Mark Manson (https://markmanson.net/) is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, which has reached #1 in thirteen countries, sold millions of copies. His new book, Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope (https://amzn.to/2JW2MFM), has also become an instant #1 bestseller. In it, he expands his irreverent, yet compelling and deeply-thoughtful exploration to the state of society, the sometimes disastrous quirks of the human psyche, and the role of hope in the way we approach the bigger issues in life. Mark also runs one of the largest personal growth websites in the world, and his writing is often described as "self-help for people who hate self-help." In a past podcast conversation (https://www.goodlifeproject.com/podcast/mark-manson/), we explore Manson's "origin story" and love of philosophy and writing, including his choice of profanity in his writing voice (hint: it has nothing to do with linguistic laziness). Today, we dive deep into the powerful ideas and provocations in his new book about the state of the world and our role in the exploration of hope.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pay, so this is marred manton. Second appearance on the good life. I didn't we
shared conversation. I guess
three years ago, shortly after his book, the subtle art of not giving a fuck came out deeply reverent. That book quickly became a global phenomenon. If you haven't seen it, I'm not sure where you ve been
living it claimed, plays and actually remains on the new york times lists been there every week since in pretty much since it came out selling something
seven and a half million copies to date. In that first conversation, we explored marks personal journey, his provocative voice and decision to swear
in print, and why also it has absolutely nothing to do with intellectual laziness and allowed the core ideas, and at first book today were exploring
He is from a brand new book from him with an equally provocative title called everything is fucked he book about hope and shore. There are a handful of F bombs,
on the way, this conversation, but honestly not
really many more if any than in any regular episode and the ideas that mark offers his
elections, not only on a life of intensive study of philosophy, social science and politics, and his son
this is of all these different worlds, is pretty stunning he's put together what I would probably describe as a cohesive theory of what has brought us to this place in our history
why there is so much suffering in the world right now and offers a surprising refrain on the idea of hope
that serves as a potential antidote for the existential cry
is that so many of us find her
I was in at this moment in time super excited to share this conversation with you. I'm Jonathan fields- and this is good life project
The good life project
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if he you know here, as I can wellbore and guys where it's like most people read the first eight pages of that stuff and they're like this is way too complicated. I'm gonna put it down and you can't get enough of it, yeah and
The new burke feels, or
weird way. Almost like your theory of everything yeah it kind of ended up there yeah was that your intention, though, like an initially know now starting out, know and it and it just sort of
and as the book went along, you know, and initially the the questions were pretty, while I say simple, but that there they were pointed, I guess I I should say which is essentially, if everything's so great today. Why does everybody seem to be so upset all the time? And I talk about this in the first chapter, you know it's it's just statistically speaking, you know the world is materially better off than it's ever been we're living longer. We're healthier we're
fear were more educated on and on and on. Yet, when you look at mental health statistics, there's a lot of worrying trends in what's really
range. Two. Is that a lot of the statistics around depression, anxiety, suicide? They are afflicting the wealthier, safer countries more than other countries, and so this just got me very curious like. Why is this happening? Why? What is it about comfort and success? That seems to throw us into like a crisis of meaning. These questions are are kind of a privilege to ask like a like. A subsistence farmer doesn't have the privilege to ask like what his life means, but when you're chilling in a air conditioned apartment in new york and you you can like
your last six meals were ordered on your phone and issue of eight hundred tv shows that you can watch at any minute. It becomes a very real question of like were what is
meaning a motley. What's the point? Why am I doing this, and so that that was kind of the starting point for like what? What are the factors that are affecting us in the twenty first century that are are can causing these crises
hope, as I call them, and then man that's just launched. I don't know where I ended up
and so I want to get in a rather hole with you. But another one way.
Yeah says I know when you read the the prior book. You basically wrote the entire book and then you gave it to like a couple of trusted. Friends yep and they had the frank talk with you
You knew what you're like wrote your heart out like this is my treat us and they set out. You like this is terrible
A newly set actually read the entire back, the wizard a similar process.
did you hit the ground running and really just die, then, with like a much stronger embrace of your voice interaction with this one, I think this one was mixed.
So subtle art it was like the whole first draft was trash like if people were like the ideas are good. This is just terrible, though, what's funny about this one is I got sucked into the those traps. Are those rabbit holes where I started overriding with only a couple specific chapters, so there's a chapter in there about isaac, newton and the man that one I probably spent as much time on that chapters. The rest of the book, like I dunno what it was, but my brain just kept getting
down these tangents and rabbit holes, and- and you know the difficult thing about writing about a lot of these deeper psychological topics- is that everything's so interrelated? You know. So if you, if you want to talk about
these emotions, you need to talk about their identity and their values and beliefs, but to talk about their beliefs
I need to talk about their emotions and identity and values. You know so it's like you're in this country, this web, that you're just pinging around endlessly and as a writer, it's extremely difficult to like create a coherent structure for the reader to follow, and in that chapter I just got completely lost in it, and
start ended up right busy. Writing an isaac. Newton fan fiction that, like nobody, wants the red in the face of it in a beam lego sixty or seventy pages long, and I ended it. My editor matters like either it's all gotta go or like eighty percent of kids, cotton.
like please let me work on it, I'll get it down. They I'll get it down. The twenty percent
it turned out all right, but man that that, like I, I have this weird
tendency, I think it's almost like my brain when I start writing a book. I think it's almost like my
rain needs to see where the limit is in the sea. Where the limit is. I have to go away past it in terms like
intellectual, deb fur complexity, and so I write myself way past it and then I just start chopping my way back until it becomes something coherent in readable,
yeah, but so I know you well enough to know that, like I wonder whether you've got two warring outcomes right so on a just a personal level, your complete and utter maven, like you will pick a topic of fascination and just dive, you will go
as you can possibly gal. He want to go to the point where, like there's literally nothing else that you can find near like to go into that because that's what's satisfying for your personal level right and then, as as a maker as a writer, the ideas like
Okay, so I'm the weirdo that likes to go there and I'm raising my hand also cause. They also have weird right, but I know that if I'm writing something for a popular audience, he like they're, not me yep, and they kind of just wanted to like give me the essence, and- and why do I care? No so there's this constant tension because you like you, can have a lot of fun, going down a rabbit hole for a long time, oh yeah, and if you could write and yell like your three book. Treatise you'd, probably kick outlet, but that's you have a different sort of like forward facing or consumer facing outcome. Yeah cause it's ultimately I want. I want to be bring people on that journey with me and so and a lot of senses. You know you have to kind of translate.
Some of these ideas down, then, that's not to say that you know people are stupid or whatever, but it's like you need to make them more digestible like more easily consumed so
his senses like you know, and it's funny cause. I I got this criticism a lot for solar. It's like well he's not saying anything new and I'm like well yeah, no shit who is yeah, I'm like no! It's you know most of my job as an authors is to just repackage things in in ways that are more impactful for people or reach. You know, maybe people that wouldn't otherwise be reached. That said this book
I took a conscious risk with this book. In that I took a risk that I I feel like our culture is getting more philosophical and there have been a number of of books and- and you know, tv series and stuff
have come out that have done very well that her way more,
actual then, I remember stuff being say like ten years ago, so I on this one I kind stuck my neck out.
Unlike our it, I'm gonna trust that you know
mass readership, we'll stick with me on some of these things, yeah and it's definitely two very different but
it's more and more new. Aren't it's more complex, yet more philosophical and in a different way, and your weaving together a lot of different theory, which is why, like their relationship till it wilbur rosalie the theory there
and came to me. I'd like your point from so many different domains, and so many different traditions to try, like fear had, is it all has overcome together?
in a way that teaches us hadn't in some way live and feel a little bit better. I wonder too, because I do agree with you. I think, and I I feel like we are more open for some reason to sort of like deeper dives. These days
wonder if part of what's driving, that is an elevated level of anxiety and suffering, or at least an elevated awareness of our anxiety and suffering these days. Absolutely. I also think- and I kind of made this- I think I briefly made this argument and subtle art. You know, I I think, when you have an abundance of stuff, when you have an infinite amount,
information, infinite amount of content you can consume. The leading question begins to be why why consume this? Why watch this thing? Why listen to this person that quickly takes you down kind of a philosophy?
spiral, so yeah, I think it's it's the more. The more abundant life gets, the more salient these, like very fundamental philosophical questions, become yeah and I think also the the more we feel the more tribalism enters our public consciousness separate. We feel from other people the more we start to ask lot of questions to let's dive into some of the ideas, as I want to deconstruct some of them and can take us loaded,
It's cause he kind of opened with this idea of the uncomfortable truth, which kind of laid out a bit yep, which is if, if everything's so good like, why do we feel the way we feel? To a certain extent?
pretty soon into the conversation yeah. You talk about your exploration of newton,
It's an emotion! It's a really interesting sort of reflection on, and I've heard this laid out in the context of buddhism. I've heard it laid out in the contact with Jonathan hates work in psychology.
the minot interpreted late, the rider and the elephant sort of described these. What what you would call the capital t thinking brain in the capital, f, feeling brain near tucked me a little bit about this sure
though that there is a lot of even going back to the greeks,
lot of models of like what are consciousness is in. Essentially they it kind boils down to theirs.
the unconscious part of ourselves, which is primarily ruled by
bosses and emotions and feelings, and then there's the conscious part of ourselves, which is ruled by our thoughts and in a rationality. So I call these you not just to simplify me
He thinks I just boy, I com, the thinking, brain the feeling brain and I talk. I cannot explain that
your two brains have a relationship with each other and there are not good at talking to each other. They speak different languages
and essentially what what we
your answer say like self discipline is where
two brains are very aligned. What we experiences, tat procrastination, laziness or mean our failure to to follow through on our commitments,
is in all our feeling brains going this way in our thinking brains going that way. So it's a lot of what we think of. As growth or understanding ourselves are finding ourselves in whatever kind of cliche
throughout their. I simply argue that it's it's about training, your two brains to communicate, better, treat
training, you're thinking, brain to listen to your emotions, the process them create helpful, meaning around them
and then also training yourself. Your emotional you're feeling brain too
emotionally- react your thoughts, and so you gonna get this you'll get this like nice dialogue going between the two and when you bring
down that dialogue when one brain doesn't listen to the other. That's when dysfunction starts
yeah. But you also- and I agree with this-
a? U laid out. Those two brains are modes they're, not equal and no strength and that in the hague,
yeah yeah I mean that's where it really get started, gets very yeah, so
the analogy I uses is it's like imagine. Your consciousness is a car, and in a most
let us assume that I call this the classic assumption, which is that our thinking brain is driving the car and are
the brain is like this really good allowed. Obnoxious kid in the passenger, see he's like screaming and pointing that stuff out the window, and you know, and to be a good, strong discipline person you have to like tell your feeling brain the shut. The hell up. You know,
what's driving, you don't leave us alone, but the truth is and in others, psychological literatures bears this out over and over again that the feeling brain is driving and
the feeling brains all but of a maniac. Fifty ignore sites like road signs and
we'll drive over the media and in its really
and keen brain is the the navigator in the passenger seat so than the thinking the only power the thinking brain actually has is he gets the draw the map, and so in a what ends up happening. A lot of times is at peace.
Will either try to suppress their emotions and block out their emotions and and just delude themselves into believing that they're driving you know, I think Daniel kahneman. The psychologist has this wonderful quote where he says that he calls them system one and system two, but they're. Basically, the same thing
he says that are that essentially the the thinking brain is a supporting role, who has convince themselves that there, the star of the movie our thinking brain, is, is like things very highly of itself, thinks that its it has way more power and control.
It actually does. A really its role in our consciousness is
listen to our emotions and then draw effective maps based on those emotions. And if you don't listen to your motions, you can't do that
Or if you delude yourself in the thinking that your emotions have no power than you can't do that either and almost eighty there thinking rain has
learn to speak the language of the emotional brain, the article
emotional brain on board, with what the thinking brain wants
I would come to me because, based on the assumption that the near like the feeling brain is always going to enter the air,
The idea is a. How do we like had that conversation with that part of our brain?
He now in order to sir like make get all parts to come on board so that were certainly we had the uniform outcome that we want at the end of the day, which has been a lot of times. I think you know the goal of
other things is this what you described as I at the illusion of self control, which is often frame as we too functionally tab?
downer or get rid of that emotional
impulsive side he laid the goal of being an adult,
and again having horse. You know his self control
which is essentially yet we eliminate the influence of the impulse.
if the emotional side of ourselves, rather than understanding that she has a fierce amount of power and like he can't because she can't be- you can't get rid of it and maybe more importantly, we don't want to because it plays a really important role in making good decision. Yeah, absolutely
we I talk about it in a kind of bringing the two brains into alignment, is thinking of it in terms like bargaining with yourself, like you know, almost kind of bribing yourself in only one. The examples I give is, if I get up in the morning,
and in I need to go to the gym. But I really don't want to know how can I say to myself like alright, though
The idea of going to the gym and doing like a full workout sounds really intimidating and my feeling brain is like trying to find any exit it can to like prevent me from doing that. You know I'll sit there and be like okay. What if we just go?
walk on a treadmill and then what you'll notice is that your body, like your emotions, will change. You know suddenly that intimidation that stress that, like that feeling of self loathing, like all that disappears, it's like well a treadmill is not so bad. I think I could do a treadmill. You know, like
and then you don't you get out badly, but issues
when you go and you start walking on the treadmill and you're like well. Damn I'm here might as well pick up something heavy.
I do the push up just one yeah just do one to one hour: hey while you're down there is one to one. So it's almost it's almost yeah, it's a it's a bing somebody, it's like bing, like a corrupt official or something like you kind of just have to like go,
you're a moat, the emotional side of yourself into doing some of these things, but it ultimately like that kind of those
things they they eventually the habits and an innate, they form the foundation like what you would call you.
relationship with yourself. You talk about I what started out as a what was it two thousand page chapter on newton and emotions? Distilled are, thankfully,
yeah, but I think you're lucky and it's interesting cause. You sound like you, create these, like the three three laws of emotion, three emotional loss. Yup talk a little bit about that shirt, so you know I've always had this fascination with newton. I've always wanted to write something about
and cause I mean. Obviously he was easily one of the smartest guys ever, but on top of that, like he was, if you, if you read about his life like he wishes
angry miserable, like like malicious person,
and he also had a really screwed up childhood and upbringing. So I always thought that was so interesting that, like he could be like a really cool kind of example, of, like you know how trauma messes us up and
All that is why, sir, I saw writing something around that and then I, what I wanted to do is basically.
I wanted to. I wanted to have a chapter that explained like what the mechanics of the feeling brain are like how how does the feeling brain process experience and you know, generate it's decisions and behaviors and stuff from that? And essentially it's it's the operating system and the feeling brain is his values. It's it's our value hierarchy.
It's our perception of like what's better or worse than something else, and so, as I'm writing this thing, I'm like wow, like I start coming coming up with these principles of like where our values come from. So it's you know, every every action creates an equal and opposite emotional reaction. You know so it's like
I that happens to us. We will respond emotionally in proportion to. I guess the intensity of that experience. Ass, a man that sounds like noons law,
It really sounds like newton's law of motion, and so I kind of started playing with it, and I found a way to do. You know Newton's three laws of emotion, but basically they're they're, just
explanations of how our experiences generate our emotions, and then our emotions generate our values and our values generate our identity. It's basically, it's like up the aid, a be
yeah I experienced to emotion to value to identity was interesting.
is that in a way that sort of says that, in order to to fully develop your emotions and then your values and your identity, you have to embrace a life of experiences. Absolutely you know, and but I think so much of especially the early life in this country is built in no small part
sheltering protection absolutely and its in its your robbing young people that opportunity to develop an identity, because if they haven't gone through a lot of those, you know
as an experienced as love those painful experiences in seen that they, those experiences, don't necessarily
mean the end of the world, you know it makes them more resilient in the long run that they actually grow.
I think that the analogy I used is that our identity is like this ball of yarn, and every string is kind of like an experience that happens in the meaning that we create from that experience in, as we accumulate more experiences that ball just keep.
Rolling and rolling and getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and the experiences in the middle are like art. You know the earliest ones, and but it's if
the ball is really small and in an experience you know a really difficult. Experience happens to you like you, just getting it knocked knocked around very easily, but if you ve accumulated a ton of those experiences and have all that, meaning that you ve built over the course of your life anything p.
throw fry. You like it's, not gonna, knock. You off course as easily, and so one were when we're sheltered when were protected from allow these early life experiences that I can
well intentioned parents, see as like painful in like
I want Jimmy or susie to get her it's like, while they they need to get hurt now, because it's better that they in our skin there need than like they become a drug act or whatever like it's. You need. You need to get those failures in early so that the child can learn and and develop in and become more result,
later in life there and better better to do it at a time where it sort of like you can serve like keep a watchful eye. The end, the state,
a lot lower. Oh yeah, you know before. Actually, somebody has the keys to the car before you're like this and yeah like okay, so the smaller stumbles, because I think those lessons apply like and and the resilience
we d like when we're really young continues on edward,
especially like when you're younger you're, just going to eat you're getting kind of have those anyway. I remember a couple years ago talking to em and adolescent psychiatrist or psychologist
and the shell and easiest phrase is like out that all the research as clear as day now is set to twenty five years old, you're, all gas and no break
You think it's it's not about willpower about his literally about brain physiology, nor in the frontal barbie rain that really help.
to you like your egg,
exert some level of whatever it may be it just its. It is not form that level where it and effective break for this, just mad bundle of impulse that drives you,
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and that you can drop into from this exploration of emotional values and identity as the role of religion, which is fascinating yeah. You have a lot to say about religion and you kind of layout. You know this superstructure for religion that I found was really fascinating. Can you walk walk us through that? Little bit sure so I mean first of all, it's hard to write a book about hope without writing about religion and in it's it was a topic I was nervous to go into, but it soon was clear that it would, it would be inevitable. My argument is that, basically we all need values. We all need to value something
that that was kind of the big argument and subtle art, you know it's, we all have to value something something needs to be important in our life, but to value something to decide that something matters. Something important something gives us hope requires some degree of faith like you can't it's the old. I think they call it Hume's guillotine in philosophy. It's like you, can't derive a value facts from values and vice versa, like you can't
You can you can studies much physics as you want, but there's
nothing saying that veto?
one thing is morally better than another. There's no proof for that. Ultimately, it comes down to human emotion, so
all believe in our values based on some degree of faith, and so my argument is that it, if you kind of let go of the traditional definition of religion, that it's it's bout, believing in some supernatural existence and you simply define religion as in terms of what people have faith in
we're all religious and it what's. Interesting too, is that if you look at the societal data like what's been going on the last few decades, you know a lot fewer people are going to church than they used to and and the nuns yeah
it's late. You people way less religious in terms of just like church attendance and yeah beliefs and bear light. That's not nuns light, devotional nonsense! Nuns, as in
nonbelievers, oh okay, it was complete and you and the research like classifies them as like the n, o n yeah yeah yeah. I know Annie's nuns and their non participants, yes, religion, yes, but what I find fascinating too, that we're starting to see a lot
camp religious behaviour around politics or on businesses, brands, corporate
and so, if you look at my apple or nike, or something like that, sports teams celebrity culture. So I think people are still religious issues that Dave change their faith and change that what they worship, and so I can redefine religion and
the term. It's it's. It's not do you believe in a god, yes or no it's. What do you have faith in? What do you have faith is, is provides the universe, value and meaning, and in that sense we all need to be religious.
And what happens is as soon as you have faith in something you have to defend our faith and when you defend that faith
You naturally create like an us forces them dichotomy in your mind, and so it actually turns into a very depressing chapter.
is it is kind of like we we're trapped like this is part of our machinery as as humans like this. This need for for faith.
Something to be meaningful and then the need to protect that sense of meaning tat. I may I was ever so fast name for me to read.
Cause you basically deconstructed like these are the elements of the way than on defining a religion these days. I guess there's this. There's this there's just as you and through that I spent a couple of years ago. I spent a whole bunch of time, deconstructing the dynamics of nonviolent political revolution and cults young men
churches and realize it was all the same framework year saw the same exact thing, because it is fundamentally built around human need for affiliation for belief for belonging. So as your walking through, like the elements are religion, unlike up jack jack, jack jack and you can map them across nearly any domain, whether its daily business, whether whenever it is- and I know you reference- light
in the book, and we both kind of geeked out on Robert Putnam's writing bowling alone, where you really look at. What's happened over the last generation really in this country, which is at work near we're, physiologically hardwired to have to belong to something, and yet the sort of constructive, arguably constructive ways that we would belong in the past or kennesaw crumbling and falling away, so we're finding that sense of faith belonging religion in all these new places there, but they also like, like he said
now the minute you step into a culture and values set and a belief in a symbolic act in a language and some form of deity and teacher and later you know, there's always there. There are those who believe, and there the non believers and then there's almost always, notably a judgement about the non believers and there's a better, then
tat. The thing that happens fascinating is: is it possible not to participate in that? I don't think so. The last chapter in part, one of the book is aptly called hope, is what
because it basically in I make the argument that, to maintain hope,
feel some sense of value and meaning in your life. You.
To essentially reject something you need to find some conflict somewhere, something worth defending, and that is ultimately leads
some sort of destructiveness to there's that that's option a or option b is you can just decide that everything's meaningless employers take the nihilist yeah, which that's not
enticing he's hurt. This book were left in this awful awful choice between just absolute despair and nihilism or or religious war. On some some level. You know it doesn't necessarily have to be like gian or wherever
it's your faith in that something matters and then a lifetime of defending that from what you perceive as people threatening that faith that sucks
that really really saxon. So you know my my
You men are my solution. Can it going in part two of the book is that you know if we're gonna be stuck in this mental game, we need to at least.
at a be aware that were playing it, which I think most people aren't and be.
We need to find some sort of some principles that we can rely upon that are outside of you. No experience base values, some sort of principle of like ethical principle or approach to life or behaviors, and that's what at that basic leads in the part to the book. What my proposal, by how we should try to be
The sound like we're looking at each other, like it's kind of funny, because the first part of the book is sort of like it's called hope
and essentially leaves you completely the moral. There is no hope for humanity and then the second part of the book, as you know like this or like the everything, is fucked partners. Oh no,
There is an interesting, maybe path through here and let me stay.
then to that
and right away, your kind of late, like he made the point I told you so step one is, can be grown up there. They are absolutely and it's it's the way. I define adulthood, it's based on a lot of developmental psychology, but it also like imo. I'm a big con fund fan boy.
like a manual can't fat and in its interests, namely, ironically I'd. I kind of went through my own little period of nihilism a couple years ago and I found caught in the middle of that and he was strangely, the one who's gonna give me hope, but basic, basically comics. This argument that, like look for anything to be a vote,
for you. It needs to be valuable, regardless of who's experience in it. Where it's being experienced, you know for something to be right or wrong. It can't be contextual, contextual eyes that can't be like if it's, if honesty is valuable
then it must be valuable. Whether you're, honest I'm honest, you know the pope is honest, like
the matter. What does it matter what's going on, and so that at least gives us like some firm ground the standard
You know this as essentially my interpretation of that is that can't say that, like for anything, if we're gonna have any sort of like universal principle, it can't be based on any individuals form of faith and so that the principle that I took from caught that that, like I guess, gave me a lot- gave me a direction
You know in a post hope life, as I call it. You are so about to say, give me how do I do. I am catching myself so many times in interviews that I'm like. I can't say that, but yeah, not canada, but you know what's funny, so it's funny cause everytime. I I do this. I say hope I'll, take it
I hope, or it gives me hope, and then I correct myself, whatever a correct myself with
sounds so much better and like more like evolved, volley and sturdy, so I guess so what counts, as he says that that essential
essentially of a universal eyes principle can be to never treat
human merely as a means, but always as an end, so
in any sort of whatever your action is whatever you're motivation is whatever impulses you never you.
Use another person as a means to achieve some other end, and then I go on to describe like you know how that that explains basic things like stealing, like I steal from you, I'm using you as a means to like get this other thing
if I kill you, I'm using you as a means to fulfil some other thing. It's basically, that principle is basically the entire religion. You don't like it's it's based,
and there is no greater value than consciousness itself in solemn put anything above consciousness. The put you know
whether its belief in some supernatural deity, whether at some political idea,
oh, whether it's you know your favorites,
team or turf warfare, g
political argument over like you know who
once this river nothing should ever be put above the sanctity of protecting human consciousness, and so I found that super
inspiring its essentially like the only thing that we can honestly say is objectively valuable is the thing that creates value itself consciousness, which is consciousness there too. That's the formula of him out here. I she wrote this down cause. I was I this is it I just kept thinking about. It
act that use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time
as an end. Never as a means I mean fundamentally its- I gotta think the did the argument only fat is,
We are the only beings that actually has a single consciousness. Maybe there's an argument there, also, but sure one of the things that really differentiates us from other things
is that we do have this thing that allows us some level of being able to look down on ourselves and observe like our thoughts,
exert some sort of agency over how we focus our intentions and
create a reality. Yes, but fundamentally I mean the notion that you know the minute you use another person in any
shape or form as a way to get to some other thing or person or place that you
not only remove their dignity,
essentially you strip yourself of your own dignity. Absolute, your own sense of of fulfilment, satisfied,
and then living any semblance of a good life, but and yet that is how so many people not only live but are taught to live near. You like the idea of networking right now. He like networking is taught as a means to an end. He only go
I would and I go to this function. Your sole job in this function is to like meet twenty by people. Who can get you something yup right?
rather than what, if you just showed up and like yours,
sole goal was to meet and exhort lake. In the moment,
conversation around these twenty five human beings they're here just unconditionally help people
and just understand that you know it's helping. People is good for both of you and there doesn't need to be any expectation of like
something in return, which is a very brief way of being the first to hear yeah move in what this is, what I'll love so much about
cons principle is. Is that when I really started thinking about it diving into it, I realise that italy, this is the basis,
while the major religions to you know it's it's christ, you know turn the other cheek and, and it's buddhist like you know, do no harm and, and it it really is like the the fundamental principle that
It kind of underlies every ancient understanding of morality and yet the trappings that we then build around. That exactly is where everything starts to fall apart. Yes, and it's in the the argument I make too is that it is, there's no need to hope for anything with the formula of humanity like a it's. I don't need to there's nothing to hope for
it's it's action based, you know, so it's you all you have to do is simply make the right decision in every moment it the it's. Not it's, not a morality based on the future, that's contingent on certain things happening today. It's always available to you can always treat yourself as an answer, not as a means you're going to always treat another person as an ends, not as a means. There's. No, you don't need the right church. You don't need the right clothes. You don't need to like have the right book next to you like it's just it's always there for you rent, so the fundamental difference and is under your definition, a religion is about. If I buy into the set of Beliefs- and I behave this way- it will eventually deliver me into this state. Yes,
whereas you're saying, if you let go of that, and you just assume that this is it yeah, you know and fundamentally you're not using this set of beliefs or set of behaviors as a means to get to this. Yes, exactly
you're, just saying like okay, so let me just be whenever this stated
Then I aspire to now and as much as I can possibly embody it. It gives you the freedom to give up the hope that your someday get there yes and just would cause hope, is fundamentally transactional. What hope is at the end of the day is, if I do x Y
see my life would be better. If I do a b c, the world will be better and while that provides us a lot of sense of meaning and a lot of motivation and also leads us into destruction, the necessity for conflict, whereas the formula of humanity is just simply, you know there is no transaction. You just treat
you are always the end. Some other person is always the end and there's only this moment the decisions you are making in this moment. So it's a weird fusion of buddhism. You know cant was never aware of buddhism, but I definitely found a lot of resonance between the principles and it yeah. It just hit me like a like a rock in the face,
read it whenever
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home finance, is certainly not a walk in the park. Raising kids, it's a lot then there's
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I mean there's an interesting relationship too, between pain, abandoning hope and present tense, satisfaction, joy- and you know I I've talked about this and and shown the pass any we've talked about it also. So I have I have tinnitus so that it sounded my head. Twenty four seven, it's been that way since twenty ten in the first couple of years it was, I was one of the people who does not deal with it:
My brain could not let it go and consumed me, and it took me to really dark place, and there was a moment. Wearily I got into a basically
created my own modified, might on this slash exporter, therapies, slash proteome breeding practice, which allow me
retrain my brain to be ok, but I
I didn't really allow myself to go there until there's. Actually it was a line from buddhism. The kind of freed me because there's a tenant in buddhism that translates roughly to abandon hope
yeah, and I I knew I was always like nah that sucks like that. How can that be a good thing? And I got to a point where I was like okay, so I'm waking up in the morning I'm suffering brutally when we'd, even like wake up, because a lot of hunter wasn't sleeping and every moment of every day was hoping that the next day would be different, hoping to find a cure, hoping to find a solution and everything I had
invested in getting to that place, and the big change for me was when I woke up in the morning- and I said ok what if this is me for life right? What if I literally and an that's when the buddhist tenant, my party had been out what what, if it doesn't actually mean you're Screw you earlier live in suffering forever, but except the fact that this is what it is like. Your current state is what it is
if you just accept that, how might you live differently? How might you process your environment and circumstance behave differently to be as at peace, as you can be in the moment, rather than spending every moment of every waking hour, hoping and praying that things will someday be different and that started freeing up a whole bunch of my bandwidths okay? What would I do differently he'll like, and that started me building practices that just said? How can they get
couple with my state of being a cemetery of the change their hand. It just be whether everything changed and like a really major way like the drilling that were hearing,
the background arrow. How can we awakened speak with the fact that you abandoned hope that idols he no sexual using because
ties in with this idea of pain too, which is sort of like your conversation wraps around too as well yeah, it's a pain was one of the focal points of subtle art and I think, towards the end of this book. I took that theme and I just went way deeper into it and subtle art. I said you know, don't avoid pain, but
in this book. I went even further and I said you know it: it's not even it's not even about just not avoiding pain. It's that your pain actually determines. What were you find value in your life like where, where you find importance, because, essentially anything you you get without Sarah,
and you just take for granted in you don't perceive. It has been valuable. So it's it's only the things that you feel as though you ve struggle for that actually represent some sort of value, meaning in your life and theirs of a number of flight, psychological studies and bought a data and stuff that that suggests that the more comfortable people get the safer people get them
absence the absent or threats around them, the more difficulty they have. I guess it, the more
If they get the more, they seem to invent problems for themselves, and so it's it's it's not even just you know, don't avoid suffering or don't avoid struggle. It's like dive into the struggle, because that's actually, where the sense of purpose comes from.
the ways that our culture has kind of been led astray. A little bit is: is this idea of I'm pretty critical of the idea of the pursuit of happiness,
for one. I think it's a culture. We, we ve confused happiness with pleasure in comfort, but to its its if you're happiness is the by product of pursuing the right struggles. The right challenges, if you get the challenge, is right. If you take on the appropriate pain that you that is worth something, then the value that created from that pain well,
I need you to have a happy life that makes sense yeah. No, I'm totally on board with you there and also completely on board, with the notion that you know pain is it is it's. The investment is the sacrifice it's to his earnest and the suffering that goes along with aspiring towards almost anything or being a certain way that imbues it with value,
you know somebody just handed you nearly everything you ever wanted use like done yet for a hot minute. You really awesome.
Yeah, maybe for a month or two yeah, you know, and then after that you'd be like well, okay, I don't actually feel the way. I thought I would feel his research around this and it's it's the fact that we sweat and bled and toiled to actually make it happen, but doesn't that also imply a process of work driven to a certain extent by hope? I think it depends how you frame it for yourself. You know, so I think you can. You can take on challenges
while not been motivated by hope. You know that you can take on because it's again coming back to the formula of humanity it's humans are messy. Relationships are difficult. You know love
Somebody is often painful, often difficult new sacrificing for somebody, and so I think that is what I would call classifies like a health.
Pain, is taking on some sort of sacrifice for the benefit of other people or the benefit of yourself. I think where we get in trouble is when it's like. We take on some sort of sacrifice for some ideology, or some ito invented faith based thing yet
If you can't get away from you, you can't get away from it, but you do it doesn't need to. You know, I think of it. It's kind of like it's like the drill like it has to happen like we can't control it, but we don't have to let it we don't have to let it be the basis of our decisions and our actions,
they're all by that there, because I do think certain of the elements of religion with their ideological spiritual
consumer whatever it is there
certain human needs which are constructed and which are a cake which we need status and You'Ll- have to get satisfied in some way. Even if it's not from that. Yes, you know that need to belong. We
we need it. Oh yeah, I mean all the researchers, we don't have it, we literally die yeah, and yet we can find them and also have our own principled internal set up more universal beliefs and values you like we can. We can do that and at the same time, like really invest ourselves in living the formula for humanity
in it's you know, I would think of it. I would think of hope in a similar ways as love you know, so there are healthy forms of love and there are very unhealthy forms of love and,
You can also in a win your young and maybe a little bit naive when you lie.
if somebody or you fall in love with somebody. You think that it just things have to be that way like it's like. Oh, I can't help. I can't help it that I drove across three.
dayton walker up at three in the morning. I love her. You know it's but then
get older and you realize you're like okay, just because I feel this thing just because I perceive this thing doesn't mean it needs to be the basis for my actions, and I, I think hopes kind of the same thing. You know I I don't think we can escape. You know kind of our of faith based really
type belief system. You know and, like you said it brings that there is a lot of benefits to it like it brings us a sense of community. It brings us a sense of purpose, but I also think that there just needs to be an awareness of like
Ok, this is my brain playing a game, and you know it feels good in it
I need some degree of it to be healthy, but my when it comes to like the important actions in my life, I will I'm going to make those decisions based on some higher principle than just you know, whatever, wherever my hope lies,
yeah and also doesn't mean. I think, a lot of people move into whatever their expression of religion is because they're in a moment in their lives where they really don't want to have to think anymore. Yes, and, and
no judgement they're like yeah, maybe in a dark window where you just want to know what are the rules and what are the answers and what are the weights that I behave, that's appropriate you know, and and when you do, that very often lie part of the contract that you make. When you step into that,
You turn off your own internal sense of discernment. Yeah yeah, I think,
imitation is he like explore this year? Let me get get the beautiful part of it at the same time, keep your own internal discernment engine
one yup, you know and understand and question the values and beliefs and find that said that, like works for you, one come full circle with you. The last chapter of your book, like totally, took me off the
and I'm not I'm actually not going to get people just need to read and not even get into the bad old spoil. You're not gonna talk about it, but I did not see it coming
Oh so, regular
yeah. So it is fascinating. Really provocative made me think, so you guys you can have to read it on your own, but I do want to come full circle and and come back to the same question that I always ask the animated conversation cause it's. You know you and I have talked over the years, but it's now worth three years now, since we've been in the studio together. So if I ask you that question today, what it means to you to live a good life, what comes up? Oh boy? It's probably. This is probably just pop into my mind because it's very salient we just spent thirty minutes talking about it, but you know it's it's. I would say
some permutation of the formula of humanity, and it's it's really interesting because its. I think there were a lot of unhealthy things in my own life
You know, I think some of us are better at treating other people as ends and not ourselves, and you know so. We do unhealthy things
to our weak. We damage ourselves, but we like our very good with others, and I think some people the opposite, the very good with themselves and they they hurt others. I had a lot of money.
See things in my relationship with myself that that discovering that can help me shake out of my life so under the sailor
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.