I guess I hadn’t stopped to think that one reason why government seems so insane right now is that the “governing” they’re trying to manage across wealthy, huge institutionalized structures like music, media, money, pharma, education, transportation— are fast becoming super-decentralized. All of them are fast evolving due to a tectonic shift in control. In this way, Governments themselves are just another “Woolley Mammoth System” like them. Like it or not, their Ice Age is ending. We’ve all watched various forms of power-decay impact these systems. Have you stepped back and wondered where all this is headed? That’s not what I anticipated talking about with this week’s guest, Jordan Greenhall. I thought we were going to talk about Nootropics. That’s where we started but Jordan quickly aimed the conversation at the dead center of these trends.
Experiencing time pass has to be one of the weirdest things. It surrounds everything around us yet is incredibly inconsistent. One moment it’s molasses slow, the next it was like it was never there. Scientists and philosophers have tried to explain time, how our brain makes it possible, for ions. Did we invent it? How do we all have such a unified experience with time? Is time passing or are we passing time? “Now” is a squirmy thing, the closer you get to it the harder it is to pin down. Time seems to be a sort of creepy mystery quietly packed with discovery and at least for me, it’s something I work hard at slowing way down.
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.
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.
Clearly throughout recorded history we’ve been fascinated by things like the Fountain of Youth and anything that would reverse the aging process. Let’s face it, if you’re over 40, you feel it physically. Your systems just start to break down. In modern medicine, this process has been seen as disease but this week’s guest, Aubrey de Grey, sees it more like an engineering challenge.
Aubrey is a very controversial biomedical gerontologist and crusader against aging. He has a very specific plan that identifies the various components that cause human tissue to age, and he has very specific remedies for each of them. That’s what his non-profit, The SENS Research Foundation focuses on and it’s got some interesting people behind it, like Peter Thiel (one of the founders of PayPal) and Aubrey himself who has invested a large part of his inheritance to the cause.
Have you ever looked at a super old picture and laughed at how mistaken all those people were about what they thought the we’d spend our time doing today? I know I look at pictures of myself as a kid and can’t believe I spent my time outside vs on a phone. Doesn’t sound like you? Well then maybe you were positive that the world would always adore Milli Vanilli. Regardless, it’s hard to argue that we’re incredibly blinded by the road we’re on, what’s coming and what we— as a culture— will value beyond today. Why is that? I had an interesting and hilarious conversation about that very thing with this week’s guest, famed pop-culture author Chuck Klosterman, who recently released the book “But What If We’re Wrong?” You might know Chuck, he’s got a pretty huge cult-following which started when he was a journalist for Spin, GQ, the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, and Esquire. Or maybe you’ve read his diverse, hilarious and insightful page-turning books ranging from Rock-n-Roll to Redskins, from Cereal to Serial Killers many of which have topped the New York Times Bestseller list.