« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#235 — A Call from Ricky

2021-02-10 | 🔗

Ricky Gervais calls Sam to ask why we dream? They discuss why puns are terrible and breakdown some of the mechanics of comedy.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pop pop pop pop pop. how ready as a guy, I didn't have the good sense question you remember me, I'm ready right away, wait. Let me major both feet on the floor. I'm ready pathetic while a dreams for an I mean, do they provide a saw, a medical or evolutionary advantage, or are they just a by product of a living brain which would be boring? So what are they? What are they for? Are they for anything either? I don't. I don't even use the outcome Think of the crack terminology to ask you that Bobby sounds like a damn thing. By that I mean ok, I know what in Gaza for what I want, my eyes for what are dreams for dreams or for the same things,
angers, you're just using them wrong that, though you you hit it perfectly that the question: what are they for or are they just a byproduct yet another the technical work people use in flight? for there is an empty phenomenon there not doing anything there just associated with something, that's doing something right. Think we know really in the way. We know that certain good and necessary things here during REM, sleep which is generally associated with dreaming. That's not the only stage of sleep where we have dreams, but there seems to be a several things going on at you at least there's a process of memory, consolidation that happens during REM. So we have rem, sleep is disrupted a lot. Your memory certainly suffers, but that's not
who is it is it that is so? If it could, you say that it's the o Brien get in work done. They can't do when you're conscious. Does it see you using it for other things, and it goes right is asleep. Let's do this stuff that stock Tyke, let's put that's that's, is it not kit, Polina, kids, toys away when his sleep is our car grasp what you mean by? How do they consolidate memories members go. Is it like putting away in a drawer? I even have to use a metaphor for me. I won't go back distinction. You made quite naturally the beginning whether there the dream, experience itself doing something or whether it is just a by product of the thing this doing something, and that that I don't think we know it. I believe, there's a remaining question. Why should there be any experience shall component to this memory? Consolidation
seems like the brain should be able to consolidate memories in the dark with. There being any experience of it. It does most of what it does in the dark, or certainly seems to away which is either you're you're, not conscious at any point of, the maintenance it's doing or any of the other things its doing so well, we should have these bizarre experiences every night and whether whether that is necessary, for Americans only ironing out ass, I told you. I should add that I tell you if, if, if Somerset listen, this is this is sign up, jumping and spend pinging. And and their release the nations. That don't mean anything because you know no you're, not engaging so critical thinking. Could show asleep, I could totally acceptable but I wonder why, after you know,
billions of years of evolution the they seem to be so important. No one doesn't there's no one, it doesn't dream, we do every night and also isn't that. Isn't there a certain degree of wise? Why of ok right? This is why I think it might be pseudoscience a nonsense and and dumb anecdotal evidence, as my me think, there's a reason to him, because I made when I was there. I was doing chemistry and we were told that calculi when he was trying to work out the structure of benzene had a dream of a snake by its own tile, any woke up and said it's a ring I now I can. I can both accept the it might be given you cryptic clay whose because you know you have a lot of things happening, you bind the subconscious, you know, I can also accept the s, that's nonsense. He made up it's a coincidence. I knew the answer. He went to sleep with the answer and then you know
I almost want to know. I saw I want to know the magic and the signs, and I want them to be this. I want to be the same. Thing? You know, I mean well, most dreams are like a bad television show that just got greenly. two hundred fifty thousand years ago, and no one has figured out how to get it off. The air that doesn't are not producing insights into science. Right is just right, it's just noise, but I think what what one thing dreams reveal about our minds. Is that is possible for us to be pushed into new circumstances and suddenly you go to bed, you have every right to expect to stay in your bed and the next thing you experience is something quite different and you're, not even remotely surprised by the transition. Me, your conscious mind suddenly
put in relationship to people who aren't. Actually there is some people might be dead. Some people might be famous people, you don't know yet. so so I could have had a dream. I was talking to regular raised before I met wreckage race and I wouldn't be surprised at all right unless it's a lucid dream which had his own thing, while we're getting cartesian now cause. This obviously could be a dream this this does that get equal pay in I've. We have had I've. Had this dream, I've had a dream worm, where I am unaware that it's a dream and I'm talking to dream characters and I'm, I'm lecturing them on this very point. You realize this could be a dream right now, yet yeah they're all looking at me why have I idiot self aware that yeah I often have self awareness in dreams, in fact, so if I have nightmares
Now I've got to the point where, in my dream I can say, Jane, Jane wake me up white me up and and and and sometimes I think she said, I have her name and obviously in the dream. Now, I'm in them man, I mean and I know Jane is trying to wake me art and it takes our dead. How long it takes In reality, it probably seems to me like half the night under like three seconds So what about? Well? That's a lucid dream. Ass does the opposite of what I was just confessing. I've had a dream: where I had no idea. I was dreaming and I'm I'm lecturing dream, characters that this could be done I'm having a combination of the sort that we're having right now. Why, under there? Looking at me, like I'm, a total moron and then I wake up, but this was one thing that reveals an example, probably closer to your heart. Is
Have you ever had someone tell you a joke in a dream. Yet Punch line actually works right like so that I think I think so. I think I've had dreams. I've invent new jobs and I've woken up excited and I remember there and its absolute ballot. It doesn't my it's not as funny it's not. It does
make any sense and then, but why? Why have had that's what I've dreamed tunes and I've gone down, and I've worked them out and their pretty good work so that the so that's because I think the reason is that a tune is one thing, but a joke is amiss. Direction is a magic act in it and it plays with a place with expectation and logic and surprise and- and I think the dreams if I've got this right, you stay saw of, they saw a tight, critical thinking out of it than your account logic. So is purely your emotions firing and practising in just been spilled. That would make sense that you'd wake up laughing, but they eat just invented the funniest dream in the world, but the logic and the credit
thinking Papa says what it was actually Pollux. You just felt the fun so I get down here. I am an embarrassing example of that, but I was going for the opposite of epic. My example of add just to show you how insane one can be mere feeling without any anchor to logic or can reality testing. I once woke up beside my wife laughing my head off from a joke, told in a dream, and I turned her ESA, just tramp, the funniest joke and she being wiser in the ways of science said: it's not gonna be funding at a no, no it's it and she is not going to be funny that at an end- and I said, here's the joke: what's and as a monster make- and she said she is- I don't know- what's sound as a monster make and then I Rum on the end table the sound. In the dream. It was something like this and then it well. I
Sligo one further round. I say: no, no, that's not it. It's an then my psychosis lift right. I actually thought I thought I could deliver the punchline a second time and it would land and immediately roaming on anything else. You still close to your subconscious dreams night. We were convinced that this was so you're, so your emotional side outweighed your logic or longer to get back yard the Yoke logic to get up and run its eyes and put its close on NGO Sam. That's that doesnt work and you got no doesn't work, but I consider that because that's like a child's dream that's. Ok, that sort of like a child's drink, a stranger that day they knit they ve nearly got it right. They did it nearly worked. He's got the rhythm of the job doesn't quite work on a community level, and that is the same as that one day, about since, but I'm wondering what have you ever had the opposite experience where something actually quite rational, end and logical and fit?
export into waking. Life has been communicated to you in a dream like the punchline. Actually Works, I can't remember, I remember- and I now I shall comment which is disappointing. Isn't it I could imagine that dreams could almost be like a simulator where there were no distractions. You eat your close stooped. Obviously you you're unkind does your brains do in its day than its taking you through scenarios, almost that you could do when you're daydreaming, what an using logic August eighth Sunday on the motional level, which is still good if either that that could be an argument or they might be researched and the the reason why logics kept out of it is because it can be stifling
in art the you know. Your imagination is bigger than your your your critical thinking, so you know that it's it's it's sort of like an infinite world. Emotion! Isn't it can take you anywhere can take you anyway? You can fly you. Can you can hear people you? Can you can do anything that you know you ve a new car practice in your life. So maybe it's, maybe it's only preparing you. It could be the it's only strengthen Europe emotionally night does a kid dreams of their grandfather dying and then it's not quite as bad when it happens. could that could have any value there? That strengthens you emotionally in the sense that it takes. It takes your mind way, your body hasn't been you know, I don't know why it is so this continuous, with what tends to have
when the waken statement, that is, if you're saying rather make us, even in so far as to waken state, begins to resemble what you experience in dreams. It becomes pretty dysfunctional like a new thinking that this is the funniest shock you ever heard and and actually makes no sense to me. That is that is mammal. What's very interesting about that is, is that it shows that the comedy is an intellectual pursue, as opposed to an emotional one, and I've always thought that as soon as you stop emotion into comedy fires on a certain level, even down to the point that if you're saying thing that that's the audience don't agree without like or is contentious, they know it's a dark subjects. They they won't allow themselves to like the joke as much as in it
asked syntax source. You know upon or something you know that works for everyone. If I understand the language, where is not palm, not palms spare me the ones on the item three pounds a funny, but what I mean is it shows that you understand. If I understand it, you have to understand the language and therefore you have to get the joke. So it's quite a good upon these quite a good vehicle to didn't know they have understood language and also it shows the misdirection very clearly upon again, not funny you throw. It was lingered everything. A wire from some people obviously think ponder funny wires and people are allergic to pines, omitted difference of opinion communicative. Why do you have any. by the year because I think that once you ve done one, do you know you if you ve seen them all really there that they're the same thing? It's it's! It's almost like a nod of the head. I understand those two words of different means. I saw the misdirection it with surprise
It's a release, her there's no way, but you could be cry. With laughter on the floor. Upon like you could do something that you know that this fascinating. Is it too brief, or it's just too it's it's. Jack Bein? I think languages are marching superficial or what no, I think, on a couple levels. I think really one thing is that it's only discovered it was always there Upham was always there, because the dictionary was it was that so with upon it, take someone to suddenly girl stumble across those two words and put them into a sentence, and do you know it's almost like you couldn't came up, one committee did upon and another paint created. It was about
did it upon it couldn't came, you can say no. You heard me say that you go when I was in the dictionary it was there it's it's almost like it's. It's not so create. If it's more like a found object upon, you can be clever with it and you know what there is some amazing punched is, but I still think it's it's not like. It's not funny as someone falling over, because it's not bitter all you know, answer policies sailor, firstly of comedy was one caveman laughing another caveman his head? Why empathy that Caveman knew that that her cause he's done it and he knew that the other cavemen didn't wanna? Do it and that's funny? That's actually funny. Ok, because we feel as well of almost contradict himself sign, is an intellectual property,
as opposed to an emotional one anywhere that when we obviously that there's other types of humor, I'm gonna stick to my initial premise. That comedy is need such absurd, because I think my examples. The emotional aren't comedy that their hard wired visceral their funny, but they couldn't be called comedy because I think comedies, some sort of Trey is trying to tickle your funny bone. Where is having a sense of humor, you can look at the sky and smile about you. Wouldn't quit day, but we have this phrase: physical, that you got Charlie Chaplin and you know everyone on up from there yeah making us laugh or
often making us laugh by fallen in the right yeah by us, but our physical jokes. I think the difference if, if you're walking along the street and someone slips and it's their heads, it's fucking out, that's funny. I that's funny for the Caveman reason. I that's funny. We empathize it's! No us right. They didn't want to do it. I think with someone like tea in it, We now a bill in jokes, their actual bill in jobs. Like someone bending down missing the plank getting up tipping, I've seen it
they get in here in the plant. That's it that's a constructive physical thing using physically their life with that night, we use like words and sentences in surprise is no joke. I still think that's different to just seen I'd someone falling over you couldn't cool comedy, but it can be the funniest thing or even worse, is the mismatch between having a you know what a sick old person fall over. That's not funny unless you're in a soul, empathic frame of mind but having a person whose full of pretension about their own goal a station in life follow her laws. It gets to the funding of ass an end that
Oh, you know when you create comedy, and now, if you, even if you do you do allow that, because you almost pandering to the audience the infection we create our own Harrison balance as role play for the soul, so that, as you know, the villains get that come up and heroes are rewarded, and you might the well Perfect- and your right pretension is, you know, is the opposite the heroic. So when someone smog and hits their head, that's funnier than they ever had. In fact, you could say that demonstrate comedy drama. Is the drama doesnt show peoples
floors at all, rather inadequacies, whereas comedy we embrace them. We we accommodates best, says we're all idiots. So it's fine. It's almost a celebration of being a loser comedy and the sooner you lose that you start getting into drama. A citizen is a sinister that these people are perfect or heroic or don't really wrong. That's not
funny same a stand up. If someone comes out and tells you how about where the world how brilliant they are, how do you know what a great day they have had and very favourably handsome? And then you go this isn't funny. Just like someone showing you always out of the perfect holiday, you wanna, some, you want some of the come out slid back his head tail or terrible days had at the end it with you with his blessing you're laughing more because you want to hear you eat you, don't wanna, hear perfection isn't funny. It's just not funny floors. A funny. Mistakes are funny. There's this commitment. You might know him if your berwin angry Falco, and less Dawson. It was around in that of the seventies. I is right, and that is a great northern committee- loved language tat. It was almost Alan Bennet, like any some movie now tell these these funny story, but used this thing where you play the piano. I need it
They need the wrong notes, but he was very out about any small need. Wink like he was Liberace and it was, it was ended. Hilarious and I've I've thought about for years, and- and I almost use that as a metaphor for so dark humour with laughing because we're laughing the blind spot that he thinks he's brilliant and we know he's not but we can only laugh if we know that too. If we don't know that June, we don't know the mistakes, so I think people laugh at the wrong thing because they know what the right thing is, and I tried to apply that sir. You know everything in comedy politics whatever and I think that's a good feeling just like people when they laughed ass, they get the pan. It's almost a celebration of understanding and surprise, and I think that's interesting, la la
often at the wrong thing, because you know what the right thing is that those note to the bits we laugh at where he the wrong. Now we laugh at that wrong. No, nor could it sounds bad because we know what the right thing is so, and that might be also back the if there might be a and interpersonal understanding of what's right in music, because I'm sure there was some of our God, they some music. That sound were aware that having splore in you know seconds- and you know it sounds so- the average person at a monstrosity. But to do you know that learn to stand. It would appreciate your ma. Am I make it a point to laugh at those people while of course attired another, though here I was a college for the guy and he he was studying languages and they went to see this Farmville and a patent. It was sometimes
whether this odious, those students watching this summer and there was one bad where a russian guy was talking to other russian guy and it wasn't subtitled. And so here? I told a joke in Russian an one guy was studying Russian and about when the latter review everything right. That don't call me that funny her you're, just let everyone know you understood a joke in Russia, so those that celebration as well and that you're right about the detention of them. But maybe not maybe you know, because I can't get into jars. I've tried but then this gateway things. I know that's good, I get it and slowly, you know not all the things I love now, where an acquired taste they were challenging. You know I did I didn't like Radiohead. First, from aside abandon your now drinking scotch for breakfast,
It would allow both as another thing, the ecologists, pure inquired daily, not good for you, but I'm. So I get it. I understand it, but I think you sometimes have to work at stuff to appreciate the more number and You know. I suppose I I've been worry about potential, but now, if I believe someone, if someone if someone I'll give another example, okay, so when I was them doll you so eat what you say that you are aware. I live college night, I didn't have a job and I have no money now. Where will the welfare I saw it? I am yet no money, but so what is to do it? I is just run I used to run around London. I I thought, keep fair and, and I couldn't afford. The idea is that some while, but also- and I say, to oil money for universal buying a bare so
I used to go to art galleries because they were free. Member went in one country and there was a authority exhibition and I saw for the first time lobster telephone service based their telephone with a lobster. As the receiver and I saw an I looked down and it just said lobsters Heller Am I laughed good? I just thought that so funny and so primitive to do. If you read the it didn't give up highfalutin tie for? We know he killed, it loves deserted I laughed and a couple of people who were what looking at it gave me a dirty. Look, I didn't know what are you doing here? you, U scruffy euphoria about Europe yeah, you don't know anything and it really annoyed me and is that thing in that Woody Allen film? I want to get Dolly out and go where you joking any go. Yes, of course I was joking. I say fuck off so happy.
I am very aware of protection, but do you Dolly there there selling out in their selling out at the end of his life. He would just sign blank canvasses. Rarely they pay him forget what it was, but something like twenty thousand dollars to just sign away and he would sign endless numbers of blank canvas is to further Who could do whatever they wanted with? That's amazing, I heard nothing about the castle, which is one of my favorite things ever about getting good at something I guess toward the end. He used to do the same for fur. Cherry and people would queue up. Anita heed your little squiggles hello, Picasso, Squig open for five dollars or something and woman queue up unease, quiver, Fagin, if you, when you're gonna, tell me five hundred dollars that took a few seconds and he said no. Madame it took me all my life. I think that's so good people- people great at some
thing. It does not trying hard, doesn't look there. You know. So I I I I do like that and I do appreciate. You know that that ten thousand hours to Fiji, Listen, I'm in all things that I cant do not getting back to music. I'm right! It's like it's like downloading emotion that I dont understand: why do some pieces of music with no association right is not their own? My grand didn't used to play it a card can make me feel sick, like I want to cry and laugh at the same time cause it's so beautiful. Not that must be. That must be some sort of hard. Wiring must never but why we want they want orchestras when we were australopithecus. Why is tat? Well, yeah: well it some clearly a kind of super stimulus. Did you know this sum concept of a super stimulus now
someone who is it who was interacting with a species of sea gull. It was raising these Siegel checks and the mother Siegel have has a right to have a red dot on her beak to which the chicks oriented and bond yet, and so they created a fake mother, Were they spent all I'm already read red dog, ass, yeah and look. It was even more effect. Than than the natural version, so there's something better there. I think our things in it. I actually think television and film is a kind of super stimulus for us and as one of the reasons why we find it so captivating, because I can't move we spoke about this and when we did on doubted, if it's just makes, I just think it makes you there. You can see things you couldn't possibly say it's not like you know you can't you put it in a documentary about vikings, you don't see. Marauding
Vikings with personally, was when you watch you know a great production. It's like you see in real life, even though its fiction new seen things you shouldn't really have seen what I think, sure thing is yeah. You you're seeing things you shouldn't or couldn't have seen in a condition where your invisible, like labelling, what day is it like? I can look at your face when you are on screen and I'm on implicated yeah, there's other you're gonna do with your eyes. That's gonna could not suppose me to your glance, and so it is this experience of suggests France annually oil tourism yeah, but I also think is less to be good, because there are things you can it, otherwise there wouldn't be such a thing as a great fear when the terrible foam on another subjective that that's true everyone's. We! U turn things off this, isn't this isn't doing? for me why my watching this, you know so each year, is that it is that the experience and there's no
a one one that I'm in the third is when people saw a film, they were blown away, but when we watch it now we go kill those black and white a bit flickering, there's no specific measures that might have got it. I've got a twelve year old, daughter, who's, not impressed by alms. I know blew me away when I, where fifteen, or I like it. I like she looks at star wars, it machine she notices, bad. The acting is in what
our. Why didn't you? I think you ve on summit with a M participation, because that's my video games are bigger than movies because you are participating. I think that people want to be part of every cause. A website can I wanna cause. They wanna caused the commotion. They want to have an effect on the world, so I think the next level with film that's as good as the godfather way you're in it near. I think that the next that's the next level without you, you do and say things and those characters racked or we can all become as stupid as we are in dreams. Interest find everything just amazing, oh yeah, what that go back we're! So if so, you, basically you don't know the answer. I think, by
Transcript generated on 2021-03-06.