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#274: The Case for Optimism | Dr. Jonathan Salk


The virus has exploited so many weaknesses of our culture. But having exposed the weaknesses, such as inequities and reckless individualism, could the current crisis lead to a fundamental shift for humankind? That may sound utopian, but our guest today believes it’s genuinely possible. Dr. Jonathan Salk is an adult and child psychiatrist at UCLA. He’s been thinking about the future of the species for about 40 years, starting when he co-authored a book called A New Reality with his father, Dr. Jonas Salk. You might’ve heard of him. He invented the polio vaccine 65 years ago. 

Where to find Dr. Jonathan Salk online: 

Website: https://www.anewrealitybook.com/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ANewRealityBook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ANewRealityBook/

Book Mentioned:

A New Reality: A Vision of Hope for a World in Transition - https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781947951044

We care deeply about supporting you in your meditation practice, and feel that providing you with high quality teachers is one of the best ways to do that. Customers of the Ten Percent Happier app say they stick around specifically for the range of teachers, and the deep wisdom they impart, to help them deepen their practice. For anyone new to the app, we've got a special discount just for you. If you're an existing subscriber, we thank you for your support. To claim your discount, visit tenpercent.com/august  

Other Resources Mentioned:

Yunus Centre - Global Hub for Social Business - https://www.muhammadyunus.org/ 

Why the Pandemic Is So Bad in America - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/09/coronavirus-american-failure/614191/

Additional Resources:

Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live

Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide

Free App access for Frontline Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care

Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/jonathan-salk-274

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe said this is the ten percent happier Podcast Dan Harris before we get to the episode? We care really deeply about supporting you in your meditation practice and feel that providing you with high quality teachers is one of the best ways to do that. Customers, of the ten percent happier app say they stick around specifically for the range of teachers and the deep wisdom these teachers have to import. For anybody new to the app we ve got a special discount for you and if you are an existing subscriber, we thank you for your support.
To go, claim your discount visit ten percent dot com, slash august- that's ten percent. One word all spelled out dotcom, Slash August, hey guys, the virus has exploited so many weaknesses in our culture, but having exploited and in the process exposed these weaknesses. For example, the inequities and reckless individualism in our culture. Could the car crisis led to a fundamental shift for human kindness, a fascinating question and it may sound utopian, but our guest today believes its genuinely possible doktor. Jonathan sock is an adult and child psychiatrist. You see allay he's been thinking about the future of our species for Forty years, starting when he co authored a book called
a new reality with his dad Doktor Jonas Salk. You might have heard of him. He invented the polio vaccine sixty five years ago, and so today, with with doktor soccer the doktor Sulk junior, we we dwell in the past a little bit with some some fascinating memories of the polio vaccine process. From his perspective as a as a little boy and there we projecting the future and in ways that I found to be both hopeful and realistic. So here we go with Doktor Jonathan sulk, well job and nice to meet you less damaging as well. Then you wrote a column recently in the title: was what Jonas Salk would have said about covert nineteen? There are a lot of really fascinating points in there that I want a drill down on, but, generally speaking, what do you think you're dead? What is said about the current predict but he would have said that Israel
important though they are. Obviously he would say that the debate, the development of the vaccine is really important. He would have there stood the necessary kind of interdependence and cooperative work that would go into creating one. But he will understand that the actual effect this is a vaccine. Doesnt does depend on having a vaccine works it's a whole social, political and economic issue like a human issue and inhuman system. This you getting that distributed getting people in a place where they can take and southern eradicating the disease or to feeding and disease or even suppressing it involves thing from every level from the technological to the political and economic, I think you do something I was. It says that he would, a lot of caution at this moment in time. He know better than anybody, I knew better than anybody. What the pitfalls
if something goes wrong with a vaccine can be and how important it is to get it right as possible before you you're going to distribute it, and I think it is too soon the too quickly and there are side effects or their adverse effects. I think we'll kind of we got one shot of getting people to take. A vaccine would go back to what you said about interdependence. This become a trope were all in it together, but in so many ways were not right, we can agree on masks the massively disproportionate impact based on economic. Ex pigmentation, so many other aspects of our humanity
and while the era in which your dad was developing, the polio vaccine was by no means perfect through her a lot of problems in our society backed, and we were, I think, a little bit more public spirited and and a little bit less mistrustful of one another. I I think that's may be safe to say which, which made it up more fertile territory for. Doing the testing that needed to be done and then getting it out to people. I think, is absolutely right. Then. I think that that in the late fortys and nineteen fifty was really a different time. Certainly in terms of the public trust in science and public trust in take. Gene and even in government. The end there was I think there was a more particular and the polio vaccine. There was a total pull together. Spirit the whole concept of the martyr dimes, which find him
to the vaccine, were, was based on. What's the amount that that anybody could give, and so there was a whole groundswell of now call a grass roots effort to do that, so everybody was part of it, so it was, back. It was kind of a unique time where a lot of a lot of things were able to be gotten done in a cooperative way. How, where do you think you're day would be an EU? You talked about a little bit, but given the current climate and the fact that we ve got, you know mistrust in one another: mistrust in government, pretty vocal, Anti facts community
never mind the work of developing the vaccine, which pierce as a non scientists in an outsider, to reasonably well from what I can seek at some stage. Three trials going to terrorists had her these successful promulgation of the vaccine into the society. How word you think you're dead wood given the current landscape, I can't say that he be worried, but he would really identified as it as a challenge, and it s it has to be addressed I'm in this, gets into a whole other aspect of my father's thinking, because in the last part of his life. Basically, he was very interested in certain problems of humanity and with human problem. So what happened? What went on in the human mind what went on with people's behaviour? What went on a kind of a Broadway central level, so he would really see it in that context of this is a the problem needs to be solved but he would see it definitely as a problem you
one line from the article that They struck me and I think I think it's gonna pick up on what you were just drive out there here is the quote: he would have recognised he being your father, He would have recognised the covered nineteen pandemic, not only as something to be feared and fought, but also as a moment to embrace wisdom, and then I'm going to do a little bit of analyses here in and a few seconds later you write. Paradoxically, self interest in this case is best served by gender. City. So can I please hold I'll do my best I also stepped back for a second and put it in a broader context, Father really saw us at a transition. Point then, austrian evolution from around extraordinary time of unfettered grow an acceleration both in population and growth changing
or to a time when we are encountering planetary limits, and things are slowing and he really saw that that was a inflection point, a very important point, the change from a certain set of values to another set of values, and we come back None of that is of interest. I think it is, the issue of wisdom, was very high in his mind and very very important. He reactor, wrote a book and the OAU Seventies called survival the wisest and he felt like it wish I pressures were now going to select for them, who were wise rather than those who are biologically fell in different ways: so wisdom was a big subject for him, and the phrase about generosity, serving self interest in this change in the new conditions that were entering with common approaching a planetary limits and a need
to be more in realising our energy dependence that were one world and that cooperation will be better than competition. That in that change, that happens not just because is morally right or its better or especially right. It happens because his actually practical as being more generous being more understood, of looking at Winwin solutions that what's good for you is good for me rather than they then that what's good for me as well, for you in the opposite, that under the conditions. Paradoxically, there Generosity of being good and bad and giving and being, to get along and were cooperatively that serve myself interest that serves our self interest, as well as the them the benefit of the other person. So it's a kind of enlightened self interest. Yeah
it is but it is in a sense. I think it will become increasingly self and it's not. Is the Europe we need to be that enlightened. It will be clear and obvious that we're not gonna get by without doing so, if it so clear and obvious, is it wisdom anymore I would say yes, I would, I would say that wisdom can be widespread through a population it does have to be just held by a few oligarchy. So it's a communal, collective wisdom, yeah. What did you? dad. What do you mean by that word, wisdom? I think For my dad- and I guess for me as well That means the the creation of a cruel of knowledge over a long period middle of love. Experience banned the! understanding and be able to look at things from a distance from a
in view of the long term, not just looking at the short term and being able to see the whole picture. My Father much more than I also took, about the wisdom of nature. Than he really had a whole philosophy based on the idea that one It goes on in the natural world. Is there a certain kind of guidelines in laws and information, and so incense consulting the wisdom of nature. It is also important as well, and he felt like evolution was a wise process as well. So it's for him it that the term subsumed alot. What's your problem would make your way you talk about a more than you. I think the decision I was making is the very much ascribed to that, and I think that one We are as natural human beings is, We kind of need to get back to him return to so it is very important to me Actually, I think to be doing at another level where it was
was the spiritual concept to him. I think that's fair essay So he really had a sense of more than I have of being able to look at national laws and natural processes our wisdom from them, and I think that he was much more with all these countries. I think he was much more in touch with that to a degree that I'm not just as if you were being. You said something about getting back to them. We used to be, and I've seen in some of your writings to this idea of a pre industrial tribal wisdom and As I read it, it's not that you want to return to stone age living. It's that you to combine the wisdom of the indigenous where's the market based system, we now have- and I believe you write something to the effective, actually polity- exact quote- that
can be both in harmony and compete. So The first part of the question. Yes, I refer back to it in secondly, primates. From an evolutionary and social evolutionary standpoint and theirs and things that certain environment that we evolved in and that involved both being able to compete entered operate and where social beings, but in a period of time and what I'm sort of looking at it needs it perfectly damn amended the ideas to take those those practices and integrate them in the current society with our technology with our level of from it. So there certain practices, were part of those traditional societies and I'm not I have a little bit of idealism about them, but I dont have the idealism: those pre industrial sites. They haven't difficult lives in others, disease, there's death, there's a whole lot, there's scarcity so that sort of
fantasy of along the lines of Rousseau of the noble Savage and they idealizing that China Go there but nevertheless societies operated in a state of equilibrium with each other and with nature. So on one level there was a certain respect in cooperation with nature and the natural world. There was very much, are there lies. In addition, there Was at the same divisions. I think that we find in modern society. There is less of it body dichotomy, there's much more sense of the wonders of a real person. There also is the social system that is much more closely integrated and closely dance and the other thing is the child rearing is very different in those societies and how children are treated from birth and raised,
as we approach a time when we're going to be an equilibrium again and turns a popular. And grass roots Vienna Plateau some do what we had a long time ago I think that, in order to adapt to that we're going to have to benefit from those practices, in that knowledge, they were going to have to have a different relationship with the planet the exploitative relationship with the planet, a cooperative and interdependent relationship with the planet and with other species. I think that our social and family structures, gonna necessarily change in that period of time, where we're not reinforcing limit were troth and competition from the very beginning, one of the pact. Says that Harkin's back to more more natural cells has do it, how much children, babies and influence and travel and physical contact with another human being then, and what percentage of time and primates and in those early societies. Four was in physical contact. With another human being sixty tonight
percent of the time her early in life, I'm in does July. Societies is much more like ten percent or was the back three. Forty years ago, That creates a whole different, I think, a whole different. Physiological and psychological mindset further to human organism. I think it was a real. Different in the arrangement of how they cope in their relationship to their bodies in their relationships to their own being. And that's the kind of thing that I could see as we evolve being incorporated and be more a part of society and that early approval will be more conducive to the kind of a sense of interdependence and in community and cooperation that we're talking about such their lots of examples of that, but that that's it behind the bar part of what you asked about I'd love to hear more about what this would look like. What the
world what this transformation of of the species would actually look like on a day to day basis. How would the lives of regular people change if we were to incorporate interdependence into a modern market system, putting the way you did incorporated from market based system. I actually that we have to evolve into a future non market based system. Or a very different kind of market then were used to because our cars market based system is based on an idea that works and continually grow is based on kind of infinite, and the assumption that all six since measured by by economic growth and by dollar growth, and that just can continue wonder at a time where were we expanding use of resources in any I'm a situation where growth and success
is not measured by dollars, incense and by gdp, but by enhanced. Wellbeing being of human beings, and it has well being of the planet, is not it kind of model for an economic system that may not be market based in the same way having this sounds like sweeping and potentially ensuring destabilizing change on, though, on the structure of societies in the way we live our lives. I actually see it, not in a slightly more optimistic point of you yet think the transition to it maybe wrenching force some members of society. I think that at this change will not necessarily be ranching, because people will be life will be better there be more sense of well being that from a more even distribution of resources that comes from that the sense of interdependence and in the well being of other people, I see
as being less of a wrenching process is one is moving towards a more positive conclusion and a positive situation, and so Whatever we worked out and that needs to be worked out- and I don't have the answer for hours worked out- that's what I'm just not sure that it will be a wrenching change. It'll be Morven war, evolutionary change can counter the next step in human evolution. Exactly and it's only wrenching depending on how If people are resisting that, but your view is that people want resisted because it will become the benefits, will become self evident. Yes, I think so you get accused occasionally being a utopian. I'm only in my own mind, well you're for then you're. Not getting yourself are keeping yourself in yeah yeah occasionally I do we, Some people think that more about me, then they say to me, but you know I
First, to having some one of a utopian view of of this possibility think I can easily scale it back to more along the lines of your thinking. If we can make some percentage, Shorty Utopia were to a beneficial situation. We can in in emailing with Marisa, whose bruising this episode you you talk a little about how this pandemic could be an event that precipitates this transformation. Your dear describing right, yeah me I'd like to think that will come out of this pandemic, stronger seen quite yet it's not time, I see we're gonna come out of its stronger per se. You're, so many negative things about it, but there are little windows positivity, and certainly I met one. I when I e mail that Teresa there there
lessons that we may be learning now. That will stand us in good stead in the future. The easiest biggest example, is We went into lockdown and our carbon emissions plummeted and I use the fossil we'll find it. So we may be able to use this as a learning experience away that we can live our lives with less energy consumption and with less frenetic lies that end up as explained the planet. The death- that's one possible outcome of this. Another and again, this is what Specific spent about, I recently been in contact with a guy named Mohammed Yunus, who invented the just a micro loans to the poor in a few days ago. He said something very similar to this. He was talking about. Setting up in supporting rural economies and making the poor and the rural.
Part of our economic system rather than peripheral too many, Maybe he just said that this epidemic is opportunity to make mould and sweeping changes in our economic systems. So, I just see little bits of thinking along these lines, among other people as well. You don't like it. When you talk about the dip in carbon emissions to things come to my one, you know I've travel the world and seen as a journalist and seen the impact of climate change on an endangered species on indigenous populations Amazon. So I very word about climate change, and I also think back to that word. Wrenching Along with this dip in carbon emissions, we saw a massive contraction of the economy that left people in jeopardy of being evicted from their homes hungry anxious about the
future. So this is what I use that word wrenching I mean I just think about these changes that could come about whether the pandemic does it or not, or just this transformation that you in and your father envisage. It just feels to me like it's. The end result may be positive, but getting there seems Bobby yeah bumpy, this Buffy, to say the least, if you're talking about unless as yes, it is in reality, going to be a wrenching change. There's gonna be true. This conflict is knocking. Happen without unfortunately, as for famines, there's a whole lot of really difficult things to come. So in that, Yes, I totally agree that that its wrenching. I mean what is interesting is that in carbon emissions came alongside all of those things, and
in at least in the countries where they could afford it than ours. One of them. We were to mitigate that to some extent through distribution of a body that decrease the amount that that's an interesting I have other areas for people, looking at in terms of our overly simply put distribution of wealth and distribution of resources. We may be a to for other ways of doing that than we have in the past much more my conversation with Doktor Jonathan Salk right after this as reading in article yesterday in the Atlantic is written from up, pretty partisan standpoint. But he was none. The less say: compelling blow by blow history of how the? U S got felt by this virus
how it exploited all of our it. It was just like made no lab to a Abner. That's not a conspiracy theory! That's enough to exploit our weaknesses and one of the one of the themes at the. Author and I'll put the article in the show not sure, but one of the themes at the author, whose name, I believe is Ed young but one of the things that the author pointed out, that he didn't expand on that much, but it seemed really resident to me is the dominant culture caution They are subconsciously that we have in the United States of rugged individuals. That we are out for ourselves and I It is at work in my own mind in many ways.
Has so many knock on effects. I think in particular for men, but don't have any evidence to back them up, but I've heard smarter people in me advanced that theory. And so I just wonder whether that's a resident theme for you when you think about what happened: era, culture, particularly in the United States and in our society and poverty in the wake of this virus. Yes is the simple answer. Then you is has done a couple of things in terms of the rugged individualism yeah. We have decided that this based on on that and that I can take it everything myself and people like that particularly males through a hole Series of developmental experiences and that I think, to some extent shapes Orient,
forces that kind of attitude and and that that sense of value I think that a lot of things in them- the interesting to look at the article, because the lot of Normal things went wrong, ends they really overlap with holding onto the kind of values that have worked in the past and that really dont work in the present but I think it comes into play. Societal level and comes into play at an individual level. I think Anything to say about a dam is that. That very ambitious on individuals and that emphasis on me. First that short term thinking short term benefit. Let's, Eat the marshmallow now kind of thing is played itself out and in spades throughout all this, and
I dont know if you're gonna learn the lessons of it, but the the consequences are are huge and. I won't say necessarily all those sure we could have dealt with it in another way, question is how we gonna do deal in the future whether we can learn some lessons from this kind of a society and the jury is out on that. What I'm here ring from you overall is. Serve a long term. Optimism but short to mid term could be bumpy, yes, you're, absolutely hearing after me, this optimism is based on a really long term view of looking at tens, if not. Originally thought will be the hundreds of years, I think it's gonna, have to happen more quickly. But it's looking at it at a much longer view than than a three to five to ten year window, I think, if you look at that window,
were screw made. Things like totally, chaotic, there's com, their famine, there's plague. There is everything and with there seems to be no way out that count. I think from this conflict We need value systems. One set of people looking at this facing uncertainty facing dangerous a while go back, let's go back to what worked in the past. Let's go back to fossil fuels, go back to individualism, let's go to nationalism, from a sort of withdraw from all kinds of interdependent relationships. Then there were seeing that writ large. I do. I believe- and this is partly on faith, but is partly on rational If as well that there are, ass number of people who are low at the same uncertainty and saying we have to do. Is we have to go forward? We have to adapt. We have to adapt new values. We have to adapt new strategies that going to
Ark Survival and work out for us and at the same time, may well, not always ensure survival, but increase our level of well be throughout the world as we lurch towards Potentially this next step in him evolution and as this collective wisdom, to use the word that you in your dad have used potentially takes hold. What role do you see force virtuality in particular. As you know, I'm a big believer of and proponent of, my and meditation. I know you ve dabbled in that, but it we know wisdom concur. In many forms. I think you are your psychiatrist. I think there's psychology has an enormous amount to offer US spiritual practices, both secular and sectarian. What role do you see for those
It's kind of practice that you do of meditation and a growth in transport comes through, that, I see that being certain synergistic with, but also essential to that broader sweeping change, We're not going to be able to change our collective behaviour without individuals being different So I think that level, a practice is certainly important and special. Unnecessary being more in touch with you. Basic emotions. Being more aware of your bodily functions being more unified with less. Preparation of the kind of stressing craziness that that we're all partner, that's gonna, be part of our lives in future society when it comes to meditation whether comes to Tom Rearing, whether it comes from from different places in of a more religious, say, israeli slowly
I dont know that, certainly something is ubiquitous in human societies in human culture. Basically, whereas problematic is one that spirituality becomes fixed and in some sense fundamentalist and not able to adjust to the new conditions and different situations, that kind of looking at the broad, broad terms, that kind of spirituality Was, coincidentally, with the development of our our modern world and our modern society are getting away from agricultural societies. Speak up my father's behalf and someone on my butt he believed in a kind of spirituality there was the nature, and so there was a kind of spirituality that he had that there was based on nature and natural laws and learn
from and adapting to those principles in those processes That certainly has a place have a clear answer on what place standards. Virtuality Whenever that, maybe we would have better neither people haven't so it will have to be incorporated in some sense, you brought your dad up and I was just serve curious were you alive. When the vaccine came up, About you already, memories of that, I am sure I was around. It was developed. They really had the vaccine around the time. I was sure three, so A whole set of memories are of getting injections and blood tests from my dad sitting on the kitchen table that's why you know, and as three four five year old son unpleasant associations with that
and by the way just to clarify he did not give it to us using us as guinea pigs. There was sense of that at all. He had a product that work and he wanted us protected against polio. It was a simple as that: people, often times ass, his will water. What was a like to be elaborated at home and adjust, didn't feel that way at all. And then I have lots of memories of so What happened was that the dinner This huge field trial, bother million and a half million children in the summer nineteen, fifty four. Was double blind trial with a placebo and the guidance Frances who was my dad mental really. What he was doing Only research headed up this effort from the University of Michigan, and they take the data and was captain closely guarded secret, was announced on April twelfth, nineteen, fifty five. So in April, Fifty five, we flew to Ann Arbor, Michigan,
there was a meeting- a conference- will be whether resources I've seen were announced. And when Tommy Frances said actually out of the room at this point that went on me, Frances said it safe and effective. There was a standing ovation at the end of it there was just bad the reporters wanting a copy of the report and finally, the boy I was to simplify just stood on the card and to start talks in him into the crowd So there was that there was a certain amount of instant worldwide fame. He was well known beforehand in many ways. The other member I have in these are five year old. Never was we got back to Pittsburgh, and there was awaiting crowded reporters and a whole lot of the amounts. A which I really enjoyed, and I'm a guy. In a limousine- and we had a motorcycle escort back to our house- I was in Heaven.
Will- I will confess another family story about me- is that my mother often said- and I have no memory of this- is that I First thing I did ass, they went into the house had picked up the telephone call, my best friend Billy, Frank, said just why I'm fine Yes, and so my dad. That's a great story: that's why I would have done the same thing for her work, point that I want to make is coming back to the whole concept around this kind of societal transformation and talking about includes too concepts formation, clear, one is based this concept there were moving the time of accession growth brutalities, irony growth, and that in order to adapt to that different. And values and different Behaviors are selected for and come to, the fore. I built that is as human beings we are born with monopoly of ability, in proclivities, for different Keyser
eighty four different kinds of thought and values. What how those d? and what a predominant in society come from the environment the dream so that the whole set is really based, not on top pie in the sky, thinking about how nice it would be if we could all get law is based on the actual allies of the way, our social creatures, as MRS were independent creatures, and that. In the different environment, of going into limitations that will select for that will move us toward a more operative nature as opposed to a more competitive and destructive nature. But I don't expect those other values as over the areas to be completely suppressed. At that about like a completely transition to another species, but, worse still, same species, but what predominates will be different. I can be different and can,
We can transform society in that respect. The phrase is coming to mind. Is the title of your father's book that you mentioned the survival of the wisest to it doesn't mean in future, society doesn't being that it's all unicorn in rainbows correct. It just means that the serve norms may shift way from the individualism that has predominated, at least in our current the world toward a more collective view, it's not exactly ten percent happier, but I'm talking about. If we can is the balance to sixty forty from one to the other. That's what we're looking at, or maybe seventy thirty, but now a complete eradication of any negative human traits read. So it's not Toby and in the end that in that sense, Who will concepts that I think going to resist and just because I'm.
So sour, because that would be nicer because it's a nice fairytale. It really its roots in the the reality of the human organism and human society, and just how we may shift and how we really have to shift if we're gonna continue being as visas on this planet I am looking at another title of a column. You wrote, there's a rational. This is the title: there's a rational evidence based argument for optimism for humankind really and and adequately. It's like. Yes, we're. Making this up we're not pulling this out of our fondest hopes and dreams is based on reason in science and is not a serving to be a perfect world and it is probably not be pretty getting their ends. I guess the two things to add to that are with that you're pretty getting there and that's anticipated if you look at the long term, the time period that wherein is just part of it.
Actual developmental and evolutionary process when I say just were living through it, and it's just horrendous and ladders. There are. Untold amounts of human suffering that are going on as we speak, so that the all that takes its work out. It's not going to be pretty getting there, but it's not pretty right now correct. Go back to individualism per second, because everywhere. I wonder if you ve seen this in treating patients or in your own mind, I had a guest on while ago, Johann hurry, he wrote a book called loss connections and I went back and listen to it recently, just because it was related something I've been thinking about him and writing about and you he makes the case that, just as there is junk food, there are junk valley, whose and the junk values are I have to do with this. Myth is that get individual the matter, of a life
of the worth of a life, is seen dollars, incense achievements, etc, etc, and that folk is on me me me, which, by the way you can see, if you I don't know if you're Instagram but our facebook, but you can see a social media with people serve spending spending so much time to eating their on public image, your personal brand, which Johann or to as ego itching powder that that this the predominance of these junk values, he argues in and marshals. A lot of evidence behind. This argument is what he's a journalist and a social scientist and is is It is leading or contributing massively in to this epidemic of depression. That were unhappy when we ignore our nature and our nature is to be connected to other human beings. That sells just right all the way
there, there being junk values and their blighter being junk food. To yes, were in that respect. Worse, for this extreme point of getting farther and farther from our nature and its it's almost though, the logical playing out of a certain direction, a certain premise and and in the optimistic what'd you say As This kind of the last vestiges minutes, it's just exaggerating itself, hopefully out of existence. But that sense of individualism that sense of me that sense of the acquisition cereal wealth or fame. Popularity or number of visits are like son and social media, Oh, that's, really satisfying a deep hunger for something, and I
This gets into a sort of the more psychiatric aspects of it. I think that deep hunger in part, has its roots in kind of social and value formation early in life and roads. In some sense having contact the social contact with a human being getting things and that's reinforced really there throughout development, and I think that the outcome of that is people, being hungry eating as much as they have still not being satisfied near the Buddhists, call that hungry ghosts yeah with it out there. They represent these deities, but they're, not gonna deities you one would aspire to be that have a huge mouths and tiny Naxa order huge. What what is it? I can remember there anyway there they there eating all the time and never sated so lorries so I have a five year old. I I oughta be.
Have more time. Seeing him on my lap physically connected doom playing ball with them, etc, etc. Then, giving him the superhero gifts that he so voraciously graves I am not exactly saying that then, the fantasy life of a five year old to find an enhanced by a certain amount of security gifts, It's when there is an imbalance, it's one was taking the place of the other. It's a problem and the kid it just doesn't know where to scratch. Guess a superhero gifts Every relief and the edge of the discussion come back and then you're in a cycle of doing that. So it's not that kids shouldn't have, which is ratified it and get things, but what's important is that they not be correcting for a deficit or avoiding some kind of difficult interaction and protecting them from ever feeling disappointed or deprived
And had been mostly connected with them in an intimate nor reflective way that they need that. That's really important, really from the first days of life, and you think many parents are failing to provide that kind of deep emotional sustenance in favour of superficial capitalistic reward. Words. I guess the answer is yes. I think that there, that's really sorry damage to our society. That is very widespread. Get us not on either or thing there's a spectrum, so there are found these were- Gotten really out of control in that respect families, where that solid sense of values as solid sense of connection, remains the basis of what's important.
What else is on your mind? Is you survey the current landscape in the middle of this pandemic from the point of view of a psychiatrist whose treated both children and adults. The issue is the ever died, there's both kind of good and bad aspects to it. The bad effects are easier to list, but I think that for many families, the degree of stress the degree of travel by way of disruption, degree of uncertainty, is certainly going to affect these kids in kind of it in unknown ways. Now, at the same time, within those families I do- I think that there has been in some in in many families at least temporarily, a salutary benefit of having being at home being she is living in. A way is much more like are distant past, and I think that there have been less positive experiences that have happened in a much
familiar with our privileged social class. So I don't really know how palace played out in a family that's living a marginal existence, but never there. There has been that sort positive thing other thing: is that for kids and adolescence, theirs severe constriction of social interaction. Which is really important. Part of development, of just being with the kids. Sorting things out playing fighting falling sharing, not sharing what The effects of that are gonna, be I dont really now, but they're gonna be effects. Then I'll be interested to know how enough it is this, depending on how long this less, what those will be. I think if it's a year or two, there was we'll have effects, but his our pre resilient, so getting back
and those environments the I think, they're level to do pay longer than that. I dont know so. The resilience of children as may be I've been self soothing with this, but I had heard a story about some sort of study at or no force, qualitative and quantitative kids who lived through the bombardment of London during World WAR Ii and I'm probably butchering the surgeon, please set them and take whatever I say with a grain of salt, the date. It appears that they turned out to be fine because its due bounce back so well. What's really that whole issue is really interesting. I didn't Familiar that work and in its through that by many measures. Kids turn out. Well, I think that his experience or determine a lot about what was happening em if they were there with their families and feeling somewhat security. It's there, but I think,
there was a real threat and they really understood the fear and that everybody turns out well and in a way, but they may have corners of, Anxiety or darkness, and I've seen this in a couple of people that they like a very normal life, but whether old or some of those early experiences are coming can a more tragic way. I've known older people, whose I've watched primordial early traumas surface, the thing that really of deep concern is that has been arise both in suicide but also in terms of domestic violence, and so. That's a concern, but what it does is. It is exposing something ethical was already there in terms of domestic violence, I'm interested in that
there's no outlet in so is being played out more. But that's that's a big concerns. Well, I echo that concern. It is something in fact Marisa. The aforementioned were so pretty serve. The show- and I were talking about this issue the other day- it's it is a huge issue, something to be very worried about in. There are a lot of children, the add up and that the council has just that, is it it is a real trauma- are there any questions I should have asked but fail to ask now I don't think so, although I have a go, for you and I just be- no more about your thoughts about the relationship between psychotherapy in and meditation here you and I were time but there's a little bit before we start rolling. In the first book I wrote I talk about having seen a psychiatry right after having had a panic attack.
And and that ultimately leading me to meditation. He had done it. Well, and I was in a much better place, and was now meditating in, but in recent years I've gotten back into I our signal as two years seeing a therapist. I also have an executive co. True very much approaches it, I thoroughly both individually with me and as export of couples. Therapists with me and the ceo of art. I've done couple therapy with my wife, which has been really sort of. We didn't have an acute issue, but we'd we did it kind of out of interest in. When in an investment in our relationship and answer
really come to the view, and I'm just speaking for myself here- that meditation isn't enough for me on its own and that having other ways of looking at your stuff in conjunction with mindfulness and the training of other mental skills such as compassion. Can be an incredibly virtuous cycle, and the last thing I ll say is that you know I have talked about this, and many shows. So I will labor it. But I I had a three sixty review, which is where people from all aspects of your life give you feedback anonymously on your strengths and weaknesses and the amount of information and insight that resulted from this very painful report that I read I don't know if several decades of meditation would have gotten me, there are the three
He was accompanied by a lot of very careful thoughtful talk based work with my coat Joe all which to say that I think meditations incredible but and I'm very dedicated to it. But I think there are other modalities that can feed in two but ones maturation that are there really powerful as well yeah. Let's does great that's really interest and it does something I would like to measured but if I may- and this is separate from some of the work that I do with my father and more work that I have done in the course of my development, as is the case in my career, but There are two aspects to it that I want to mention. Why is the the home body issue and reading what one of the things I was really struck with was that the sense of looking in the body and seeing things and seen as the sensations that are going on being
very much that's what that is very much central to my work as a psychiatrist that I think talk therapy has its place, but there's a much deeper kind therapy that really includes deeper emotions and bodily experiences that are so, I think, for a certain level of growth in a certain depth of change. Ends that emotions are really exist inside the body, not just in the mind. That seems to be a piece of overlap with your experience in your thinking, and I can see where there's a real synergy between the two, the other thing is to looking at some things I talk about enters a broad social structures. Is that I do I do a scribe model that and have in growing up
experience overwhelmingly difficult situations, in an emotional sense that that expresses our sequestered in the body if they can't do it at all then that there are a lot of many farmers that happened to kids, that are an analogous you'll be very different from the kind of trials that happen. We either kind of drivers that happened. Some kids in gets kind of supported and put aside, and I do think that that is source of some of the behaviors. Then I talked about today that that you ve learned to be independent, that you learned not to count on that. You learn that your your needs are not to be met in a particular way and the transformation of talking about it. There is very much an individual aspects and in my ideal, when I'm working with people, I wanna work at that level. I want
you really see that kind of organic change, rather just and exchanges of information, exchange of ideas so I think there are lots of levels to that and then, if I extrapolate that if we have a society where there is less of that kind of early travel, a lesson a kind of early deprivation You ve got a really different, looking society that that kind of experience is going to see a more cooperatives I and similarly site has to be set up so that it enforces those values in those experiences. Well, so flexibility in the workplace being able spend more time with your kids are all those horn and then I think that goes all the way up to an economic system is based on mutual mistrust and mutual exportation and that all then hands out in some very destructive ways.
So what I m talking about that that societal transformation, I'm really talking about that individual transformations, well yeah, but the personal being political and men. You like profound ways very profound ways, an extensive ways. Just in the last phrase of that, but being there Where I go with that is- and I shall say a bunch of words. It all time posts in advance that they may not make sense my understanding, devoid individual words, but not the order in which I use them, but as I, view? Many of the I'm writing a book right now as I review many of the interviews, I've done, many of them on this show I'm see and I don't know if I can articulate eight is accurately, but I'm seeing theme
I'm through and many of them that all quote: Bernay Brown is best selling author and has a very popular pog cast in a network special, but also has done a lot of science and she talks about her for her, big word is vulnerability and by vulnerability she doesn't mean go out there and you know in the street naked were anybody can attack you? She means having the courage to be who you actually are to be fully self and honest about it and she says the biggest. If I understand correctly, she say she said one of the biggest impediments to that is the armory up. We do in Europe bonds to our that serve rubbing up against the uglier than aspects of the world and I hear versions of this in many of the interviews. I've done that you know if you I get really buddhist about it that we have a Buddha nature, that we are essentially good but that it gets
covered over by these obscurations, which the job of meditation and spiritual practices to move those so that we can be who we are meant to be is any then land with with with what you said, absolutely absolutely and less right at the heart of it that I guess I do ascribe in sense that basically, we are good. Ok at birth and essentially hoo hoo, where we are and that. A lot of things get pasted over it and the kinds of Well, I'm calling kind of many traumatic experiences, those emotions, those that those paying that vulnerability. That is then heard her assaulted, cost a certain level of armor. They gets put up this book. Character armourer. So if someone was referred to it, but
so in terms of body armor and that the process of good therapy, the job of I think good meditation is too Undue and unwrap their armour and get it what's underneath, which tends to be a more vulnerable human being but I'll even accept even the buddhist concept. There were kind of what will we do have an essential good nature and that sensible to nature and then unwrapping that this kind of our job, but there's meditation or whether syrupy in the future as much as we can develop a society in which minimizes those early traumas, it will be a better work. People's true natures is basically good. Its ITALY's no trouble yeah. Maybe you know,
I've gone down the rabbit. All of wondering know what what's, whose right original sin, nor did the buddhas. I dont know that it matters what I you know I don't know. I hope I'm not offending anybody, but for me, I'm not sure it matters really. What the metaphysics of this are, but I do know that you can work to make yourself a happy and healthier human being, and what I hear from you is that that work is not merely for yourselves that actually could contribute to an evolution of the species. Yeah well put does that's sounds right. It's good work all in itself, and I would be doing it no matter what, but there is a little bit about potentially higher meaning to side love. Just you'd have good people probably curious about your work at this point, so kinky tells a little bit more. About your book for people who are interested in the concepts that
my father and I wrote a book that it is available from booksellers is called a new reality: human evolution for a sustainable future and then dresses. My father's ideas in more depth very visual presentation wells a bit been a pleasure to chat with you really appreciate your time. Really glad to be here has been great from as well on, and actually I was really great to pick up your Balkan really enjoyed that I am a lot from it, so I appreciate the big thank you to Jonathan really appreciate his time. If you, by the way, if you wanna way to cultivate the the values. Cooperation and interdependence checkout Joanna Hardy's, meditation on the practice of generosity. In the ten percent happier Apple put a link in the show notes. Thanks is always to the team, who helped put the show together, Samuel Johns
Their senior producer, Moorish, nitrogen is our producers are sound, designers are met bulletin and on your sheikh of ultraviolet, audio Maria were tell us our path, The coordinator, we get a ton of really valuable input from Tpa. Colleagues such it, then Reuben Gent Point make Toby lives, Levin and, as always, big. Thank you to my as for maybe see Rank S Orange Ash CO hand will see on Wednesday with it deep Dharuma episode about Buddhism and a relation ships.
Transcript generated on 2020-08-17.