Sebastian Junger is the author of The Perfect Storm, War, and Tribe. He also is the co-director of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Restrepo." His latest documentary "Hell On Earth" can been seen on NatGeo on June 11.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
The job will gain experience are life What's up man who I am pretty good, my excited I walked in on a pool game. I barely squeaked it out, That is a very nice shot to ended, though, as would end, it So why I've been reading your book? Man, tribe, a really enjoy it, it's really good at it. It's so resonates. It's very interesting. I will into the first chapter I wanted to move in with the native Americans. It was that I mean It was one of more interesting aspects of it was something that I didn't know about it was the european settlers that had been kidnapped. And were living with the native Americans and then when they were rescued. Many of wanting to go back
yeah or they would go into hiding, so they wouldn't have to be repatriated to colonial society. They want to stay with her adopted tribes and there in there was also a lot of a lot of young white P. Oh pretty white men were young women too, who basically abscond. Did across the frontier into travel society. They they fled white society, they didn't like it and and as Benjamin Franklin Point, it out. We have lots of current Calot, yet lungful young colonials. Clinging to the Indians and we have not one example of an Indian as they were called fleeing to white society. Yeah. That was one of the more fascinating aspects of it. I didn't anticipate that I thought it would be. A lot of native American said be like, while this is a way better look at all the food look at all the houses- and I mean there are plenty of the Arab, wherever there are six out of success, very successful society involved there with a better nutrition than the rights that more varied diet and much much more egalitarian society than
audio society. That was also interesting about it. When we were talking about the women, that had moved in with the native Americans and were expressing how much more freedom they experienced. Yet I mean the indian Society Native society wasn't crushed by christian morality, so you could divorce. You could marries a woman you can marry whom you wanted. You could get divorced, you can do whatever you want. It was very, very, Terry. What they ve shown is that the in societies where everyone is necessary for food, protect food production, everyone's more or less equal. And in a agrarian societies, agricultural societies, industrial societies. Of large segment of the population, often women who are not involved in food production and involve the real. Reduction, and so there is equality, goes down. Wow, it's. It's almost like.
Society, as we ve created over the last couple hundred years is almost totally incompatible with. With human genetics or with human body or the human spirit or whatever. Well, if you look at me, genetics complicated and obviously, on some level, industrial, smarter societies where success, we have seven billion of us bite as wealth goes up in a society of modernity, goes up in a society. The suicide rate goes up, the depression rate goes up. Schizophrenia goes up in urban environments, they're, not for the human psyche. We are design, we evolved laving groups of thirty forty people in harsh environment totally into reliant on one another for survival. Are that create a huge amount of equality within a group and loyalty within group, that's what we are designed for genetically modern society allows individual to be independent from the group, which is in some ways a great liberation and other way
It can lead to a profound alienation and depression. Yeah I'd say it. These two very confusing thing. It seems for people to be so many people, but to be alone yeah. I mean we're not wired to be confirmed with strangers all day long in either the New York City and I love New York City by all day long. You you encounter strangers, and you don't in your recognise anybody. So you can be alone in a crowd, which is not something that human beings have experienced until quite recently in their history yeah. That was I, one of the more disturbing parts about this idea that these people were killed by the native Americans and wanted to stay with them. Was that what ever that native american life was like. However, they were living that just seen. To just resonate with them. It seem to it seem to be what was right well,
we're we're wired to want to feel like. We belong to a group native can society was sexually quite relaxed? I was quite egalitarian. In a hunter gatherer society. You really can't accumulate well very well, because these societies are often nomadic, so you can only accumulators much while others you can carry which isn't much and in ultimately in societies like that as in tune in combat, which is another part. My book, obviously urea you're, primarily value valued for your contribution to the group and that has been lost in modern society. People are enormously self serving capitalism. Basically, instructs us to do so that's a whole other evolutionary imperative, which is also important, but in our societies way out of wax. So we are wired to. Serve ourselves and we are wired to serve the group and in a healthy society. Those to those two
in a dynamic tension with each other and in ballots in modern society. They were. There really is no group to serve leads to a really profound sense of meaningless. As for a lot of people yeah? I also found pray fastening that when you are really young, you, when you when you were working. I thank you for your work and construction, so it was I'm DR dry motives or your buddy, you you were talking to. Oh, you were just saying that you were, talking to someone you work with whether they were telling slow down, because some of this summer's have to do this for a lifetime about every hope that story yeah yeah, I was articles, Jim grew was a highly department of my town and need a lot of these guys. We're gonna lifers anyhow department, not a particularly challenging job in a sense, but you are on your feet all day, long in the sun or whatever, and- and so I was young- I it in. I wondered sir prove my men
or whatever I was. I was weirding an attraction of thing like crazy and I and an older guy came up to me. He ice pollyanna sixties came of including this always had son. I want to slow down there. You some of us are gonna, have to do the job, our whole lives, and he knew I was a college get he knew. I wasn't going to write. As I said, just slow down data yet no needs to work as fast. It is tat. It was really interesting that you were longing for something you were saying like almost to go wrong, so everybody had a band together where there was a hurricane or something and that that mundane life of just work, doing things you don't really want to do I mean the irony about modern society is that is removed, hardship and danger from everyday life and its in the face of hardship and danger that people come
understand their value to their society and theirs and they get their sense of meaning from that, and so what you have as winter. You know during the bullets in London, for example, thirty thousand people were killed by german bombs, it with a harsh blow over the course of six months. It was ghastly, but people are sleeping shoulder to shoulder in the tube stations and putting out fires of bucket brigades and digging people out a rebel and and were acting as a unified society, and the english government was prepared for mass psychiatric casualties because, as a civilian population, getting bomb debates and the opposite happened, admissions to psych words went down during the bullets and then back up after the bombing stop and and then afterwards it was it enormous nostalgia in England for the bullets for those days as tragic as they were, because english society felt people felt like they were together later, I was
went back to Sarajevo were I'd been during the siege of Sarajevo, an early ninetys and civilians. I would tell me yes, twenty years later, twenty years after the war, we would say you know we are all of us miss the war, because we were better people back them took care of each other. I've talked about that with September eleventh, I went to New York City about just was maybe six months after September eleventh- and I was there a couple times and the the Before September, eleventh and after September, eleven there was a very clear difference in the way people are behaving. People seem to be more more friendly. More open. They were really appreciative of first responders. I was there once in a friend of mine, she fainted, and so they called the fire department, came to check her out and and the fireman showed up man, you would think for consumers, Euro showed up. It was amazing everybody was so happy to see him and
in stark contrast to the way people used to behave and treat each other, and it was directly because of having experienced this horrific events. Well, adversity produces pro social behaviors and people. Ebay adversely makes people act well. The lack of adversity, safe, in comfort: allow people to act selfishly so, after nine eleven, the suicide rate when down in New York, the violent crime rate went down in your Vietnam, bats reported that their PTSD symptoms went down after nine eleven. What happens? Is people suddenly feel that their needed by their society by their people, and if you feel needed, you are to ignore your own personal troubles as one someone in England and inefficient English official said during the bullets in London, he said it's amazing. We have the chronic neurotics of peacetime, driving ambulances
and if you think about in terms of evolution, if adversity endanger produced bad human behaviors, we wouldn't be here today another way say that is where the descendants of the individuals hundred thousand years ago, who acted well in a crisis, the people that acted badly to crisis in just two are themselves and in take care of their people, their group, those those people. Those groups died out its people, its groups that encourage a form of all tourism is of self sacrifice of individuals for the group during a crisis, those groups or by that that DNA is passed on to us, and did you gain a deep appreciation for this because of your time as a war journalists? Did it sort of manifest itself in your mind, because of that, why I, this bill came to me in to sir to step process. I first of all when I was young man, I had us her surrogate uncle figure in my life very important person, Unmeaning Ellis Ellis subtle. He was half Lakota Us Sue, half a pound,
and he was born in eighteen, twenty nine on a wagon out west. It live in extraordinary life, he was very, very educated, self educated at one point he said to me: you know it's so funny, throughout the history of this country, why people are always run off the join Indians and the Indians never adopted on the white people, and I feel that it my mind I kind of like the idea of it. I thought it was. My hope. Do is true. Enough was true, and then Decades later, I was with american soldiers on a remote outposts in Afghanistan and converse trouble, and I made a documentary film by that name with my colleague, Tom Hetherington. There was almost daily combat was no no linked to the outside world. No internet. There is no electricity for a while, they just slept in the dirt. They got shot at every day. We got shouted every day are there is not one there, there was nothing but Combat Inter Angela's and palates water and memories and ammo. That was it
for a year those boys rather for over a year, and they were very sight to come back to ITALY where their based at the end of their deployment and can imagine at some pretty good parties plan. But after that died down I real depression set in and by the time I got caught up with him again. In agenda and interviewed them. Many of them said that they want to go. They want to go back to America, they want to go back out to restructure It reminded me of what else had said, and I thought: what is it that's? Why is it that no one wants to come home What is it and I realized it's not that they will they want war? They did not sociopaths didn't like that. They don't want be other killing people in getting shot at. They missed each other. They missed the intense communal ism of life in a platoon on it on a remote hilltop. In combat and an that's in industry, and it struck me. I study Anthropology in college, only Guide, platoon and combat effectively reproduces our human evolution. Right I mean we evolved, the living
of that size and in a harsh environment. That's that's what a platoon is, and so, of course it resonated with resonated genetically with them and I gotta say, is tough, whose, as it was out There was a weird, also a weird, quite won a quota euphoria, but it s strange sense of well being out there that I missed enormously. When I left as well, you messed it oh enormous yes did you try to rationalize it? Did you try to? When did you sit alone with it and try to figure out what it was or did you just accept it I mean you know I recovery worse as the early ninetys I started going Afghanistan in the mid nineties. I came back from from Restrepo We were in a lot of combat. I almost almost killed a couple times, so I had some sort of trauma issues I mean everybody did my marriage are to fall apart that was not coincidental. By the way. I now realise that the timing was significant. It took me
I understand, and I second were real depression and it took me a while to understand my depression was partly connected to the fact that I was no longer part of a group and an ever took a law time for me to figure that out, while I was experiencing all that I just felt like I was in some kind of that I was behind bullet Bulletproof Plexiglas and I was inside and everyone I cared about was on the other side of the Black Sea glass. I couldn't reach them that there were somehow inaccessible to me. I couldn't hear them, I couldn't touch them. I was alone in this plexiglas cage as what its are felt like. I was it incredibly depressed and then to my good friend and brother and colleagues I made restructure with he was killed in combat Libya, and that was the final blow me that I really crashed. My marriage ended up and I was a real mess for a while.
How'd, you pull out, I you know I mean I just had a year or so in the wilderness. I think psychologically and trot you know. Humans are evolved, obviously to deal with Roma mean eventually trauma was incapacitating. Two people for years or lifetimes we wouldn't exist right. I mean R, r r history as a species involved, a huge amount of trauma so, we are designed to react to trauma by protecting ourselves emotionally and physically for certain amount of time for some weeks or months, maybe a year or two, and then Slowly come out of it and continue functioning. That's exactly what happened to me. What he did did you get something out of it. I mean, obviously it's a terrible experience to be depressed for that long to go through all that, but did you get some sort of an understanding of yourself out of it, the absolutely
aye aye, some ways I mean I've made by my marriage ended. I buy out of my home. I was living in a very short threadbare existence for a while. I sort of gave up everything that it made me feel safe and protected in the world of environmentally no, I just want to happen. There are financially emotionally. I wasn't doing. I wasn't working as a rapporteur for awhile. Oh I'd, stop or reporting after tomb guy killed, and I just answer to hit the reset button or myself as a person and and and I sort of em what, when I came back from that. I, like the things I added to my life were very solid. Were vote were very, very good things and my sword started from zero again and that really kind of worked and and I also study them and I didn't have a drinking problem, but I but I stopped drinking stuttering, alcohol and that the door
the alcohol, Mme Remit, drinking alcohol made me feel good right. Am I really happy drunk and when I was to press for four on two reasons. If I drank I feel great, and so there is a real incentive to do that I realise that there is depriving me of experiencing my actual life. Like my actual if was filled with some very tough things at the moment, and if you were self medicate your way through them, you actually those things are taken from you. It's your life, your Andrew life you're going through in and they were taken. I realize I my I might lie The experience of these things- and you know my ex wife and I are like quite friends now and so partly because I decided to try and experience the loss of the marriage as directly as possible, and that involves drinking. Did you ever during this time of depression? Did you consider, or did you take any antidepressants or not just likewise? Like I mean I, I was seo shock into some. Professional about. I felt because I knows a word about myself but, as I said to her,
I said you know I was on antidepressants. It might allow. We do accept it might make made me feel good enough to accept a life that isn't really working very well. That's as a person was not depressed it's very it's a slippery argument for me I am just an outside observer, and when I talk to people that our depress and always wonder, I count much of what you are doing is life circumstances? How much is actual some court of mental imbalance and sort of chemical imbalance. Are you just are unfortunately born with me. And nodded and not a shrink. Obviously there are people that encounter their first. Repression is teenagers and struggle with a very dangerous illness. Their whole idea. I'm not argue that kind of depression that even that kind of depression. I don't know why I mean. Is it circumstances, letters in an urgent attics involved than that? For me, you know my depression was a very healthy reaction to some tough circumstances,
going through, I was having a completely healthy self protective reaction to what was going on my life and when you say, started putting like positive things in your life, good, solid things you lifelike will contact good relationship. I urge our working again I started being physically really active again I mean I don't know I just I start boxing actually and Anna, and that was in sparring stuff in that was incredibly fighting to me. Just you know that kind of is very, very hard and among other things, and but all that stuff, It was really really good for me why things that I've been dwelling on a lot lately is how important strugglers and for me, Personally, I do a lot of things and I do a lot of things that I'm terrible add and I feel like the more happy I am is one Just get slightly better at these terrible things like that's when I feel a little bits of progress, that is exactly
How were wire to react to success and of usage or think about it? I think about of us. A species is an animal if you are presented with a challenge and you get a little doses of, and orphans of, dopamine also or feel good chemicals when you do so a task. Well that will encourage you to keep doing that task and keep looking for success. Small successes in your life, which is exactly how people adapt and survive in harsh circumstances, The problem with affluent modern society is it takes away all the tasks of survival. You didn't were not no one in this room, I dont think is happy. Figure out every morning how to literally physically survive. Where, where am I gonna, get my bet, the berries and eat today wearing I gotta kill something that I can eat, how my going to avoid the enemy. I we're not, thinking like that and which is enormous blessing,
I mean it's enormous luxury to live like that, the downside, is you don't get this sense of mastery over your circumstances? You actually dont feel responsible for your own survival. You'd, you don't feel like you are earning your own survival in the world. You feel it gets me handed to you, and I grew up in an affluent suburb and I never had a sense as a young man that I was can reading in any way to the fact that I was physically alive on the planet. Among that's the that's that's very, very reason in human history that young young men could afford to feel that way it it's again it's a blessing, but also a bit of a curse, it's the most disconnected amongst us- are always spoil rich kids, tat yet handed everything to them and don't have an understanding at all, but the consequences of their behaviour. And in that kind of life is correlated with depression, yeah, I mean drug abuse that
in the suicide rate, is rising fastest among middleweight white men, who, if you listen to some people are apparently arguably the demographic that their most privileged in this society. Yes to doing the best with this civilization. Are we have constructed doing the wars biologically in terms of how they dabbling in psychologically. He had. Second, Ashley is a big part of the biology and the thing about this. This quest for stuff. You know, and what one of the things I thought was really interesting in the book we were outlining the key factors for happiness and that well, This is not the primary one, but being good at something being recognised for being good at something being a part of it. Like all these things, were primary yeah. I mean, if you think about it, and again, an evolutionary terms we are safe
just when we are needed yeah. So if you're in a group and the group need you, your status in the group is secure and it has, better, be because humans do not survive alone in the wild alone. Human nature is a dead human right. We're primates or social primates alone primate in the end in nature, is a dead primate and offer most of this she's and we get our we get. Our safety are protection from the fact that we work very well. Well in groups. We don't have long clause, we don't have died, sharp teeth, we can run very fast. We can't climb trees worth a damn works really vulnerable and we get our safety in our dominance in the natural world from our ability to work in a group So if your necessary that group you're safe, so people get very depressed when circumstances
in their life change, and certainly not needed right when people get old and retire there at very, very high risk of depression and sometimes suicide, our people lose their jobs and cant find a job. They are extremely high risk of depression and suicide. So when the economy takes a downturn as it did in two thousand eight and the unemployment rate goes up, the suicide rate immediately goes up. It tracks the unemployment rate. Almost exactly, and one of the points I made in my book? Is that a very small number of mostly men collapse, the? U S, economy in two thousand eight, and so the living out. Why working on Wall Street and there was a direct route,
I read an article one of its economic journal and of an epidemic that there was a directly attributable to the financial collapse. There were five or six thousand additional suicides in the United States, mostly middle age, white men, ok and sort professional, prefer professional people and of a volley of all classes and ends the, and I realise that that was almost exactly the casualty rate from the two wars from Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, something that happened at home economically killed just as many Americans as both worsted and nobody went to prison. Not one of those guys was prosecuted, the people,
as possible for the collapse of origami, nothing happened to those guys and in you could argue they killed just as many people as your enemies did overseas and is a real injustice there. I think most people and even aware of how screwy the whole thing was and is a great documentary that I was recommended. People called an inside job action fantastic. When I stood questioning those economics professors, those guys who eventually got jobs in the government and he went from there and got jobs, a big corporations and see them like following folding under the weight of the actual truth of what they ve done its work Termini me: listen, there were only there. There are companies that we're getting bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of billions of dollars right, bailed out and the headed the corporate leaders that corporate heads of those companies who had bankrupted their countries and asked the country too
bail them out, while they were getting bailed out, these men were taking your and bonuses of ten twenty thirty million dollars. Yeah, I was studying, and then they were trying to put a cap on the bonuses, Instead of removing it, they're gonna put a cap and promised resolute cap of twenty million rights. It's insane right, so you think about that, and I am in a new it makes you feel, it makes me feel like we don't really have a country like an entity, a group that isn't willing to defend itself, isn't really a group right. We were attacked by in some ways. We were attacked by those people economically right. The actions of those people, the self serving actions of a very small number of people cost this country. Fourteen trillion dollars right. There were no consequences for those people. There actually rewarded It makes a person think like while is there were a week? Is there something? Is there something called America like United States like
in the set in the sense that will defend ourselves if we're attacked? Let me that's one of the definitions of a country of a group and we didn't defend ourselves, and so you saw in the recent election the sort of the confusion in the in the population about what it means to be an American like who like what what are we belong to here like what are we or loyalty to the enormous amount of confusion and and and and in my opinion, it is its increasing, not decreasing. Right now, in the current ministry, but it comes from some of those questions like we're into wars that no is paying attention to. We you don't we Fourteen trillion dollars and nobody blinked like what is it that we belong to and what is it now I mean it. We do seem to be in a deep state of confusion. And I think I wanna things you're, seeing with people even like trumps supporter people that are these online frog people. You know a little frog, avatars think one of the things that they
like about it is that become they become a part of wouldn't troublesome. A group of totally yeah. They have a sense of purpose here got absolutely I mean what do you think people join ISIS amid these european people in of joining ISIS yeah, they want a sense of purpose, and you know they ve been taken in by the propaganda and all that they don't realize. It's completely blood thirsty horrible criminal group, but but do they want a sense of meaningless as a purpose? There was a great banned from out here about. Years ago called concludes the stone age, short levels, mazes right and one of the lines lie and where there is some sort quote rochlitz extreme but the lines is she wanted something to die for it, make it beautiful to live yeah right, something that's a very profound insight actually into what makes people feel like their leading a worthy life yeah instead of walking through
nerved world, like what we're doing white so Prozac. So if you walk around ass people on the street, what would you die for like who, or what dear. Would you die? For I mean people? Wouldn't you know that They wouldn't have an answer for most of human history yo. Would they meaning answer would be. Why die from my people right of course, like to see this are encampment gets attack by the enemy I would die. I would die defending this place. You know, and I know that though no one has an answer. Right and in it at all and witches shows that we live in safety and luxury which is lovely by it, deprives people of a sense of purpose and meaning not just safety and luxury. But this is staggering change in what has been a normal way of living for people for thousands and thousands of years when you were right His and you are thinking about all the ways that human beings have altered the, firemen around them. Did you
like judge your saying that and have read this before, the genetics essentially were riding on the same genetics. There were ten thousand years ago from Bulgaria. Twenty twenty five year old are weak the change that, like a we going to become more compatible with this bizarre and artificial or that we created or we When you get deeper and deeper depressed, are we gonna? Well, ok, so art city or cultures changing way faster than genetic change can happen right right, so we haven't even adapted genetically to the advent of agriculture ten thousand years ago. That's frequent, right so bright, and the only way genetic change happens in a population is that there is a difference in survival between people with one trading people, another trade. So so, if you have a certain genetic trade and it leads to you having fewer children event Ten thousand years from now, people with your genetic trade will tend to die out because you're leaving fewer ear
passing on less dna to the next round right and if you have a trade that allows you to raise more children to maturity, They carry your dna and then they'll be more successful and that trade tends to spread. So does human, how does unhappiness lead to lower fertility rates? Probably not! You know I mean, like me, I mean often depressions sergeant midlife. By that time, most people have one or two children they passed on their dna. So I dont get it only. Acts through reproductive rights is some thing happened to us. Then there must be some way were human beings or can become gonna become accustomed to this bizarre way, we're Levin stacked on top of each other constantly and traffic or we are accustomed to early humans, are very adaptive. Adaptable, Romania, people, you put people in solitary confinement in jail and there are happy their extremely depressed, but there it will physically survive for decades
right, so I mean evolution, doesn't promise happiness, it doesn't mean that will evolve towards happiness in means that we will adapt so that we can reach reproduce our dna for the next generation. That's all evolution means have always, looked at all this self reliance upon electronics and are fascination with innovation of wondered. If that's, where we're added, if were mean, it's almost like its priming us for some sort of a symbiotic relationship machines that were asked. We can become more reliant on technology stack more more people into places, make it easier and easier to survive. That's the one constant as it were, constantly embedded in technology. Yes, I mean technologies, a tool the bow and arrow was and but come we ll keep in mind. This segment of the world population, which is deeply intertwined with high tech, is very, very small. I most of humanity. Lives are pretty simple and very very poor way. So I have to tell the human race is hall. I mean I'm not
my southern California, radio in New York City idea, the human race as a whole. You know all this technology happened yesterday right. It may happen ten You go twenty years ago in twenty years, as can be seen us whatever. I'm, who knows what's coming down the pike by that that's even a blanket of one of the nine evolutionary terms it doesn't even exist. I mean it's a mini evolution, happens over the course of ten twenty thousand years? Now, when you live in this life, when you're a war, journalist and you're in these insane places, and then you come to New York City. What kind of like a decompression period? Do you have to go through? Well, you know often the developing world that have worked, and I'm no longer covering worse by the way, but by the developing world is often a very chaotic urban mix of poverty and cars and and pollution. Buildings there, via whatever I mean it, does not necessarily not urban bite
what at. What I would say is that there is something I would describe as a kind of disappointment to have. The look if you wake up in the morning and your survival is a kind of question mark, and you know that you have to act well and and and and with with tour of clarity and precision and quickness in order to survive. That is intoxicating by the challenge of that's intoxicating and you feel like yours. Of in a way earning your existence and when you leave that it's a relief but is also a disappointment and because you're no longer earning anything. So it's a relief but is also kind of disappointing, and in that disappoint me even get quite depress. So I know that the depression rate like when people been peace corps volunteer.
Come back from two years service overseas. You're, not war zones, but there in the developing world are living a small communities, their living it much more difficult, physically difficult existence than people in artists most. We want our society when they come back to America, the land of cars and everything you can one superstores in a supermarket and in nice beds and everything that you think people want when peace Corps volunteers come back to this lovely environment around twenty five percent of them get profoundly depressed. So clearly, what makes people feel good is challenge, not ease. He had asked the conclusion I draw and not just challenge a challenge in the context of a community of people. Here we have ease in the UN in the context of oneself or once individual family.
But not in the context of the community, and so a you know. If you look at catastrophes, Hurricane Katrina was just in Mississippi and I was amazed not amazed. Actually in some ways to have people, many people say. While we really miss Hurricane Katrina, we were also close afterwards noses reality with moderation, division, all kinds of stuff. None of that mattered after Hurricane Katrina, everyone cooperative and help each other make people feel great. That's what you beings wine, so what we ve done by making things to safe with with we ve, dropped off the hills and dismayed everything flat people long for those hills, absolutely there's a guy four friends that I have that are both hunters and one of the things that people have gotten really addicted. To is solo hunting, where even regular BO hunting things not quite difficult enough for these cycles, so they go deep, deep, deep, twenty miles plus into the wilderness by themselves, and
things they say about. It is how profoundly lonely and sad it is, and we, even though they know they walk those twenty plus miles back any time they want, but there's something being out there by themselves that when they do return, they just feel Vigorous did and alive in energized, and they feel I did a complex something, especially if they come back when an animal yeah. Well, listen every! That's an ancient narrative right, I'm here the hunter goes out and kills game and brings it back and feeds this people and that's a beautiful story that's. It is kept human beings alive her offered on hundreds of thousands of years here are some hunting is well done and groves? Some hunting is sallow enterprise depending on the animal and actually is a role for that. Solo endeavour, scouts who are often work by
selves because I mean in the native in native context like, for example, the American Indians Scouts often work by themselves because there it is harder to detect and of terror, I'm sure a terrifying endeavour, what you're doing it for your people, and so you you come back from that that solo experience, which is so frightening. I mean where social species or being alone in a and endangers terrify. You come back from that. Dear community, you ve served your community annual among your people. Again, I must be completely intoxicating. I envy them people that experience he had just having the experience of being in danger than coming back and being a piece makes. You appreciate that peace, but constantly inconsistently being peace, has a numbing effect a thrives like cut. Because he's leaving well fed? I mean I mean it's not bad, if your hungry, once in a while, you really appreciate food, yeah safety, food warmth being rested her for your tired. I mean you what we were adapted
to get to situations where we don't have enough of what we want, what we need, and if we, if you were not deprived of those things we stop appreciating them and those things are what make up life so actually losing we're losing our our procedure. Enjoyment of the things that make life. What it is. Israel irony there there Israel irony there did you feel compelled at all to come up with a solution. I mean in deeply disk I being end just go over the various aspects of these problems that were facing as a culture. As a society did you. Did you have some sort of a lead? I didn't listen. If I thought If there is a solution that is capable of thinking of, I would put in the book, I'm not smart enough or there's no solution at which it is yeah It is something we can do around the edges that will help but we're talking about a systemic price.
Home in society that his that has they got it start? ten thousand years ago, and really I'd start in industrial revolution and really get the really got going in a technological revolution. You knock at any we're, not gonna ban the car right, the Amish in Pennsylvania, use cars. They have a very low rate of suicide depression because they spend most of their lives within their community right now offers them from suicide and depression. We're not going to ban the car right, we're gonna burn down the suburbs, Livin Lean two's. We follow be happier if we did, but we're not gonna. Do it So, but what can we do? The biggest community that we have is the nation is the country and, I think, one thing that would help enormously is to treat our nation as if we all belong to it and as if we all respected it, and then it is meaningful to all of us and which means, among other things, it means insisting that politicians who denigrate denigrate other other politicians who denigrate segments of the population who rank american citizens in terms of
Oh you in terms of being quote american whatever. That means politicians who do that are undermining our sense of national community, and I think that has a trip trickled down. Fact which is extremely demoralising and makes gives you the equivalent of feed, like wow, if you're feeling like yours, child in the family that make it was apparent, might get divorced. I remember during the campaign with teeth, Donald and Hilary I felt like Lauer, mom and dad split up like this happening in those countries affected right like ok, you can argue, but you guys are really talking as if the country's octave stated get that right. Yeah, that's terrifying, Think it's extremely demoralising and unsettling for people watch so extremely irresponsible, like the type of person it should be. A leader is not the type of person that puts that. Dear out there to the point where it gets into the Zeit, guys and people say well, hey wait. Maybe we really are in trouble, while eggs, anything. I think it is
Margaret it is an in you know. These are ancient human behaviors and if you tell you your people that there's a threat your people will rally behind you. I mean it to its adaptive behaviour right. The problem is as a politician, if you tell your people, that the enemy is actually the other political party. You are effectively splitting the country and right so you can tribal. We all you want me. Tribal tribalism has a very negative connotation as well. You can act in that trial, away all you want, as long as you define your tribe as the country, the entire country right in start slicing off group parts of the country. Demographic groups in the country, political groups in the countries that you know you're actually not really. American, like
really shouldn't be part of this, when you start doing that, you destroy the country, we are way more of a threat to our democracy than I then ices is that? Ok too, is I mean where such a powerful country? We are the only force that can destroy us? No one else can touch us. They can hurt us, they can't really destroy as we can destroy us and weak, and we can do is we will destroy ourselves to rhetoric was the things it was most disturbing about the debates. One dog Trump said that if Hillary Clinton one, he wouldn't certainly accept the decision. Absolutely. Oh, he was being compensated. What that was completely antithetical to the true democracy and to the to the concept of a country to the concept of it. What kind of country absolutely because he's a part of it. So if she becomes the president she's his president and we're all supposed to could the President as this is the one and we, the elected as leader and but he's a actually say, is either mere nothing, that's right and what and where I really
Emma democratically and vote for Donald Trump, but I really didn't like it when some of my fellow Democrats after he was elected and he was right I mean one way or another I mean. If you you can invest today, Russia, if you want or whatever, but but the fact is that he he got the most electoral voting. These are present and I really disliked him. I saw my fellow Democrats, it he's not by president. He is actually and if you dont like that work harder next time and get someone else elected, but he is your president and in it was equally disgusting when the issue is on the other foot with Barack Obama, and some conservatives started saying that Barack Obama wasn't really. Market or he wasn't really their president or that he was an enemy of the state that he was a secret muslim spy, wanted, destroy, nursery and candidate yeah exact, aiming to totally irresponsible and and its anti that it's the opposite of patriotism is revolting.
Do you think in that case it? Maybe it's good, though we have a guy like Donald Trump in the present case, he is kind of like almost like a human hurricane. He something to rally against he's a problem. That's occurred where this the eroding confidence in the president. Now I mean it's mobile people know you lies lies all the time I mean just use. James call me today of lying under oath when he talked about their conversations. You know I, I think, Donald Trump, is a very damaged and unhealthy person. I think he causes a lot and the people around them, and I am I'm guessing that he's in an enormous amount of of psychic pain himself Let me say it makes sense for all the hate tweets in all. The thinking is concealing after rosy o Donnell, and why are they? What I've learned in my life is that, if someone's acting badly therein pain, yeah region a simple rule rather either scared or their in pain. I think he's both and on some level? I feel kind of a kind of compassion for him. But what are the right?
well he's is already, is and will be a completely failed president, but he may actually help this country in his failure O p, I think, has abandoned all of its core values and core moral principles and decided that seems to have decided that anything that will help the party is more important than things that will help the country. And that is a very, very undemocratic way to think. I think I've done if Hillary Clinton had been elected these things were coming out, the same kind of things about Russia, etc. Coming out, the g Opie would be crossing prosecuting her up to her. I bought right. So they have a complete double standard. What I'm hoping is that the trouble straighten is such a failure that it gets. The g o p to re, evaluate its policy of partisan politics as a way to wind power, and I hope,
makes the entire country realised, that the only way to really wind power is through by partisan politics are you all you want, but you have to. You have to put the welfare of the country first, an amazing book called our political self saying it was called that about half of our political opinion is June, is genetically determined, so genetically determined tat, so which makes sense so liberalism conservatism Basically, liberalism is concerned with fairness within the group and equality within the group and acceptance of outsiders as possible for possible inclusion in the group. Conservatism is focused on hierarchy and for law and order and a suspicion of outsiders and their very, very poor,
four evolutionary adaptive evolutionary reasons for both of those worldviews and they ve done to our studies with identical twins that were adopted at birth and compare them to fraternal twins and is a far higher concordance of a political opinion in identical twins that were adopted at birth and put in different kinds of families than with fraternal twins. So that means that our political, apparently around fifty percent of our political beliefs are genetically determine, which means that those beliefs had adaptive value and in our evolutionary past, which means that the argument I'm right, you're completely wrong and you shouldn't exist, is false argument: it it that that the country actually needs both parties very very badly and that a healthy society has conservatism and liberalism in a kind of dynamic tension where, yes, they my fight, they might argue, but they are there roughly proportional and the population and equal weight. Is
given to those two competing value, was taken into consideration that when these people were adopted that growing up adopted without your biological parents put you in a certain mindset automatically and that may be wasn't necessarily a genetic thing, but it was a circumstantial or nurtured low. They compared identical twins who are genetically identical, of course, that were adopted. Two fraternal twins who were adopted you understand yes and fraternal twins are not genetically ride, but they still come from the same body. There's two come: no, nobody did their dna is derived or try individual s right. So both sets of twins were adopted rat, so they all went through that whatever. That is that that Says the effects of that whenever they are what I want share dna exact too, because of their
on the other side of twins down their fraternal, so that the twins that shared identical dna were far more likely to she have the same political beliefs than the fraternal twins in The words the genetic component was influencing their beliefs and the environmental component was not as much compared to the fraternal twins. Is an amazing book and a really in make to me it makes sense, like both world views clearly were needed to keep our society. Healthy and strong and safe, I mean God, I mean a country that was run completely by liberals, would get overrun by you know the enemy state next were immediately right. A country that was completely run by conservatives would- never get over run by the enemy, but it will be a heartless and brutal society right where the poor working care of in etc, etc. So you can't have one or the other you need both The right kind of dynamic tensions will make genetic sense that it works that way, just like they would be
variations and all sorts of different aspects, people height and personality. In all those different things. Yeah I mean it's your character. Traits right mean they're, partly genetic, in their partly determined by experience. So, I, u know courage would have generosity sensation seeking right is a genetic trade, but you can you can your since your impulse towards since, in seeking is also determined by your experiences in life. Right, I don't know what the proportions are, but in terms of political believe, it's roughly fifty. Fifty your experience in life is about fifty percent responsible for your political belief. In the end the other fifty percent is genetic. We're always looking for one reason right where I confirm, nature or nurture were looking for one, and it will not looking at this just whole soup of different entangled influences.
Create a person here and is really interesting. When I tell people that their jerks a turban, half of fiscal view, they are really upset right. They want to be completely self determining right. I mean that people want to think that they are completely well whatever they are. They ve created themselves and something is emotional. Is political belief didn't want to think that is wired into their dna at all, but yeah? That's that's the truth. Well, just determinism in general. I mean I remember the first time it was ever really deeply explained to me by SAM Harris. I was rejecting it like almost into over realizing. I was like I didn't want to just be open minded about it. I wanted to go, you can pull yourself up, you could figure you do what you do. It's willpower, you decide what you want to do with you. But none really necessarily I mean listen. When I was young, I was a really good distance runner right an hour and a half mile mile on up to ten thousand meters marathon would read for twelve for the mileage pretty decent.
That's right! I really wanted to be like the fastest mile or in the world right, and I trained as fast as anyone who has ever trained as is hard and no one's ever train, and I might my ceiling was for twelve That was genetically determined, you're, sorry You can run a hundred thirty miles away like for months on end and still not only ellipse yeah, there's no doubt about. It. May now there's a mixed, martial arts commentator the the big factor that you can't do anything about his power. Some people are born with striking power. It doesn't make any sense they have they they looking. The same time. Look just like a person who can hit nearly as hard as them right the army to remain standing. Is this, sir? Sequencing of muscle groups in coordination that result in that kind of power is amazing bone structure? As well as on all levels is actually they did the geometry or the shoulder like how wide your shoulders are in terms of
the ships to waste ratio, there's a lot of different factors is hitting now. That's why there is why men can hit so much harder than when it is literally the shape of the hips women's helps or wider. The legs go inward more! It's a different sort of! right! We're gonna go advantage, which is probably connected to the speed you can throw baseball yeah. Maybe all these. The same skeletal yeah apparent boys and girls can throw pretty much the same until puberty and then it really splits and until it's probably for that reason, I would be interested to see what they do with transgender. What women, two men, who start taking stars drone. I don't think you change the shape. Your pelvis Now I mean that doesn't check is going to change. It doesnt danger. It does have some effects on both density and I think the width of the shoulders changes and certain character the face Obviously I address you in just the same So parliament exports a power of the muscles guys you get all the loose explosive power as a man, rats
I mean testosterone, historic. He mean you're, you're, Pekin yearly twenties. I guess yeah, but what it anywhere war says that there really are. Genetic limitation is no doubt about it, and this idea of like a fair fight, there's some times. It's not fair is just not going to be. With you is the mile with some people, it's the the ability to hit hard. It's some people, just speed, I mean if you ve ever seen like a Floyd May. Whether fight is incredibly clear, that not only is he ridiculously skilful, but he's got sums pending speed advantage over most human beings is absolutely I also putting in spite of his it was serves. Loma minister slowed down. I get really watch. He got hit full in the face by somebody I'll be right in the face and his his eyes. Never blank yeah yeah, like What I mean he couldn't get out of the way he watched that thing come in a hidden square. Phase in his eyes. Never closed, yeah, incredible yeah.
Really good. Boxers can do that as our getting passionate face their eyes wide open and they look and for the counter generally got up. It's amazing no flinch at all. I mean nothing, absolutely nothing about, of training, you would have to do to overcome the end. It's one of the more. What I'm more important reasons why it so critical to learn striking, in particular, at a very young age. The body develops something but can pick it up. Late in life is doubly really successful at it, but I don't thank you ever really get like a real elite boxer that doesn't start training before puberty around pure, but you're, probably right now, there's something about the development of the body. Like your body, growing and maturing with this task. Learning had out strike and move and exploded combination low likewise for music and languages, not learning that before puberty, you will never be like a top top top world class level.
That makes sense. I an inventor of the languages. You will not be able to speak with a perfect exit reeling yet after puberty debris. It is for his wiring itself in a cannot. It cannot exactly mimic a foreign accent and in if you learn French or whatever it any language at eight nine ten, you can sound exactly like a native and after puberty, you can't wow, you have kids. Yes, I have three and a half months, daughter, ah well, when they start talking man. That's why it's weird. I have three twenty nine in a seven and What's. What's really fascinating is watching the that the trade that you know, have come directly from dna like all parts of the. Who merged out of the kid and in it maybe one kid and then the other kids, none of it some of it will be your wife and is its ink so strange to you, because you try to piece together like what
what our instincts right wire, wire dogs, barking at snakes. They don't know what the fuck a think is, but they know something's wrong, there's something d, in their memory bags and say this is an issue, whereas dad I'm on the grounds, not an issue like yeah. That's right, that's right We all know what that is entirely well I tell you what it is is that the dogs that weren't in reflexively, fearful of something that looked like a snake, died more often riders, offspring and so they'll bark at a crooked stick to just to be on the safe side of light. Likewise, humans are scared of heights. Yeah there's a and, if you're not of heights? You're more likely to follow? You will pass on your genes right loose. The famous early early humans, skeleton in in EAST Africa
you do know Lucy for yes, your size, glasses yeah. She died by falling out of tree while they ve they just figured that out from the deck fractures and stuff interposed. Why must have been incredibly common it just all the different things that people are afraid of iraqi phobia, video phobia, fear, verse fighters and snakes me? Those are directly related to poison and terrified of spiders. So you feel is genetic maybe someone in your past or sell it? Well, I tell Let me answer that the range of things of the common phobias that people have those those things have a Jew, have us or survival significance right, so people usually are phobic of chairs, because chairs were not at their survival threat in our evolutionary passed, but heights spiders snakes, those kinds of things were, were a threat and
So when children get phobias, their choosing something that makes genetic sense. Yes, why I chose spiders, I don't know I was probably exists, exposed to a frightening spider at the wrong moment in my internet, life do you think you are exposed to or do you think? Maybe is it possible that someone in your past some ancestor surpass that through the what I mean we're all predisposed towards being reasonably fearful of those things right right, a phobia is, panic disorder yeah, so we're all nervous around barking dogs, snakes, spiders heights, those kinds of things right be closer for we have been trapped in a small space, this all normal things to be worried about, but when it crosses the threshold to a phobia, that's a panic disorder and that is a function of something going on well in your childhood. Where, but as an option, Lula in your childhood? I mean before we start in childhood, but I mean
Is it possible that someone could outfit have a phobia, Arachtu phobia and not have experienced spiders or snakes one he's a habit to me when I was hosting fear factor, as I would see, people that were pretty risk taking, they were, and they would did, they would be willing to do the heights they would bewildered jump a car off the top of a building? They would take chances, they were risk takers, but you'd put him in front of a snake and they would freak the fuck out and it was It was a deep cellular thing. It see with some people that that they weren't cowards, they weren't, timid, foe right, but they will see that one thing whatever. That thing is right yeah. I don't know I've always. I will tell you, though, that once I dont have a television, but I was in a hotel as away like I watch tv when travelling there, tell em, I saw fear factor and there were in so keep in mind. I've been terrified of spiders, mind
life, and there was why I mean this was actually quite traumatic. Into to seriously lay traumatized like traumatizing like it affected me for days. There is like very hot young woman and a bikini, and you put her in a glass eye glass box yeah. Can you dumped at fifty five gallon drama trend? was under the I remember that her boyfriend threw up. It was so and she finally stood up with tarantulas fallen offer. I miss you, couldn't take it and I've just like in the fetal possess in the corner of my hotel room wow. It was totally Remind me, I'm really must be up for a few days. So strange that there is particular things that resonate like that, like a particular things, whether its snake or spider, just I mean I've really wonder, if, like things as human beings have work and that also animals have these instincts. If we just totally understand what memory is wheedled tolerance
and genetic memories, yet words all stuff that that help them survive. Those are all threats and our prime in our primordial, now you ve got a documentary out there. You are you working on as well the words out those area on Sunday at some it's called hell on earth. It's about this during the war and the rise of ISIS. Our National Geographic Channel. Nine eastern central the Sunday this Sunday. It going to be available. You could obviously watch it at the time, but is gonna be available, Netflix or Apple tv, or something like that where I can get out of here. It's I already got that far. I mean it's own by national geographic Sino. Quite now that I'm sure you'll be they get it on their website at some point by read it airing on Sunday. What was your spirits doing? That? Well, are you I was home, writing tribe actually, and so I wasn't overseas. You can really get into Syria anyway. It was a suicidal thing to do and I what we did my colleague negative guy was here earlier,
We basically sir work the border border areas around Syria. Look for people who were living in Syria who knew people in Syria who could shoot for us, and we found some very, very brave people who documented lives under. I says their lives with the pre syrian army. There is a lot of combat, we accumulated about our a thousand hours, footage and interviews. We did with experts, and we put together hell on earth, trying to explain how really quite peaceful democratic protests turn into violent demonstrations of highly into a civil war and, of course, its thick was the repressive governments. I mean you, people protest in the street and met with pushing on fire, and eventually civilians are gonna, get some machine guns themselves and and fight back and that's how you get a civil war. How do you take thousands of ours? I thought and boil it down to one show: well, that's it
Very very hard: that's what filmmaking as and its figuring out what the one percent that goes into the film, and how do I structure it? how much time does it take to do something? We had a really good at meetings. The first I made my fifth film so the films I've made. It was me in an editor and so another person in the room or whatever this we had a big team, and so we had some very, very smart. Young people were going through all this footage and categorizing at like here. This is a section about this. Material is about wherever escaping ISIS, and this is about trying to find viable where they were there which are put into categories, and then I would start to look through some of that material and gradually, Sir Builder builder structure The situation in Syria seems to be from someone who does hasn't studied it that much, but this looks at it from the outside one of the Bleeker darker situations that we have here in the world. I mean it's the truth.
The tragedy of this generation. I think over four hundred thousand Syrians, mostly civilians, have died. The equivalent debt equivalent death toll in this country would be like seven or eight million Americans. They are equivalent amount of people and in half the country, half the Syrians off population has been displaced from their homes and millions of danger. I outside the country's borders in European and any even in this country,. What did you take out of the documentary amid seems like no one has a solution for Syria Oh, I'm are tough. That way, I think ISIS ISIS eventually is going to be defeated on the battlefield. They're gonna be eradicated and I hope they are because there ghastly brutal group and Assad who is who killed way more people than ices. He just into a publicly like they did he's the leader of Syria present of Syria.
He's propped up by IRAN and by Russia until he's not going anywhere, I mean if you have those two countries as your allies like you're, not going anywhere. So I think, what's gonna happen. Ultimately, is the ISIS will be defeated in the country will be partitioned along sectarian lines and there eventually it may be a kind of delicate peace seems like with all those middle eastern countries, one book any country, let's run by a brutal dictator as soon as that dictators removed or soon as somebody dies theirs. Massive power vacuum yeah yeah. I'll, be the argument for not trying to remove a mummies guy fleet, criminal and sadist n is horrible, But what was the argument for keeping Saddam Hussein in power was the argument for keeping Gaddafi and power Basically, it is or utilitarian arguments from John Stuart Mill like what's gonna watch,
cause, the least human suffering or promote the most human happiness, and- and I sometimes I can understand the reasoning behind look the guy's, a dictator butler, who we should leave him in place, because the alternative is a lot of other innocent people suffering when we remove him in the country collapses. These countries already collapse. Of the prize of the question is okay, we make attended a peace deal. With him will leave you in power. We won't try to topple you bite. Let's stop fighting I mean I can. I could support that personally is not crazy that the idea of keeping that guy in power so less people suffer, he keep a brutal murder is dictator in power, and I are better off that way. Well, I mean yes, were killed, almost half a million people. You have you want to leave. You want that to continue the thick ral that's over those of the awful moral choices. Is very frustrating for people. Those who would like to see like did we'd like to see some solution like on the day,
but that doesn't seem like us. Well, it's a solution to the violets right. I mean any pay. Any peace deal as a solution to the violence. So the first thing that has to happen, I think, is that the violence stops. Let people stop dying. The pursuit of justice is a secondary is important by secondary matter. After that I know you're running our time years has ended, but What brings you? What brings you satisfaction when, when you do something like this documentary or or your book tribe,. You, I really like the I like to serve game of ideas right, like I like exploring a topic and starting to make sense of it and start to see, connections between things and when I was writing tribe. We started the day when the central thesis of it sort of occurred
me and all these disparate facts suddenly align themselves in an orderly way, and I felt like I shown a load of light it onto the world and shown how at work I just wholly intoxicating to me and likewise, when you're making documentary, you suddenly start to see themes Structures in the film in human affairs at that night they serve, come out and and and when and when you work on that level. It's incredible to me. It's like an incredibly gratify and because that means that I have now made sense of something. Is a disorder confusing world I've managed to organise it in an understandable way, and that means other people can understand it, and then we can have a conversation about how the world works and how people work, and that to me is the point of journalism- is the point of all intellectual endeavour and in to be even small part of it to me, as I incredibly exciting who you nailed it and you you definitely nailed it, and with this thing
Talking about how when it just beginning the first chapter, I I had a real urge to get out of the city had a real urge does like theirs is thought like I live in the Woods Island, A tribal society like it seems I just It seems like Europe outlining like almost like a mathematical problem near it. Or chemical, maybe even chemical problem. Well, you know, I said, Edith Apology College into in my understanding of It is that we are a social. We are social primates that prefer to live in groups of about fifty people. In a challenging environment, that's what human beings are and to the extent that we depart from that, we we lead lives of dissatisfaction, and and frustration, and that's how I understand life how do you manage that? Your own life, I
I mean I wish I knew tat. I wish I was part of a communal group fighting to survive wilderness. Like I mean I had some taste of that with the platoon that I was with, and that was intoxicating. It has downsize. Obviously, and I can't stay out there but it may be at least understand that the source of my dissatisfaction in life was an internal it. Would it made sense, it was that I was having a healthy reaction to circumstances in society that that humans were not adapted for an even that was enough to may bring it peace of mind for me, my also very consciously and deliberately try to live in places where there is the possibility of of us our close communal neighbourhood. I live in a very pork neighborhood in New York City, at which, for some of the hassles at least has the sort of rich fabric of human connection that you just don't get in wealthy ever say you doing up
oh yeah. What would want me to say? Why do I say we live? I live in lorries. I'd Manhattan and areas are very poor, but it's easier to diminish the dominican neighbourhood have after people that neighbourhood really don't speak English very well. So it's another! There is re, richer, ethnic neighbourhood or quite poor- and I know everybody- everyone knows each other by sight and we look out for each other, and enduring hurricane hurricanes. Hurricane Sandy, yet New York I mean allows- people their young children had to leave, because there was no light. There was no water power was outright to half of Manhattan was completely dark. It was rashly quite dangerous at night in the dark half of Manhattan and where there was no street,
and so this building is a tenement building that I live in with my wife and ends. Eliza people laughed in that they were worried about being robbed, and these are poor people right. It is not a wealthy building at all is quite quite poor building, and so they they they organised. A guard shift one of the people, one of the women in the Billingham Machete, and they organise Garcia at the front door. The machete in that year the young men in the building took turns I two hours at a time guarding the building of the machete, oh yeah, and yet I was associated with the building at that time, but boy without it made me feel good to be part of that that you don't owe me like. That is what human beings that's, what they are right, it's that right and yet you did see that in a wealthy neighbourhood, partly because the wealthy neighborhoods actually and light right, just seems weird to make the choice to live in a community like because of those fact, while my wife lived There- and I moved it with her so but about what the re there
his nose having to move in with her one of these Have you been with her is precisely because it wasn't an affluent neighbourhood like the Junta. Grubbin that to me is just sold death right, I mean it's just I grew up in an affluent suburb and it's just the most boring thing on the planet like it's too deadly and you know like had I not grown up like that. Maybe I'd be living a neighborhood like that I've been. I get right by degrees, like that in the one thing that I just cannot survive. Is that kind of complacent affluence? I could just kills me itself funny because, as the one thing that people try to achieve when they grow up in that sort of poor, come you They want to get out live in that big house. The big yard look at their suicide rates, their addiction rates, the outer depression right, demi, seriously view. If you look at those alcoholism, depression, suicide, ineffable neighborhoods, I mean it's astronomical its pro.
Boy, but try to convince people to abandon that way. That's, whereas really odd! It seems like so counter and too to them, No, no! No! You gonna live in a safe neighbourhood. Now you can have a big house can have a nice card, a great job, you gonna, do a great will think about it. Evolutionary turns terms. The impulse towards safety and luxury is a totally healthy one in situ nation, where nature does an offer that very often right rights over programme to go for those things right, but were not prepared for. Is to go for those things and have it happen all the time rise. You re told we hold the instincts of course right, but we need we involve in a world where you could actually achieve that. A hundred percent of the time I mean dogs are programmed dogs visas are programme will will will eat until they being so much that there they'll kill themselves eating right there wasn't enough food like the programming,
keeping as long as their food is great. If there's a scarcity of food right died as soon as this applies to the food that becomes maladaptive in the dog dies in your. Likewise, people put fat on very easily because in a harsh and It was not much food, you have to build a put fat uneasily or you'll die now with the reason of so many obese people is because we have the impulse to eat me need the food there to do it with, and we don't have a mechanism for stopping it, and so that's. Why do so? Many happy? Also sugar the rapporteur is absolutely, but our taste for sugar writer fat is programmed by evolution. Right right as there wasn't much of those things. So now you can have as much as you want, and suddenly people wait three hundred fifty pounds right, I mean it. It's it's evolutionary programming run amok in a world where there's too much of something that was is very good but was very scarce.
You highlight some really profound issues with culture in your book, but I wonder if tat many people come up to you after they ve read it and go. What do I do you're right you're right. But what do I do I mean here I am on the sky. Have this house have a mortgage? I have kids, I have a job, that's good! I don't want to leave it border. I do. Is our you're right, I'm fuckin miserable. What are you? What do I do like what he tell us people I mean you know it is really a question of this because you can't have it and and why we, what I would say to them is sell your house move in, so you car. If you can move in our community where you have to be interrelate with people around you and after interact with everyday like that is what makes people feel good age, but the thing is people are understandably not willing to give up yeah the pleasures of an affluent life in order to have social connection and a guy right, but you, but you really can have both very successfully, is extremely.
Do you have a body my who lived in Venice and a real nice tight knit community? They had this called the sack and everybody lived in the could ever will ever know everybody. I live in a cul, a sac either great and he started doing well. Firstly, daddy moved out and get this really nice house, and this big yard fuck and ate it and miserable. When we talk about because I fuckin hated, because I don't know my neighbours because I've as big yardstick, stared and go back inside my house. He goes to know everyone on the block anew every one in the community. That's right what that that guy is a mean that lifestyles correlated with higher depression suicide rates. I mean he's literally, a statistical risk, increased physical risk of suicide depression because of that change, wow So you, regardless of how much money you would make you would always move into a neighborhood where people rely upon each other and state tight to each other. Oh yeah, I'm not the absolutely obvious, even it. Nowhere
like a diamond choice. Here I mean I'm sorry. I just get instantly depressed and affluent wow. That's so queries crash of heart who accumulate any material possessions or you want to do. As I got no book and a couple of her shoes- I you know- I mean minimally, but the way we live in a very small apartment, so there's room for much. But are you happy with that? Oh yeah yeah. Having listened the less you The happy you are at the end of the day like you could probably make that as a empirically true statement in package really and I'm not isn't I'm not talking about poverty, lack of food lack, resources E. I mean I'm really course not talking about that. I'll. Tell you what material possessions right stop by cars and boats and shit? I was filling once you get about your problem. We fall fallen. Apart You know me like unless your of fishermen and now you're gonna. And getting a boats. I couldn't you just now when he died,
You know it's interesting like that kind of mature those going material possessions. Also they again evolution right like a particularly for males in the society. If you control resources, you are, you have a reproductive advantage over males, dont control resources- and you know will like you better right so wrong when you're at eighteen year old boy, the instinct to get a car to get a boat, maybe one day to get a private arena would have private open whatever that instinct, has huge evolutionary advantage because it gives you access to women right that all women, but enough. So that's a great strategy for meeting girls ran the problem is that once you're sure further on in your life and you have children, you have affair
Only if you don't have a community and what you have instead is a huge lawn and overpowered boat and a ridiculous, expensive car. You have. You have taken things that were that were that were a definite reproductive advantage at eighteen. And you have dragged them into midlife where, instead of making you feel good, they would oppress you in my opinion, like that's that's what happens to those guys So it's not that those things are still stupid idea earlier point your life, but definitely when you're fifty years old. Again, I'm sure, like you, could call. If you did up the proper study you could you can make a correlation between those kinds of material possession. Add alcohol abuse, depression suicide all that stuff. I wonder if this is the case with, like wrappers and people to grow up in these poor black communities that go on to have a insane material wealth. I've always been fascinated by the ridiculous hip hop com,
sure, just giant houses and fifty cars and throwing money up into the air and just this celebration of access coming from a place of nothing in having this deed. Desire to achieve all those things seemed unattainable. Look I mean I think athletes have the same problem too, in particular when they have the fraternity of their team until they retire. Early retired athlete. Professional athletes are a real risk of depression. Yes and I mean listen. I met a young woman who would survive cancer and she said to me rather sheepishly. She said you know when I had when I was six years on cancer. Warranty know all the other cancer sufferers survive suffers on the ward and her family and arts, or basically her try rallied around her G2 notion survives you done it on chemo and all that awful awful stuff, and she looked at major sheepishly and said Anne I survived and now I miss being sick. She missed the community of of
of cancer sufferers on board and in her own community they rallied around her. She she was lonely. The soldiers are missing war and cancer survivors routes, cancer, like something missing, yeah sought welders struggle, missing for sure you know in my own life a very addictive persona, Dictu personality and I found a lot of happiness in martial arts and one things about martial arts is particular jujitsu. One of the rare martial arts good practice going a hundred percent and not heard each other too much because you not you not hitting each other like you just choking each other each other and stuff, but this There's a calm broidery in a bond between people that choke each other? All the time that you just don't
see with other men- or I don't see what ya listen, I hear you man, I mean I started when I wear my marriage started. It fall apart. I started boxing and I just needed somewhat always been a pretty intense athlete when I was young- and I was sorry smoke, cigarettes and drank for a while and then suddenly on. My life's in crisis at fifty unites restarted, go into a boxing Jem, Mendez Boxing in New York City so I've fifty year learn outbox yeah and raising had always had a pretty intense relationship with my body as an athlete so I was starting from zero. Harassment are really good shape and punished. I'd never box before. Never anything like that and what I love about Mendez it's an old German, the Ark and is likely citizen and had an end where I loved about it is that there were some very tough kids from the outer boroughs right. There was like suits that would come in from Wall Street. At lunchtime box there is women, there was all kinds of people, wealthy people, poor people, black white, whatever was every everyone's in their right when I loved about it. Is that no one nor
right there, street identity into them into the gem right you were is just like a platoon and combat you aren't you are judged in their not for whether young and black and poor or wealthy and affluent and wider whatever, but how you act in the and there is no prejudice that I can see against the young, like kids, that are in there. But this also no prejudice against the wealthy white guys breakers, as you leave it at that street. You, whoever you are in that space and you get all the respect you want if you act well, and that is the deep egalitarian ism of tribal society, your judged by how you act that's it does the same thing. Would you just who schools you're judge by your effort and how well you can perform on the mat and I'm a mid led a middle aged guy right. I mean I'm never going to win the championship, I'm never get where I mean. What am I gonna do profession with boxing is not happening where I work out really really hard, I'm not afraid to get hit like, and I have all the Everyone. The gym knows me and I have all respect. I get everyone and through that struggle,
also you achieve some feeling, a piece your struggling, it's a brutal struggle. Boxing. Four people have never tried it. It's under legally exhausting. I mean I thought at four twelve was the hardest thing I could imagine. I had no idea what I want our session, like a really intense, when our training session was much sparring. Gm. Thus much Lufkin hit in the liver, yeah yeah, I just I mean annihilated. An end, but I was in a lot of psychic pain and I needed here I really feel like gum affairs, especially physical struggle. I mean there's a lot of people that are averse to exercise and, like I can't stress it enough, I think the body needs physical struggle I think, if you don't, I think, there's an overflow of g and stressed its unmanaged and they did. It manifests itself physical where there was there was a study that I read of M M in Europe, you Hunter Gatherer societies that are still in existence and the
average amount of physical activity in substance since level Hunter gatherer societies, which of course is our evolutionary past. I mean that's. What we are designed to do is something like two hours of hard walking per day. Light on average men and women moved like vigorous. Lee for two hours a day, usually walking quickly right. That's what I do bodies are designed for and it's what we, if we do, that where that were turned up at that level. Right where, where minefields, Gerda bodies feel good If you don't do that, you can lay around all day, but it will not you. Will you experience a dove psychological deficit in the physical deficit? Here I think that I mean there's no way to make people do it, but I think if you could,
if people advised that would be one of the big ones, I knew no in western society, the older you get the more money you tend to have an let more sedentary you are, and there is a corresponding decline into Austria levels and males right what they found in these very mobile physical societies. Is it just austrian levels and males really didn't decline until the seventies? Seventy seventies declined slowly, but it didn't go off a cliff like it doesn't our society it right, five or wherever it is like. It was a grand will decline in it. They if there was a clever, was in their midst seventies, and that's because I mean the theory was that it was because that cost in intense physical activity. Just austrian allows for it, but that activity actually keeps those levels I am rather symbiotic relationship knockabout Ex Ante room on the things that they prescribed middle aged man is sprints run a pills I carry heavy things. Do misquotes do things that stimulate your entire body right or by the hour all those things,
listen man, I've taken up in every time and are really appreciate it, and I'm really join your book and a look of forty documentary and it's hell on earth in its available. This Sunday, what time it's as if there were times eleven Levin June, Eleventh nine eastern, eight, central and I've enjoy your work over the years. Man was a real pleasure to sit down to. Thank you. I really enjoyed this conversation. I really really nice gray conversation our man think very my patient. My pleasure, that's it folks say
Transcript generated on 2020-03-12.