« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#131: Ezra Klein, How We Interact with Politics Matters

Vox's editor-at-large and journalist Ezra Klein, formerly of The Washington Post, has made a name for himself as a political commentator, finding context within the chaos of our political scene and exploring the idea of what a political system would look like if created amidst tribalism. Klein, who hosts the popular podcast, "The Ezra Klein Show," also argues in our interview that it's important to take a step back from social media - Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat and others - and be mindful enough to ask if these things we are obsessed with checking are good for us.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Day timber centres. Great guess this week as recline, you probably know big pipe, castor, big journalist, editor at large for vocs and Darwin talk what all sorts of things. How meditation is helped him in but has not in in the age of trump and whether he thinks so my fullest can play a role and in the insidious, pernicious problem of political tribalism. Nation. First, though, one piece of business, and then Europe calls the piece of business mentioned last week, but bears repeating. There are, I believe, still a few tickets left. Or the event, and allay that I'm gonna be doing on Wednesday may second, at eight o clock with SAM Harris that will be at these screwball cultural centre. Screwball dot, org its main SAM will just be rapid, it'll, probably end up on one or both of our pike, s some point, but should be fun. Let's get the funk us here go yet again. This is rod calling from eagle thanks.
the great work, and my question is eyes that approach is about eighteen months ago and initially noticed huge gains, almost immediate, are you my daily life utility, her responds rather than react, and even my long suffering was noticed that I was a nice guy. However, I've noticed after a few months, diminishing returns from my daily practice and maybe even a regression my old to permit or hard wiring am always wondering in your opinion and experiences this Plato and benefits a common thing, and can you make any suggestions to switch my practice up a gear, so I can continue to grow thanks for everything then she's, my by so called, and we ve got anybody in New Zealand is who's interested in. turn the ten percent happier stuff. That's just awesome. I should have given the the caveat that which you guys are kind of used to it by now, but I always have to say it. I answer these questions
to the best of my ability. I don't hear them beforehand, I'm not a meditation teacher, not a mental health professional, just a reporter who happens to meditate doing his best, so That being said, I do have some thoughts for what their worth. on your perceived predicament. One is that yeah, the meditation practice doesn't doesn't in my variants. Go in some. You know straight on iter up line toward Nevada, its You know you will hit peaks and valleys regressions, plateaus again perceived peaks and valleys regressions plateaus? sprints, We know where you feel like you're, making all sorts of progress, but it's so Multi Victoria, the practice itself, Is me no mysterious how it plays out in any individual lined it can be affected by somebody. Exhaustion factors going on in your life that you may
it may not even be aware of arms, certainly not aware of them, so I wouldn't get to wrapped up in thinking about this to wrapped up I'd I'd. Do I've been allowed it I'm getting wrapped up in the particulars of my practice. You know I am. I am as out my ability to concentrate its efforts at her and my teacher Joseph Goldstein is always liked. You know you should have a little mantra of who cares if every time you get sucked into these thoughts dislike at those of who cares diseased a waste of time, he calls it. The playing in replaying of the Koran Quote Practice assessment tapes wasted time, largely not entirely, but largely it's not necessarily bad too. To have some.
Thinking about your bike is better can be, it can tie you up in an unnecessary nuts, and it sounds to me, like you're, really focused on how it's playing out in your actual life and again you made a bunch of progress. Your wife apparently noticed it that's all great, but it doesn't mean you're, gonna be perfect and some weeks, depending on what's going on, you may be worse than you ever were, but that's just pick that their show many reasons. For that an end it as in any way suggests to me that you should give up on the practice, but so you to get your actual question. How can you shake things up? Well, I think that's a constructive thing to look at and there are lots of things. The first thing that comes to mind is too toy with more meditation, you know that could either mean more formal meditation, just boosting your daily dosages seated meditation. If you feel like that's, it
that is not feasible. Given your schedule, I totally understand that's. Why would say then maybe experimenting with meditation of what we call at ten percent happier free range meditation. You know turning the washing of the dishes were the walking, but Queen meetings or even the driving of your car. Even the using of your phone into little met. Haitian into mindfulness exercises, because this can Do something really important, which is to take the practice out of the formal. sessions and into your life, which is, of course, the point, the other thing to toy. Is too, if Jeffrey Warren, my co author in my region we're here. This is the first thing he would have said is to look look around. It may be joining a community isis, back then I know where you are a new Zealand. You may have said it and then- and I I didn't- I wasn't listing mindfully enough, but I should
back there are groups, people who get together and medic meditate and probably a eyes, I think, joining these groups can have a lot of benefits it. It normalizes the practice it can't you get you introduced a lots of other people who are going through the same things, you're going through said. That's normalized too, in terms of feeling, like you may have the plateau were, or regressed, Annie it's by can inspire you to do more to experiment to see what areas of your life you can apply. The practice so doing that Also, if there are great teachers around this may be striking ever relationship with the teacher witches. I found to be immeasurably beneficial in terms of seeing all the little cul de SAC said. I drive myself into. and being able to serve navigate my way out with the help of somebody who's been there him. herself
many many times as the case. He often these very experienced teachers have all these little problems that we bumped into they have experienced thousands and thousands of times, and so they can really give you great advice about had to get out of it. So those are just some thoughts about how you can possibly shake things up a little bit, in a merger instinct rather than just giving up on them or to hell it in his time from CAN. Then this is on the air, hello element it enters as well. I d meditating epileptics marked using her up, I'm just sort of listening to pocket. So please, if you lay agreements, discussion, is ass, good, ass, before before an athlete point of view and mainly golfers point of view, I, how does somebody gets in or is it possible with meditation to get in the so called him quote? I've heard about visualization, while you're, better training- and I heard about I'm just the lessons of common yourself down,
is an aspect of meditating back and basically beneficial before around a common there's, a kind of keep you in a moment or even during the realm of keeping the moment, scarcely thoughts I and other peoples of August figure, but my thanks and I have done in a profess like just utter ignorance here now about athletic performance reserve. Not a great athlete specifically about golf agent grew up on the back nine of golf course, but we were not members of that golf club and I therefore never really learned how to Gulf. That being said, we have an excellent course under ten percent. Here with the guy named George Mumford. Who is awesome in every way and was the meditation teacher for this the in and nearly Lakers during their respective championship runs and, to this day works with all sorts of athletes and, if memory serves what he says, is that meditation cannot
actually put you in the zone, but it will make you quote, unquote: zone ready, so what you in the zone, where your most likely to get into the zone? So what would out? What kind of meditation would I do you you mention too to centre? as one is, come nerves beforehand and the second was improving performance during, again, if my memory serves of what you said during during your voice mail. So now just can speak my own experience as a somebody. extremely limited athletic experience with the with the guidance that you actually go check out the course from from George Mumford, so what I would do beforehand is. I find that focusing on the breath for me,
is the most coming in particular the breath as it enters and exits the nose. I find that to be the most coming, so I would find a quiet place or put on some headphones and and do that is a way to come myself, although visualization isn't the thing I know many athletes do- I don't know oh enough about it, to give advice to previous podcast guests. However, it might be worth going back tell us in their progress, as I suspect they they may have spoken about it. One would beaten George Mumford himself and on this part, guest and Michael J, I believe who works with the Seattle Seahawks in the actual game of Gulf WAR whatever you're doing. I do think one way to get yourself out of your head and into the moment is to quite literally use your body to bring your attention to this physical sensations, which are always
How do you, but we often ignore, because we're stuck in our own head, no spinning off into random thoughts or horrible. Actions into the future based on you know all the terrible things that could happen to us if we missed this put blah blah blah just to come back to the feelings of your hand on the club, the feelings of your feet on the ground, wind son. All of that can just cut that cycle down. It's not magic, but it in my experience can help you just refer. Chris on- what's happening right now and pull you out of all of your phantasmagoric. Images in your, in your mind, hope that helps better again. I admit my lack of experience. Okay, so, let's, let's look good as required today, he is, as I said before, just a bit can a really exciting, dynamic young journalist fortune?
on the on the left, so just know that so he approaches things from a pretty specific standpoint. He is the host of the Ezra Klein Show, which is a every podcast. There are lots of great podcasts within the VOX network, including one called the weeds which I really enjoy. He used to work for the Washington post. He is now his title at box. is editor at large. He is very much in the daily sir Hurly burly of politics in the era of tromp, and so it's intriguing to me here. How meditation has been useful in and also the limits of its utility, so here go as required. From ABC ten percent happier, Vodka Dan, I always ask the same question, which is: how did you start meditating? What what happened?
So I have, I tried, meditating on and off in college, and you see Santa Cruz. So whoever, where I saw where to sit here with you because I feel like I know you was I've- listened your pockets so many times and I feel the same, and I listened to the weeds. We'll podcasting has at the strange quality because it has his intimacy. yeah, and so we will, when you meet people, you listen. Do you like I've, been inside your head for a very long time or even in my it yeah, and then it's bad, because our almost inevitably disappointment, I thought well I'll do my best broadcasters is its button. The best face forward is it dont member I mean, I think, I'm I think virtually all of my work. I am a worse person than I am and my actual life, and I guess I'm a better person than I am and actual life back that for me, so all take us out of it. So I feel that. for those who do not me. I do a lot of political writing and then and reporting. I think that, in a lot of
commentary, I do in how I and others, and up portraying myself on twitter and name on tv. I do firm and a cable news. I think those spaces where I end up coming off more definitive and in some cases. Strident that I am even is up, I'm too, I think those spaces have a flattening effect on a personality. I think it's true for me. Thank you for lot of I know why also see in those spaces the podcast is now Jason and it's something I'm trying to do with it on the concho. The weeds, where I'm trying a lot of voice to the fact that I have interests beyond politics of that. I am as it is that I do not have full confidence in a lot of my opinions. And in some ways going into those spaces and being able to have those kinds of conversations with those parts of myself for a mind. I, like the person I am there, and so
I think it's often her person. I have another in other parts of my work. we're running around to being stressed out, and you know field behind, but but I do this is something I am struggle with a lot. She's. Ok, I, like the person I'm coming off, as in my podcasting it impotent that are being at my podcast, Furthermore, like the person I'm being saved my writing, how do I bring those together and I have not found the answer to that, but it's something I am thinking about quite a bit. It's a really something to think about, but maybe something you shouldn't be bludgeoning yourself with, because we are doesn't sound like me, you will get about my kind of guy morning. Why is it you want to know I meditated we'll get to that? I totally derailed you, but now that we're talking about this, it seems to me- and I haven't thought about this- deeply- that We do have different roles in different parts of our lives and its natural, like I like myself less when I'm lecturing my three year old about not putting his finger in the sockets than I do than when I'm giving a sympathetic ear to a colleague who has an issue, but that's just
Different role like like myself is probably not the language I should have come up with here, because that's very, as you say, the bomb their membership has learned to like myself, but what what I mean there is that. I think that this is the first period as the in my career as a political journalist, where I feel so profoundly uncertain, where I feel that not only do I not know the answers, but virtually nobody, I can see seems to have good answers. Fur for what's going on in the country for why things feel the way they do for? What's going on in this administration, the first administration I've ever covered, where you call people who try to get in a can. The reasoning and nobody can give it to you, because nobody even knows what is because at all is in diagrams head and maybe not even there right things just happen. I mean that there is something something quite buddhist about all of it, but I I think that a lot,
of political writing is not well tuned for uncertainty, I think, column writing commentary. Which I do a fair amount of that obviously opinion writing that has a real push towards hearsay answer. Here's my take on it. One thing I takes advertisement ha ha takes our takes all kinds it takes. I like I like takes. I wish we I would like to go back to having some more neutral language, but but yes, it there's a lot of that in times, like somebody diabetics, I do want to say you know what this helped your bill is bad, I'm not hesitant about that. That's gonna! Throw a lot of people off of health insurance. It's bad! We shouldn't do that, but a lot of the time right. Now I find myself struggling with issues where I think they're, like five plausible answers, and
be six more that I haven't even figured out or I've heard I've been able to find in my reporting, and I am trying to think about how you create formats were that can come out how to create formats where, instead of saying here is the answer we can say here a couple, but smell, it is and what their ways do it and we do it. The reason box is an expert at her journals, Morgan assertion. The reason we built it in the way we did it is that one thing that is helpful to do in this period is to focus more on cod, text than we have before when when everything is so chaotic, it's good to out alive. It's ok. What is actually part of, but putting aside the question of how makes me feel about me just real lotta commentary right now and it feels like we are operating with old formats and models for a world that our level of I didn about it and our level of knowledge about it is a whole lot less. Then we like to pretend or a new model look like I'm in Spit Balin here, so something I play around
doing sometimes when a new. If that happens, the big event happens. it will do, I do not have a good name for this is but she's bullet lists of thoughts. Instead of saying you know p instead of having a peace where you have a thesis and are respected structure or its opinion piece and pieces up at the top in your running through the argument getting down to the bottom, these are just fifteen ideas and day stop. and it will back on each other and sometimes contradict each other. I think that the love that I think that the island of who, although the problem with that is, it is hard in this structure of the peace to communicate. What it is you're doing that meets our privacy and show him up at the rubric unless you come of the rubric, but even so the rubric off to be well, here's the huts I have on this, which is fine in the region.
Figures it out, but it is in his clean it up. Like you know it, you know just just thinking, I don't know her pronounced this guy's name, but there is an amazing, a tv credit for the New York Times. James pony was upon you honey laws like yeah, so he used right for Time magazine and I've been reading. His hot takes on tv episodes for a long time in a used to end his his like rapid reviews of episodes with what he called a hail of bullets. Any would just do what you just described as the budget. I hail of bullets. A bullet points bunch around without some of them could contradict one another. But they were just like thoughts. What do you think makes it take hot butter on me? I'm not that business, but I think it. I guess it's hot, because it
is fresh like another, which is related to something that just happened and because he's gotta a very specific point of view, which is what your reacting against from belief for what I take away from what you said, which is that a hot take precludes you from subtlety new wants or uncertainty, so the things it saw. I struggled us because we see do you have gone into this language have take some I'm somebody who has no background in a lot of part. today's I've done about your tv. I've done. I've been on the new side at the Washington Post, where I did some commentary too, but I was in the newsroom, not on the opinion side and we ve we moved into the language of hotcakes and smart takes. I almost want to create a a take taxonomy like the to me. A hot take is it is it take that is too fast and under baked
Brightwood you get you know something happens, always got to come up with an opinion on a real, quick and any read something. Sometimes people have a lot of knowledge about something right, you're, you know it's healthcare and Sarah Kliff is writing a piece, and so that that's you know so close I hope, therefore, that was amazing. Great and that's gonna have lodged an all too, but if you don't, you can end up with the hot take which is you are substituting. The heat of your opinion for actual knowledge about the issue, whereas those small paid or it is reported take, but that I something about the take language bothers me in because I think a lot of news has more taken it than people admit, and this idea to call this thing We're here takes is a way of denying that that I don't love, but you're doesn't you're here. We think this for just language at interest languages that sticks with me a little bit. I think you're onto something
never. In the history of my brief history of my podcast in career, have I derailed a guest so rapidly thoroughly. Will you not a thing about being able to communicate hesitancy, different points of view, so you I cut you off it. You see Santa Cruz, where you dabbled in meditation Santa Cruz is its spiritual place? If you ve never been there, it is, I think, has to be the most beautiful college campuses in America. It is built in a red. growth, where it literally the rule is that no building can be more than two thirds of the height of the tallest nearby Redwood Sammy, that that the rhetoric of dominates- When I was there, I read a lot of technical, Han and and and read about Buddhism, and you know tried to do meditation, but it didn't stick. I'll take only really stuck after I launched box, which was in twenty fourteen and its stuck van, because just
launching and Running box was incredibly incredibly stressful. and I just needed not just met it, I should but other things that would bring down my level of complete, overwhelm and panic that that I had at all times and why? Why were you? then panic? I understand why you are of their low fragility to building something new. We describe what it is your bill, so VOX is it a were expanded. My news organization planetary mood is so we focus then, and and- and the reason I emphasise out- is that not a news org? Stations are built around breaking news? They are built around. If, if you look at what the product of a story there is it is it the new bite of news and that's really important thing to do, but something I've done before in it, something that bit admire today. What I think along those organizations traditionally have not done well, is give people the car tax. They need to understand that new piece of news so you're covering something
oh yes here, unexampled unfamiliar with it with it is part of the Genesis of Box itself Obamacare, I covered lungs, cliff the affordable, Caracks Genesis and pass Annabelle mutation, when we were at the Washington Post and something I always felt there was it not just us, but but a lot of of our friends in the media. We were doing a great job. Answering the question of what happened with the Lama care to day, like just like what happened with alarm occur in the last eight hours every day, if you'd come to want blog, which I launched at the post, you have gone and answer on that, and I think it was a good answer. But when I would read the emails I got from people they didn't actually put in. That's not a question that he would ever asked they wanted to know what was along a care. How did the subsidies work and what we do didn't, have were real products that were easy to find and that were continuously updated, such that, as we were irritably
Bring a new story were able to give people the context of their coming interest right now to understand the whole of the story so vocs in allotted for ways with a lot of different products and and ideas in it was launched to focus on that was launched to focus on this question of ok. When the news happens, can we build an organisation that is dedicated in our work flows in who we higher in the products we build and formats we prize to giving people that broader context, and so that suits about The idea that were now we ve now been around for about four years. We have podcast, sir. We have in our on. You too, belong to Netflix show there's a lot of stuff happening, because I want to emphasise that, because harder for you to do that, may be a bit police. Three. The pike ass. I listened to regularly today explained which, as of this recording, is quite new, which basically explains, as the title suggests, some big topic in the news on any given day. Your show that reclined show and then
the weeds which the aforementioned Sarah Cliff Matthew, Iglesias and others. You often around they're, getting into the weeds of a policy issue. I find all of them useful in many ways the weeds you know, especially from covers gun, violence or whatever, to hear a detailed discussion of gun policies. Just incredibly useful for me, as a journalist is useful, for many people are the citizen. Thank so anyway, you guys are doing a lot of stuff, just a lot of great so I can ship that also be the twenty, the twenty off at the show, but so when we were launching it and doesn't feel this way now, cuz now we're back renovation. But I found the experience of launching something like that and going through the rapid, so within you know lesson for years we can from zero people to over a hundred. I found the experience of launching that to be just very nerve racking
and one you're, always dealing with the distance between the thing you ve built in your head and the thing you actually have at that moment. Right it takes time to build organization and so party when you're right I predict that chose to in a lot of different industries, but vocs you know it as one of the people who came up with a vision for it. You have to build to be able to execute on that vision. So one I found Reach is a lot of stress and all the things that I wanted us to do that we weren't yet able to do. What were you in a man and a Euro editor as, but were you there yo of so vocs? Media parent company has a ceo, but in terms of box dot com, I was the operational ivory operationally top manager, so it any problem that did not get solved. Vengefully came to me in that there is often well in their different personality types box I stepped on a editor in chief about I think partner for five months ago and are added
You ve, learned Williams is an amazing manager and there are things that I do that are funded me, that Lauren would hate their kind distress I handle well that are not her favorite thing. She really enjoys a work of managing people and I enjoy some of the work of managing people, but I dont really enjoy the work of organizational design once it got to beg, so I found it running vocs. I've managed the poster had managed roughly seventy people ultimately and I really like that, and I really liked managing and telecom too, like thirty forty people and at a certain point, when it's not to beg your actually managing the product, your managing peep, do managing the product managing people through assigning articles, editing, articles, I've, a lotta thoughts about that, and I like doing that when it got to the point we are managing the managers managers. That's an incredibly important thing to do. I I will not like book for a second any
criticism of middle manager is, are or managing the people who dismiss management books I mean managing, as you know, is a really important thing to do well, but it was in a thing that I I did uniquely well, and it wasn't a kind of stress that I held while so I can go on cable news or talk in front of a lot of people are right. It big piece in all handled out stress very well the stress of having conversations we have to tell people they're, not when the job you know the way you need them to do it or even happier conversations, and not just the stress of all that kind of interpersonal management, just dealing with people as people just the way. I am I find that I just found that I carried them a lot, so it was a mediterranean helpful in this context. The somewhat I've. Never I ended up finding meditation to be more interesting than helpful. If that makes sense, I I really like it I'm a
Do you the their I've told you before that? The ten percent happier app I like reading books about it and I find it really really. I find mindfulness really interesting and that act of seeing what is really happening in my own head. I can't say that I find it calming. It doesn't have the effect that it often so it gets to it happen I'm not sure if it's a bad thing and end end and who knows, maybe I'm onto something to it, to something or say? Oh, no, that's that's the way it was always supposed to be, but I should have started it because I thought it would help me manage my stress in it do that. Much of that, but it helped me see what was going on in my own head a lot more clearly and that had it that had a different value and I find it as an act? I find a pleasurable and a way of pulling back time for myself, and so it's become a big part of my life. I really want to do
a silent retreat, which I haven't done yet, but but that I'm excited for you, should I think it's a given what you're just driving. I would argue that you should investigate that. I guess offline. I can help you think about how to do that, but I want to go what you just said about clarity as opposed to com. I thought about this in Britain about it a little bit, but I wouldn't call myself an expert, but my experience. The calm comes through the
clarity, so that to a lot of people get into meditation because they want to become vectors and incredibly popular, meditation, app called com? And I think this very wise marketing, because people don't feel com, they feel the opposite of common and they they want. They want to get back to some sense of serenity, but my understanding of Buddhist based or mindfulness secular, mindfulness meditation. The goal is to feel any specific way. The goal is to feel whatever you're feeling clearly so that it does an own you, and it is that clarity and then, in the end, the lower volume on the internal chatter or may. Even if the charter is the volume isn't down your less susceptible to being carried away by the eternal charter that leads to a different kind of com, not sitting on a mountain top and loincloth com,
a com because you're not show owned by whatever neurotic impulses floating through your brain, I didn't find, and I still haven't found. I think that it gives me that freedom You know I had a. I have on my pike, ass, a Sea Robert Rights, why Buddhism is true up there yet and wearing. I like, I like Bob a lot, and I really really like that book in a book is ended up having an embarrassing talk with you about this, a different kind of more profound effect on me. As it has sat with me. I've been thinking about a lot recently in in Non Buddhists dimensions. But what I will say that not what I said to was in some ways. I have found the act of meditation to be unnerving really confirm ding how little control I have over. What's going on in my had really observing that and not quite being able to take control over, it has been that it's a profound thing to realise, and I am sure, with enough work and with enough meditation there's, you know you can Inga,
the other side of the shore and you know kept more more distance from it and and and more freedom from your neuroticism. What I found is that it gave him a much better sense of by owner odyssey But not necessarily of, although all that much distance from it- which maybe it's ok, do but isn't it this I mean I feel like this sense is the distance Then again, the Disney homely about that. I often describe myself is like the duties Slept at a holiday and last night and therefore thinks he can perform open heart surgery. You know so I'm not meditation teacher, so I'm giving you my hot take based on on a sounder, only writing a couple bucks about it and launching a meditation app and having a podcast your interview, the world's greatest meditated. So it's at some experience, some experience, but the meditated usual I truly truly respect have now my wife for examples, a physician and she,
as the years and years and years of hard core training. The meditation teachers who I truly truly respect have way more training under their belgian than my wife. Thus, at my wife is highly skilled, so guy, like Joseph Gold, seen whose mighty fifty years of really serious practice right now, he's unreachable because he's doing us several month, long silent, meditation treaty. Does it all the time he studied with great masters all over the world. So I wonder what somebody like that would say. Based on what you're saying, as opposed to what I'm saying is my level of experiences we lower but but to me what I hear and again, I'm just refracting through the lens of my own experiences. Is this having a greater sensibly? That was Those are the words used of your own. Neuroses is actually the mechanism for the coming.
That it's just seeing them clearly gives them less power over you. It's like the wizard of OZ. You know it's that all the sudden you're seeing the man behind the curtain. do something else. You said now, then I'll shut up and let you reactor whatever whatever you want to react to. Is that sense of being a nerve to by the lack of control. Actually, I might varies healing bet that, yes, we can't, we don't know where thoughts come from. We don't know where emotions come from. It's a mystery. It's called the mystery of conscious and actually getting in touch with that can lead over time to an unconscious of like oh yeah, I'm in the middle of a conversation, my wife or with my boss, or whoever and I'm having homicidal the huts right, but rather than act on them or beat myself up for having them. I can realise yet I dont know why this is happening, but I don't need to be owned by that. All sounds to me like
it would be true, or I am more advanced to end- had healed person. I don't I don't with any of that thing, you made me think about their there is that when I think of the life is some like Joseph Goldstein or widow write right her at at vocs who just went on an Oscar retreat and wrote a fascinating piece about it, and so may I use. This is the example man and he came back from man, and one things you're saying: is it in this Oscar retreat? Where he did? I ask a four times in four days: was just the singularly most profound experience of his life, on the other hand, then you leave, and after having this, Very, very, very intense confrontation with your own eco with your own psyche, watching yourself dissolve before you're very eyes, then you come back into the world that is constantly reinforcing a pretty
we saw a particular story of yourself to you. You come back into the world and somebody's Ike Peyton, where it where's the peace on your conscript speed. I was supposed to be do two days ago. You know in and in there now speak it for. I live like dogs and things, and you know it just life has lock on, and sometimes I wonder when I think, about the structure that monks have built for themselves when I I think about what it means to be unreachable on retreat and what it means to be a monastery, and I read some memoirs of people who have done that I think well, is the secret of meditation is secret, realising that, if you want to escape from S, you actually need to escape from the queues of that life more profoundly and that absent the ability to do that.
Sit down for twenty minutes a day is good, it's good for me. I continued to do it and I think it's good for people, but what it can do is limited I bet that's a question that I struggle it. I've come to a lot more about the queues we all have an hour. Vybz and the ways in which they reinforce a certain story of our ego and reinforce certain feelings. How different I can feel when I radically changed my context and so one one possible synthesis of what you're saying with. Is that? Having seen these things about myself? That is knowledge. I could use to begin to change the context of my life. Such did this
things will reinforce to decide, but unless I do that it doesn't it doesn't. Do they not sure about the mature agree with that death moonless, a misunderstanding: you I think you would come into mine. Is this old, then terrible about it, older monk, who spent a lot of time meditating but hasn't gotten enlightened and his kind frustrated about? Then he declares even a hike up a mountain and meditated till it gets enlightened and that's it and on his way up, he passes another monk who is enlightened and he asked the guy. He the guy's, carrying the guts Abbas veil of hay, not a bailiff, hey, like us up a bundle of sticks and the guy says to him. What is enlightened that the underlying monks, as did the guy with the sticks
but is enlightenment like I'm, a guy drops the sticks and then the guy says what do you do then, and it picks up the steps and keeps locking and similarly there's another, then I think is a bunch of somebody will pregnant twitter from wrong about this, but there is a famous let us then paintings shows a guy with some cattle I think, and that has uneasy, with light met, but that the punch line is at the end. You go to the market. In other words, you do have to withdraw from life so thoroughly. That accused are all done. It so you're relating to the queues differently, and I dont know that you ever I don't know that it's possible somebody in our position to ever so thoroughly. Related differently that we were are what would be described as enlightened. But that's why, like the whole ten percent thing, because over time, you're developing the skill of
being a rat and amazed not being a robot controlled by malevolent ego. You know that they actually the d the there are various stimuli triggers in your life can actually be served in a more sup away in overtime. Just get get better and better at about that, and I very much do not want to be taken the position that unless you're gonna go devote your lifetime took to his monastery that there's nothing you can do about any of this. I am one thing I should say in all of this: where were you say you said a number of times here like look you're, not a meditation mass I'm not even if I get meditate, so I want to be really careful that sometimes we are in the end. They guessed yarn about Catholic in it can seem like an expert, but as a donor, starting this, I'm is far from,
like twenty, even via my twenty minutes today represents it s a robust have so, but the one did the geographically may say their good at meditation. I get very sceptical when you say you're, not that tells me you're doing it right so, but as good as it was that the thing that you never here is a parable is the monk is walking up the mountain and he saw the guy furiously refreshing twitter to see. How many phase it is tweak audiences, what's meditation like and the monk retreats himself and then what's it. So I do sometimes I think that there is a value in some value for me is in being more mindful of white friend, stimuli in my life are pulling from me. What what identity, they're calling forth? What feelings are calling forth and, as you say, something I am sure there are answers to be found in better practice. In in notches meditation, but I you know, I find access has to be an incredibly com
I mean you're sleeping like these are these are good things and some I mean it's in saying. Actually, I have are is in a way that does not make me happy. Actually I've architect of things in ways bit does not interact with my personal basket, of anxieties and needs and hopes and wants very well and- and I have to make changes one thing that is true about how I think about a lot of things in this. Serbia meditation such I think about politics and and taken a lot of other things. My wife calls me a structurally the climbing structuralist I am not a huge belief or an individual agency, and I'm somebody who tend to see a lot more than what we want to admit is being elicited by the systems in which replace ourselves. So when that is the lesson I take from meditating force, think about my brain. Without answer being lesson, I take from almost everything- and it's probably not a surprise- that I
more time, meditating and looking at my own emotions and begin to question the systems in which I've embedded myself, that might be a I'd at idiosyncratic thing from aid that it may not be, how other people experience, or what does that mean? Does it get you thinking about changing the structure of your life? So you know, as I said one thing I did over the past years. I stepped down said event chief of by organisation, and I am really proud of having done that. I had a did upon cast while back with a guy named Arthur, Brooks NEWS s I want to have. The greatness of defence has tat. You should not have me on that. You should have Arthur on this package is much better and much more easily exclusive. And he he had this great line and we have, however, been easier from the is the head of the American Enterprise Institute, which is a big conservative, think tank in Washington, but he's an economist who been is past life's folks.
Venus research and I thought a lot about what actually makes people happy and he's just a guy he's a Catholic, and he has a very, very open spiritual outlook on life. He somebody who absorbs life through a very, very interesting filter but I had a my pockets and he talked about the way that he was talking here about research about work. This was long before having how does having this conversation with people and saying that a thing that can happen to people is that you know they keep rising up at work and then what they rise above the level where the things doing are the things that really love doing, but the two go down is a loss of status, and so people trouble doing that too. get trapped, because, on the one hand they don't want to feel demoted or to see other people to feel like they would I did, and on the other hand, there not doing the things that really,
bring them the joy that most of the things tat make them feel more like them, and for me, recognising at a certain point that as much I mean I, I have appropriate unhealthy level of Like emotional connection to the organisation that I launched or another I mean, I think about it all the time, and I am immensely proud of it and I care about it, but recognising a certain point fit. What I was doing was not the best use for me in it with them, ass, proud of that that was a those a kind of hard internal decision to come to the airline it had guilt in whatever The clarity that you generate through meditation was useful. Ida goes health format. I do live cover now, it's get yeah, that's it is actually some than meditation is there I made by the trade will end and I think and do not want to give their lot of things, he's going through, demonstrates a charter. Understand this but- and I say to with tech, I've become very, very
skeptical in a way that a lot of other people are too. So I don't think this is something special to me, but a lot of the platforms in which I've engaged pretty thoughtless Lee over the past couple of years, twitter and Facebook and others just you know, we're all in it. So I'm in it too, and you know I have powerful many followers and isn't that great and You know trying to watch what actually happened happening to me when I'm there do. I feel, like I'm being more pretty do I feel, like I'm being a good version of myself. It's led to a lot. Or reassessment for me again how much it is submitted and how much meditation is a symptom of some of the underlying discomfort that led to the meditation. Is it look who knows but but but that stuff I feel, has been imported, and so I am spending a lot of time. Thinking about the structures in which I but myself in and the way I could of build my own life is what what what story, what parts of myself in my reinforcing and which parts myself and my calling
back give one discern in autumn rambling here, but now this is what this is. Happened on twitter recent over last year. I think, is really interesting once I realized it had happened to me so twitter until I may have the dates wrong, until it's a year ago was notable in that it was not algorithmic. So U turn on twitter com? You had a running reverse chronological stream of just what everybody you follow had so, whatever I saw. If you had twenty two seconds before, that's what I saw then Twitter may changes. They may changes in part because it fall away behind Facebook and face because his newsfeeds these feed is delivered algorithmic Lee and it has complicated equations running in the background. Work off of what it thinks you like, and then what things are going to want to see, and you know what's going to get you the most to twitter when it did a version of that. So now, when I turn on twitter, instead of just seeing the
overwhelmed with people shouting at each other, which even there is probably the best thing for me now I see a algorithm will be served up menu of the best performing tweets from everybody else. My industry things you might have married, you might have passed and so I do not even to sing all of it with I'm just saying it's like my friend Chris Hayes MSNBC. You know, I see the tweet of his that performed absolutely the best in the past twenty four hours and what that comes up and you should write some better performing tweets I like it? This is your job. You should be competing with all the people on Twitter, in addition to all the things you actually get paid to do, and it took me a little while I begin using the platform more as a carbon out. You know and I began getting better numbers, and you know it had twenty thousand retreats. It isn't that great and it's amazing, oh my god. This has done such great job playing on my own status. Anxiety, like
has shown me something every time I come in now that the part of me it pulls out is a part that always worried, some falling behind in my industry. The part of me that I'm not doing enough in my work, the party, the things like this could definitely be better. You know what do you do like figure this out and you know that's like. I am not going to change up. I met a thing to change up, I'm not going to the twitter homes greatness much like that as he hates her right, but I just think these. Things are so multi fact horrible that actually you I don't know, I'm not in your mind so in, and I know I also I'm not one, I think it very dangerous to get for somebody. Might Can we get overly dogmatic about the benefits of metal patient? So with those caviar? issued. My hunch is that that you're not giving your practice enough credit and that actually you're making a bunch of decisions that are again
Victoria like you, proud, married, really well and and your wife did denials and you are older, and you have so you're you're becoming more self aware, and so I think it's probably a bunch of stuff, but it was to me on the receiving end of everything you ve just said. I'm here somebody who's more self aware and making decisions about how to have a calmer saner life, and that I would put it sounds to me like I put meditation in variables that are pushing on earth. I mean, I don't think we're disagreeing on this at all. In fact, what at what I said there when I said at the end, like the women, a fixed at a summit petition, the way can see that might be meditation, that's my point, but the wagon fix it is to change the structurally and which I operate. I mean it part of the feeling. There is ok when I get up from from sitting, for while I feel calm and in the second I open my computer, I don't know, what's going on there, I mean parties is knowing what it feels like when you feel
So you don't pick up so used to the feeling of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. You're picking become tangled normal thing. Why and continuing to walk the giant you're doing its trauma very late in person? What what did? What did Bob right Ceety? Where did Bob right say in his book that has continued to resonate with you, so I almost wish I could reach titled epoch. I've come to really Think a lot about. As I said that book and I want it, but I want to recommend that book to a lot of people who do not want to read a book about Buddhism here, because it's such a good book about the mind and Bobby such a sharp, thoughtful science, writer and the thing I can think about that book. is in the line of work. I mean you end up considering a lot of ideas and hearing about a lot of ideas that are to solve on some really fundamental level. The fact that the sick things feel kind of me all the time,
I feel I can honestly say they feel you know baby feel politically and the thing I've been thinking about a lot from that book is so the core argument that book, in my view in- and you should tell me if you fellas wrongs and research into about this, but that the coordinated up when it when I read it and and and interviewed him, is that fundamentally the brain did not evolve to make us happy the brain evolved to make us want things the brain evolved all. Make sure that we are going to survive and we're going to reproduce. And if you have mind if you had, if you built a creature that adopted very quickly to what it and was satisfied with that that creature was not going to thrive. In it. We are doggie. A revolutionary world and one of the things that
got me thinking a lot about is how many of the problems that we want to solve through policy or changing pack have to do with the wages. Humans are how much of the suffering is baked into the system, that is to say that we should be trying to solve it, but it is to say that if you don't come from the perspective that we are going fasten under the parts of a system that have tribalism imbedded in them that have status competence. embedded in them, they have wanting in craving imbedded in them, did if you dont begin with a realistic picture of the mind of help how humans operate then no system you build is gonna work because the thing- and this is my my sort of core point about it. I think that we often intuitively frame things like a fall from grace
we intuitively frame things I mean. I read this about. Capitalist systems are neoliberal systems all the time that they ve, somehow hijacked human beings into this endless wanting and grasping and and might take on. It is different that human beings were like that, and capitalism and NEO liberalism are systems that one reason that they have worked to the extent that have worked is that they they are within the greased groups of humanity, they have the day they work. What kind of something that we already are now recognising that thing we already are can get supercharged. We can get too much of it and it can become a really bad way of living life. Will that that's an important realisation too? But it means that if you're gonna start trying to imagine a system which is gonna cut against sat, you can imagine what will happen? Is people just embrace it that you know just moving into the new thing? That's what they're gonna be. There can be happy actually like it takes real,
hence work in your talking about what it takes. Two to be a great meditate, our it takes real, intense work to overcome these parts of yourself. It's not so we can do just my tweaking system, indefinite semi, do by taking a system without recognising that that's what this is working in the first place, except there are levels here so there's Joseph gauzy.
then there's me whose ten percent you know happier than he used to be. What I were, what I think is the brilliance of the Buddha is that a very was very, very wisely and keenly focused on the pleasure centres of our brain. What keeps us moving is the wanting, but he has pointed out that it feels better to be mindful that mindless, if you're, paying attention, if you'd better to be nice rather than to be cruel, and actually so they view boost your my fulness quotient. You start to see these things and then it just becomes a new greased groove and
seems to me that they actually gives me a lot of optimism that, once you point out to people of the mind is tradable. Why wouldn't you do that now? I you know there are actually a bunch of reasons why you wouldn't because, because of the same mind that we have all four is also not good at adapting healthy habits, men so that that's a huge obstacle, but I do think there is something to be said about the fact that the Buddha with put the the brilliance that Bob is holding in on is that actually you can you can co op these same systems to create a safer world? I agree. I just think that yeah, I'm not disagreeing. They knew that. Actually, I'm just in the reason the book is stuck with me is bed in in a kind of different realm. Should I take how Bob is looking at the systems and selves and and- and you know, the ideas of Buddhism that to me is very, very straightforward. The correct, but it's been helping me think about
Other spaces of reform will give an example that I'm saying go in other systems of yet reform. You can bring this spirit, yes an end, but I think that the hard part is that the way dialogues about reform happen very rarely has a spirit. The way dialogues about reform happened almost always has implicitly that we have for reasons that are hard to understand or possibly related to malign forces. It or you know, controlling happening behind these. We just completely screwed up. We have lost touch with ourselves. We are not doing the thing that would obviously be better for us to be doing. We just need to do the thing. That would obviously be better and it mean I don't mean to get too much into sort of seventies, personal transformation stuff, but I think a lot of these things need to have more of a sense of what. Why do we wider human beings and of choosing the systems we do? Why why this is so obviously better? Hasn't it just one out on its own and its because we're not built
happy we're not built to pursue happiness in that way. I'll give you an example. Sorry read a book recent I really enjoyed in and we recommend to people and respond, cast called lost connections by Johan Hurry and the book is he suffered from and others from very, very deep depression and the book is about trying to re understand a lot of depression as a function, not just of individual chemical balance, but how society a structured, individual things are happening in people's lives The undersigned depressions, contextual, not just chemical on some level. That's obviously true and another level is often forgotten when appealing to you as a systems thinker, appealing to be a system sinker, but an either podcast with Yahoo coming out soon. And then, when we talk about this in their one of the places ray, I found the book, the frustrating that there are a lot of things in it where its well look, if out so much, obviously better and other stopping people from do
now right, if it's much better for people to spend time outside, and we could spend more time outside. Most of us, I mean they're. A couple of us your camp at its most was, could spend more time go into the pool work instead of watching so much Netflix or whatever. Why aren't we and in some ways they think they can get looked? It is too much of a mystery when, in fact it's not that much of a mystery spina we for whatever reason we are not always built to do the things that would be better for us and just start with that idea. If you for me absorbing that idea fully, has it made a lot of things. It didn't make as much sense to be make more sense and his help me. I think, try to think about. If you're going to do I'm a big reformer myself, I have lots of ideas about how the world could be a better place, but if we want to implement them, recognising that you know you often Europe, Europe, They need to be working to pull people away from from ways of approaching pro
some ways of approaching the lives that are really deeply baked in, as you saying, there's a lot of wisdom in Buddhism, but one thing that that wisdom and closes it. You gotta practice a lot you're trying to overcome something very deeply built into an and that's it I think just beginning with a realistic appraisal. That difficulty is important. What what do you think that you recently? How did your pack S Tristan Harrison by dont, know and actually want to get him on this path cast whose a former google executive, whose now started a group that something like centre for humane technology, something along those lines designed to get technology working better for actual human beings. What, if anything, can be done in their spirit for you, as it were, for to make technology more humane and you think any of the wisdom of the Buddha can be useful there who so such
don. Just four people were not super familiar with interest on his basic argument. Is that what's happened? Is it Silicon Valley? You know, sort of writ large has built a lot of products that are design I want to be a directive that are are designed with full knowledge of the ways, a human, not full knowledge, because you don't have that, but both a lot of knowledge about the ways human brain actually works. What actually addicts set so, for instance, you're more likely become addicted, something with variable rewards than something that always rewards you. You would not enjoy playing slot so much if I gave you a dime every time, but if sometimes it gives you a hundred bucks and then, like a million other times, it gives you nothing it's very exciting. So his whole thing is that we are building these products to addict us. We are built. We are. We are in these products- and there are doing things till I plan our status anxiety to play our sense of social obligation to plan the way, human eye connects color as opposed to grace, kill and all that is leading to
ending up doing a lot of things it in a kind of higher order will mindful way we actually wouldn't want to be doing. So. How can I change that he's? So this system better, the centre was very, very. Very good. People ought to try to begin doing that research. He should have has a four point plan but if we get parts of it, but one of the things that he's doing, I think, is really important and if my hope, for this comes from anywhere comes from here, is actually trying to change the cultural conversation around this. So yes are their different way. We can architect these platforms so that their not quite as crazy, making their a hundred percent are a very good examples. Faced with messenger when use Facebook, messenger it automatically creates. What's color, it received. So you send something to your friend and then you friend opens it and soon open it. They know, and it says overseas got is gone back using may bread it, and that means that if you dont send anything back, we know you ve, read it and have now ignore them
now you can have read receipts on email. You can have read receipts on I message, but they dont make you do it, because nobody wants that. We want. Seventy know exactly when they read something: maybe they don't get to doing response right, then that's a way of building into a system, something it's gonna, be You feel really bad. If you don't engage with the product more, she let anything go without response seeking just takes up like that out, which would be nice, but in order that's enough to really get taken out, I think in the long run people have to get upset. They have to start looking at. These this is happening were in the midst of a very profound backlash against these tech platforms. They have to begin seeing happened on them as problematic as bad. The people who work for them have to feel a little bit bad about what they're doing something interest on argues. Is that look like these companies are in this unbelievably intense competition for employee talent? If the best people don't want to work it companies at the
aren't good for the world, but that's gonna forces companies change as surely as anything else. Well so part of it is actually first coming to some recognition. There was happening on Facebook was happening on Twitter that what's happening on snapshot, what's happening on Instagram that it's not random, it isn't just the way it is, The ways we are interacting with platforms are not just a hundred percent, our revealed preference and that you know we need tat. We need to cut a step back and It is slightly more rational space. Ask if these things are good for us now beyond that. I'm not that optimistic about it, Think it's pretty hard. I dont see. I have not heard any proposals for regulation that I think would work. I'm not sure I prefer, politicians making some of the decisions about where should be spending my time, I think that a day Japan is a very powerful thing that we're getting better eliciting and people are very concerned about virtual reality. From this perspective, I think that how good that's gonna, be
twenty years is something our societies are prepared for at all, and you know. I could see this going in a really bad direction. I don't think it's at all hard to imagine what I like to call the ready player, and to stop here where real life for a lot of people becomes quite. Quite a lot worse than virtual life, because virtually is really built for their pleasure centres and built to give them purpose and built. you can feel you know. Seat is already happening with addiction to mass multi play online games, and I could imagine that technical it gets away bettering way more omnipresent this going in this going in a really scary direction. So one I'm happy to see what's happening here. I dont have a plan, but I think hard problems. They dont have easy solutions, but they have to come from some kind of cultural understanding that there is a problem in the first place. So interesting. Do you think that, because
the proper structuralist you're. Looking at like the onus that is on the companies to or maybe even the government to get involved and changed the way these things are built but What about on the user, and is there a mean, like my naive, to think that maybe the ravine salubrious role that mindfulness or just little behavioral hacks that could could play for the rest of us in terms of how we use this stuff, I mean, will expand that come. Tell me of oriental of we have I'm I'm not great at this stuff because area you when you were talking before but like refreshing, your tweet tweets, the Sami likes you get. I totally do that be a front, I didn't say I didn't do that was for there are no! No, I think I think I think be implicate. Although you know you, you know, there's a oh. I downloaded work, I'm not like him on the name about which I feel terrible about. There's a chrome, extension that will now, if you in
all it. You will see none of that information on Twitter. You won't see how many followers you or anybody else has how many retreats how many favorites, how many anything you Jesse tweets and I the I've I've installed it and I think it actually makes a platform a bit for me, as somebody does, is partially professionally Lobo S crazy, making I'm a little less invested in my social media success, but by nature of art, the difference in our jobs than you. But I certainly have some of this. It's definitely feel but I guess I was so. For example, the on the temperature happier actors is reach little meditation, and I want to do more on this from a teacher name, Alexis Santos and he talks about using your phone mindfully. Just just like the simple act of while you are engaged with whatever you're doing on and the cut on the screen just to feel the half of the thing in your hand,
that actually can sometimes for nanoseconds pull me out of the story there a man as I engage with whatever article on reading or whatever B Instagram picture, I posted. I want to see how many likes there are, so these are just a small example, and I wonder what is that scalable in your mind, rather the road and giving the false hope answer an enemy. Also, why? I am sceptical that kind of thing when you think about not just these platforms, but a lot of problems we have. It is the case that some amount of people are very invested in solving problems for themselves in and may be, or maybe not for other. So there is. Some there's. Some number people would like to know what I do not like the way I feel when I'm on Facebook. I don't like the way I feel when I'm on Snapchat. I got to figure this out and they turn on
There are already somebody who is downloaded a ten percent meditation terrorists had happier meditation app and then they go and they listen to be. The the particular meditation on We can your facebook addition, addiction are using your phone mindfully and they begin to implement Add or try to implement that it? Maybe it works, you maybe doesn't I'm not that worried about those folks, I dont think I don't think that's probably were the worst. Problems are happening, I think that the stuff you really want to worry about something Tristan says is happening with fourteen year olds, who are on these forms who they're so the world's in and ways of understanding the social order being formed right now, their sense of what is and normal has not really solidify. They don't have a kind of before. When I say to you, I remember Twitter, before the algorithm, whilst remember the world before Twitter, but a fourteen year old doesn't
I think the question of whether people know they even have a problem to solve, and I recognise even saying It's so paternalistic right will whom I did tell the major problem to solve, and maybe maybe I'm wrong we had a little bit actions around obesity and we do very much into an that's another good example right. Why, here that what I hear is Meta, what if we just made it easier for people or gave them were, options are going to the gym and that works for some people. Obviously but I think that when you're dealing with something on this societal, the scale asking that or or assuming we're going to solve. It is one. You know that everybody who does have a problem that is gonna, recognize it, and then it's gonna have the self control to do something about it, and even as somebody who wants to do something about it for myself, I feel how hard it is. I just, I think, that's good. I think it should be our
there, I'm glad that you guys have that. Have that meditation. I am glad that you can graceful your phone, I'm glad, there's this little chrome extension for Twitter. I think all these things are helpful in the margin. but I more worried about the overall societal impact of it, given the size and and scale these platforms, and I don't think those kinds of things are going to her to be enough and when it is in a slightly rude Eugene You record this in a studio and I have a clock above the guest room. Look at my watch just to make sure I haven't held you too long, and I haven't just able to get to my last question, but then that be the last. But this the last thing. That was on my mind that I want to talk about, which is tribalism and you ve talked about this on your show on Astrakhan show as well with the recent guest, whose name I'm free me
you are a mature yet from Yale who wrote the Tiger mom and also the new by political try. Yes, its political drove very interesting, do what a twenty two I am could tell me if I'm wrong, but this, but I see a lot of people but moaning tribalism. These days correctly but I dont see many people doing anything about it. I know, there's a group called better angels, that's done some stuff in terms of ringing reds and lose together. I know that Ben SAS, the senator from Nebraska Gonna, be writing a book about. What's tearing us part, but I'm not seeing any any real, huge momentum towards trying to fix this. Do you think any what he's doing anything and what, if anything, can be done? So I should say here that by the time when this will come out, but in a
from where we are taping it I'm a week and a half and going on book leave or I'm also going to be writing a book about political tribalism. So don't worry, it's all going to be fed No, I saw unthinkingly either right. Look, so I'm I'm taking ten weeks of Buckley, but I'm not that. I don't think I'm not gonna finish. Ok, I'm gonna get a start on it. Animals of so I want to get out to get a lot of conceptual work done, but also from myself in an assembly turner. I dont think I'm an have any solution at all. I do not think that there is a- plausible solution given where the system is gone, given how communication technologies work right now, given the ways in which
and you spell by the way, big thing with us, given the ways in which our identities are increasingly stacked, on top of each other, so used to be that you could be a conservative any Democrat. If you go back to the forties in the fifties, strong Thurman was be second, most conservative member of the Senate, and he was a Democrat, the fat we were not even in a country where democratic and liberal were stacked on top of each other and entities you had level Republican like draw me Rockefeller about Rockefeller, publicans and to say nothing of union membership, religion, geography. There are all these ways in which we are cross pressured in our identities. We are unbelievably stacked. Now you tell me couple things about you. I know which party you vote for him. So does Facebook that what sort of facebook- and that wasn't true thirty years ago, one thing that I do they get support to persuade people have in this conversations that things have changed, because we
had the same labels for things for a long time we ve had Democrats and Republicans along long time. It's very tempting to think it's always just been like this, and it hasn't. Things are different now, so one We have a lot of what would I think it's serve. Catalyzing agents for tribalism used to be harder to be tribal, because we are part of a lot of tribes that me no overlap with each other now, as we're just part of one super tribe that doesn't overlap with the other tribe, nearly as much as much easier to become much more tribal and its by the way rational. The more you disagree with the other side, the further the two sides, come in there and how distinct they are in their plans for America, the more reasonable to fear. You know, Somebody cares a lot about, say Joyce, you know it in. In in in reproduction, will you know what, compared to forty years ago, the Republican Party is much more pro life than it was
by the way, the other than the other way around? If you, you know, you had a lot of pro life Democrats in ninety. Ninety, you don't have them anymore. There are almost all gone, so you care a lot about that from the from the pro life side, then it's rational to be more concerned about the other party. So something happening is that our tribalism is, it just saw us all being jerks, it's also as responding somewhat accurately to a system in which the other side is becoming more culturally different from you, more ideological, different from you, and and more demographically different from you, that's another. That's another piece of visits, really big back graphically different, where sorting entities Self serving urban and rural, is a huge divide and this country. Now I just I
very fixated on this number that I read in a book called how democracies die, and it's that I don't remember the starting point of this scale. But you know back- and I think was a forties of fiftys. The democratic party with seven percent non white and V announced forty four percent on white and their public party still ninety percent white, and so the parties have also become the parties to be S'More mixed demographic late now, they're very, very different. Demographic lay and people have very deep demographic anxieties. When they look at another side and see pokes, we don't look like them getting power. We just that's what Amy Chua's book is about. We see this in society. for society all across the world. So the thing I I want to say that one. Yes, this is a problem. It's a bigger problem than it was and is becoming a bigger problem. I'm too, nobody's doing anything of a scale. That's all that, and nobody and ass his somebody doing a lot of research and space. Nobody even has even remotely plausible sounding solution. Forget one that is going into.
execution or implementation that includes people running books on this I've been reading those books. always end? You know. I think this is a weakness in which you have spoken and others they end with these calls for Paul. patients have marvel rhetoric of of communal identity. Amy's book ends with a you know what I did that well. When we talk to each other one to one we often able to overcome our differences, which is great, but that doesn't scale. I don't think we know how to do this. The one thing I do think we know how to do is work on the other side of the equation. Something unusual about the american political system. Is it it does not work amidst tribal, very, very heavy travel disagreement, unlike other systems where the expectation was there be polarized and so
majority Party can govern, and then you know eventually they lose powered of minority parliament. Minority party governs becomes majority here. If you dont have compromise because away the Senate works because of the number of veto points because of the ways in which we apportioned seats in the house in the Senate, because of the way that the president can be elected with minority votes me all kinds of where things happen in our system, we have a lot of veto points and lot of counter small democratic rules, you can end up with a really really really paralyzed political system, and when that happens- and comes begin getting worse and even in this terrible loop, people are upset because the governing his bad people being upset mix governing worse and you just keep going so one day I do think we can do is thing. About how to create a political system that would work better amidst tribal as a political system, where you know
multi party. If they get the boats can govern or a system where the outcomes are more legitimate. Where voting is something were able to do? If you know they don't have from the law the voting ideals and stop worrying me. Quite a lot. Money has become a big problem, the system, but what I will say is getting from here to there is itself an unbelievably intimidating task, and also requires people to deal with a pretty scary prospect, which is that the party they do not like could win that would be able to govern more aggressively ineffectively than they can now which, even if that you know, might in some abstract way better for the system. For all the reasons
tribalism miscarry in its increasing that's a scary thing to contemplate. I mean, if you're, a liberal listening to this in you. Imagine the Republican Party completely freed right now from the filibuster. That's a scary thing to imagine, and so there are not answers to this, but I do think, as with everything to get towards an answer requires getting your arms round the problem which something I'm hoping to spend ten. You know in the next couple of months doing just keep coming back to I'm, not I'm not much of a thinker at all, but up about press, probably not a systems thinker. May I see the validity to it. When you talk about the EU being a structuralist makes complete sense, I have any beef with it other than to say that
I am interested in individual agency and how you no one on one. There may be hacks that can make you a happier actor within the system and add just a little bit of light to the sum of light or hand. So, for example, when it comes to tribalism something I've been experimenting and my my thoughts on this are not fully formed, but I've been experimenting on a couple levels, one as I just see that increased self awareness through my fulness helps me see my biases, and let me see that oh yeah, maybe I'm getting a little bit dopamine every time. Something bad happens to the politicians that I disagree with and maybe that's a signal, maybe there's something to look for their and also I've been really trying to escape I was myself to two really broaden my media diet in a way that shakes up some of my biases, which I find very healthy
not always journalists. But, as I said, what did we brought in out into? Well? Specifically, you know I would say, that. Most of my news, diet, for my whole life, has been mainstream. Media have never really listen. Much too far left stuff it's been you I work at ABC News. I read the Times Washington Post, I watch CNN, but recently I interviewed
sure Piero who is for listeners. You know no mode, a conservative, but a very critical of trump, but still very conservative guy he's got a showcase bench bureau showed Pike asked, but he's also got a website called the daily why're. You know all this and I found that listening to him regularly, if not daily, has really help me. It's a very different hot take than what you get on mainstream media and I find tat. I found myself arguing with him a lot, but if that process of cattle deliver deliberately giving myself a jolt of a viewpoint that is way different than what I'm used to is actually quite helpful, I think that's what I've a couple thoughts on that one is that,
There is definitely lot somebody can do individually when he asked me sort of what are solutions for tribalism. I think about it on the country scale and that I think, is very hard. What can one do as a person? I think, This'Ll a lot. We can all do sort of our selves, the mediator, stuff is really interesting, and then I said, for this reason an intuition people have isn't it. Consuming a lot more media that is opposed to them and opposed to their Pisces is going to make them open minded a lot of the time it. As your a lot of the time in a lot of research. On this going back many many many years we read that media with our hackles up. We read, that media with kind, a lawyer in our mind, are to be like this augments bat was equally stupid. I totally see that other wines different from me that I, when met Ben, so I've, actually Jordan viewed him and his eyes of these very charming, individual and and so
I feel like I kind of normal little bit. So it's obviously got we're having an argument with or or I'm just in listening to the viewpoint of somebody I know to be irrational, human being exactly incidents was gonna say. Was it it's very important You're gonna do this kind of broadening of the media diet to find people who fit you and other ways right. We all belong identities and we awarded for ways of understanding the world. Some of them are ideological, but others are not their temperamental there. You know do so. I seek out a lot of people who I don't agree with tat too You don't listen to as well, but I am very one of things I really all you do is make sure that they are folks who access to the world in ways that I can listen to them they're kind of in my tribe in another way that you know if their? If their constantly like being jerks to people who I like, How can we able to hear them well read? I need I need people who had heard different than that now, maybe that's the problem and in me, but I think it's true for a lot of people think finding people who
knowing when you're reading some one that you can read with an open, I ain't versus knowing, when you're reading some one who it's like this, you can prove to you. How right you are wrong. They are that's an important thing to be mindful of also say that some things it just for me, you know cause. I feel this in this area too, I also feel that the signal to noise ratios has very bad. It's just a lotta yelling, our meeting a lot more books, a lot more books a couple years ago, are meaningless news. Actually, I think that as much as I write news can but I'm trying to expand out, and I think that you can really over index on stuff happening in the Trump White House every day, the amount I end up reading about something Trump said that did an end that mattering never ended up happening hell the amount I write about that it does not feel reasonable to me so
spending more time on books and also on things that are maybe related to politics, but not explicitly political, then, finally, taking a little bit. A man of you saw this, but the New York Times have this article about a guy who's, complete blockaded himself off from all local news, what's so yeah Reg doesn't know anything I will not end. Is I mean the end on one hand, is like an amazing Pisa trolling for the times like you just like you read this gaelic. What what what the hell are you doing and on the your hand, when you get to the bottom of the peace after you I'm through the insane level of work. He is doing to not know what is happening in the world like the insane level of work you here, It's actually did he's receded from the world completely. He Have you decided that his big project is going to be restoring some land near where he lives that he thinks he can? I have a really positive impact on something happening near him and so
he's decided that he can't make anything better nationally and it just gonna make him crazy to think about it, but he can make something better very very locally, and I do think that all of us, I can say all of us. I think that most of us. The overwhelming majority of us think way too much about national politics are not nearly enough about local politics and if you want to feel better and if you want to be able to have an impact and if you want to you I'll be able to engage in a way. We can make a difference and away where people really need. You like go check out. What's happening locally run for office, go get involved, go volunteer, amount has been volunteer, work on the actual politics, are local politics, soft and a whole lot more life, affirming the nest. no politics and it needs people engaged in a lot more. We weigh underweight its importance. So that's a piece of advice. I often give people that I find it the amount of time people spending thing about like what can they do about Donald Trump, good or bad verses?
at a time their spending think about what they can do in their city or in their town, when they really could do a lot in the city and in their town, and who knows, people start by doing something in the city. The town and they end up in Congress or they end up a senator someday. So I think that's a place where you know asking yourself, or are you giving too much attention to just national self that really it's a kind of tribal fear that is activating you as opposed to a place. We can engage constructively and feel good about what you're doing I think, if people really look at that, it will lead them more port, state and local politics in a way that I think is healthy, scrape place to live it. I had high expectations. You ve exceeded them thank nice to meet. You finally, to become person as well? And I appreciate I've learned at a tremendous amount from here from your books and I'm a guy vanity out by app when I came in just one this in my might years all the time. So I appreciate all you do
Ok, that does it for another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. If you liked it, please take a minute to subscribe rate us all. if you want to suggest topics, you think we should cover our guests that we should bring in hit me on Twitter at Danby. Harris importantly, I want to thank the people who produce this podcast Lauren just go ahead and the rest of the folks here in a busy who helped make this thing possible. We have tons of other projects. You can check them out that maybe she knew tat casts dot com. I'll talk to you next Wednesday. There's not a person in Amerika who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona virus pandemic, but it every community there are pockets of people. we're suiting up every day. This is my my day last day of the cylinder stretch of quotas from one of our time in these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a homespun mom and now in a new plants from ABC News. You gonna hear from damage.
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