civilization

The Inevitable Future of Jobs with Wired Founder Kevin Kelly

The Inevitable Future of Jobs with Wired Founder Kevin Kelly

Everyday in the media is an article about jobs— how they’re disappearing for the middle class, how robots and artificial intelligence are stealing them, how the Gig-Economy is forcing people to do mundane tasks for less money. How true is it that our jobs are disappearing and how much is technology to blame?

What is the inevitability of the future of jobs and why can’t we imagine what that looks like? It’s hard to imagine talking to anyone better about this, than Kevin Kelly. He’s the co-founder of Wired Magazine (as he calls it the “Senior Maverick”) and he has a recent book called, “The Inevitable” (which has recently been released in paperback). It’s a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller. What Kevin has done is mapped the 12 major trends that have already made themselves apparent and will definitely shape our future. Kevin is amazing at packaging all those ideas that live within those trends and making those things digestible. As you’ll hear, us humans are pretty horrible at figuring out what’s coming next. 

Why all your facts are fiction with Mixed Mental Artist Hunter Maats

Why all your facts are fiction with Mixed Mental Artist Hunter Maats

It’s a fact that god created the universe, reality is in three dimensions, India is a developing country, you need to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, that when you meet the right person it will be true love, and if you eat fat you’re going to get fat. These are indisputable facts. There’s no place for opinion, or feelings in any of this, right? If you opened your brain and added up all the time you’ve spent fact-gathering, how much time do you think that would add up to? How much of what’s in your head are anecdotes that you repeat and how much are simply true? Even if they’re not, who’s got time to figure out what the truth is, where to start, and how to see it? 

Certainly, Science is true. That’s the bedrock of our culture. It’s always been true and it always will be true. That is, until you look to the past and realize it’s a modern invention not at all shared around the world. It blows up the closer and closer we get to it. That’s not anti-science sentiment just that we do need to take a closer look at ourselves, our minds and how we perceive reality. The closer we look, the more we realize there’s some pretty big gaps. 

How poor cultures capitalize on historic sites with Archeologist Larry Coben

How poor cultures capitalize on historic sites with Archeologist Larry Coben

If you’re a regular listener to this podcast you’ve probably heard me bash capitalism a lot. The reality is there’s no escaping it, it’s taken over nearly every corner of the world. That certainly hasn’t stopped me from wincing whenever I travel to a far-away lands and am met with local trinket shops and people peddling their wares. But who am I to judge whether this is good or bad for a society. Oftentimes these are poor, macho communities with substantial pressures on them. They see the money come in and out of their world without them able to touch it. Often these countries also have remote destinations that house incredible archeological sites, but have a community that remains poor and helpless to take advantage of its history. And then there’s the question: should they? And if they do, what would that do to their culture? Would it be a positive or negative thing to suddenly take capitalism and mix it with something like archeology? 

How to belong anywhere with BBC host of "Tribe" Bruce Parry

How to belong anywhere with BBC host of "Tribe" Bruce Parry

We crave belonging. As crazy-distracting and decisive as the world is, it’s easy to forget this simple fact. Deep down we want to be accepted and feel part of a tribe. I had an amazing opportunity to dig into what it takes to connect to very different groups by talking to someone who has done the extreme version of this. Bruce Parry had travelled to some of the most remote places on planet Earth and inserted himself into wildly foreign communities. For some of these tribes, meeting him was “first contact” of any outsider not part of their tribe. Imagine making connection with groups of people where you don’t speak their language, look very different, don’t eat their food or wear their clothes. How would you do it? What could you learn about yourself by making those connections?

Surprising ways we handle people with madness with professor Andrew Scull

Surprising ways we handle people with madness with professor Andrew Scull

When you live in the Bay Area you pass tons of folks who appear to be mad. Most of us don’t spend enough time focusing on how our culture handles folks on the spectrum of some level of mental illness. When you think about it— the range of “madness” ranges from people with very serious mental illness to people who don’t socially fit in. As you look back across history, you can see just how we’ve dealt with it, who we’ve blamed for it, and what crazy treatments we’ve put in place.

Who better to talk about that than someone who studies it for a living. Andrew Scull, this week’s guest, is exactly that person. As a professor of Sociology at the University of San Diego, he’s written a ton of books on this subject over decades. 

The controversy of glamorizing disappearing people with photographer Jimmy Nelson

The controversy of glamorizing disappearing people with photographer Jimmy Nelson

Way outside our cities and towns are societies of disappearing and endangered indigenous people . Some of us may think that’s natural— it’s been happening forever. Others fight to protect those cultures and have very strong opinions about what’s right and what’s wrong for those people.

One of those opinions is whether there’s a “right way” to depict people who are different than us— who are not living in urbanized or Western societies. I was surprised by just how controversial this subject really was. I guess it’s ok that we’re surrounded by spectacular images that romanticize cars, sports, and marriage. Really anything commercial— but to apply a similar heroic lens to people who are different than us, well, that could be sacrilege. It seems there are people out there who believe that the only way to photograph those folks needs to be as an anthropological documentarian— capturing people only how they’re actually living vs in their Sunday best— proud, celebrated, glamorized. 

It's time to face our American Holocaust with Historian Benjamin Madley

It's time to face our American Holocaust with Historian Benjamin Madley

I have to say, after this week’s guest, I’m pretty embarrassed. And if you live in America, y ou should be, too. While America has pointed the finger with disgust at the genocides conducted by ISIL, German, and Bosnian powers— for example— we have yet to come to grips with our own Holocaust: The several millions of Native American families we slaughtered, enslaved and tortured in order to occupy and control their land and resources. This invasion and genocide doesn’t even show up in our culture— from classrooms, to memorials to even Wikipedia— we don’t even recognize it as a genocide, even though it meets every criteria. We have isolated ourselves from this narrative, responsibility and even the remaining Indian populations themselves, who we’ve cast off into camps far from us.

The shocking truth of what causes addiction with physician Gabor Maté

The shocking truth of what causes addiction with physician Gabor Maté

Ever notice how frequently the word “addict” is used? Just do a Google News search on the word and you’ll be shocked just how often it’s used in a headline. Articles are plastered with mentions of drug addicts, sex addicts, gambling addicts, food addicts, shopping addicts, work addicts and internet addicts. “These people” are painted as out-of-control and often menaces to society who need to be stopped, jailed, medicated or otherwise cut off. But what if those diseased people weren’t sick at all? What if you suddenly realized you were one of them? Well, that’s what happened to me. In preparation for this podcast, I realized I’m an addict. I’m an addict who comes from other addicts, who has passed it onto my kids, too. I’m constantly looking for a way to not be with myself, a way to avoid the pain I have of not having meaningful bonds. In this chat with physician and best-selling author, Gabor Maté, we talk about the shocking truth about what causes addiction and the things we can do to address the problem. What’s cool about Gabor is that he avoids quick-fix thinking when he tackles things like addiction, ADHD, sickness and the human spirit overall. Rather, he shines lights on the often uncomfortable truths that live at the root of these things. 

The vanishing treasure of human diversity with legendary Anthropologist Wade Davis

The vanishing treasure of human diversity with legendary Anthropologist Wade Davis

Imagine having truly a complete picture of humanity, having spent a lifetime experiencing hundreds of world cultures first hand, face-to-face and welcomed by each one of them. The result would be an extraordinary vocabulary of the human spirit like no other. A celebration of our differences brought to life through an enormous voice, studded with the poetry of each unique cultural experience. Wouldn’t that voice be more important to listen to than anything else you can imagine? As giant Capitalistic cultures continue to assimilate and stamp out human diversity faster than all endangered species combined, and as these giants collide and become increasingly more homogenous— never has it been more  important to step back and seek to understand and respect different people. To nearsightedly continue means irreversibly harming the treasure of human diversity. 

Why everything feels so fake with author Chris Ryan

Why everything feels so fake with author Chris Ryan

There are two kinds of people: those of us that are domesticated and those that feel strangely out of place. The ones that feel out of place, might not be able to communicate why, but know in their gut not only that our world is toxic but that the systems and traditions we’ve created don’t feel even close to natural. No matter which camp you fall in, both feel depressed, frustrated, anxious and flat-out unsatisfied as they get dragged through our culture’s unfriendly demands just to stay afloat. Have you ever asked yourself how and why we’ve sabotaged ourselves like this? Author and Psychologist Chris Ryan, has tackled big parts of the Matrix through his and his wife’s book, Sex at Dawn, his podcast Tangentially Speaking and his forthcoming book Civilized to Death.