Future Thinkers Podcast guest Daniel Jeffries dives deeper into discussion of ideologies, systems thinking and the meaning of life with Mike Gilliland and Euvie Ivanova.
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Dan: [00:01:30] I’m beginning to move onto additional concepts. One of the ones that I’m about to write on now and I’m starting to think about is use of killer robots. There was just a video, for instance, that came out about using the dronies, which are the tiny little helicopter things, as pinpoint precision-guided [00:02:00] missiles with facial-recognition.

Mike: Yeah, we saw that the other day. That was freaky.

Dan: It’s one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen, it’s given me nightmares. It’s given me nightmares because it’s really, really close and possible. In fact, I talked to one of the top AI guys in the world recently about this. I was like, “It’s so close, once you build these systemonic chip things that they’re working on for deep learning and all this type of stuff, it’s just around the corner.” He’s like, “You don’t even need that if it’s wireless, right? As long as there’s a connection [00:02:30] where you could have all the intelligence in the centralized data centre.” That scared me, of course, right?

Mike: Yeah.

Dan: I had not been an alarmist on artificial intelligence, for instance, I think that artificial intelligence will bring many wonderful benefits, as well as many ones that are not good. We tend to focus on big stupid problems like super intelligence. I’m like, “We may not even get there.”

Mike: Yeah.

Dan: I’m not worries about super intelligence taking over the universe and turning us all into paper clips, why are we worrying about this, right? A, we can’t solve that problem right now, right? [00:03:00] B, we can’t solve that problem right now. Totally ridiculous to think about. However, the idea that I can have these little explosive dronies or darts specifically target people is something I don’t have a solution to. It scares me that I don’t have a solution to it. The only few things I’ve been able to come up with is a universal ban, which I’m 100 percent convinced will not be followed.

Mike: No, you can 3D print these parts and then all you need is some basic programming understanding and then to find existing [00:03:30] templates out there. You could actually do this quite easily. There’s this really cool YouTube video I saw recently that was like a drama, a fiction that demonstrated these drones that you’re talking about. It was super freaky. It showed an assassination of a group of students. Basically, they let these swarm of drones go in and kill everyone in this room.

It was within seconds because they could each just move so quickly to the person’s head and then explode or shoot a single bullet. So easy to assassinate people with that. [00:04:00] I was thinking, “How can you stop that? What’s a physical mechanism to stop that? Other drones that swarm around and kamikaze themselves? Or EMPs?” There’s just no practical solution to stopping this. Banning’s not going to work either.

Dan: The guys behind it, there’s actually a mission, a number of actual artificial intelligence professors and things who are like, “We need to get an international ban now.” I’m actually in support of an international ban, that’s one of the few things I really agree with the alarmists on. [00:04:30] Yet, I just don’t think that it’s going to be, like you said, the average person will be able to 3D print this and write some Python and some C and make it a reality. The other part is I have every belief system that black budgets and centralized governments will just continue to do it in the dark.

Mike: Of course.

Euvie: Of course.

Dan: There’s zero chance it doesn’t happen. It’s game theory, right? It’s like, “Well, the bad guys are going to do it, we’ve got to do it, too.” Then it comes back to what you’re talking about, do I build countermeasures for the thing? These are the things where I’m like, “Okay, if I don’t have a ready-made answer, these are [00:05:00] the types of things I will come up with an answer.” To do that I will have to spend many, many, many, many frustrating month straight months considering it, but I will develop a potential mitigation system for it.

I don’t know what it is, I don’t know what it looks like, but I’m going to spend some time thinking about it. I’m going to spend some time writing about it to raise awareness of it because I think that in some ways actually, the way to define mitigations is to take yourself out of it as an individual, take yourself out of the fear and look at it from an objective standpoint. You have to be able to say what are the benefits of a system [00:05:30] and what are the bad things of a system. You go, “Wait, the benefits of that? What would be the benefits?”

Well, the benefits are in many ways if these systems did exist, okay, and please don’t take this as my personal yes to this, I don’t want these things to happen but the personal benefit of these types of things, if you take your ego out of it and your fear out of it, is there’s a lot less collateral damage in a war. If I’m dropping a bomb on a village and blowing up a house, I might take out a lot of different people plus I’ve destroyed the infrastructure, [00:06:00] all kinds of problems, right?

Mike: You take out the Cruz missile and you replace with a single drone that’s targeting one person, it makes a lot more sense.

Dan: Right. From a war fighting standpoint, actually it’s in many ways beneficial to have something like that, which is even more terrifying to think of. That there’s actually a good use case for it. So, at the same time, in order to design a system, you have to be able to look at it objectively in order to understand the pluses and minuses. That’s how you design mitigations to it. I always say that when you design a system you also have to be able to design [00:06:30] all the ways to destroy that system or hack that system in order to build and protect it.

For me, as I begin to think about this problem, I begin to think about all the reasons that a country or an individual would want to utilize these things. What would be the benefits to them? I have to think through all of those things in order to be able to design effective countermeasures to it. If you can’t address the motivation for using the thing and [00:07:00] you can’t acknowledge the usefulness of it for that motivation, then you can design an ineffective mitigation system for it.

Mike: Yeah, that’s so true. It’s really funny because it’s so counter to what we hear about in millennial left-wing way of thinking where it’s like, “We don’t talk about that, we don’t think about that. That takes me out of my safe space.” I like that you dive into the exact reason not to do it and saturate yourself with that idea to try and come up with solutions for it.

Dan: Not thinking about things in life [00:07:30] is not effective at all. We have to be able to think about the darkness as well as the light. You have to think about the good and the bad. When I went to college, there were no safe spaces and you were exposed to all kinds of things that you might not agree with. Good. Really good, honestly. I do not talk about my political stances on things but I consider myself, when people try to pinpoint my ideology, I’m what I call an automocist. I made up the word. An automocist meaning I look at each individual [00:08:00] issue on its own merits and make a decision.

Thus, my views run the gamut from left to right and everything in between, right? If I get new information that changes my mind, I will change my mind. Again, this is also something we seem to prize now, the rigid adherence to, “This is my stance,” right? That’s a fucking good thing. I’ve got new information that tells me I’m completely fucking stupid and wrong, and I’m just going to hold to that ideology as if… [00:08:30] How ridiculous is that that we prize that in society?

Mike: Yeah.

Dan: The reason I said all that is because, for me, college is about being in uncomfortable. It’s about being exposed to things you don’t like, right? It’s fine to say, “Hey, there’s a trigger warning in here.” Fine, because it’s nice to know that there might be something horrifying in this paper, right? But so what? Whether it’s there or not doesn’t mean shit to me. You’re supposed to be exposed to shit that you don’t like or don’t understand or don’t want to know about. That is how you freaking grow in life. More and more in life we’re [00:09:00] building these echo chambers, that’s the left’s equivalent of just going and listening to one type of news ideology on the right.

“I have my safe space,” is the flip side of the coin for, “I’m only going to listen to this one podcast and read these five forums on Facebook. Everything else is biased and everything else is a conspiracy against me.” Those two ideologies are creating people who are just living in an echo chamber [00:09:30] and never learning anything. My greatest teacher and mentor told me that education is what you are exposed to. In other words, the things that you’re exposed to, some of which make you uncomfortable, some of which are things you don’t want to think about or hear is how you grow.

Euvie: Yeah, we interviewed Jordan Peterson on our podcast earlier this year and a lot of our listeners were quite unhappy with that because they thought that we shouldn’t even be giving a platform to his ideas. They were so offended by us having him on the podcast.

Mike: [00:10:00] That’s so stupid.

Euvie: Some of them actually stopped being Patreon subscribers.

Mike: If Hitler was still alive, I would interview him on our podcast. Fuck those people who think that way. Seriously, so stupid. “Don’t give him a platform.”

Dan: I agree. In other words, absolutely give the people who have pernicious ideologies or whatever a platform. Let’s expose them to the light.

Mike: Yes.

Dan: You just let them be in the dark or whatever, you don’t ask them a tough question that makes them uncomfortable, you don’t challenge them, right, then nobody challenges them. [00:10:30] It’s backwards, right? It’s just totally backwards. Absolutely you give the people the platform and you challenge them, you challenge their logic. You challenge their thinking about it. You don’t let them squirm out of it.

Mike: Or, you learn from it, you get something new. If your ideas are so different and you hear something completely different, then you’re just going to improve as a person. That’s the perspective I took with Jordan. I actually had dived into his content a lot and really had changed a lot of my perspectives and wanted to have him on the show to dive in [00:11:00] even further. That was a success case I think for me to grow as a person, to have someone completely different on.

Euvie: Yeah, or just dismissing somebody because you disagree with some of their ideas, dismissing all of their ideas as wrong or bad is completely absurd. I actually disagree maybe with 10 or 20 percent of his ideas but most of his ideas I completely agree with. I think he’s a brilliant psychologist. He speaks out against this social justice warrior, safe space, [00:11:30] over-protected people who can’t observe how biology works, or who can’t observe how hierarchies work and why hierarchies would be useful for people because we’re mammals. They just couldn’t accept these ideas at all and they would reject everything else he says because of this. Ridiculous.

Dan: I don’t know his work, I don’t really know who that is but it doesn’t matter. I see exactly what you’re talking about. People have this ideologically purity test now where it’s like, “Okay, do you match these 12 things. [00:12:00] If not, everything you say is wrong.” That is throwing the baby out with the bath water, it’s insane. Again, I’m an automocist. Each statement and position that somebody takes I’m listening to that individually on its own merits. We actually don’t understand this anymore in the world. One of the shittiest arguments now is, “You are biased.”

Everyone is fucking biased, idiots, pay attention. You cannot not be biased, because you are a limited [00:12:30] creature in unlimited universe. You cannot possibly have all of the information, it is literally 100 percent impossible to have a perfect perspective as an individual existing within the universe, okay? You are limited, therefore you are biased because you do not understand everything, you are not omnipotent, okay? They also don’t understand that bias now means wrong. Also, incorrect, also a stupid logical fallacy, okay?

I might completely be biased about many things [00:13:00] but when I say a factual statement like, “The sun rises in the morning,” it is still a factual statement. The fact that I am biased about other things means absolutely nothing to that factual statement. It is a dangerous place for the world when people begin to take these positions on mass in society. When people begin to say, “There’s nothing valuable on the other side, other people have nothing to say to me. Other people have nothing to teach me. I am right on everything,” [00:13:30] is a fucking disease. It is a mental disease and it always leads to the same thing: mass violence. It leads to war. That’s what it leads to. If you cannot function in society with other people with a different perspective and you say, “Everyone must agree with me,” that is either fascism or communism. They’re flip sides of the same coin.

Euvie: Yes.

Dan: Right? One is an extreme of the left and one is an extreme of the right. There’s even people saying, “No, no, no, no. Both are extremes of the right [00:14:00] or extremes of the left.” Sorry guys, you’re fucking wrong. One is an extreme of the left, one is an extreme of the right. They’re both the same ideology. Communism and fascism are essentially the exact same ideology. Both of them believe that you impose a rigid order upon what everyone thinks and everyone must follow it, anyone who doesn’t must be destroyed. We’re edging towards that level of stupidity in society. “I’m right about everything, the other side doesn’t know shit.” Sorry, but you’re wrong.

Mike: Yup. Kind of wanted to switch gears, but on a related [00:14:30] topic. We talked I guess last week or two weeks ago quite extensively about meditation, enlightenment, and consciousness. It was really an interesting conversation but the reason actually we got into this and heard about you is because of the Rick and Morty article that you wrote. I’m wondering if you can tell us a bit about that article for people who haven’t listened to it and then we can go off on another tangent from that?

Dan: The Rick and Morty article I really used Rick and Morty because I know the show is an angle to talk about what I think is [00:15:00] a central theme of the show, that is that at its core life is meaningless. When you really boil down everything, when you just follow the rabbit hole all the way down, life is meaningless. I believe the challenge in Rick and Morty is you have two choices from that. One is you crumple in a kind of despair and do nothing and the other is you strike out, have an adventure, embrace life, make your own meaning. That meaning is contextual.

[00:15:30] Eventually, what you get to if you successfully pass through the eye of the needle is that life has meaning directly to you. So, it does have meaning. It both doesn’t and does. It’s this quantum paradox where it’s utterly meaningless and by the system being agnostic in terms of meaningless, meaning is quantum in that the skyscraper does not have any meaning [00:16:00] in and off itself. The ant does not have any meaning in and off itself. But when the ant decides that it’s going to climb the skyscraper, it has created that meaning through context. Now, both the ant has a reason to exist and the skyscraper, the skyscraper is there for the ant to climb it and the ant need something to climb for its willpower to attach to.

So, it has meaning, as well. So, every moment is a meaning of life, every interaction is meaning in life, every place is the centre of the universe. [00:16:30] I was seeing that in the episodes as I watching it, I was feeling that. Something that I’d experienced in my own life, that realization. Then when I saw the little documentary from the creator that was four minutes at the end where he explicitly called it out, I knew it wasn’t a mirage that I was just seeing. So, I decided it would be fun to write the story and bring in some of the stuff that it brought me to similar conclusions.

Euvie: How did you [00:17:00] get started on that path? What was your call to adventure to go and explore the rabbit hole?

Dan: It started at a very, very young age for me where I went through a lot of the typical trappings of studying consciousness and spirituality and the nature of reality. From a very young age I had promised myself that I would see life as it actually is instead of how I imagined it to be, which is sort of a ridiculous promise for a six-year-old to make to himself. I spent a lot of time looking at different [00:17:30] spiritual modalities and all these things. There was just this nagging uncertainty, there was this nagging feeling underneath it all that this shit doesn’t work.

Whatever it is, meditation or going through the [inaudible [0:17:44], or yoga, or getting high, whatever, none of it really works. It works for a period of time or it’s really useful, like, merging with the God consciousness and all this shit is really a cool experience but it’s not [00:18:00] enlightenment, it’s not true understanding. I just kept looking and I came across these books through a friend of mine who had always given me very interesting books, from this guy named Jim Mckenna. I read through all of his stuff and it was really like just an absolute likely terrifying experience. It sent me through the rabbit hole, if you will. Often, felt physically ill reading his books or I was falling out of a plane with no parachute, right?

Really, the books are an absolute [00:18:30] demolition of many belief systems and exhortation to get to what is true. I came to a similar conclusion to my own work to his and that is that enlightenment as we conceive it is really just something out of a sales pitch. Which is A, you’re going to have this [inaudible [0:18:50] smile on your face and you’re always going to be happy. It’s a state of mind that’s so crazy ass awesome that anyone would be an idiot not to [00:19:00] want it and that’s why it’s not real.

What the hell is enlightenment? Truth realization is the best definition I currently have for it and that is when you stop believing in illusions and you stop believing in even the last illusions, which are all of the gurus that exist out there. They are what I and McKenna call the last unwitting agents of Maya, right? In other words, they’re not even aware that they’re holding people back at the threshold [00:19:30] and that people imagine if you just sit there and listen to the almighty guru that somehow you’ll be enlightened, as well, yet they have a zero percent success rate.

There’s nobody who’s ever come out of any of these schools of thought and said, “I am enlightened because I sat there listening to so and so.” Nobody has ever said that. Therefore, the reality stares you in the face. You have to say, “What can I say about a school that has a zero percent success rate? Is that a successful school?” The answer is no. What does that [00:20:00] tell me about it? If I went to programming school and they told me there was a zero percent success rate, I’d say, “That’s a horrible school.” If they said, “There’s a 50 percent success rate,” that’s a horrible school.

Realizing that these things are an illusion, it’s a real relief. I don’t have to worry about any of this shit again. I don’t have to go to [inaudible [0:20:20], I don’t have to travel the world. I can travel the world if I want to, I can create meaning through myself through the things that I love and that I care about. The meaning is contextual. [00:20:30] The meaning of life is not, “What is the meaning of life.” That’s the wrong question. That’s a universal question that has no answer. The correct question is what does it mean to you? What is the meaning of life to you?

When you stop trying to keep all the plates spinning in life, when you stop trying to do everything else that people tell you to do, when you stop chasing these fantasies of, There’s something in the afterlife,” or, “There’s another life [00:21:00] after this one where I’m reincarnated,” or, “There’s this [inaudible [0:21:02] state that I can achieve where I’m super happy all the time.” When you stop worrying about that then you can just live your life and you can really try the true joy in life. Spending time with your family and loved ones, eating things that you like or make you feel healthy, sometimes eating something that’s unhealthy and enjoying that, too.

Exercising, creating things, writing, recording, painting, traveling, spending time with your [00:21:30] animals. Whatever these things are, right, you can stop worrying about all these other things, it opens up the possibility for the true meaning of life, which is spending times on the things that you love.

Mike: There’s something you said a few weeks ago when we talked and then again today about not doing what you feel like the universe or, I don’t know if that’s specifically what you said, but what the universe is trying to stop you to do, doing instead what just as in flow as what you’re meant to be doing. You had said that [00:22:00] trying to make this cicada thing, everything was going wrong, it wasn’t working. Then you said, “When I started focusing on writing, things started to fall in place.” I really like the way you described that before because it’s been very similar to us, as well. When we’ve tried to do various different businesses or tried different projects and stuff, things don’t work and you can get a sense for why they’re not working or how they’re not working.

Euvie: It feels like grinding.

Mike: Yeah, exactly. There’s a certain switch where you feel like there’s something else that [00:22:30] you’re doing that you know you’re meant to be doing. Everything just falls away completely easily, all the obstacles are almost to fun with play with. Or, obstacles you would build into a really fun game rather than something that’s just a grind.

Dan: It is. It’s still hard work. But at the same time, I find, for instance, when I sit down to write that there’s this period where my mind’s going crazy and I’m worrying about things and it’s getting in the way and I’m pecking around the page and I’m not quite getting it down, can’t quite make the sentence work. [00:23:00] Then all of a sudden, I pass through this portal and I’m not there anymore and my fingers are just going. All of my problems fall away. I’m immune to death and disease and to anything happening to me at that moment in time and I’m just flowing. I’m not there.

Then I wake up at the end of it. I have no idea what happened, right, it’s all just kind of pouring out of me. It’s one of the things that I live for. There are these sign posts, it’s [00:23:30] almost like they’re [inaudible [0:23:32] holistic detective agency. There are these weird coincidences or synchronicities that happen. Those are actually not coincidences at all, those are actually the guide posts for life. When things are going well or when you’re doing the things that you were meant to do, the synchronicities pop up constantly, constantly.

Every time I run into a wall in terms of writing a piece of fiction where I don’t know what to do next with a particular character, [00:24:00] or I don’t have a piece of information, I’ll suddenly have an idea the next day when I wake up for one of the 3,000 books on my shelf that I haven’t looked at in five years to go pick that book up. I’ll flip open the pages and there’ll be the information that I need. I’ve just learned to trust that thing, right, as something that… when I read the [inaudible 0:24:21] as a kid I didn’t understand it at all. I read them right after reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I loved those books as a kid because they’re really consumable as a young person.

[00:24:30] I immediately switched to the [inaudible [0:24:32], I’m like, “I hate these books, what the hell is this crap?” As an older person now, seeing that weird synchronicity bumbling around in the dark guide, where you don’t have full control and you’re just trusting the universe to put out the lights in the exact moment and time that you need them is something that I think you learn later in life.

Mike: In your opinion, having studied this and gone into a very practical experience of it recently, what do you think [00:25:00] is the mechanism that is allowing this to happen. Can you relate it to any kind of spiritual doctrine or practice? How does it happen and why does it happen?

Dan: That’s where you get in trouble. That’s how you start creating a new ideology or you start creating a new spiritual [inaudible [0:25:14] or whatever. It’s just us projecting [inaudible [0:25:18]. The goal is not to understand why. We can speculate on it for fun, it’s just the problem is you can’t actually come to a definitive conclusion. You can pretend you came to a definitive conclusion [00:25:30] and write it down and create an ideology to conscript people and get them to follow you. But in actuality, nobody can ever get to the actual reason behind the mechanism. All you can do is say, “Look, the tide rolls in and the tide rolls out. I can effectively observe that.” Why the tide rolls in and rolls out is where you get into trouble. You cannot come to a correct conclusion. You can come to a conclusion that you believe to be the correct conclusion but, in fact, [00:26:00] you cannot come to the conclusion.

Mike: I think if I remember correctly, we said it could actually quite literally be related to the particle wave phenomenon where you cannot make it happen when you’re looking directly at it. Therefore, you cannot measure it, you cannot figure out how it works.

Euvie: Or, you can see that the instantiation of it in that moment, but that’s all you can see. You can never see the whole thing in its entirety.

Dan: Correct. You can speculate on the mechanisms behind it. [00:26:30] Is it by determinism, is it math, is it a prime mover, is it Pantheism, is it a specific creature that the [inaudible [0:26:36], whatever. The point is it doesn’t really matter. It’s fun to think about some of those things but it is a distraction. It’s something where it’s better to just observe the mechanism and stop worrying about the speculation of it and then live within the rule sets that it creates. Life becomes a lot easier. You like to pet your dog [00:27:00] or you like to pet your cat and your cat likes to snuggle with you or your dog likes to snuggle with you, you don’t need to know why that is.

In other words, you know you and the animal both enjoy those things. The animal’s wired that way and you’re wired that way. The universe is wired that way for that mechanism to be an expression of joy and love. So, just express the joy and love and don’t worry about why the system is designed that way, because it [00:27:30] just makes you unhappy. It makes you unhappy because it is unknowable, that’s the problem is trying to struggle with the ideas that are unknowable you create the delusion for your self that they are knowable. When you create delusion, you create unhappiness.

Euvie: This reminds me, actually, of something we talked about earlier where you talked about in the decentralized autonomous organizations where people try to be everything at all times, it just doesn’t work. [00:28:00] It’s chaos and everything falls apart. But when you have people in roles, it actually works and people don’t like that idea or whatever, they want to do everything themselves or have a say in everything. But it’s a parallel. The [inaudible [0:28:15] narrative carries the same that when you try to be everything or understand everything, it just doesn’t work. It’s chaos. You came to this life with a specific purpose or you’re wired a specific way or however you want to explain that, you’re just predisposed to like to certain things, [00:28:30] you don’t have to do everything. Just do those things.

Dan: I feel the dowels, for instance in the future, not to derail this, but they will actual develop complex systems of rules and governing to allow people to exist in a role happily and know that there is actually a transparent mechanism to move forward within the organisation, gather experience, gather understanding, and move on to a different role, shedding the old role. That’s a natural evolution. [00:29:00] For a dowel to grow to the size of a Fortune 500 company, those mechanisms are going to have to replace a hierarchical rule system that’s been very effective, whether we like it or not it’s been very effective in getting society to the point that it’s at.

Mike: I asked you that question earlier about expiring currencies and you just reminded me now of a conversation we had with Vince [inaudible [0:29:22] in one of our episodes about blockchain. He said it would be interesting to have corporations and organisations and dowels [00:29:30] that dismantle after their objective has been accomplished. We just don’t see that in corporations now. It’s all about optimizing and increasing revenue. There’s no such thing as a self-destructing company. Along the same lines, I’m just interested in this and I’m interested in what a self-destructing currency looks like and how these things could be utilized with the technologies that we have now.

Dan: I hadn’t thought much about the self-destructing currency, to me, that just seems to be a way to create a scarcity. [00:30:00] It might be useful from that standpoint. I have thought about organizations that can self-compete within the organization. One of the things you see in hierarchical organization is they come up with a specific idea that makes them very successful and wealthy and they continue to build up the apparatus around it. But as the company grows from smaller groups of people to a larger group of people, the bureaucracy and the rulesets begin to strangle the innovation.

So, even as the product begins [00:30:30] to go downhill, competitors are not allowed within the system, so they develop outside the of the company. You see something like that with, say, a [inaudible [0:30:39] who went wrong, where they had every opportunity to dominate in the digital sphere. They ignored it because the system was geared to only incentivize people to focus on chemical film. So, potentially, and I have not quite figured out this mechanism yet, I would see dowels as a series of tiny pods that almost act like independent companies [00:31:00] and that can compete internally to evolve the system.

That is, for instance, if you had an operating system that was the dominant group like, say, a Microsoft and it had reached its peak, you might be able to spawn additional pods in there with different iterations and concepts to directly compete with the operating system. Potentially knock it off, to destroy it, and create a replacement or an alternative business model. If you can get this mechanism [00:31:30] down, it would absolutely be more effective than a corporation. If you get the governance and you get this internal competition correct, where the funding naturally flows to competition and to smaller groups that get to iterate and try things to potentially even knock off the king product and replace the business model, that is how you build incredibly flexible, dynamic organizations. Haven’t quite figured out the mechanisms for it but I can easily see an organization like that eventually outperforming [00:32:00] the rigidly hierarchical systems that we have today.

Mike: There’s analogies for that in nature. It’s like cell mutation and growth and cell death. You don’t want all of the obsolete cells to continue dividing and dominating the system. You want the mutated and adapted version to keep going.

Euvie: It was a question posed to a biologist why do people die? The answer was that for genes to mutate and for evolution to happen, because if people lived forever then there would be no evolution. If you can’t [00:32:30] mutate the gene and you mutate the gene through forced senescence, so people have to reproduce, it could be the same with companies.

Mike: Was he saying it’s a preservation mechanism, so that some catastrophic event in the future wouldn’t wipe out the entire species all at once?

Euvie: Yes, and so that they could adapt over time because the environment is changing. The environment is not static. Basically, it doesn’t care about the individual, it only cares about the gene pool.

Dan: We talked a bit about the earlier thing, [00:33:00] I always say –and I hate to use this term, because it immediately brings your own association – God’s morality is not our morality. I said this in the Rick and Morty article, as well. So, whether it’s, “God is the universe,” or, “God’s external thing,” or whatever, I tend to be Pantheistic. God, now I’ve labelled myself here. Let’s say I’m semi-Pantheistic, right, where I think that the universe is God, the system is God, best active living intelligent system. [00:33:30] And that that system in and of itself has its own morality that is different than ours, right.

From the standpoint of the individual creatures within the system, there are things that are bad for the individual. Whereas, the system itself it may be a good thing. So, certainly, death for the individual not awesome, not something we want, but beneficial in the way that you describe it. Just as if there is a dam that is holding back a [00:34:00] river so that the river can’t flow and there are a bunch of farms beneath it and the dam breaks. From the standpoint of all the farmers that drowned, it really, really sucks.

You don’t want to be that. From the system standpoint, the river now flows effectively and has gone back to equilibrium. Therefore, from a systems standpoint it is effective. That’s similar to what they’re saying in that the system evolving evolves through death and [00:34:30] mutation, and that is beneficial to the system even if it sucks for the individual guy.

Euvie: Yeah. It’s interesting, actually, to think of this how do we structure our organizations to mimic nature, because nature has had a really long time to figure things out. I don’t want to say nature knows better, because it implies that nature has consciousness and it might or it might not, but in any case, it’s just had a really long time to figure things out. We, from our tiny perspectives, have our own ideas [00:35:00] about how to structure things. Sometimes we really mess it up and we don’t take into consideration this bigger perspective. We had Daniel [inaudible [0:35:07] on the show a couple episodes ago and he was talking about this competitive nature.

When it gets to the global scale, it ends up in really existentially bad scenarios, because when there’s a finite playing field, which is the earth’s resources, and you try to play this infinite competitive game, you end up just levelling the [00:35:30] playing field. You end up destroying everything. He talks about how we have to take this holistic perspective where we can’t be competing with each other or corporations can’t be competing with each other endlessly because we’re just going to destroy everything.

Dan: I know Daniel actually pretty well. The think tank that I referred to earlier, he’s in that think tank.

Mike: What?

Euvie: Cool.

Mike: I was just going to say, you’ve go to meet Daniel, he’s in a think tank, as well and I think you guys would really agree with each other on a lot of points. [00:36:00] That’s funny.

Dan: We do. We diverge on a few things but, at the same point, that think tank exists because there is a bunch of smart people all of which have different perspectives. Again, we all recognize the universal truth that none of us has a complete understanding. So, it’s better for us to come together and think about the future. That group in particular is very concerned about precisely what you said, that is that our weapons are too big for the battle field, [00:36:30] if you will. If this society goes down this time, it might be a complete reset of the earth, right?

From the earth’s perspective, it doesn’t matter if we all die off. From our perspective, not so awesome. I always say, for instance, the earth isn’t in trouble, we are. We can continue to completely shit it up as much as we want and the earth will just delete us at some point, sleep for a million years, rebuild itself, and evolve a more empathic and an intelligent species for next time around and it won’t give a shit. That’ll be precisely fine from [00:37:00] it’s perspective. The only thing that we need to worry about is changing so that we potentially continue to survive.

By the way, we have reached a point in our evolution where we potentially can wipe ourselves out 100 million times and we haven’t been around that long, considering other species that have dominated this planet like the [inaudible [0:37:20] for, what, 160 million years. I think we’ve got 8 or 10 million, we’ve got a long way to go but we’ve already got the ability to completely annihilate ourselves. There’s a book called the Collapse of Complex Societies, [00:37:30] it talks about the history of those societies. All of those societies, and Daniel talks about this, had a blast radius around them, even the Roman Empire, there was a blast radius. When it went down, it was confined within that area, it sucked to me in that area, it sucked to be living through that time, but it wasn’t the whole world. Now, society is global and our weapons have the ability to smash the world like a tiny egg, that’s terrifying.

There’s another book that we talk about there, it’s called Finite and Infinite Games. [00:38:00] It’s really… anybody designing blockchain systems should absolutely read that book because they’re finite games are things where you can define the rules and who the winner is. But life is not a finite game, it has a series of finite games in it but it is an infinite game. The rules are changing constantly and how you ‘win’, quote unquote, is there’s no final winner. How you win even a specific transaction is like sand under your feet, it’s constantly moving.

Mike: I’ve heard this book Finite and Infinite Games [00:38:30] mentioned many times now. I think I’ve got to dive into that.

Euvie: Yeah.

Dan: I think you’d like it, it’s pretty good. It’s dense reading. It’s not exactly a pick it up and read it at the beach kind of thing, but it’s very useful if you’re thinking about systems design.

Mike: Dan, anything else you want to talk about before we finish up here?

Dan: I don’t think so, I think we covered a huge amount of ground from the nature of [inaudible [0:38:50] to universal blockchain systems to economics. It was pretty awesome. I had a lot of fun guys, I appreciate it.

Mike: [00:39:00] Cool, yeah, us too. This was very interesting for us.

Euvie: Now, let’s try to tie it altogether.

Mike: Yeah right. Alright, now give us a one sentence tie in, okay?

Euvie: The pressure is on.

Dan: [inaudible [0:30:14], I would say if you’re still trying to figure out what your purpose in life, your purpose in life is to figure out what your purpose in life and to figure out what your work is and do that work. [00:39:30] When you read some of these new age things and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask yourself, when somebody claims to have achieved this infinity consciousness or this [inaudible [0:39:47] consciousness, ask yourself, “What is the realistic mechanism to get there?”

If they say that the answer is meditation or whatever, ask yourself if you’ve ever come across any human being in the entire planet ever [00:40:00] who has achieved that through meditation. Have you ever met that person? Have you ever seen that person? I think what you end up finding is that when people write about these things it sounds really good, but they can’t actually define what the mechanism is. So, stop worrying about the mechanism, figure out what it is that you care about in life, figure out your own personal meaning, and do that thing with great joy.

You won’t have to worry about anything. Money will find you. [00:40:30] The right relationships will find you. Your place in the universe will find you. It’s a call to adventure. The hero with 1,000 faces story, it’s your story. It’s not somebody you’re reading about, it’s not some other hero. You’re the hero of your own life and your call to adventure. The answer is to just accept it and stop worrying about trying to achieve a fictitious level of consciousness. Find the things that you care about and do those.

Mike: Yup. Totally agree. Dan, thanks for joining us. This has been a lot of fun.

Euvie: Awesome, [00:41:00] yeah.

Dan: Thanks so much guys, appreciate it.

FTP050: Daniel Jeffries - Evolution of Hierarchy and Meaning of Life

Daniel Jeffries

This is the second part of our interview with author, futurist and thinker Daniel Jeffries, where we dive deeper into discussion of ideologies, systems thinking and the meaning of life. 

Exposing ourselves to different ideologies

The use of killer robots is the idea Dan has been preoccupied with lately, ever since he saw a semi-fictional video about drones with precision-guided missiles and facial recognition. In order to design an effective mitigation system for this nightmarish scenario about to turn reality, he is having to look at it objectively and address all potential viewpoints.

When you design a system, you also have to be able to design all the ways to destroy that system or hack it in order to be able to protect it. - @Dan_Jeffries1 Click To Tweet

Dan highlights the importance of being able to leave our “safe space”. If we surround ourselves with like-minded people and content only, we end up living in an echo chamber and never learn anything. It is important to expose ourselves to things that we might not like to hear, for it is the only way to learn and grow in life.

Everyone is biased, because you are a limited creature in an unlimited universe. It is impossible to have a perfect perspective. - @Dan_Jeffries1 Click To Tweet

Rick and Morty and the Meaning of Life

Dan goes on discussing the article he wrote about the popular show “Rick and Morty” and what he believes is the central theme of the show – the meaning of life. He argues that going down the rabbit hole will eventually lead us to the realization that life is meaningless. However, if we decide to have an adventure and embrace it, we will create a meaning of our own.

Enlightenment is a concept promised by many schools of thought out there. Dan defines enlightenment as a realization of truth – the moment when we stop believing in illusions being sold by all the gurus out there. When we stop chasing fantasies, we can start living our lives.

Instead of asking what the meaning of life is, we should be asking what the meaning of life is to us. We can speculate on the mechanism behind it, but we can never truly understand it, because it is unknowable. This realization makes life much easier, allowing us to focus on things we love and care about.

The meaning of life is not 'what is the meaning of life?' That's a universal question that has no answer. The correct question is 'what is the meaning of life to you? - @Dan_Jeffries1 Click To Tweet

Competition Within Organizations Leads to More Effective Systems

Dan argues that organizations that compete can easily outperform the rigid hierarchical systems we have today. Having smaller groups competing internally and trying out new things, potentially even replacing the main product or business model, is an effective way to build a system that is dynamic and flexible.

The system we are a part of has a morality and logic in and itself that is different from ours. Therefore, what is beneficial for the system might not be beneficial for an individual. As drastic as it seems, the only way for a system to evolve is to go through death and mutation.

Education is what you are exposed to, some of which is uncomfortable and some of which you don't want to think about, and it's how you grow - @dan_jeffries1 Click To Tweet

In This Episode of Future Thinkers Podcast:

  • How to look objectively at the prospect of killer drones
  • The benefits of exposing ourselves to uncomfortable things
  • Why being biased is not a bad thing
  • How do we find meaning in our lives?
  • What is enlightenment and is there really a mechanism to achieve it?
  • Why is internal competition good for organizations?
  • Designing systems with built-in self-destruction mechanisms
  • Evolution is only possible through death and mutation


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