it.
And he was upset because the publisher did not want him to narrate it initially, just like they did with you. They had someone else do it. They had no attachment to the words it didn't resonate with. They didn't mean anything to the guy. He was just an actor reading. And I'm sure the guy reading your shit is just an actor, too. That's crazy.
Have you have you thought about maybe dipping your polymath toes into writing a book?
Yeah, I have, actually. I write a lot and I've been writing a lot lately, especially during the pandemic. I spent quite a few hours sitting down and thinking about that very thing. I had a book deal in the past. But the the. The interaction that I have with the publishers and with an editor was so frustrating that I gave them their money back, but this was what was what was the problem? They just wanted it to be like standup.
They wanted me to write standup, essentially, and they even offered to pay me to just take my act and just transcribe it. And I said, that's ridiculous. That wouldn't work. Like, don't don't do that. That's crazy. So then what's the audio book going to be? Me doing standup with no audience that's so dumb. Like, that's ridiculous. I'm not doing that. And then I wrote some things and they you know, I wrote some weird things like my thoughts about sometimes I act as if life is a simulation like act with the knowledge that life is a simulation I like.
I literally go and I approach every every interaction of my day occasionally with the idea that life is a simulation. I did it in a humorous way, but in a way that. You know, the concept is, of course, you know this, if there is a simulation that's so good, you cannot discern whether or not it's a simulation, how do we know whether or not we're in it right now? And when you talk to, you know, really intelligent people that have studied this over and over again, they say it's highly likely that that is the case.
We will one day reach the point where simulations won't be discernible. How do we how do we know if we're in one right now? And I was I was saying that I I spend some of my time behaving as if I'm in a simulation and that this is these are the benefits that the like this is too weird. And I'm like, yeah, I think weird. Like, sometimes I think weird like this is I and they were like we wanted to do like have like punch lines in each, each sentence, like stop, I'm going to give you money back.
You know, I got to tell you, I mean, so this is for aspiring authors who are listening to this show. You touch on a very important point, the relationship between the author well and the publishing house in general. But the editor who's handling your book is really akin to a marriage because you are ultimately sharing with that person the first draft of your intimate thoughts. Right. Your book is your baby. And so in my case, my editor would for this for the Pacific.
Mine was just the perfect guy because, you know, when you send off the first draft, I mean, you're scared, right? Because you think it's a great book. You think you've done a great job, but you don't know. Nobody's looked at it yet. This is going to be the first guy who's going to actually look at it. Is he going to say, what the hell are you talking about or is he going to be?
And so the feedback that I got from him was really just one main thing. There was very little he said, look, your book is too long. We need to make sure that when people are reading this book, they can't put it down. You currently are. I think it was my first draft I gave to him was ninety three thousand words. He said we need to scale it back to about seventy thousand words. But he was very polite and sharing that feedback because he knew that it's tough to tell an author who's spent time agonizing over every syllable.
Hey, cut off twenty three thousand words from your baby. But but I think you have to come with the humidity. You can't be the type of guy who says, I am not going to change a goddamn syllable in my book. And so I actually took his feedback to heart. I did make the cuts and I think the book is much stronger for it. So I really think there's got to be this unbelievable trust and intimacy between the editor who's handling your book and yourself if that relationship doesn't work.
Well, I think the book will suffer.
I don't blame the publisher or even the editor. This is before I got the book deal, before I had a podcast.
So they I don't think they understood that. I don't I just like to talk about shit. Sometimes they wanted me to approach it like a stand up comic writing a book, like a book with a lot of comedy in it. And and, you know, like if anybody goes back and reads my old blog entries, they weren't like that. Like, some of them were humorous and some of them were just weird. Some of them were just strange thoughts that I have about life.
And and oftentimes that's how I write stand up in general. I would write essays, long essays, and out of those essays I would extract a few sentences. Those sentences would become bits. And that's how I would come up with comedy. I would do it like I was mining. Like when you're mining, you're not getting all gold, you're getting a lot of dirt and you got to, like, shift through that dirt. And then I'd find the nuggets and I'd set those nuggets aside.
And then that was my process. But in the process of doing that, I would write a lot of things where I was expressing myself on unusual and bizarre topics and they weren't into it.
And that's the first time that you that you introduce new material to some you know, to to someone. Is it for example, will you do the bit in front of your wife before it goes out on the road or the first time is in front of an audience? Always.
Yeah, always. Always. First time in front of an audience. Always occasionally I'll say something on a podcast and it's funny and then that it becomes a bit. But most of the time I have an idea. And the first time I said what I'll do is I'll make a shit sandwich, meaning I'll do a bit I know works. And then in between that bit I'll sandwich in this new stuff and then if it sucks then I'll go on with a proven bit afterwards.
So it's beautiful if you have material already because you have like little scaffolding. And so one of the things that I do every time I release a Netflix special, you have a special and then you have all this time off after the special where you have to write a new special. So I have usually about three to six months between the filming of a special to when it airs. So during that time I make a lot of shit sandwiches. So I have those bits that I know work and then I sandwich in this new stuff, and then some of the new stuff is great right off the bat.
It's rare, but occasionally you have a finished product like from the paper to the audience and it works right away. And you've nailed it resonates.
But a lot of times it's not like some some bits they take forever to figure out. And you got to figure out, you got to attack it from all these different angles and they could drive you crazy.
And I I saw a recent show that you were on or whatever a documentary. I think it's called the The Comedy Store. I'm really enjoying it. Actually, my wife got into it, too. And the last one that aired last week, it was you know, it featured you heavily where you were talking about, you know, the Comedy Store and what is the name of the woman that ran it, Mitzi Shore, etc.. And I remember I I mean, I'm going to link what I'm about to say to what we talked about earlier in terms of Trump getting the approval, you know, that he wants.
And I was I was moved by how you were moved when you first had Mizzi say to you, hey, you're funny. I mean, that, in a sense demonstrates that we're all looking for that ego stroke from the person that we care about in this particular case. For you, the Holy Grail was for Mitzi to give you her imprimatur. And once you got it, it was like you had won the Nobel Prize, right?
Yeah, it was one of the happiest moments of my life because it was like that was Mecca Comedy Store for when I started out doing standup in 1988 in Boston, I had heard about the Comedy Store from everyone everyone talked about. That is where Sam Kinison started. That is where Richard Pryor used to perform. And you would hear about all the greats, Robin Williams, all these different people who worked out at the Comedy Store in L.A. And you would see video of it on television and you would see these these comedians that you knew were the greatest of all time.
And they all came out of this one place and there was this one woman who was her vision. And she's without a doubt the most important person in the history of comedy outside of comedians. It's Mitzi Shore. She's the number one. She she allowed the lunatics to run the asylum. And it's it's a bizarre family there where the only currency was. Are you funny? It didn't matter if you're a woman or a man or gay or straight or black or white or Asian or East Indian or whatever the fuck you were.
Are you funny? And if you're not, fuck you.
That place was ruthless. It was.
But if you were funny and you made it and you became a paid regular, you were you were in this very small group of human beings.
There's probably more, I would say, a thousand legitimate professional comedians on the planet Earth.
Out of those one thousand, there's maybe 500 that are really good that can headline in like in a theater or an arena or a sellout, a comedy club. They have a following. People come to see them. It might be less than that. I might be being charitable.
It's a small group of people because it's such a brutal business on your self-esteem. It's such a brutal business on your emotions, and it's so hard to get good. You know, you could start off kind of good, but to be consistently good over and over and over again, to put out consistent specials to consistently improve. It's so much work.
And most comedians, this is a terrible thing to say, but it's true. They become good and then they start to suck. They get to a point where they get that adulation like we're talking about and they embrace it. And that's all they want. They don't want to grind anymore. The Comedy Store forced you to grind because you weren't just performing for your audience.
If I was going up on any given night, I'm not just performing for my audience. There's people there that are there to see Whitney Cummings there. There's see Eliza Schlessinger. They're there to see Joey Diaz. They're there to see Anthony Jeselnik.
I'm just one of many, many, many people that are on the lineup and they're all killers. All these comedians just, you know, Ali Wong, they just be smashing, smashing, smashing.
And you go on after them, you got to bring the heat. And you're also trying to work out new material. And it's a gym. And it's like it's also there's like a family aspect to it. Everybody's like especially over the last decade in particular because comedy over the last decade, we realized that it's not we don't have to have a famine mentality anymore because everybody in the past was all competing for a limited amount of slots on television. Everybody was competed for parts in a movie or parts on television shows or the host of The Tonight Show.
And it was like a very dog eat dog sort of environment. Then with podcast's, the atmosphere changed and then it became know we help each other. You get on my podcast, we have fun. I tell people to watch your show. I tell people you're going to be at the Chicago Improv and then.
And then everybody. We're in this together, and then it became like a brotherhood and sisterhood, it became a family thing, and now it's much, much, much more supportive than it's ever been in the past. So then the Comedy Store became instead of this like antagonistic sort of battleground, then it became this place where people go to, like, refresh and see their peers so everybody would go on the road.
One of the best nights at the Comedy Store was Tuesday night because no one was on the road on Tuesday night because the Tuesday night everybody would come into town. And so the people like Sebastian Maniscalco or all these people that would do Madison Square Garden on the weekend, they would come to the Comedy Store on a Tuesday night to work out new material and we'd all see each other. So you'd go there on a Tuesday night. There'd be three sold out shows on a Tuesday night.
It was madness and the lineups were just insane.
You'd look at the lineups and you go look at this lineup. This is crazy. Like anywhere in the world, you'd have to pay so much money to see this lineup. Dave Chappelle would stop in. Chris Rock was there and you would pay 20 bucks, 20 bucks and get to see, like the greatest comedy you've ever seen in your life. And and the word got out and it became this place where consistently it was sold out seven nights a week.
And that all happened within the last ten years and specifically from 2014 on when I returned because we had been talking about and that was what that episode of the Comedy Store was all about. We talked about it so much on the podcast and we talked about me. And I would advertise so often about what a great place it is. And I'd have guys like Tom Sigurður and Bert Krischer and Ari Shapiro on my show. And we talk about the fun times we have.
And people were traveling from all over the world to come to this place.
And we were there because of the vision of Mitzi Shore. We were there because of one woman, because she in the 1970s said the only way this is going to work is you let these fucking crazy people do whatever they want and find themselves on that stage. And all all that matters is that you're good. That's all that matters. Are you funny? Is the audience laughing? Well, then you're doing your job. Everything else I don't give a fuck about.
I don't care about the industry. I don't care about agents. She wouldn't give free passes to anybody. And all the other clubs like the industry and the agents, they would all hobnob and come to these clubs because they were it was their social place. They would get free tickets and free drinks and they would sit around. Usually they become a problem. They talk too much and they get loud. And they weren't listening to the comedy and they were drinking too much.
But not the Comedy Store. The Comedy Store. Fuck, you pay the money. Twenty bucks like you know. Oh, this is someone from ICM Fucked Cam. She would say, I don't care about agents. She didn't care about anything but comedy. Are you funny. And so. Yeah, I was going to say, I think that you mentioned earlier that, you know, it's a very tough business to be in because of the rejection and so on.
I think rejection is such a fundamental part of of life. So, for example, when I send the paper to to a journal that for it to be peer reviewed, I mean, the rate of rejections and top journals is in the order of 90, 95 percent. I mean, just stop for a second and think what that means, right? You've just spent two, three, four years working on a scientific project. It took you another six months, eight months to write it up.
You send it to a journal and you have a 90, 95 percent chance of it being rejected. And so I always tell my students that, you know, rejection is really part of being antifragile. I don't know if you're familiar with the science. Yeah, yeah. It's very good. Right. So it was a very good friend of mine, also a fellow Lebanese. Right. So a. fragility is something that I mean, as long as something doesn't kill you.
Right. The old adages, squeaky doors don't break, which is basically rewarding the concept of the fragility. You know, you and I grow because of the rejections. Right. And I think a lot of my graduate students oftentimes are disheartened by the odds of a paper being accepted because say, my God, I'm going to spend the next 30, 40, 50 years operating within a domain of of interests where the likelihood of my work being rejected consistently is in the order of 80, 90, 95 percent.
It's a tough pill to swallow. But ultimately, it the process ensures that that which does get published is top quality. And I guess in a similar sense, it's the same for you guys that the person who ends up making it is hopefully funny. There's I think you told me on the first show that I ever came on your on your podcast.
You had you had compared what I do to yours. And I probably of all the things you've said to me, that's the one that I remember the most. You said, you know, there's something very similar in what you do and what I do and that it's impossible to hide. The audience will find you out. Right. If you if you get into a ring as an enemy fighter, you can't fake it. If you get into in front of a stage and you're not funny, you can't fake it.
If I get up in front of people and I start espousing stuff, that's garbage, I'm going to get skewered. Yeah. And so I really appreciate that because it shows that, yes, what we do is, is risky, but it's honest. If you're good, the crowd will tell you that you're doing a good job and the way to get better is through struggle.
And the best moments of my career have come after the biggest bombings. Like there's something about bombing that, like, wakes you the fuck up. It's such an awful feeling. It's like you got to get better. So if I look back on the beginning of my career, like there was moments where I had horrible, horrible shows where I just ate shit on stage. But after that I had a big growth spurt because I realized what went wrong. I never wanted it to happen again.
And I restructured and I got better and I worked harder.
And that's that's what is it that was wrong usually. Is that literally the joke or the anecdote that you're telling is you've overestimated how funny it is? Or is it that the delivery, the timing, what is it that's not working that you say this bit is going into the dustbin?
It could be any factor. There's a number of factors. It could be your attitude that you you you carry with you on stage. You could be too cocky or too confident and not engaging enough. Not, not, not, not. I don't want to see not even not. It's not humble, but connected to the idea of expressing the bit rather than you killing on stage. Or some people just want to go up there and be great, you know.
But what you really have to do is don't don't think I want to be great. What you think is what is the best way to get this into people's minds. And one of the best ways is to be completely tuned in to what you're thinking and what you're saying, to be locked in, focused. And also it's got to resonate with you. You have to really think this is funny. I mean, and it takes a while to figure out what about it is funny to you because you're so close to it.
You wrote it. You're sitting there with it.
You don't after you've written it and rewritten it three or four or five times, maybe it's not even that humorous to you anymore.
You have to figure out how to make it humorous. And the way you got to do that is it's one of the rare art forms where you need an audience to really put it together to create it. And you might get a bad crowd, you might get a crowd that's drunk. You might get a crowd that just had a heckler thrown out five seconds ago. And people are upset. You might get a crowd where the person before you had a terrible set and the audience is like, why are we even here?
This show sucks. And then you got to kind of re re energize them and re-engage them. They might have a preconceived notion of who you are when they look at you. Women have a problem with that. There's a lot of women that go on stage and men are like, oh, girl, she's not funny. And so women have like a. Bigger hurt, I think. I think comedy for women is probably at least 50 percent harder than it is for men.
I really believe that the perceptions that a lot of men have are very prejudiced towards whether women or not women are funny or not.
There's so many different factors that I think I might have discusses on a previous show. But one of my former postdocs has doctoral dissertation, was on an evolutionary study of humor. And the argument was that humor is a sexually selective trait, meaning that humor serves as a proxy for intelligence. Right. And so to the extent that there are sex differences in the frequency of, you know, top comedians, an evolutionary perspective would argue that there are stronger selection pressures, evolutionary pressures for men to be funny as part of their elaborate courtship rituals than there are for women to be funny.
So, for example, you never have the following words been uttered. Sure. Linda, you have a gorgeous ass, but you're not funny enough. We're not going to have sex. Right. But the other way, it certainly has happened where a woman sees a gorgeous guy, but he's a dud. He's not funny. He's not engaging and she decides that he's not the right partner for her. Right. That's why women can consistently say, I want a funny guy, because they're effectively saying, I want a smart guy.
I mean, it's hard to be funny and witty and be a dumb guy. Correct. And so you're right that it's much harder for women to be comedians. But in part, evolution explains why there are sex differences in terms of the frequency of comedians. Does that make sense? Yeah, it does.
Going back to Christopher Hitchens, he wrote a bit about it in the Vanity Fair. Right, exactly. About women not being funny. And people go, oh, man, I don't get.
How do you explain that using an evolution perspective? I don't think so. Right. I don't remember.
His perspective was that women who are funny take on male characteristics. They're usually very butch and, you know, and very, you know, and used like I think you used Roseanne Barr as an example and some other women who, you know, have like a brash, almost masculine perspective on comedy.
And it's it's but to get back to the point, there's a lot of factors when you bomb. And I do believe that the bar is higher for women.
I think it's more difficult because of perceptions. But I just think for everybody, it's it's about how much fun you're having up there. It's about how much focus and time you put into the material, how much how much time you've spent doing it, too. There's like comedy is in a sense, it's a form of hypnosis.
You you learn how to get the audience to think the way you're thinking and when someone's on stage, that's doing really well. For me as an audience member, I let them think for me, like when they're going, I just I abandon all my preconceived notions and I just allow them to take me on a journey with their words. And they're acting it out and it's it's fun. I love it. I mean, it's one of the things that it really has helped me throughout my career is that I'm still a fan of stand up comedy.
And some comedians lose that. You know, they they lose the love of watching it as an art form, unfortunately.
Have you ever met a comedian who when you saw their act, you thought they were very funny, but when you got to know them personally, they were duds and their interactions because, I mean, you would think that someone who was you have OK.
Oh, yeah. There's a lot of things. How do you explain that?
This guy why would you be funny in your personal life but funny on stage? I mean, shouldn't they translate from one to the other?
No, not necessarily, because it's like a musician when they when, you know, you meet someone, they're a great singer. Should you be, like, enthralled by their speaking voice? Yeah, OK. Yeah, it's when there's a lot of comics that are very introspective and very almost they're almost shut ins and they only come alive on stage.
Some of them are miserable. And like they they only they only become really funny when they're in front of a crowd and they get to to do their thing. Richard Jeni was apparently I didn't know him too well when he was alive. I met him a couple of times. And this is the one who committed suicide. Yeah, he was one of my favorites.
He was brilliant, but notoriously a miserable person. Like I would always ask when in the old days when I would do clubs back when radio was a thing. They take you to morning radio in a town and is usually a guy.
I work for the club, maybe even a local host who would pick you up at the hotel and then they take you. And I would always ask, like, hey, who's like the worst person you had to travel with? Who's the worst person you had to bring to radio? And a lot of them would say, Richard Jeni, that she just didn't want to be there. He wanted to be a TV star, a movie star.
And it never really worked. But what he was was one of the most brilliant comedians ever, but even though I love to go see him do standup, that's not what he wanted. You know, it's like that Billy Joel song, The Piano Man, you know, I'm sure I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place like that. That was him. He wanted to be something that he wasn't. But what he like he didn't want to be on the road all the time, just working in the clubs.
But what he was for us, for other comedians was one of the best examples of what a stand up comic could be. He was so fucking good. You know, it's so hard to see his specials and to really appreciate how good he was live. I mean, you get a lot off of his specials. He was obviously really funny and brilliant and his writing was great. But you would see him live and you would go, God, he would you'd have comics like leaving a show, shaking their head like, I will never be that good.
He's so good, but miserable in real life. Just not not happy and not necessarily a funny guy offstage, but on stage. He was one of the greats.
But, you know, it's funny because when you said that he was miserable and the fact that he was a comedian rather than a movie star. Yeah, it kind of if we circle back to one of the first points that we talked about when we started this conversation where you said, you know, you're a happy guy and so on, it speaks to the importance of really pursuing something that on a daily basis makes you happy. I mean, I get tons of emails from people who say, hey, professor, I finished my bachelor's and this what should I study for my masters?
What is the market? What is the market suggesting? I should and I always tell them, no, please don't look at it that way because you're going to have to wake up every day. I mean, the place where you spend most of your waking time is to your job. Right? And the fact that I am happy, sure. I'm dispositional happy is just my innate personality. But I'm also happy because I have a job that I love to do, whether I'm writing a book or speaking to Joe Rogan or giving a lecture, you know, I'm always excited by what I'm doing.
Therefore, it's hard for me not to be happy. So someone like this comedian, this regrettable thing where he committed suicide, that that mismatch between where he wants to be and where he is every day is a terrible for most people. They don't commit suicide, but they do wake up at fifty seven saying, you know what, I never wanted to be an accountant. I became an accountant because my dad told me it's a safe job or a dentist or a doctor or whatever.
And I always tell people I mean, I know it sounds cliche ish. You have to find what makes you passionate. And if you can do that, I think it's one way by which you can guarantee happiness.
It's one of the only ways that I always speak of this quote, because it's one of my favorite quotes ever by Thoreau. Most men live lives of quiet desperation. Yes. That is not where you want to be. And everyone's different. You know, some people love to do stand up comedy. Some people loathe it. Some people want to be a musician. And unfortunately, they make furniture. You know, there's a lot of that out there.
And not everybody can be a rock star, right? Not everybody can be a famous painter. And I don't know other than what I do and what I've done my path, I don't know what it would take for someone to be successful in their chosen field. It's not mine, I don't know. But for Jenny, he he was of an era where if you really wanted to make it, you had to be a movie star. That was that was he looked at guys like Jim Carrey and, you know, and all these people like Jerry Seinfeld, he became a television star.
That was what everybody wanted. They wanted a thing. They wanted to stand up to be the thing that got you to the ultimate goal. And now comedy is the ultimate goal for this generation of comics, you know, so it's it's become a different thing, fortunately.
Is there something I hope it's not too personal question, but that's what your podcast is all about. So there's a theory in psychology that looks at the psychology of regret. So when you ask people what do you regret most? And there are two possible sources of regret, regret of action or regret of inaction. So regret of action would be I really regret that I did this in my life. Regret of inaction is I really regret that I never pursued that in my life.
And it turns out, Jo, that for most people, the greatest source of regret for them stem from inaction. I regret that I didn't do this. So if I were to put you on the spot and say right now, today, what is the thing you regret most in life? What would it be?
I don't have a lot of regrets because I'm of the belief that everything that I've done, even the mistakes that I've made. They have given me the information and the knowledge that has allowed me to be who I am today and who I am today. I'm trying my best always to be the best version of myself. I'm not always successful, but I try my best to be the best version of myself. And failure is a part of that. Mistakes are a part of that.
And when it comes to the regret of inaction, I don't have any of zero regret of inaction, not a you know, not a dream of clinical psychology.
Clinical psychologist would be out of business as everybody was was made up of Joe Rogan's.
Well, I've been insanely fortunate. I have three dream jobs. You know, I'm a color commentator for the ultimate fighting championship. I'm a lifelong martial artist. That's a dream job. I'm a professional stand up comedian. I work the biggest venues. I have the most fun. I have great friends. Dream job. I'm podcasting, which I never even thought was a job, has become this amazing job. And it's a I love doing it. I love it.
When I was leaving my house today, no one else is going to get to talk to you online. Nothing but happiness. Just I was looking forward to it. Nothing, nothing regretful about it at all. I'd have zero regrets in terms of inaction, all any regret that I have of action, the things that I've done wrong or, you know, people I've wronged or things I said that I shouldn't have said has made me a wiser person.
So I don't even have regret in that.
I mean, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I would I would also say that having a family home that's true. Solace is is really an important part. So for me, you know, when people ask me, you know, how do you how do you handle the stressors of your life? Well, I know that when I come home, I have my children whom you've met. I have my wife, and they really are my solace. In other words, there is nothing I'd rather do when I have some free time than to be with my family, than to be with my wife.
She really is my best friend. And of course, there is no prescription for how you can guarantee that you can pick the right life partner, but really try to make that decision as carefully as you can, because that itself can be either a source of great happiness or terrible misery.
Oh, terrible misery. I know so many people whose lives have never really worked out because they've chosen the wrong people and they've had these insane relationships, these terrible, you know, combative relationships with their significant other. It's but you have to be the person that attracts a person that is a quality human being. True.
If you don't have anything to bring to the table, you're you know, if you're filled with self-hate and loathing and anger and all the jealousy and pettiness and that you're not going to get a person who is a good person, it's not it's not going to happen. You got to fix yourself. Like so many people think they're going to find a person. That person's going to make them happy. No, I think people enhance your happiness. It certainly makes you happier.
But you have to figure out who the fuck you are. You have to work out your own bullshit if you want to have a good person in your life because a good person is not going to be attracted to someone is all fucked up. They're not going to want to be around you. You're going to be a problem for them. And you should in a in a non selfish way, you shouldn't want to have a good person in your life if you're a mess because you're going to fuck up their life and you look at the debts.
But I agree with you having a family and having people that you loved and loved ones. If without that you don't feel complete.
People need love. And it's such a you know, it's such a cliche thing to say, you know, all you need is love. It's not all you need. You need food and shelter. And but if you have everything but you don't have love, you will be fucking miserable. There's so many people that are successful, but they they don't have love. And those people that's a they've it's an imbalance. Right. I mean, that's the standard cliche of the the billionaire CEO who works 16 hours a day and is, you know, is on his fourth marriage and has a bunch of kids that are drug addicts because he was never there.
And, you know, on paper, he's successful, but his real life is a shambles because he spent all of his time concentrating on accumulating wealth and accumulating power and none of his time on himself and how he interacts with other people and being a good father and being a good husband and being a good friend and and being just a decent human being. And sometimes those are the hardest things to do. It's easy to concentrate on the task at hand. You know, if you just distract yourself from your own barbaric humanity and just think only about accumulating numbers in a bank account.
I mean, that's that's Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street. Right.
Just greed is good without giving any names I have. I have family members who have been of that type who really have never fostered long term friendships. When I say family members, I don't mean my own family. I mean my my family of birth, where they've become they became very wealthy, where they collected Ferraris and Aston Martins. And I've told I've worn these family members that, you know, life is long. And if one day you were to lose your money and I hope that you don't, the trajectory is not a good one.
And I hate to say that it's it's turned out that way because, you know, love is a protective belt. I mean, we get older, right? So and when you get I mean, you should always be accompanied by great quality people around you, but you should certainly have those great quality people as you enter the golden years of your life. And I think, regrettably, for some of these high flying kind of players, they they think that the party is going to go on forever and it isn't.
And so, yeah, you know, choose carefully who you're going to go to bed at at night, because that's one of the sources of happiness.
And also, if you get if you're concentrating only on success in terms of financial success. And that's what a lot of people do that are in business. Right. You're really your life is fixated on numbers. Your life is fixated on accumulating numbers. And it's just it's an empty pursuit, but it's also a pursuit that becomes insanely addictive because you compare yourself to the people around you. You know, Mike's Mike's house is four thousand square feet, but my house is five thousand square feet.
And then you're happy with it until you realize that Steve's house is seven thousand square feet. You like fuck.
And he lives in the the really the best neighborhood.
And I live in a not so desirable neighborhood. It's not as desirable as his. And I have a Porsche but he has a Ferrari like, oh my God, you're losing your fucking mind and keeping up with the Joneses, right?
I mean, yeah, depositional depositional economy is is a real term that captures exactly what you just said, which is, by the way, it's not so much. And for many things, what makes us happy is not so much some absolute level of whatever the currency is, but that we have more of it than someone else. Right. So so I think I might have even mentioned this on a previous show, on your podcast. So, for example, if you ask people, you know that, you know, are you happy with your sex life?
The amount of sex you have is less important than the fact of you having more sex that you're close friends. Right. Which shows you, again, how much of a hierarchical species we are. We use social comparison to decide whether we're happy or not, right?
Yeah, it's weird. Like what? What is? I think that for a lot of people, goals make them happy, achieving goals, you know, like having something that you're working towards. And I don't necessarily just mean financial goals. I think that's where people get tripped up is just thinking about financial goals. But. Accumulating skills, getting better things to me that that that makes me happy or at least keeps me engaged and satisfied, there's something about learning new things.
It's very rewarding, getting better at things, very rewarding, but not if all you're concerned about is numbers, not if you're just doing it to try to achieve bigger and greater.
Like you're talking about the point of diminishing returns when it comes to financial wealth. I think I think challenges are important, like having things that you're working towards because they give you this sense that in doing these things and getting better, it's getting better at playing chess or getting better at tennis or whatever. Pick a thing. There's something about it that develops your overall human potential. When you get better at something, you you flex the muscles and exercise the muscles of getting better of of figuring out problems, of being engaged when you're stagnant and just doing the same thing over and over and over again with no change, your mind atrophies.
And it speaks to what you said earlier when you said using the covid lock down for self improvement. So, for example, one of the things that I did during the covid lockdown, as I said, because I I am now addicted to this step counting thing, you know, that's on my iPhone. I said, you know, I wanted to always maintain at least fourteen thousand steps per day. So it was a very concrete goal. But I knew that I had to reach that benchmark.
And it didn't matter if at ten o'clock at night I have to go walking around the block eight times so that I could hit that mark, I was going to do it. And so by doing that, it gave me great satisfaction because I could look now at the last seven, eight, nine months and see that my pedometer is showing that I've maintained this very specific objective. And so that feels good.
It's funny because there's a book that I read recently by Adam Alter. It's called Irresistable and it's about addiction to technology. And one of the things that he talks about that's one of the most addictive things for people is these fitness trackers. Yes, people get addicted to step counts and you know how much exercise and exertion they put forth in a day.
And either even though it can masquerade as a positive for some people, particularly people with addictive personalities, it can become a real problem.
But yeah, yeah, in my case, it's been good. By the way, I was recently on I don't know what you think of her, but I was on the the podcast of Jillian Michaels. That was super fun. It was really which, by the way, again, shows you all of these incredible connections that today we have. And what world would I you know, a professor of evolutionary psychology and so on have connected with Jillian Michaels.
But apparently she was a fan of my show and invited me on. So, again, the social network stuff allows, you know, meetings of worlds that you would have never thought possible 10, 15 years ago.
Yeah, it really does. I don't know much about her. I know she's like a weight loss lady. She makes people lose weight, right. She gets half.
That's original claim to fame. She was on the The Big Loser show. What she does after, I don't know. But I joked with her at the start of the show. I told her that, you know what? I invite people on my show. I have all sorts of illustrious people, most of whom my my wife never bought it. I but what she found out that I was appearing on Jillian Michaels, she said, I'll tell her I'm a fan, tell her I'm a fan.
So apparently I finally got street cred by appearing on Jillian Michaels.
Yeah. She's supposedly like a hard ass, right? Like, she is a tough lady. She's a tough she makes you get after it.
Yeah, well, I'm a fan of people Hollywood. I feel as though there's you've been remiss and pointing to the fact that I'm about twenty pounds lighter than the last time that you saw me when I was on your show. I think a little shout out from Joe Rogan saying, well done. That would have been the appropriate thing for you to do, but I'll forgive you. How could I know?
All I see is your shoulders in your head.
You don't see the faces thinner a bit. Nothing. You look good. I'll tell you that. I don't know if it lost twenty pounds. That's great.
I still have a lot more to lose, but certainly from my maximum point of about actually a bit more, maybe about twenty five pounds.
Now that's great. What did you do to do that. You know, for me, it really has to be about almost turning into a Gestapo concentration camp. My wife keeps track of my calories. She turns into Dr. Mengele. She makes sure that, you know, I'm getting this, but once I deviate from that sort of narrow path and then I become a sumo wrestler very quickly.
Yeah. For me, it's pasta. Is that.
Yeah. And it goes right to my gut. There's something about pasta and bread. I can just swell up on pasta and bread when I cut all that stuff out and I just eat vegetables and meat, I just slim right down. It's my my weakness. I guess it's the Italian in me. My weakness is pasta. And I don't eat a small amount of it either. I eat preposterous amounts of food.
I have always been like a monster. So it doesn't matter. Right.
I've always eaten ridiculous amounts of food, but but when I eat meat, I'm pretty easily satisfied. But there's something about carbohydrates like especially pasta that I could just keep funneling that stuff in my face even after I'm like, I'm already full, I know I'm full. I shouldn't be eating more on my one more ma. And then after that sugar eating cake and pie and and whipped cream on it, I just, you know, I get gluttonous. I'm a gluttonous person.
You know, there's there's an ongoing joke now. And I, I'm sure you probably don't check it because, you know, you probably got tagged a million times on Twitter. But oftentimes I will post something decadent. I'm eating and then I will write. Please forgive me, Joe Rogan hashtag. So somehow you've managed to incorporate yourself in my culinary conscience so that every time I eat something bad, Joe Rogan is on my right shoulder, you know, insulting me.
Well, I'm sorry about that. Or maybe I'm not sorry.
Maybe it's helping you. I mean, sometimes look like that's the thing. People love that term fat shaming to use it as a pejorative. But there's something about fat shaming that can motivate you. Someone says it's like we were talking about earlier things that feel bad, like oftentimes they'll force you into action, you know, and I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, but sometimes their feelings need to be hurt a little in order to prod them into action.
And you can do that with people. It's just like, who do you do it to? Who needs it, who would be thankful and who gets really badly hurt by it?
You know, and actually, I had written I had written an article on my Psychology Today column defending Jillian Michaels, whom we just talked about a second ago, because she had gone after, but in a very polite way. She had gone after Lizzo saying, well, sorry, but I'm not going to celebrate her body because it's not good for her to be this overweight. And suddenly she was this monster Nazi because how dare you not celebrate Liz's body and so on.
And and I said, I mean, are you insane? Why should she be celebrated? She's a fitness expert. A health expert. Why should she be celebrating someone being 300 pounds overweight or whatever she was? And so I had actually defended her. So you're exactly right. The truth sometimes hurts, but we need to say it.
Well, someone especially like Jillian Michaels, I mean, that's her expertise. She's a fitness trainer. You know, for her, the idea of getting that big is preposterous. And the idea of celebrating it and say everybody's beautiful. Well, that's that's ridiculous. That's not the case. You know, beauty is rare. That's why it's so celebrated. Because when someone does achieve an amazing body, we know how hard it is to do, especially how hard it is to maintain.
You mean Jillian Michaels has had a beautiful body for a long time? I mean, that means she's incredibly disciplined. Of course, a person like that is going to look at someone who's not disciplined at all, being celebrated for her body and go, that's ridiculous. And she's right because there's health consequences to being that big and to ignore those health consequences, just to make yourself feel good that you're making someone else feel good about being morbidly obese.
It's not right. It's not smart. It's not good for anybody. I mean, it's not nice to just make fun of her and shit on her and say terrible things about her. That's not nice either, but it's not nice to say you look great no matter what. There's that's not really the case. It's not true.
And of course, by the way, they are marketing campaigns that have become famous in selling that B.S.. Right. So Dove does exactly that. It doesn't matter how overweight you are. We're all equally beautiful. So it is also what I teach, let's say marketing in my in my the business school. I say, yes, that's a very effective advertising campaign because it empowers women. But if you are a truth purist, you're really peddling B.S. because we're not equally beautiful.
Beyonce is not as desired as Lisel.
You mean Beyonce is more desired, as desired.
We need more designer. More than Lizelle, clearly, you know, yeah, she has a perfect body. Yeah, well, the weird thing is that that doesn't apply to men. Like nobody looks at a man with a fat gut and goes, you're beautiful no matter what. Nobody says that like. Well, because, I mean, of course, women do look at men's physical markers, but not to the same extent, because in a sense, men can compensate for some of their physical shortcomings by doing well and other metrics.
Right. So you can have a guy who's very funny, who's maybe not the tallest, but he has great personality or a dominant personality about what it comes to physicality. It's difficult to compensate for that. You know, you either are facially symmetric or you're not. Right. So on some traits, we can compensate for them on others, they're sort of deal breakers, right? Yeah, I guess.
But it's in a way, it's really sexist to women. Right. Because we're saying you're only valuable if your body looks good and will lie to you. And so your body looks good no matter what. Girl, you look beautiful. It's like you're treating them like they're children.
Whereas with men, you know, you see a guy who's fat and like, look at that slob, you know, and you're allowed to no one will say you're fat shaming. No one says you're fat shaming men. It's always fat. Fat shaming is always in response to someone saying something about a woman's body. I'm all right. You never men who are fat or funny, it's like it's humorous to see it. Like my friend Bert Krischer, when he goes on stage, he takes his shirt off so you can see his gut and he does stand up.
It means in Chicago recently, he did an outdoor show 30 degrees outside. He said he did it with no shirt on. I'm like, that is hilarious. So committed to showing everyone his gut that he did it. He just. But he said, Chris Farley, Chris Farley, perfect example.
John Candy was another great example like. But but for a guy like that, like there's no fat shaming. It's not like, you know, you say to Chris Farley, you're beautiful no matter what, because that's not true. You know, it's not true. But it's OK that you say it to a man that it's not true. It's OK that you tell him he's fat.
But again, that's just because the personhood of a man is not as clearly tied to his physicality, that I don't think that that's sexism. It's called it's called evolution. Right. For example, the trajectory of the mating value of men and women changes throughout their life history. Right. A woman is more desired, all things considered when she's twenty than when she's eighty. That's not because life is ageist. That's because it's called biology. Whereas a man's mating value increases.
Right. You and I were more likely to be rejected when we were twenty than we are today because we have more status today. So I don't think that life is sexist or ageist. There are certain incontrovertible truths about our reality and we just have to deal with them.
Isn't it funny, though, that people want to deny those incontrovertible truths about reality if they don't make them feel good?
Exactly, exactly. That's that's yeah, it's really unfortunate. But it's really funny that some of the people that also say that you shouldn't body shame, they're the same type of people that make fun of Donald Trump for having small hands.
You know, it is it's it's like whenever it's convenient, you will you will forgo those rules.
Well, that's that's hypocrisy. One of the curses of the human condition.
Yeah. There's so many curses of the human condition out there. It's funny. It's even if we're aware of them, we still can't help falling to those pitfalls.
That's why there is something called the Seven Deadly Sins. Right. It's because moral philosophers and theologians were well aware of many of the quicksand traps that we could fall into. And they put them into a easily digestible list for us. Right.
Well, that's why it's important to have psychologists like yourself who explain exactly what's going on in the mind that's forcing you into these weird little traps and holes.
Thank you, sir. Do you so your book that you put out the parasitic mind, we we've barely talked about it. This the book, is it out right now?
It came out on October six. So far, it's doing really well, very excited by it basically is the story of many of the things that we've been talking about all the years that I've been coming on your show, which is they are a bunch of these terrible ideas, these idea pathogens that were spawned on university campuses because it takes intellectuals to come up with really dumb ideas. And so I, I, I trace what these bad ideas are, how they originated.
And then I offer solutions for how we can protect ourselves against these bad ideas, how we could vaccinate ourselves against disordered thinking.
Now, I'm sure these ideas, the way you're describing them, makes some people uncomfortable, like they upset people.
Have you have you had a lot of criticism about this book so far?
Not too much criticism, because I I'd like to think that I've done a pretty. Good and bad tempered job at presenting the evidence. So one of the things that I tried to explain in the book is that each of these bad ideas start off with a kernel of truth, but then in the and some noble cause. But then in the pursuit of that noble cause, the idea gets distorted and it becomes parasitic. So, for example, when it comes to feminism equity, feminism is a great idea because it basically says that men and women should be equal under the law.
There should be no institutional sexism. We could all agree to that. But in the pursuit of that original noble goal, we shouldn't then say, as do militant feminists say, that there are no innate biological differences. Everything is due to a social construction. We need to make men and women indistinguishable and the pursuit of the original goal. When it comes to transgender activism, it's the same story. You and I can both be fully in favor of transgender rights, as I think we both are.
But that doesn't mean that we reject biology, what I call bio phobia, and arguing that a two hundred and seventy five pound guy who's six foot seven who decides to call himself Linda tomorrow, he can fight the MMR against women who are one third his size. And if you say otherwise, you're transphobia. And so what I basically argue in the book is that each of these terrible ideas started off from a good place, but then a metamorphosis into a complete departure from reason.
And then I offer ways by which we can sort of retake reason and logic and science from these parasitic ideas.
Now, when you construct a book like this, do you look at it in terms of how people could potentially criticise these ideas and what arguments they would have against what you've proclaimed?
Well, what I try to do is offer a way by which it becomes difficult to argue against me because the evidence is too great in my favor. I always tell people that when I walk into a room, if I walk with the requisite Swiger, it's because I know what I know. But I also have epistemic humility, meaning that if you were to today, ask me, Joe, give me your position guide on the legalization of marijuana, I would tell you, you know what?
I simply don't know enough about the story. I haven't done my homework. I haven't built to use a term from my book. I haven't built the normal, logical network of cumulative evidence that would allow me to pronounce a definitive position. And so I think if I've done a good job in the book, I will have communicated to people away by which when they are constructing arguments, they can do it. Void of hysteria. If I want to prove to you, Joe, that toy preferences are not socially constructed, I can prove it to you by bringing data from across cultures, from across time periods, from across disciplines showing showing to you that toy preferences have a biological signature.
I don't need to get hysterical. I don't need to get emotional. And so I'm offering people an epistemological truth in establishing when to know that something is truthful or not. Does that make sense? Yeah.
How have you ever debated someone who disagrees with your positions on these things? Someone who has maybe a social justice warriors perspective on these ideas?
Yeah, it's called Tuesday. I mean, I spent ninety nine percent of my waking life doing nothing but that. Are you. My blood pressure is high because of that. Right. So, yes, but in all seriousness, I face it both in my public engagement meetings and say on social media or whatever, but also in my scientific career, as I think I might have spoken in the past. I've always faced that consistent debate because many of my colleagues in the social sciences, even till today, are are very, very resistant to accepting the idea that biology matters when it comes to human affairs, as I think we've discussed in the past.
And so so it's really, in a sense, this book I've been writing it for twenty five years because I have seen you know, I tell them in chapter one of the book, I basically say that I faced two great wars in my life. The first war was the Lebanese civil war when I was a child. And the second war has been the war on reason and logic and science that I have experienced as a professor of twenty six years.
Some of the stuff that is being taught and promulgated in the universities is absolutely insane. I mean, it's people think that I'm making it up, that I'm being satirical when I say these things. But you now see the downstream effect of all those bad ideas, right? You're seeing it in H.R. departments. You're seeing it in the training in the military. You're seeing it in political parties. So these ideas start off in the universities as some esoteric nonsense.
But but with enough force, they become mainstream stuff.
And will these people graduate from those universities? And then they go on to. And to the workforce, with these notions that they have and these notions are reinforced by the other people that are their age that graduated along with them, and they want to reshape society in this these ideals. And then one day they get older and then they get a mortgage and then they get a job and they get a family and they go, what the fuck was I doing?
But they've already started this process. It's interesting that you say this denying of biology and its effect on human affairs is such a strange thing because it's clearly a factor. It's clearly it's it's a significant thing. It's it's we know it's it's a real it's a real thing, but it's the denying of this particular factor is very strange because it makes it comes from a hopeful place.
Right. Because imagine if we can argue that your child and mine has equal probability to become the next Lionel Messi or Michael Jordan as Lionel Messi or Michael Jordan. We're all born with equal, equal potentiality. We're all born on equal footing. We're all born tabula rasa. So, again, that speaks to my point earlier, right. These idea pathogen's free us from reality, but they do so in the service of kind of a feel good noble cause.
But it is perfectly detached from reality. Men and women are not biologically the same. We're not all likely to become Michael Jordan. Transgender people have every right to live free of bigotry, but they shouldn't compete with biological females if they're trans women. And so, again, I think the difficulty is that for most people who are social justice warriors, they think that we can't chew gum and walk at the same time. I could be for all of these noble causes without ever murdering a millimetre of truth.
Yeah, and the physical issue is very strange, too, because physical variables there are so real. And to deny that as a factor, as a real factor in who you are and what your potential is, that's one of the reasons why sports are so interesting. Right. Like a person like me really doesn't have a chance to compete against LeBron James. I just, you know, just not going to happen. It's not on the table. And to deny that, it seems foolish to deny physical differences and it's one of the reasons why sports are so interesting is you get to see these freaks, you get to see these rare people that can do things that, you know, for a fact, if you had a million years to practice, you could never achieve the things that they're doing.
And but by the way, John Watson, like the one of the founders of behaviorism, argued basically and I have the exact quote in the book that, you know, give me any twelve infants, I could turn any one of them into the next begger, the next surgeon, the next athlete. So he was basically arguing for exactly the position that you are so rejecting. Hey, I could turn you into the next LeBron James if you give me the right opportunity to properly condition you and socializr you.
It's insane. By the way, even for example, in psychiatry, until very recently, something as clearly organic as schizophrenia was blamed on the environment. Right. You had a schizophrenic mother, right, who hugged you too much or didn't hug you enough? Of course, today we think we look back at that and say, who, who who believe this nonsense? Well, Freudians did. Right. So so, again, it's not as though these ideas are not espoused by otherwise very smart people.
John Money of Johns Hopkins University, who was one of the original sort of gender, is a social construction used to advise surgeons. Well, don't worry about it. Do the surgery on this boy and put him in a dress, call him Linda and he will be a girl because it was thought that gender is completely due to social construction. It has nothing to do with biology. So these ideas have real consequences. They're not just some esoteric thing that we talk about in the humanities department.
Well, at one point in time, you were one of the first people that was arguing the dangers of this stuff leaking out of the universities. And people thought it was foolish. Like you're concentrating on something that's a small faction of people that are in the universities and it has no bearing on the real life. But then we've seen like particularly the protests in Portland where they went on for like I mean, I think they're still going on over a hundred days of, you know, them trying to light federal buildings on fire and rioting in the streets.
It's still happening like that. That is literally those chickens coming home to roost.
No kidding. Exactly right. Look, I know we've talked about Justin Trudeau previously on your show, Justin Trudeau as a walking manifesto. And of almost every single one of the bad ideas that I discuss and the parasitic mind, he's into postmodernism, he's into diversity, inclusion and equity, he's into cultural relativism. You know, every single one of the dreadful things that I talk about in the book, he exemplifies it. Why? Because he is a product of that educational process.
That's what you're supposed to think as a progressive. And now that he is prime minister, he institutes each of these ideas. They have real consequences.
I'll tell you a quick story that just happened to me recently. My daughter came to me and told me that her science teacher had an avatar of BLM and their dialogue in their whatever Zulema or whatever it was called. And I thought that was very objectionable. And so I wrote a very polite but firm letter to the principal saying that I didn't think that it was appropriate and the pursuit of her pedagogic responsibilities, that a teacher would signal her political affiliations to young children.
And secondly, I then said, but never mind that if you look at some of the positions that are espoused by BLM and they're truly grotesque, whether it be the Marxist stuff, whether it be the black supremacism, whether it be the clear anti white propaganda. And so I thought, is this something that's appropriate for a teacher to be doing? Well, within a few hours? It was taken away. It was taken off. Right. So that was, in a sense, me activating my inner honey badger.
Right. It's not that I just got on a Joe Rogan show to talk about these ideas in my own personal life. I got engaged.
And I think that's what everybody needs to do. You need to be engaged in the battle of ideas because they have truly severe consequences on our children and their children.
But there's a lot of people that are afraid. They're afraid to engage in the battle of ideas because they don't want to be labeled a bigot and they don't want to cause people to attack them. And they'd rather just keep their mouths shut and complain quietly to their friends.
But I earlier we were talking about all of the different frailties that the human condition suffers from. I think cowardice is something that I've always said should be added to the long standing list of seven deadly standards. We should have an eighth cent called cowardice because look, I don't want to sound hyperbolic, but the the the young folks who landed on Normandy weren't given a guarantee of safe passage. They knew that most of them were going to be mowed down like little mosquitoes by the machine guns of the Nazis.
And yet they said, hey, I'll go, I'll do it. And they did that. They made that sacrifice so that Joe Rogan and Godsake, can they sit in a free society and have this great conversation. So I understand that people are afraid of real repercussions. And I'm not suggesting that people should be reckless martyrs. But what I am saying is that you can't simply say I'm too afraid and I've got too much to lose. Let God's side.
Let Jordan Peterson let Joe Rogan put their neck on the line. They've got this. They can handle it. No, we each have a small part to play. If we all grow a pair and speak out in unison, we'll get rid of these ideas by next Wednesday. If we don't, it'll be a long ride to hell here. Here.
I think that's a great way to end this. We just got three hours, believe it or not, and that not just sit with you.
And I felt like it was three minutes. You're just the best man. Unbelievable.
Listen, I feel the same way about you. I appreciate you very much. Your book, The Parasitic Mind needs to be read by you in the audio book. Please, whoever's listening audio people, the people that are responsible, the publishers. Please let God read it, please.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It was an honor, as always. Thank you. Take care, my friend.
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