Transcript: Bryan Callen and Eric Weinstein on The Portal podcast episode 9
The Portal podcast transcription series
- Peter Thiel
- What is The Portal?
- Werner Herzog
- Timur Kuran
- Rabbi David Wolpe
- Jocko Willink
- Bret Easton Ellis
- Andrew Yang
- Bryan Callen
- Julie Lindahl
- Sam Harris
- Vitalik Buterin
- Garry Kasparov
- London Tsai
- Garrett Lisi
- Tyler Cowen
- Anna Khachiyan
- Eric Weinstein – State of the Portal 2020
- Bret Weinstein
- Sir Roger Penrose
- Ashley Mathews (Riley Reid)
- Ben Greenfield
- Agnes Callard
- Kai Lenny
- The Construct: Jeffrey Epstein
Geometric Unity – a First Look
- James O’Keefe
- Daniel Schmachtenberger
- Eric Lewis
- Jamie Metzl
- Ross Douthat
- Ryan Holiday
The following transcript was generated by a machine and not edited by any human – so it’s full of of errors. I’m posting the transcript because the podcast is excellent and a crappy transcript is better than no transcript. Questions/comments: get me on Twitter @mgmobrien.
Eric Weinstein 0:03
Hi, this is Eric Weinstein and you found the portal. Today I am joined by none other than my friend Bryan Callen. Brian, welcome. It’s good to be in the portal my friend.
Bryan Callen 0:12
I’m not worthy. First of all, let me say that. Let me apologize to your guests. I’m not worthy. I’m nothing but a lowly comic. Athletic. Yes, but that’s about all supple, dangerous at times, giving always.
Eric Weinstein 0:24
Well, I think this is the first time we’ve started with that level of insincere grovelling. But thank you, Brian for breaking new territory.
Bryan Callen 0:31
It’s good. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time and I your sir,
Eric Weinstein 0:33
stop. Okay, now, here’s the thing. First of all, I want to say that I so love your conversational style. That anytime that you start hosting this feel free, but we’re just we’re just beginning the portal and what we’re trying to do with with the show in the series is two separate things. One, I think we’re gonna have a great time being here and interviewing lots of interesting people. But there’s a sort of a Theme running through it, which is that I think a lot of people have realized that we’ve been in some kind of a stasis and that some of us may have found ways to break out of whatever this kind of malaise or miasma that settled over the country is and we’re trying to find the people and the concepts that might give people some some new options to think about how to break free of whatever might be holding them in place, or their communities or the country even so at all different levels and scales. One of the things that has been most impressive to me about you is the way you use certain techniques for breaking new ground, socially, and I was just thinking recently, I happened to be invited over to your place and you had a group of very talented combat sports guys,
Bryan Callen 1:52
just an eclectic group.
Eric Weinstein 1:54
It was the click the group but it was but there was a common theme and the common theme seemed to be people People who are very skilled in a ring or in combat like situations, and it struck me that it was also incredibly diverse that in terms of diversity standard, other than than the gendered issue, it was people of different hues, different religions, different cultural backgrounds, different age groups. And it was one of the greatest salons and dinners I’ve been to in a long time. And it consisted largely of as the British say, people taking the piss out of each other. Yeah. Yeah. And as a result, the intimacy in the room was off the charts. People were really opening up people were being vulnerable people were actually building each other up. And somehow there is no explanation for this behavior. In the current cultural moment, it’s like we’ve forgotten what this is. Can you say a little bit about what you think is going on?
Bryan Callen 2:50
Well, first of all, I think that it’s Unfortunately, most people don’t think they can make a difference with their ideas with their conversation with their point of view. With their actions that you know that that’s that’s a cynicism. It’s a deep cynicism that seems to I’ve always been an optimist. And I’ve always thought if you look at history, it’s usually a small group of people with, with a, with a passionate set of ideas that get things moving. I mean, sometimes it’s not for the good, in my opinion, for example, Russia in 1914, he had a very small group of intellectuals who got the communist revolution started. I might have been part of that back then if you looked at the way, you know, Russia was, but these are people that had the gumption. And I mean, if you look at the abolitionist movement, it was really started in in England, I think, in the 1840s started, but it was about these sort of like evangelical Christians who said, Look, you know, no matter what we can do this, if you look, even this country, john Brown, these were fanatics but they were a small energised group of people, the Quakers, they set these examples. You can even go into You know, if you look think about the ramifications of the marriage between I think was even sold and and Wahab the marriage of those kids in the heat. They made a deal and he said, let me preach. Let me preach my puritanical Salafi Islam. My puritanical version of Wahhabi Islam is back in the 1700s. This was in support of the day they met, I think in 1744. But, you know, they’ve subsequently. So this was a small group of very energetic people. Now, I don’t think a lot of times the outcome is so positive in those in those instances, but I, for better, for worse, I think the way you beat a bad idea is with a better idea. I’m quoting Amazon’s who’s the Israeli writer. I never forgot him when he said that. And the way to come up with better ideas. Yeah. Is not to purify your echo chamber. It’s not to get it’s very tempting for guys like you and I, you know, it’s very exciting for me. To be able to even be around guys like you. I love Sam Harrison. You know, I love Jordan Peterson and you’re very you guys are very intelligent. You’re highly educated. And aside from the fact that personally, I like you, but but it would be very easy for all a button. When you have a dinner. Typically what you see is people who’ve read the same books, listen to the same TED Talks. Yeah, watch the same programs and have a similar background, educational background. I think that’s boring. I think I just do, man. I just love getting a navy seal. A pro boxer who’s never read a book, and then I put him with a D one basketball player, then I get a mathematician over there. And then I get an economist over here and then I’ll throw in a nine year old sometimes Yeah, like to do that guy who’s lived forever who’s an actor like my friend jack bets. And then I’ll and then I’ll throw in just two two. Usually I’ll get to people who I know aren’t going to say much but they want to listen, you need an audience. And what you get right is idea sex. Yeah, get an idea origin and people nobody looks at their phones man. And it’s 130 in the morning, and guess what? Everybody’s learning from Eric Weinstein and I knew that was gonna happen because you come in and everybody there’s you know, having Armand tight in the belly and everybody can talk
Eric Weinstein 6:18
about blackout but all but all of these all of these controlled savages are like quoting poetry or they’re talking about history to me and you know, it’s just funny to hear you say it. I you know, you say guys like you and I always felt the comedian’s and the musicians and the people who you know, even study chess or jujitsu. This is all one family of people who have you know, as I’ve called it before, a relationship with the unforgiving like in chess, you make a move. You take the consequences of move with rock climbing, you make the reach for bed handhold you have to deal with whatever comes next comedy, same thing, math. cymatics etc. And so to me, there is a commonality, which is, are you engaged in some activity? That is not that the where the feedback is not mediated by somebody’s choice. Like there’s no judge when you’re a rock climber who says, Well, I think that was an 8.3 Yeah, it’s the rock.
Bryan Callen 7:17
Yeah, it’s the rock. Yeah. Well, I don’t I think sometimes, anytime you have a group of people that are all in the same discipline, you know, the one great thing so so, you know, we talked about fighting I love to box and one of the guys there Moloch I don’t know if you remember marshawn tall. Yeah, tall, thin, tall, thin black guy about six 154 pounds. Mom has been boxing since he was seven. Now Moloch was going to be on his way to be a world champion. He gets world champions ready. I know from other people that Moloch gives world champions or did give world champions fits in the gym. As in he light him up as he’s something special. And what’s fun for me is trying to box with him and I talk trash and I put in my Math peace in my head. And I and and I try to I cheat and I step on his foot, I kick him sometimes I do everything I can. anytime he wants, he can, he can put me to sleep anytime, right? And he’s nice enough just to pat pat me around and I, I’m the old man, I’m swinging, I try to hit him, I do everything I can to try to hit him right? When we’re done. He’s taught me a couple things. I’m building my tree of knowledge when it comes to boxing. I love doing anything I’m bad at because it’s humbling. And somehow I think it opens other portals. You know, it kind of somehow stimulates get become better at comedy, I become better at things. I don’t know why. And then what happens is we sit down and he asks me because he’s on this education, kick because he didn’t have the benefit of an education because he was always boxing. And so then it’s time for me to sort of tutor him as we’re warming down, and we just talk over a meal. So it’s a beautiful kind of symbiotic relationship where I get so much from him and so much Wasn’t and he gets so much from me. Now I’m also 20 years older. So the only reason he can beat me. Right, what? But the point is that they’re there. So I don’t know if I’m answering your crush question. No, you’re actually
Eric Weinstein 9:11
getting to another topic, which I’m fascinated by, you can continue the riff or I can jump, no, please. So there’s a,
Unknown Speaker 9:18
Eric Weinstein 9:20
say it exactly. But kind of a pattern that I’ve noticed, I haven’t heard much commented upon, which is that social interactions get really rich, when people can pass power back and forth. In other words, if you have some kind of power, and you you sit on it, it’s not nearly as powerful as if I somehow give it away to you, and you give it back to me. So for example, if you look at a happy couple, maybe the man praises his wife to the hilt talks about how he married up, etc, etc. And in return, you know, she talks about how you know what an honor it is to be with a man She can look up to. And the idea is that they’ve both exchanged power and built something in the diet.
Bryan Callen 10:07
But okay, that’s a very important. That’s and that’s a very important idea. And at the crux of why I put all these people from different walks together, right? pretty similar. So so one person has 100 million dollars, the other person is having trouble making rent. What I like about putting all those people together that are so different, is that yes, yes, Eric, you might be smarter at theoretical math, but you have deficits
Unknown Speaker 10:31
to yell do
Bryan Callen 10:32
we all do? So you’re you may be a superstar over here. Yes, Molly can knock me out with a right hand. But that is relevant only when we’re in the ring. Right, right. It’s a little bit like so so all of us have these deficits. All of us have these weaknesses. Where are you smart? Where are you brave. Where are you strong? Well, it depends but we are all dumb, weak cowards
Eric Weinstein 10:59
Bryan Callen 11:00
yes. And so when you try to get good at something, Mm hmm. You learn very quickly what your limitations are, what your strengths are. You learn a lot about yourself. And one of the cool things about people who’ve been in arang or in a cage or on a mat, is they are very aware of how tough they’re not. There is no one who you know, fight who hasn’t been so surprised, knocked out humbled. You’re not getting good at combat, which I’m not, but you’re not getting good at combat with a big ego. enjoy that. Because what’s going to happen is they’re going to figure you out, you kind of constantly stay humble. The best fighters are the ones. The ones that I know are the ones who are always going back to class, always learning. So, of course, they’re going to be humble. Of course, they’re going to give back Of course, they’re going it’s like my buddy Amir pretz who is who’s this like Israeli, you know, badass soldier, but now teaches self defense is the most humble loving, giving person person in the world because he has a very, very intimate understanding of what real violence is about, and how easy it is how easy it is to take a life. I mean, we’re just flesh and bone. So there’s no such thing as tough. There just isn’t. There just isn’t. I don’t like those words. There’s no such thing probably as strong that we are all terribly vulnerable. You know, I always talk about having children and I hate loving something that must exist. It’s like watching a balloon float around the hot lamp. Well, we’re all that way. Well, you’re
Eric Weinstein 12:34
the first person actually has said, This is what I always tell people about having kids. The main problem is that you don’t want to love anything as much as you end up loving your child.
Bryan Callen 12:42
I mean, your thanks for giving me something I can’t bear to lose. Right. You know, Jesus. So, did you get emotional just now?
Eric Weinstein 12:50
Well, yeah, I mean, because I actually lived it. You know, I thought about a relative who lost a son Ah, and, you know, we’ve had two losses. From auto accidents, and you see people just transfer just transformed by a loss that they couldn’t control. There’s no way to protect against it. And what it left me with was this idea that nobody, you’re the most enviable person in the world is one knock on the door away from being somebody that you would pity, you know, you would just sing it’s so true. And so that’s what that’s what, that’s the weird thing for me about envy, which is, I’ve never had a billion dollars, but I have a good friend with a billion dollars, and he’s letting me borrow his lifestyle for short periods of time, I had another friend who owned an island. And so you know, he let me borrow his Island. And so I’ve at least seen and felt a little bit through pretend and play what it would be like to have a fantastic amount of money. And I wish I could give this as a present to everybody to just try out the lifestyle for a day or two and figure out what it would do for you and what it doesn’t do for you. And one thing it doesn’t do for you is that there’s no way to keep your children safe you can just do the business no way dude that that’s that’s for sure that we are always adding Jordan Peterson was talking about, you know in the Bible the Garden of Eden still is crazy it was a snake still got in
Bryan Callen 14:13
Yeah, I mean as as even God couldn’t keep a snake out of the garden of Eden. I mean there’s always danger lurking and you have to come to terms with that. And one of the things that I think I like about understanding violence at least shooting a gun, right, getting knocked out getting tapped out. Getting close to that a little bit. I went to a war zone, you know, did stand up in Afghanistan in 2007. But you, at least you something about it makes you feel way more alive, man. You feel a lot more alive. And maybe the closer to death you are the more alive you feel and I got to tell you after I came back, I was talking to my buddy Doug Davidoff. We were terrified all the time because suicide bombings were too high and he’d be in these Humvees and stuff. I started getting addicted. That fear i mean i got i i don’t want to be disrespectful anybody’s been a combat zone, but just my the little bit I was there I think 11 or 12 days, I got and then we did a simulation firefight with, you know, lasers and stuff and I, I could feel that adrenaline I was, I was jonesing for it for a long time afterwards. And so as my friend, we talked about it, I can’t imagine going to a real firefight unit pgl work that
Eric Weinstein 15:27
he, I wish, I think it may have been Tennyson that he was actually referencing but he, he said, we used to discuss the drunk delight of battle before we decided that war was a bad thing. And, you know, I’m on record of saying that I like everything about war except for the death and destruction then in some sense, you need life and death risk, at least to catalyze certain things. And then there’s a question about does the life and death risk need to involve conflict between people and one of them? The things I’m curious about is the structure of the body picture, which is a Hollywood staple. And in the body picture, you have to establish the two people really detest each other, then they have to go through some sort of transformational conflict. And only then do they realize that they both have sort of complementarity that allows them to be truly close. That’s right. Look what
Bryan Callen 16:22
happens to guys who, who hate each other before a fight in the UFC beat the crap out of each other. I mean, they’re full of blood. What do they do? They hug. Yeah, they hug. Well, somehow, again, most of the time, there are times when no, but most of the time they hug and we want them to hug you know,
Eric Weinstein 16:40
you don’t know that. Well, I mean, boy, there’s so much to do right here. You saw this weird, briefest fight in the UFC. This aspirin, right? Yeah, that was different. That wasn’t even a fight. It was a surprise attack. Yeah,
Bryan Callen 16:54
that’s quite a mosquito. That’s that’s, you can’t talk trash to Jorge. Maz at all. for three weeks before the fight that we’re asking does, and then expect him not to Showboat a little bit? You can’t do that to Jorge, Jorge Maz at all, that’s a real fight. And he, he still doesn’t like it. Like he said, he goes, if I see him in a supermarket, he might get slapped up because I don’t like.
Eric Weinstein 17:15
Yeah. Well, so this is the issue that some fights are transformational, and they they produce a closeness and some fights don’t resolve whatever the tension is. And so one of the things I’m super curious about is, is it your experience? Like if I think about the fist fights I got in, growing up, I would say that I ended up closer to about half of the people that I fought. And it had to do with some intangible ineffable quality. I can’t quite put my finger on Can you say when it is that you find that a fight can be transformational in male intimacy?
Bryan Callen 17:58
I don’t know. I think I think it is. I think look I mean, we are fighting is the purest of sport in a way I mean what is football it’s a game of inches yes but it’s it’s simulated war
Eric Weinstein 18:12
well it’s like multiple layers of indirection from war
Bryan Callen 18:15
that’s right and basketball baseball these are even more these are very I mean the competition is very heated these guys are giving it their all there’s something about fighting where especially when it’s MMA or something but for that matter really boxing I think where you where you’re coming as close as you can get almost to what it’s like to see a man kill another man or a woman nowadays kill another woman with their bare hands. There’s something primordial to that. That brings us back to when we were you know, when when we first evolved you know what so we talked sometimes about the chumps can pre grammar of language. And I’ve in other places talked about the Is there a Chomsky in pre grammar of of religion. And is there a Chomsky in pre grammar of violence where whether we’ve we I think we’re probably communicating way before language developed language? Well, that’s true. I mean, I can I can there are parts of the world I know I can get in a fight right away just just by holding a stare. And the way I’m standing I promise I can get a guy to go. What’s your got a problem? You want to get in a fight? Really, very quickly. I’ll take it out. I’ll take it to Brooklyn. I’ll take it along Island. I’ll take you to I’ll take it anywhere in Boston or Philly? I promise for that matter jersey. Right. And and by the way, not necessarily in LA but let me take it to the Inland Empire. Yeah, just stand and stare for a little bit right posture up. something’s gonna happen. You know. So we are very aware. I think we have antenna that has been have been developed over millennia, for when somebody’s trying to take what’s ours. And I always say this about it. writing about vulnerability. Yeah, I’m writing about what you know men are supposed to be vulnerable and we’re supposed to sit with our sad and cry and get in touch with. Okay. All right, man, but I’m telling point I’m dealing with a lot of his genetic residue for a long time. You know, I had to hunt, you know, with with a spear or whatever. And I had to you know, I have to believe that a lot of this is wired and and if you think of what it was to be a human, a human being in most cases throughout our history, whether we were in a small village or whatever if you were in a vulnerable if you were in a forgot for that matter, you could have been in Baghdad and 1258 and the Mongols are Constantinople and what was it 14 something when the Ottomans broke down the wall? Did our history has been here, they come over the hill, they’re gonna they’re gonna break down our walls and kill us and take our women and children as slaves. Right. That’s the story of history. Yeah. If you’ll forgive me if I’m not a little bit ready all the time to fight for my life. So this is
Eric Weinstein 21:05
why am I glad we’re, we’re here. Sometimes I think about the idea that vulnerability has to be earned through strength. So for example, if you look at Vin Diesel, if he’s wearing a feather boa, it’s only because he’s Vin Diesel. He can’t wear feathers. If you’re not really,
Bryan Callen 21:23
you got to have another man’s blood on the on the fat. Well,
Eric Weinstein 21:25
you know, or if you ever saw, what was it with Tim Roth is the swordsman. And there’s a great duel in the end. Is it Rob Roy? And he’s like he’s, he’s there with his like, frilly cuffs and thing, but he’s got better swords sort of ability than anybody and he’s just completely deadly. Yeah. And so in some weird way in order to be comfortable with that vulnerability, you actually it’s almost like the desert that comes from having proven yourself as somebody To be not to be trifled?
Bryan Callen 22:02
Well, I think that it’s an interesting thing because when you really study the language of vulnerability, the dog and the fighters that, you know, I know enough combat navy seals and these guys I think they have a real sense of their own mortality. I mean, because they’ve either had to take lives or they’ve seen their friend. I mean, it’s so it happened so quickly. So it’s a combination of, they become vulnerable, but they don’t sweat the small stuff. I think a lot of this politically correct. Insanity about you said this word, and that makes you a racist, or whatever it is, we’re just we’re so offended all the time. Most of those people, it goes back to what you were saying. We don’t have an existential threat anymore. And so most of those people don’t really know and haven’t really suffered because they’re mostly white. They haven’t really suffered this this agree just racism as recline. God bless him, but as Uh, you know, he I listened to his his talk and stuff. And I mean, Ezra is so painfully educated, and I can tell he’s read every book in the world and he lives in Washington DC and he probably has great dinner parties and he’s friends with all kinds of intelligent intelligence in and he can talk about how vicious slaveholder Thomas Jefferson was and would beat me at any debate, but I don’t think Ezra necessarily really is friends with anybody who works with their hands who smokes or who has punched people in the face for a living and it’s not a knock on him and I might be wrong about it i just i think that that his I think if we were under in different circumstances, we wouldn’t have time for this shit. We wouldn’t have time for the shit we don’t let me make another point. Sure. When I this is a better way to say it. I watch when I’m in a restaurant and I’m and it’s a busy restaurant and I see a woman from Malaysia another one from the Philippines. another guy’s black, another guy’s Chinese and otherwise, I don’t know what they look like. This wonderful composite then there are a couple of white people and they’re all trying to get food to the customers I promise you no one there is thinking about what your sexual orientation is what your color scheme but fuck off I’m trying to get food on the table bro right and this is noise this noise over here you people are making their will that this is not fair that it was we’re like Dude, okay good. I got work to do, man. I got work to do. I’m making a living here. Can you get the fuck away from me and let let the economy do what it’s supposed to do. Right. That’s why ultimately I’m a free market guy. Get out of my way with your I don’t think we’re free anymore. I think we’re taking our freedoms away from it. You can’t say anything. You can’t express an unpopular point of
Eric Weinstein 24:43
view. So this would be a portal point and something I’d be super interested in developing it for a while we started we started hearing comedian saying I won’t play colleges anymore. Yeah, that colleges become unfun. It throws me off my comedy game. It’s not something I want to be doing because people are so easily offended. And part of the function of comedy was to explore that which is offensive, and to give people access where normally they would sort of block it off and not be able to do it. Then Joe Rogan, our mutual friend said, something interesting to me. He said, It is now the golden age of comedy. I said, What? And he said, Well, we’ve started figuring out how to tell these jokes after a period where we couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. And the best people are now able to explore these things, because some new skill level had been unlocked. Does that resonate with you as a standard?
Bryan Callen 25:36
I don’t know what she’s saying. And I was thinking, Hmm, that’s an interesting thing. It’s certainly way more lucrative now. And it’s easier to reach a wider audience and also your own audience. So you know, you can Nish. So you and Joe might have different audiences.
Well, well, we may have the same I don’t know, but we probably have a similar audience, but I think it’s much easier to find your name. And so that can be a little bit deceptive. Okay, right. So I don’t know the answer. He might be right about that. I do think there’s some great comedy out there and I think it’s neat. I think people like Bill Burr and Jim Jefferies and Rogen are are needed because they’re satirists. And it’s probably the last place on earth where you can really speak your mind and express unpopular points of view without suffering the kinds of ramifications you would if you worked at Google, Facebook, or the People’s Republic of Apple, you know, wherever it might be. These places are pretty tyrannical. It seems I don’t know, I haven’t mentioned bill Berg. So I again,
Eric Weinstein 26:44
I don’t know if you know this, but I did 10 to 15 minutes of stand up. That’s all I’ve ever done.
Bryan Callen 26:48
I didn’t know that. It was very funny.
Eric Weinstein 26:50
It’s very, it was very terrifying and very, very fun. But it was more or less impromptu. One of the things that I felt as an outsider Though other than that I have no experience is that when I saw Bill Burr, talking about particularly gendered issues, I felt like I was watching Alex Honnold, the rock climber go up El Cap, and it was so it was so fraught, it was so dangerous course it was, um, can we geek out for a second and who is who is innovating really new stuff, and not from the perspective of being in the audience. But, you know, like, there’s a secret bar behind the comedy club we were just discussing, and I was invited back there. I got a chance to listen to what our comedians talking about in terms of craft, can you take us in to this world? What is going on in
Bryan Callen 27:40
parallel? Chappelle and rock are still doing it, they’re still they’re still taking on whatever, whatever say their territory. I don’t know that there are I don’t know that there are any innovations I think, I think the, the only the only thing you can do with stand up is to I always say write about what you’re ashamed of what you’re afraid of who you’re who you’re pretending to be, versus who you really are. These deeper questions How do you want to die? What do you want to say when you die? What don’t you want to say when you die? You know, these are the kinds of things What do you want God to say to you when you die? If there is such a such a thing? What if there is God and you don’t believe? These are the questions that I like to play on fears and ask questions. I think that’s where you get. That’s and it goes back to the salon thing. That’s where I think you start sort of striking common ground with your audience. Right. So when we one of the things I truly believe in, it comes to the fact I lived in seven different countries until I was 14 years old. That really Yeah, I was born in the Philippines. I then moved to Calcutta then Bombay, or Mumbai, and then say Mumbai, I know right? Well, so it’s Bombay.
Eric Weinstein 28:53
Well, our family so you know, my wife and my wife from Bombay.
Bryan Callen 28:57
She’s the one who told me right so she’s gonna corrected me well
Eric Weinstein 29:00
So I now I say Bombay so the weird thing is is that it’s one of these things where educated people think that Mumbai is the hot happening I say sophisticated way and I think her perspective is that that was actually the result of the Shiv Sena, who had a Maharashtra from Maharashtra runs campaigns of Bombay. Sorry. He didn’t mean that people I don’t know.
Bryan Callen 29:25
So I’m trying to be popular. What’s
Eric Weinstein 29:26
your point of view
by your family? Well, just just that it’s like New York State realizing that New York City is captured, okay. And deciding that’s going to enforce New York State culture on New York City which is much more cosmopolitan,
Bryan Callen 29:40
so Bombay, all right, but you’re so you’ve lived in so the Bombay then Lebanon, then Pakistan, then Lebanon again, the war broke out, stuck there for six months, evacuated to Greece, then Saudi Arabia, and I’m 14 years old, I go to boarding school in Massachusetts, then college down to Washington, DC. And then, and then of course, LA, New York, New York, LA back and forth. And finally The International movie star that I am now well TV, but but so so so my experience, right my experience being around all those people, all those Muslims and all those Hindus and all those Christians and all those, all those Arabs and all those Pakistanis and all those Indians and all those Filipinos and all those Afghanis and all those Ethiopians and eretrians and Somalis This is like the 12 years and by the way in in that I traveled to communist Russia Communist China when it really was communist Russia and communist China, Yemen, Syria, I was everywhere I mean, you can Jordan you name it. seeing things like leprosy advanced stages of leprosy in the marketplaces of Yemen I mean, terrifying things and feeling so lucky to be an American and and and knowing not knowing why I was never hungry, but seeing real starvation in Kenya and Tanzania in the outskirts. And the guilt the fucking guilt of of going what why am I so protected? Why do I feel safe and so, so full of food and I’m watching you know, I’m a pretty compassionate That imaginative person I hope enough to be enough to feel guilty, right. But the one thing I got from that experience was that essentially, I don’t give a shit what your religion what your culture is, essentially, we’re all very much the same. We all enjoy humorous insults. We all which is goes back to you know, and we all want a better life for our kids. And we all love to laugh and we all want to feel safe. And all you have to do with anybody from a different culture and I don’t care where they’re from right is see them. acknowledge that they are like you compliment them a little bit, maybe know a little bit about where they’re from, or ask them some questions about what it’s like to be who they are. And man Oh, man, well, the doors open. And so that’s why in my salons, yes, it were. I love proving that over and over again. By taking the most eclectic group. I can throwing them all together and watching all those ideas find, you know, I guess life and that’s the secret?
Eric Weinstein 32:08
Well, so one of the things that I think about in this area is how much to get this formula to work. It really requires skill. And there’s an old definition of a gentleman that I’m very partial to, which is a gentleman is someone who is a man who is never rude by accident. And I think one of the problems we’re having is, is that there are people at very different skill levels. And so if you think about, you know, the terrifying words that one must not say, that really is sort of an admonition when everyone is now broadcasting via social media or their you know, podcasting or Twitter feed, whatever it is, that we’re now frightened that people have very low skill and low experience. To start opining at scale about things that in ways that are really destructive. So for example, if you think about how far we’ve come from George Carlin’s observations Carlin died right before the financial crisis. And, you know, his perspective was that there wasn’t a word you can’t say there are no bad words or bad context or bad people, there may be bad intentions. We’re now in a world where Bill Maher is lectured by a guy who founds NWA as to what words he can’t say, how does, how does that shake out?
Bryan Callen 33:36
I think that’s just a bad idea that will, will be scrapped. Eventually, I don’t know how much damage it will do to fit a lot of these bad ideas are repackaged and and they will cause their damage but hopefully, because we have enough history to draw from hopefully they will lose their relevance. I worry that there’s this There’s this strange movement to go back to old fashioned collectivism. I mean, this old fashioned idea of socialism and even communism and Marxism and, and I, I don’t know what this is, these are young people who don’t I really I don’t really pay attention to it. They don’t have a command of history they don’t know a lot. They just don’t maybe I’m just older and I’ve done more like a living I lived in a socialist utopia and, and I went to those countries when they were very earnestly socialist and communist and, and I’m always amazed that these ideas and they come out of academia, they come out of these professors and I know a lot of them and I’ve arguments with them on my other podcast. They They are people who just don’t have a lot of it. I don’t care how smart you are. I don’t care how many books you read. You my friend. Don’t make the trains run on time you my friend. I’ve never had to make turn a profit with a real business. You live behind walls in a university. And those people are important but they can also be be just as dangerous as somebody with no idea. So it’s very what would you point out? And just riff off of that is that?
Eric Weinstein 35:08
What if you have a system which effectively functions in a cult like way, which is very few people who are academicians have ever left? education? In other words, they started kindergarten or pre K, that’s what’s going on. And if you leave, you are, it’s very suspicious if you return. Yeah, you can’t take five years off for most people. Now, occasionally, there are exceptions. But the system as a system of selective pressures is selecting specifically for people who never venture outside their initial environment.
Bryan Callen 35:43
I have talked to very smart academic all stars. People talk about them all the time without going into names. And one didn’t really realize that they were they were trying to raise some money for something they wanted me to host. And he didn’t he didn’t really understand that there were agents out there. That could raise sponsorship, he just didn’t live in an economic world. But he’s very happy to. And we had a big argument about it. He’s very happy to advocate for an 80% tax rate for anybody making over a million dollars because he wants to go back to what he thinks is Scandinavian, like socialism, which is wrong. Scandinavia doesn’t have that kind of a tax rate. And so you’re wrong. But also this hunter gatherer ideal,
okay. All right.
You know, good luck with that, but you shouldn’t be making economic policy you’re not
Eric Weinstein 36:32
well, so you’re bringing up something which I think is terrifying what happens when the sense making professions that is the people that we deputized as our expert for taking in raw data and saying, Okay, tell us what this means and tell us what we should do next. And you find this in education, you find this in, let’s say, journalism, and the cop, the sort of talking head class, all of these sort of institutional sense makers are caught up in business models, which are now selecting for people who have very little experience outside of this world. And I feel like if we don’t come up with jobs for that class that pay very well, what you’re going to get is you’re going to get very ideological people with very little outside experience, who are imagining a collectivist world that functions beautifully, but not thinking about the amount of coercion and violence that it would take to accomplish that and whether or not it’s something you want to even do it to be.
Bryan Callen 37:34
There’s that idea. There’s that saying I love which is an idea is a very dangerous thing to have, if it’s the only one you have is a very dangerous thing if it’s the only one you have. And I think that there there is this orthodoxy this homogenous, you know, kind of collective mind that comes out of a lot of these places. And and you’re right I mean, there’s nobody room, what about but I have two things to say one, I think I worry that the a lot of these big companies I mean to express even a different point of view, even to cite the science behind the difference between men and women will get you fired. Well, this this gets you fired. I mean, it really can affect your, your, your bottom line. So it is a form of violence or certainly, certainly. What is the word coercion it’s in a real sense, you know, you conformity most but you know what, Americans are hard to fool. And, and Americans don’t like extremes and I there is a shitload of pushback, not just in this sort of this hard left kind of like mentality, but it’s a big pushback. And a lot of intellectual pushback as well, in my opinion, and it’s only getting stronger. I mean, I there’s a reason that reasonable people who are responsive to evidence like yourself, like to Jordan Peterson, whoever it might be. There’s a reason these people really hit a chord. People like to listen to them, because they’re like, I knew this other stuff wasn’t making that much sense. You know, I feel like I’m stuck in this ideological world and I don’t file you guys are calling me racist, or you’re calling me, you tell me I’m not into equality. I’m not even thinking about that. I’m a fair minded person, etc, etc. So there’s a lot of pushback. But
Eric Weinstein 39:27
I mentioned this to Sam Harris. And I think I’m going to maybe do a show on this podcast called the Hilbert problems, the topic would be the Hilbert problems of social justice. And so maybe the easiest one is, you can’t possibly understand my experience because you don’t share it. And you must understand my experience, because it’s so important. And so you just take these two things, and then you say, look, I want to discuss those that is a couplet. I must understand and I cannot understand because that’s your problem after all, and what if I can can actually write a screenplay. Let’s say, we’re doing an impression on a stage where you say, That was so good that there’s no way you could have inhabited that character. Without understanding. I felt that way. For example, if you remember, Eddie Murphy is the old Jewish guy. I mean, he does a better job than any shoe.
Bryan Callen 40:16
I know. Of course he does. He’s an actor, and he was around them. And you know, exactly
Eric Weinstein 40:22
right, actly. And so, this idea that, again, it goes back to what
Bryan Callen 40:26
goes back to the fact that we have a lot more in common with each other than we will. And in
Eric Weinstein 40:30
order to in order to unlock that, though, don’t we have to have enough safety, too. And this is kind of this puzzle for me about the weird social justice movement. If you create canceled culture, you’re telling me that it is not safe to open my mouth and say something that’s right.
Bryan Callen 40:53
Your ideas are harmful.
Eric Weinstein 40:54
Therefore, I’m not going to even bring them up to a conscious level because they’re far too Dangerous What if one of them came out of my mouth inadvertently or in a joke that went south? Now you’ve got a really serious problem, which is what if some kind of bigotry and some kind of prejudice is just it’s garden variety. It’s not very interesting. It’s universally distributed. Everybody has a problem. I mean, I have multiple feelings about how I feel about different people in different circumstances. If you don’t allow some of this stuff to bubble up, come out your mouth and and look at it for the brain fart that it really is. Yeah. Then you’re going to sit there weirdly guilty. Either angry that you can’t say that you want to be able to say, or you’re gonna say wow, I really am ashamed that I actually I always say
Bryan Callen 41:46
we all of us in my my I think it took all of us have at least 10 thoughts an hour, maybe a minute that would get us fired. I mean, thank God, by the way. Thank you to Jonathan Hite. I don’t know if you’ve heard him talk on this subject, but he wrote the coddling of the American mind and The righteous mind he’s just love him and and but he said that there is this he compares it to the I think the corizon of the Philippines I think that’s what they were called who would gain status by killing the most people you know essentially your enemy and you take their heads are you take us trophy, maybe a piece of their hair and you gain status that way you got more women that way. And this is an example of a sick culture I don’t give a shit how pure it is. It’s a sick culture right? And there are a lot of examples of that. And we seem to be in some pockets of this country there is this this you gain status by finding the racist by finding the bad guy. According to your orthodoxy according to your puritanical, your pure typical idea of what a human being should be
Eric Weinstein 42:48
it’s an scavenger hunt that’s gone out of control like Pokemon for bigots and they’re in an unsafe it’s
Bryan Callen 42:53
new though it’s a form of the Inquisition. It’s not new. This is this again, human beings love pure They love the idea. You get these people who’ve loved the idea of trying to purify and create their own utopia, which a lot of historians have written about the most dangerous thing a human being is really a growth of the most dangerous thing a movement can endeavor to do is to purify or create a utopia, because what you’ll do, and if you have any questions, see Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s, Cambodia, Stalin’s Russia, me selling would have people killed because they had the wrong idea of what communism and then you take whole groups because they’ve already been corrupted their brains, you can’t really be educated, they’re too old. So they’re all wearing glasses, anybody’s wearing glasses and intellectual, they read a lot. They have a lot of this poisonous capitalist stuff in their head. Let’s just bring them up to the killing fields and let’s get rid of them. That’s what happens throughout history. That’s what happens when you have ideologues running things. Because they’re not smart. They’re fanatics. They don’t open themselves up to other points of view.
Eric Weinstein 43:56
I don’t know why nobody ever talks about it. It’s exactly what you’re saying. This is issue that purity is weirdly the most dangerous concept we have when people try to purify, terrible things happen and we have a ritual on Friday nights, we have a weekly Shabbat dinner. And in our family, we take the Shabbat cup of wine, and we put two drops in it. There’s always this question, why do you put two drops of water in the wind beforehand? My interpretation is that it is us learning to live with impurity that these two drops of water can bother your mind. Well, now the wine isn’t pure, it’s been watered down. It’s adultery. It makes no effing difference to the wine. And it’s teaching my the way I view it is it’s teaching my children to avoid becoming fanatics about purity. When I think about the off ramp. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this in Saudi Arabia on the road to Mecca. There’s this wonderful off ramp that says Muslims only Mecca This way, all others. This is your bread. Yeah. And I think about that, I think wow, I wonder how much of the, the division in Islam between the things that go towards this jihadist craziness and the things that make for this wonderfully rich, welcoming culture, some in some ways they’re inextricable, but I wonder how much of it has to do with which portions of the culture have learned to live with impurity?
Bryan Callen 45:27
Well, I look at our culture, Thomas Jefferson own 600 human beings when he wrote all men are created equal, that We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights among which are life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. He owns 600 human beings when he wrote that, I mean, we we are a peculiar institution. I mean, slavery. We’ve been a country with slavery longer than we’ve been a country without slavery, but you’d be hard pressed to find a freer, longer standing democracy throughout history. We are a modern country precisely because we continue to wrestle With that inconsistency.
Eric Weinstein 46:02
So this is something I’d love to dig in to. One of the weird things about hearing the patriarchy the patriarchy picture is the one place that was an actual patriarchy was the founding of our country. And what’s hysterically funny and just sort of beautiful about it, is that these guys wrote, with enough generality, that they didn’t make the mistake of saying all men other than Africans are created equal, or all men are created equal and not you women, they spoke with a level of generality. We’re about
Bryan Callen 46:36
general life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Think about that, right? You have the right to life. You have the right to liberty, and you have the right to pursue happiness, not happiness, but to pursue meaning struggle if pursuing happiness is is I don’t know living in water in a pond, whatever it is, then that’s, you have that right. Right. And that is, that’s our real religion. That’s that’s what we come to defend. You know what that is? Right? You bet. But
Eric Weinstein 47:02
the theory in some sense was so much more advanced than the instantiation. At the founding of the country, one of the things that I find hysterically funny and also hopeful is that we have the opportunity in this country, and we don’t do it much to teach both every lousy, stupid, hypocritical thing we’ve done as a nation, many of them violent, many of them deadly. And to teach patriotism on top of that, because if you think about this, in terms of all countries have histories, which contain things that they’d rather sweep under a rug. And somehow, patriotism has been sort of try people on the right really try to take it over. And as a family, somebody comes from a very progressive family, which suffered because of let’s say, the McCarthy era. I love This country and I know every lousy thing it’s, it’s ever done. Yeah. Do we have an opportunity to sort of reboot? patriotism at a more mature level where the love of one country is an adult love rather than a childlike love?
Bryan Callen 48:15
I think that most people, I happen to believe that most people are patriotic for the right reasons. I think America is an idea. I mean, the founding fathers solve the political problem. The Greeks couldn’t do it. And no one else could do it. The Ottomans couldn’t do it. The Romans sure as hell couldn’t do it. This was this is I mean, these are a bunch of men in the 30s with the exception of Benjamin Franklin, got together what was a hot July in Philadelphia, right and came up with this thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, think about it for a second. It’s, it’s it’s astonishing checks and balances. You’ve got a you’ve got a Supreme Court and I mean, and it was what was the legend goes, You know what When Ben Franklin came out, and she’s the woman said, What have you created? He said, a republic, man, if you can keep it, yeah, it’s great. But this is this is an experiment. This is a verb. It has to be constantly defended, George Washington said, careful are human beings will invent ways to take their own freedom away from themselves in the name of virtue and everything else. So I think that for the most part, what I appreciate about patriotism in this country, and, you know, is is the that at least people truly believe that we that democracy having a say, right, and who governs you? And and, and the big question and political philosophy who governs the governor? Well, in our case, it’s the people now I know we can get into, you know, lobbying and how we’re losing that ability and special interest of course, but for the most part, that is always What’s fiercely debated? You know, we are worried always that Washington is becoming an economy of influence that that that we are losing our meritocracy but but it’s still the fact that the look at how vicious the press is to Donald Trump and amen to that whether you like them or not you never want to lose the ability to this constant nasty battle.
Eric Weinstein 50:25
Oh, I want to take issue with this actually is the first place where I might have a disk okay?
Bryan Callen 50:28
But this nasty battle this nasty battle between that’s fake news. You’re full of shit. He’s a scumbag. He’s a sex out of all these things. He’s a rapist. I don’t think actually it’s ever been any different in in American politics. American politics has always been what would they they used to compare pair Abe Lincoln to an ape, and all kinds of things and they tried to start all the sexual rumors about different candidates. This has always been a dirty place, but I think that’s probably what you get in a vibrant democracy. The big difference, the big difference between our democracy and someone else’s. Let’s just take Iran. Yeah is if the hardliners lose, they die. They don’t live to fight another day.
Eric Weinstein 51:14
When we lose a peaceful transition, it’s a peaceful
Bryan Callen 51:17
transition. So it’s incredible. And the big the big thing was, I think, between Jefferson and john adams, I think john adams wanted a standing army. And Jefferson was against that. And, and but it was they look, they were very worried that they called him these wild eyed jeffersonians. I mean, they were very worried that Jefferson was going back to this agrarian utopia. And, I mean, he was a kind of a, there was a lot of talk about we got to get rid of these. This is this could be a civil war. I mean, anytime you have a revolutionary war, anytime you have a country that wins their independence, almost always they break into a civil war that somebody’s got to fight for power. This is the this is the only country I can think of. Yeah, that didn’t have have that happen? And so
Eric Weinstein 52:03
I don’t know where how we got along on this. But but but if you mean so like Indian Pakistan during partition after a very high
Bryan Callen 52:09
yeah horrible a horrible Civil War, right. And in fact that created the formation of Pakistan. Right. But so so there’s something very special about, about our patriotism about our democracy as messy and as nasty and as quote unquote partisan as this. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way. Maybe maybe government is supposed to move at a snail’s pace. When you have some I think we’re in a very dysfunctional period where the amount of nonsense you know, I refer to Kay fabrication from the word kayfabe, which is the system of lies that professional wrestling uses to tell its stories. Right, so you’ve never heard that but I like it. Yeah.
Eric Weinstein 52:51
Bryan Callen 52:52
I do I do have to say before you go into your thing, I love when you come up with these things, because when you left the dinner Maalik A professional boxer from you know, Louisiana and Vegas and my buddy Herman who played D one ball and he’s from Philly and both of them both of them were like nah fuck with Eric I fuck with that dude he’s so fucking smart he was saying said I want it out we when we have enough dinner with that dude, like everybody wanted more Weinstein. So when your wife By the way, she’s a superstar, she’s she’s great,
she’s, she’s fantastic, but keep going. We got to get her on the show the
Eric Weinstein 53:25
when it comes to decay to K fabricate k fabrication. I think that we’re in a period of nonsense where we’re talking about all sorts of things. And the best that can be said of us is that we are inefficient in unraveling ourselves. What I worry about is that we actually need something like an enemy in order to remind ourselves of how to get along despite our differences. And I don’t know whether part of the problem is that this unprecedented level of peace even with foreigners entanglements since World War Two is in fact, deranging us is that possible?
Bryan Callen 54:07
i? i do? I’ve heard that theory. Right. I’ve heard I’ve heard that sort of without war I think it was the British General cameras name said without war. You know, the population becomes very materialistic and petty until you have a common enemy that’s what unifies the country and gets people back down to what’s actually important. Values duty honor things like this. I don’t know I think time I think Time will tell. I think there’s a there are a lot of challenges. There’s enough You know, you were talking about combat athletes and you know, you’re the all these guys, you’ve I think you said something so funny. I feel like I was on the Serengeti, with a bunch of thoughtful cheetahs over a kill. Who’s the fucking greatest metaphor I’ve ever heard? It was so great. But what you forget is that all of us think of you as the alpha male. No, because but it’s true because you come in there and you’re not physical. But you’re funny is everybody here, you’re just cracking everybody up. But then at the same time, everybody knows, everybody knows you got the biggest spray in the room. So we start asking you your I asked you about string theory, it was so fucking hilarious because you start talking. And all of a sudden, I don’t know what he’s, what’s he talking about? Well, you know, while the loops if you look at the loops in the cones of the sphere, we have a president I’m like, What the fuck? Hey, bro, in English, stop with the Greek you’re speaking already? Well, there was
Eric Weinstein 55:30
there was a fair amount of wine.
Bryan Callen 55:31
There was a fair amount. There was me. But the point is, is that you had your own alpha status there. So there was a there was a very, you know,
Unknown Speaker 55:39
what do you want to get into? So what I’m, I’m sorry,
Bryan Callen 55:42
to tie that back in.
It’s hard. It’s It’s hard enough. I don’t know that we necessarily need an existential threat, trying to make it in this economy and trying to put food on the table and gain some leisure time is still as hard as it ever has been. So maybe that’s, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know the answer.
Eric Weinstein 56:03
I don’t know the answer either. But I do think that one of the things we need to get back towards and just riffing again from the ways in which I was observing your crowd deal with stuff is twice I’ve been in a social gathering with you where there’s been one female and a bunch of these guys. And I’ve watched how careful all the men are to elevate not only the female but whoever is there with the lone female in the group and the idea being that when it when it when it was my wife, the idea was people were were holding me up and being a little kinder and a little nicer because you want to make that person look good in the eyes of the woman at the table and
Bryan Callen 56:52
they’re really astute observation. I agree with you. That’s exactly what was happened well,
Eric Weinstein 56:56
because because in my mind We’ve gotten we’ve broken something a little bit in terms of male female relations and we are going to be in a process of either rediscovering what was lost or re re instantiating whatever the abstraction was that was chivalry Do you have any thoughts on on where that goes like for instance,
Bryan Callen 57:21
look my experience
with the men I know that I’m friends with and the hardest toughest guys that I know and stuff like that. They’re all gentlemen. You know, if if you have a guy who’s not being a gentleman who’s rude, yeah, to the woman at the table, or who is making her feel embarrassed, or that that guy’s not in our fucking group when you’re first gonna correct
Eric Weinstein 57:51
like, Oh, you man you corrective sick. Oh, and all of my friends. Well, I don’t know a friend. I don’t have a friend who wouldn’t be like whoa, what I think is that Super important and attractive about chivalry is the idea of protector. Well, if protector and that, that there is a functionally important role, I’m going to try to figure how to get at this thought to the violence that is, you know, if there’s a knock on the door, for example, at three in the morning, my model is is that mom goes to the nursery and dead goes to the front door to handle it right, sir. And there is an expendability of us males that we accept as part of this bargain, that women that children and
Bryan Callen 58:33
it’s in our DNA, it’s in our DNA, right. You’re the first line of defense, you’re the first and last line of defense. That’s 100% the case and I I don’t apologize for that. And I don’t have a friend that’s not that way. That’s, that’s, we want to be the enemy. We spend them and that’s attractive, and that’s Noble. That’s beautiful. And that’s men at their best, by the way. Yeah. That’s what people don’t realize when you talk about I always say this man I you know when we talk about gun control right I don’t like guns student I don’t like them and I don’t want spree shooters out there and I think I listen hard to people who are pro gun control because I want to find a solution to this insanity okay? But people have to understand that men like myself who own guns and have them in the house right? I don’t own guns because they’re shiny and they go POW right I own guns because they make me feel like at least if the shit hits the fan worst case scenario every course I can protect the people I love Yeah, that is so deep in me man. And and that’s what it’s about. So give me a little credit. I may be a caveman Yeah, but um I’m trying to be the best caveman I can be man you know it’s also like the other thing is like, you can be a dirtbag, but don’t be a dirtbag. You can be a dirtbag, you got a lot of girls, you know, I’m around. But if you are if you are hurting people’s feelings, right? humiliating people. I tell you, man, I had a good friend. And he had he got gonorrhea. Yeah. And I call I said to him, he goes, Hey, do you have a doctor? Do I need these pills? I go, Okay, good. I got make sure you got to tell the girls. Because the girls you were with you name it with like five girls. They can get it and they can go Baron, right? And he said, I’m not doing that. And when he said that, right, I call it the click. I call it the click I go, you can have sex. All right, but now now you’re risking someone’s ability to have children dude, right? And and it’s embarrassing. You got to make the call. And when I realized it wasn’t gonna make the call. I never I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t I never. That was it. That’s it, you’re out. So that’s that, to me is chivalry. Well, so you don’t have to be perfect, but just take care of your weight, bro.
Eric Weinstein 1:00:53
Right. So one way of looking at that is that let’s imagine that there are A group of men and a group of women who both sort of sign up for this kind of an agreement, like in the story that I was saying about the knock on the door, I perfectly believe that mommy should go to the nursery with a shotgun if she’s worried that somebody’s going to come barging in, you know, it’s not a question of women should be defenseless. It’s a question of the first line of defense and who’s expendable. And this is just part of the deal. And I understand if some people don’t like that, they don’t believe in it. But those of us who do believe in that model should be able to locate each other as a culture and say, Hey, this is the compact that that we’re interested in perpetuating.
Bryan Callen 1:01:40
By the way, you know, I talk I’m sorry to bring up my special again, but in complicated apes, this last thing I talked about how I’m always amazed that the women’s movement hasn’t spoken more about the women of the UFC. I do this whole bit about the idea that I did not expect women are moving into this space. And they’re doing it very effectively. If you had told me eight years ago that I’d watch women throw hands and feet and elbows and grapple with the same skill and ferocity as men, I would have I would have told you you’re crazy. I would have said they’re not biologically capable,
Eric Weinstein 1:02:16
or that interested
Bryan Callen 1:02:17
or that interested and then you watch Rose namajunas you want to inject Valentina Shevchenko? Amanda Nunez Holly Holmes, I can keep going down the list. Misha Tate’s no longer working Ronda Rousey Ronda Rousey you know, she might have gotten knocked knocked out by home she will go down in history as the a fairly significant woman who was beautiful, and also fierce. She kind of redefined what she said, was the greatest thing I ever heard because my body’s not designed to fuck millionaires. It’s designed to beat the shit out of people. And it was like, hey, my sister. She’s one of the first people I’ve ever been starstruck in front of. I was just, you know, she was choosing my audience one time and I I didn’t I didn’t perform while I was I’ve never done that I was nervous. I was like so I was so fanboy out. But these these women are, are proving to, as far as women that are changing hearts and minds, the ones that need to be changed like a bunch of bros like myself, etc. Yeah guys out there who thought that this arena belonged only to men there. They have changed our minds. And let’s talk about LGBTQ whatever. Let’s talk about Amanda Nunez whose girlfriend is in her corner. kisses her girlfriend her girlfriend’s hot and she’s a fighter to you got a couple of lovers kicking ass and changing the world. I mean, this is this is why are we not talking about violence against women, when it’s done by another woman in a cage goes a long way in changing the heart and mind of a chauvinist like myself that we should be talking about. nobody’s talking about that because of course, they don’t watch the UFC
Eric Weinstein 1:03:52
well, but it’s also you know, just there’s a confusing aspect, which I think is good confusion. How many of these gals When you see them doing you know their What do I call the pre fight thing? The way I understand it well is okay the staredown that the way and the other thing
Bryan Callen 1:04:10
Yeah, so you wait and then you do the stairs then you do the staredown
Eric Weinstein 1:04:14
How many times have I looked at these gals in the staredown? So those are two really super attractive super feminine women
Bryan Callen 1:04:20
are attractive and super, super feminine. And yes,
Eric Weinstein 1:04:22
and both of them could rip my head. Oh
Bryan Callen 1:04:24
my god Valentina. Shevchenko is so hot to me. miesha Tate so hot to me, right, right. They’re all so hot, and that the majority of them are physically beautiful. They’re so attractive to me, right? I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s like you’re just like, are you kidding you, you have this skill set. And you look like that I’ve seen that I’ve seen you know, cats in Ghana. I know some of them. I’ve actually gotten to move around a little bit and train with some of them and, and it’s just like, they’re, they’re beautiful.
Eric Weinstein 1:04:49
But also it you know, it cause men to hire purposes if one of the great things that could come out of this is that if men want to retain some sense have, you know being the protector that they’re gonna have to up their game? And, and that people are gonna have to, you know, raise better boys?
Bryan Callen 1:05:08
Well, that’s going to be inevitable I think you have, I will say I have this sort of visceral reaction to the feminist movement because I’m a guy and it’s not my generation and I it makes me feel insecure and stuff. But there is something really cool about women stepping into these spaces and maybe men can take a breather. Sometimes it’s like I do this thing where I you know, I could never burst into tears. I’m not really allowed to do that. You know, Esther Perel, it’ll know that name.
Eric Weinstein 1:05:41
She’s a sort of a next level. Relationship ex I know, astral girl. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I was hanging with her and she was trying out an idea which I thought was was pretty good when she said, I was trying to, she said, I was trying to figure out masculinity. What I realized is that masculinity is both in incredibly powerful and incredibly fragile. And that
Bryan Callen 1:06:06
comes with a lot of fear. Men are very terrified, terrified they’ll be revealed to be a coward. We’re terrified of every aspect. I mean, we don’t sit and sad we’re not allowed to sit and sad right? So women I think have more license or they’re allowed culturally sit in sad to cry to feel and to eat ice cream or whatever it might be men are we can be sad for a couple minutes then we have to convert that sad to action rate right or targeted toward the person or thing making us sad and attack and kill it. And I I think I feel that very, very deeply and directly I think that’s been that has been the one I’ve had to deal with my whole life. I hate to say it, but that’s that’s been handed down to me.
Eric Weinstein 1:06:50
Do you accept
Bryan Callen 1:06:52
as I get older, I’m trying to wrestle with having a relationship with that side of me. You know,
the My father was a Marine, my father.
You know, he told me a story recently about when you say, you know, visiting War Memorial, he went to ujima. And I think only if you’re a Marine, you’re allowed to and you can go there’s one day here, I think when when people are allowed to walk the island, and he was there, and or family of a marine or something, and he was there and an old woman, she was about 90, she was walking on the beach, and she was having trouble because the sand is very deep, and it’s volcanic and, and he said, Can I help you? What brings you to the island, she said, My husband was here, and he was 19. He was killed. And she said, she said, I always wanted to walk where he died. I always wanted to walk and I’m walking this whole procedure, so that I can feel like I stepped where he was. I don’t know where it was, but at least I’m there. See how you get emotional. When my father told me a story I got I started to get emotional. Yeah. But I couldn’t do it in front of him. I couldn’t. I couldn’t cry, but they’re just telling you that story makes me want to cry. Yeah, because it’s just it was so it was such a beautiful thing my father walked all the way across the aisle, or, you know, wherever that was, man. And there are some things worth crying about, like, and this is one, this is one of them, you know, some things are just too much to bear. And some things are too beautiful. And some things are too. They just, they just remind you of how awesome and awe inspiring humanity can be. And what happens in the face of terrible tragedy, that sort of bonding, the beautiful stories, the beautiful stories of of that’s why I studied Nazi Germany. It was my early focus. And yeah, and so when you when you when you hear about the girl whose sister It was her birthday, and she found a blueberry in the fields that are having to work and she wrapped it in a goddamn leaf. gave it to her sister for her birthday. Those little things, man, those little things are what we stay alive for. And those stories about those little things are probably why a lot of us are artists, you know, trying to figure out a way to get people to laugh and cry. That’s that’s the whole deal that is our respite from from this constant. This Treasury, this tragedy, this uncertainty, this fear, it’s what it’s what Schopenhauer and especially Nietzsche talked about is that yes, there’s the will. We’ve got to sleep eat Fuck, right. And then we die. But there are there isn’t. There is a way out there. There are portals if I may. But those are artistic inspiration, and conversations like this. And great meals with friends. Yeah, have salons and that’s what we stay alive for and you can turn your life into a circus. Now you may die young and leave a good looking corpse right
Eric Weinstein 1:09:54
but I’d rather that I’d rather live dangerous and not have enough transcendence on existence. Fuck yeah,
Bryan Callen 1:09:59
yeah. And you can Do that you can’t do that. Living in this purified echo chamber in a world where you’re terrified to insult, offend everybody under the sun, you won’t have the kind of sex you want. You sure as hell won’t have the kind of laughs that you need and that you deserve. You’ll live in a sexless, barren place where you’re constantly trying to be right and not offend anybody. You won’t even be able to raise your fucking voice. And I think that’s bad for us. Well, I think it’s bad for our culture. You know, somebody put that to music place. They will assess me I know the employee didn’t start playing
Eric Weinstein 1:10:39
Bryan Callen 1:10:40
Something’s right here. I know.
Eric Weinstein 1:10:44
You know, I was going to potentially open this series with my cousin who her name was Eva Kor and I spoke to her right before we launched, I guess the the portal and she said Look, I’m going on my eighth annual pilgrimage. And when I get back, I’d love to, and she’s from Indiana. I never met her. I’ve spoken to her a bunch on the phone, and she was a Mengele twin and her sister,
Unknown Speaker 1:11:16
Eric Weinstein 1:11:18
was in the camp with her. And she was telling me on this phone call right before I left she, she was saying that she looked forward to an annual pilgrimage to Auschwitz where she was and that Miriam, her sister had stopped thriving in the medical experiments. And the only way to save her was to steal food to the point about the blueberry Yeah, the sister, so she stole potatoes. And she was telling the story about stealing potatoes, and that the penalty for stealing potatoes was death. Yeah. And so she stole these potatoes and got caught. So she was clearly going to die, and then she was scolded. look like now. She was just a little kid. And she said, huh, being part of the medical experiment means I’m protected by Dr. Mengele. And so nobody can touch me. So she continued to steal potatoes in order to save her sister. And she’s telling me this crazy story. And I think I’m gonna do an episode because she went to the extraordinary length of forgiving Mengele. And this caused a huge human cry. Her name is Eva Kor, and I was dying to start the podcast and then I get this phone call from her son. And I find out that she’s died in Poland on this last trip. So I don’t get to bring the story the way I wanted to. Man was this chick tough. But, you know, the whole idea and when when I tell the story, I think I’ll do a separate episode of the important forgiveness and as almost like a weapon and as a structural, transformative, ritualistic option, if you’ve been victimized, this woman gave nothing up in terms of toughness, and then went to these extraordinary counterintuitive lengths. One of our last posts I think, is her eating, maybe a McDonald’s meal in Auschwitz and sort of laughing about how amazing that there’s a McDonald’s near where we had automated human rituals to kill Anne Frank, you know, and Frank.
Bryan Callen 1:13:36
I think she wrote, I still believe in my heart, human beings, we’re all good at the core. Right, you know, and our father said she shames me with her positive, you know, Outlook, but I think that’s the that’s probably one of the reasons Christianity seems to endure. The idea that Christ preached forgiveness. That’s a powerful thing. What you’re really saying I mean, I know as an actor, for example, You know, I had an acting teacher as an actor if you’re playing Minecraft, right? If you’re playing Pol Pot Stalin or Hitler, right, you can’t play him like a monster, you know, you play him, you play him as a man trying to solve a problem for humanity sake, that’s way more interesting. And that very well may be what was going on in their twisted hearts. Even the Nazis had, I had a sense that they were doing God’s work that they were being somewhat more getting rid of this problem called the Jews, etc. And this is why ideas and if you just rely on logic and rationality, you better be careful, man, because human beings come up with very, very logical and rational reasons to get rid of those people over there. It’s one of the things I love about the thing that religion has to offer, which is that all life is sacred. The Buddhists talk about sentient meat chanson sentient beings, the Christians talk about you know whether or not you’re in a coma, even if your unborn Listen, you know, these these things, they’re and they’re unwavering about those things. Sometimes that is the Vanguard. Sometimes that is the reason. You have to be stalwart in those kinds of ideas. They’re not convenient. A lot of times, I’m a pro choice guy, but I understand the value of these kinds of things because they do protect you against, you know, the rationalists that come in the scientists, the engineers who come in and start trying to run the world. Well, don’t trust your own brain. I think it was Paul Paul, who said, Don’t trust your own heart. Yeah, I’m not a Christian, by the way. Just Yeah. But no, I’m not I’ve not I haven’t been to church. I don’t go to church. I’ve been to church twice in my life. I but I, I respect and understand what these fixed truths have to offer. It’s my only contention with Sam Harris, who I really like and admire, but I’m going to give Sam just a quick lesson if I ever meet him on how not to how not to start conversation. Sam, don’t say let’s we need a war on Islam. Don’t say that right? You can’t do that because you lose everybody. We got it. We got to be a little bit more we got to he’s so he’s so painfully honest
Eric Weinstein 1:16:06
we you know, I went on his show about this point.
Bryan Callen 1:16:09
No, no I didn’t. Okay, so I did it. But But I’m a fan.
Eric Weinstein 1:16:11
So you know, I’m a fan of Sam’s too. I mean, we’re great friends. I tried to indicate to him that there was something counterproductive, not about his line of thinking but about his chosen motive of expression.
Bryan Callen 1:16:26
He gets emotional.
Eric Weinstein 1:16:28
Obviously, Sam gets emotional. I think that’s what it well, but any sublimates Right, yeah. So you know, you almost never see him. I know
Bryan Callen 1:16:34
video mind his way through.
Eric Weinstein 1:16:36
I took a video of him playing centipede on an old arcade machine. And people loved it because there’s Oh my God, he’s human.
Bryan Callen 1:16:45
He’s very, he’s very Zen. He’s
Eric Weinstein 1:16:47
very human. Yes. The issue that I had was that I didn’t think that Sam understood what he was projecting and that I said, you know, you need to say some things about the positive aspects of This culture Well, it was like you open up this box. He’s like, I love the call to prayer. I said what? It’s like I love the poetry of Rumi and so he starts extolling some of the some of the advantages so
Bryan Callen 1:17:11
he’s an incredibly religious guy for an atheist. I mean, I do as AP waking up. Yeah, I love this book, spiritual out without religion, right. I love his podcast and i and i think that he’s genuinely sincere about trying to get an honest conversation going I fall in line with so much of his thinking, but I do think that he, I do think he could he could. He, I think he does. I think he gets emotional. Yeah, I think then he goes on the offensive and that’s
Eric Weinstein 1:17:39
he’s very upset about people. Not understanding his central message, and I think it few few people understand what it is. He is not claiming that is that Islam is a terrible thing, that it has nothing to offer. He’s not claiming that religion is bereft of good ideas or Important ritual. What he’s weirdly saying doesn’t get picked up is I Sam Harris believe that there is nothing that can be done irrationally, through a crazy belief system that couldn’t be done better at scale. Using reason, but that’s great. Well, I agree. I disagree.
Bryan Callen 1:18:19
I think you’ve all Harare would disagree. You need myth. You need story. And and and so so so the value there in let’s just take Christ as an example, Bible, or any story or even Plato’s forms were about the idea that you may not be able to touch perfection but my god, you can imagine it if perfection may very well not exist, but you can not only imagine it but you should reach for it, you’re going to miss but the reach is what matters. So So doing the right thing a lot of times might be very much against not in your own interests. I mean, think of the play the crucible. I mean, he’s going To Die For Christ’s sake but he’s not going to give up his you know, he’s more than his appetites rise more in the man for all seasons. These are the stories that we think about the Mohandas k Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Jesus Christ. They these people endure and they we speak of them and sort of with heads bowed, because they put their own interests they It was not there was nothing rational about what they did, and a lot of ways. I mean, you could say that it was Well, I mean, they they knew that they were putting themselves there
Eric Weinstein 1:19:28
semantically, they were definitely putting themselves in
Bryan Callen 1:19:31
Madrid, they exterminate a they erased themselves physically. But there’s something about vivir read Gandhi on violence. Yes, a long time ago. Yeah.
Eric Weinstein 1:19:42
You ever seen this riff that he did where he said, there are three things I want to talk about. I want to talk about pacifism. I want to talk about violence, and I want to talk about non violence. And he says, I believe that my philosophy of non violence is superior to the other two, but given a choice between violence and passive I would always choose violence. I don’t remember that. I know Pharaoh was his a huge influence on him. But so Gandhi, the Gandhi that we think of is this simple, kindly, saintly figure is not actual Gandhi. And Gandhi
Bryan Callen 1:20:14
is nangal file and he’s a lawyer in South Africa who
Eric Weinstein 1:20:17
Yeah, well, there’s that. Yeah. But he actually believed he said, Look, don’t mistake non violence for pacifism, non violence requires the most courage because you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way with a pre commitment not to defend yourself. And if you can’t get to that level of badass or choose violence, yeah. And why because the worst thing you can do is to be passive and to let your nation you know, be raped as India was by by the Brits. So this is
Bryan Callen 1:20:52
like, I may have been a strategic because I don’t think that that policy of non violence would have worked against the Nazis. The Germans would have just shot them and They would have just opened up on anybody that worked with the British Empire because the British Empire had elections at Parliament is a question of who does who does the non violence. And
Eric Weinstein 1:21:09
I don’t know if you know about the Rosen’s stress of protest terms, he won’t talk about weird portal effects. I think it was 1943. In Berlin, a bunch of women who were married to Jewish men or partially Jewish men, but were not Jewish themselves, decided that they would show Nazi Germany what’s what and get their husbands back. And they organized a protest. I don’t know why this isn’t famous makes me feel like I’m crazy for bringing it up. They organized a protest in rows and stresses the street and they made such an embarrassing show in front of the Nazis that the Nazis I believe, acquiesced and got these men out of the camps and returned to the women so it was like, Wow, well, this is the thing about the power Have wives and mothers and beautiful young women, you know, who are, you know, new by all just means marriageable.
We are so
when women organize themselves effectively, they can bring mail systems, you know, really to their knees because there’s no good way of saying we’re against motherhood, we’re against love. We’re against anything that is aspirationally kind of pure.
Bryan Callen 1:22:32
Yeah, somebody is trapped. People have drawn correlations between women’s rights and health care, and the advent of healthcare and things, which is
Eric Weinstein 1:22:38
why the market was so confusing to me, because that was a tremendous amount of power to mobilize, but without a very clear follow through and with some very dubious. You know, I think that a lot of us fear that there was some kind of anti semitism that was behind some of the organization of that, but Just in terms of what could you get the Nazis to take note of? I’ve always been fascinated by who protested the Nazis effectively. There was another case, which you might know through through boxing. I think the guy’s name was Johann Stroman, who was a sinti like Roma. And he was incredibly good looking. And he was doing the Muhammad Ali thing years before Muhammad Ali of being very athletic as a boxer. So it was kind of a matinee idol of his time. And Germans were fantastic audiences for boxing, they were very well informed about the sort of science at the sport. And obviously, this guy had to go down because he wasn’t pure and airy and in German, but the crowd the Germans loved him. Yeah. And when he was, I guess, the, you know, the refs gave the fight to the other guy. There was an outcry in Germany. So they changed the rules about how you could fight and it was to make this guy’s fighting style, not work. So as a protest, I mean, it just this is such a great story. he divorced his wife because he thought it was a danger to her. He coded himself in flour to mock the purity of this, you know, racially pure German, right? Yeah. And he got into the ring with the crowd behind him, and he took the effing loss. Right? And he gets sent to a camp. And everybody reveres them. It’s like, you know, the South Africans respected Nelson Mandela. Well, the Nazis fucking respected the sky. And the Germans at least Yeah. Even the Nazis. Yeah. You know, because in some sense, they know that they’re doing the wrong thing.
Bryan Callen 1:24:43
He can kick their ass with it.
Eric Weinstein 1:24:45
Well, you know, it’s what you just said about fragility. Like, here’s this guy who’s a genius with his fists. Who’s this unbelievable figure in his heart, and what is he doing? You know, he’s mocking them and he’s sacrificing his own. Life. So he ends up in the camps. He’s, he’s holding fighting clinics, and I think somebody killed him with a shovel or a pistol or something. So it’s a terrible story. There’s a ring in a park in Germany on a slant. And it’s just the slant is the unfairness of the situation. Right? Wow. And he was reinstated. His title had been taken away, and it’s been reinstated. All these years later, somebody needs to make a major motion picture.
Bryan Callen 1:25:26
You know, what amazes me is how you’re this theoretical mathematician with such a poet’s heart. Well, that’s amazing. Good, but that’s but isn’t.
Eric Weinstein 1:25:33
So now who’s getting emotional? Well, I love it. Yeah, I love it, too. And it’s, you know, it’s about heroism. It’s about violence. It’s about even in a tragedy, celebrating, you know, these are the guys who
Bryan Callen 1:25:45
want to plant
Eric Weinstein 1:25:47
right and like what a subtle, beautiful nod to a great life because he’s not even depicted. That’s, you know, I was gonna I think what I’m going to do with the show, not every not every episode is going to be transformative and trendy. And transcendent. But I think one of the things I want to do is to organize the world and its sites for transcendence, like this monument, this, this broken ring needs to be on the map. People need to know that and they need to go on pilgrimage.
Bryan Callen 1:26:15
Yeah, I’ve heard those stories need to be right. I agree with you, man. And you’re you’re in such a unique place to do this. I think this is going to be a great podcast, I think I think you’re going to love your hips. We’ve got so many, you know, you’re so interested in so many different things. And I think your look, the idea is to get the ideas, the good ideas that are stuck in books, and stuck in people’s brains, who usually don’t have an ability to talk to a lot of people, get them out and into the ears and into the brains of the people out there.
Eric Weinstein 1:26:46
Well, and I also want to make sure that I mean, I don’t want to hide the fact that, you know, I’m stuck. I’m hypocritical I don’t exactly know what we’re supposed to do next either. It’s it’s the spring rugel discovery. It’s right, you’re trying to look for the portals, you don’t know where they all are, some of them are going to be false leads. But transcendent, you know, is what you’re saying before transcendence is available to everyone who’s willing to look for it. It’s not available in every hour of every day.
Bryan Callen 1:27:19
Well, that’s my problems. kancil culture. Because what you’re saying is, you know, we are who we were, we are who we are, and we are who we could be. And all of us are trying to be who we could be right? Or at least most of us, and I’m certainly very different. I don’t know the guy. I don’t know. Brian, count. What did Brian Count 20 year old Bryan Callen. 25 year old Brian, What an asshole. I mean, or at least what I dumped him, or at least what a what a naive, ignorant, arrogant little shithead I mean, I’m just a different person now. Right? Because I’m 52. I mean, it took me a long time to become the human being that I am and that’s pretty flawed person, but at least I’m a little less law. I’ve made more mistakes. I better pattern recognition. I’m a little bit more compassionate, I hope and but you know that we are verbs are verbs men say more. We’re not now this okay? When you cancel me out for something I did or said, My God, you’re suggesting I’m that way all the time. No, I’m not. I might have been having a moment. I might have been confused. I would there
Eric Weinstein 1:28:23
might be agreeing. personality. I’m sorry. If you think about yourself, yes. As a conference of different modules. Like, there are modules of all of us that were self advice.
Bryan Callen 1:28:34
Some some instruments sometimes are playing louder than the other instruments right or that Piccolo is flat.
Eric Weinstein 1:28:40
100%. Right. And the idea is that because of the piccolo player, the entire Symphony is canceled. I mean, I you know, and who’s doing this canceling show me one person who doesn’t have these sets of issues, right?
Bryan Callen 1:28:51
I know. I know. Exactly. And who is behind all these, like it’s just the twittersphere right? I keep hearing it’s not the real world but in my mind Problem is it is the real world. My problem is that you can lose your ability to earn a living when you’re cancelled.
Eric Weinstein 1:29:07
What so this is this in your career. My theory here is that we’ve moved from physical violence to reputational and economic violence source. And so the idea being that the one thing I don’t know that I’ve fully done this theory anywhere, so it’d be great to do it here with you the the institutions have these rules on them. And these rules are causing every institution that gets formed whether it’s a for profit or nonprofit or in different sectors of the economy to take on certain characteristics. The one thing that doesn’t have this this feel to it is the individual the individual cannot be legislated. Now, the individual may be dependent on the ability to access the banking system. I mean, one one show that we have talked about is an erotic actress who has not been able to easily maintain merchant accounts or to gain credit and there’s a question but should we be harassing people who are legally employed in jobs that somebody doesn’t care for? Which scares that that everybody everybody watches when nobody else is watching?
Bryan Callen 1:30:19
You know, porn stars. I mean, you know, if you’re gonna criticize porn stars, please never watch
Eric Weinstein 1:30:23
porn. Well, this is the thing when I when I was doing these shows with Sam Harris, I would talk about how we lie. And I would say who here who here watches Pornhub and like, the audience is silent.
Bryan Callen 1:30:36
Like this bro me right here. I can take my favorite porn stars to I can tell you everything about it. Now I can even go Why go through why I don’t watch it anymore because it doesn’t get me off. I don’t believe the girls. But then I got the girls I do believe Any other questions? Well, this is the thing. This is what I mean. Because you’re in it at my salon. Everybody raised their hand.
Eric Weinstein 1:30:54
Well, this is the thing because you’re an individual but then when it comes to how you’re employed Yes, depends upon Are you on network TV? What you’re doing cable? You know, what is it that we can and can’t say what I believe is because the individual is the thing that is still free of this kind of legislated goodness. In other words, there is goodness that actually occurs and there’s goodness that is only there because we legislated. The people who don’t do not like things that are outside of their control are going to reputational attacks, because that’s the only way of shutting down the individual. That’s right. And so that that reputational violence has gotten far more extreme for people who speak out. That’s right. And I think that that’s really part of the story behind you brought up Jordan Peterson before, it’s not so much in my opinion than any one of these people is saying something brilliant, all those brilliant things are said by some of these people. It’s more that people say Is there anyone willing to stand up for Central values like,
Bryan Callen 1:32:02
well for but 60 minutes 60 minutes had him on. And there was the there was the caption I think was 60 minutes. There was this caption and then they did a recap of it, maybe CNN, and under it said, All right, Professor, how fucking dare well where does this come from? Dare you some asshole in the control room? No but brainwashing.
Eric Weinstein 1:32:22
It’s universal. It’s not there is some story here and I don’t claim to have it, which has to do with how institutional media finds a completely fake narrative. And then just through perseveration repeats it so often that people think it’s true.
Bryan Callen 1:32:42
Well, this is why this is why fake news quote unquote, has caught on. I I’m not a Trump defender. Let me tell you, yeah, but when I watch CNN and how slanted they are, right and and and watch these lightweight journalists who just have not done their homework and and they’ve got three minutes or whatever it is their their opinion pieces and stuff. And I could say the same about Fox News, by the way, in a lot of cases, because Tucker Carlson drives me fucking crazy because he doesn’t really listen to any of his guests. He won’t even let that guest talk but but you know, it’s like it’s it’s just not true. You’re not being truthful. Here you are. And people know that people get it people go Hold on, like, when when when ocasio Cortez calls enough Americans racist, right? Well, we all go we very white states, the majority of these demote very white states voted a black president twice. You’re being a little insulting here to all of us. That’s a terrible thing to call a lot of Americans I travel this country more than she does. Yeah, I travel country and I perform for and talk to and I’m around real people, not the elite. I’m around people. work for a living with their hands. And I can promise you and a lot of them are white, I can promise you, I promise you, they, if you called any of them are racist, I’m talking about people in the chat. So they’d look you and go, No, I’m not. No, I’m not, but you can’t
Eric Weinstein 1:34:14
get out of it. Oh, so you deny it that just proves you know that you are?
Bryan Callen 1:34:17
Well, you don’t know. Because you don’t know where you’re right. You know, what are you
Eric Weinstein 1:34:20
as well now, what do I do? Well, what I really dislike about this is that the language is so impoverished, like
Unknown Speaker 1:34:26
the issue of binary good guy, bad guy. Well,
Eric Weinstein 1:34:31
it exactly. I mean, if I’m in a situation where I have a lot of information about a different community, I’m going to form positive and negative impressions of every single possible community but you’re not Bitsy at logs don’t like nuance. Well, so this is no war on nuance. So because nuance, you know, the way the way I keep encountering this, I’ve made a big point of this. They view nuance like these rallies view and olive grove it’s a place for snipers to hide. So we have to, you have to take down the olive trees so that there won’t be any snipers.
Bryan Callen 1:35:08
I have to pee so badly and that kind of force has made me forget about my pee,
Eric Weinstein 1:35:12
which is why we’re taking a break with Brian Kelly taking a break when we return. Bryan Callen on the portal. I’ve always wanted to say this, and we’re back with Brian Cowen. Brian, if we could, I would love to switch into another area that I don’t think we’ve really touched on much, which is your fascination with pretty deep science and the way in which it even works its way into your comedy routines and into your thinking. Yeah, how is it that first of all, I have this impression that I grew up in LA and I used to come to some of the comedy clubs I go to the improv probably more than anything else. And I’d see comedians and they’d suddenly switch into other languages. They’d switch into discussions of science, or really abstract discussions of history for The material and I came to think of comedians very often as being kind of unregulated super minds. Is that something that you think is? I mean,
Bryan Callen 1:36:10
is that I don’t think so. You know where it comes from? And I’ve been I’ve been in the business too long to think that most most comedians aren’t interested in anything. But I mean,
Eric Weinstein 1:36:16
no, Steve Martin Yes. banjo in the Robin Williams, who switched into a million different head spaces in space.
Bryan Callen 1:36:24
I mean, look at the the, I always say that I’m in the business. The one thing I that drives me is original self expression. Okay. That’s what I’m interested in. I’m interested in expressing myself fully and originally. And that responsibility is always pretty daunting. You know, you want to and so whatever it takes, you know, there’s this, you get to a point as a comic where you know how to make people laugh. I can write stuff and that’s a bag of tricks. Then can you be thematic, can you be original? Can you be saying something? And that though, that’s where the real challenge is. You get older you interrupt. An hour of comedy. Well, you know, okay, let’s see what happens now what what are you trying to talk about? I mean, I spent all this time boxing and trying to stay in shape and going beyond my biology and being ready and, you know, and keeping my home safe and whatever it might be, but there are too many flanks to cover. Well, where’s the funny in that, you know, I’m gonna die. I’m getting older and I’m way more vulnerable than I can even imagine. So again, like let’s see if I can be original about that. And let’s see if I can discover something and shock myself and surprise myself with with my next 60 minutes of comedy that gets so unregulated super minds. I don’t think of it that way. I just think about
Eric Weinstein 1:37:49
40 minutes a dysregulated
Unknown Speaker 1:37:50
Oh, dishrag. Okay. Yeah. dysregulated.
Bryan Callen 1:37:53
Yeah, I just
Eric Weinstein 1:37:55
it’s a huge privilege to belong to this very small fraternity. This small group of People that can get up in front of anybody in the world and make them laugh. I that’s never lost on me. Right. So I, I, I feel very lucky that I can do that and that I’m part of this small group of people that that does that over and over again. So you have have shown like, essentially no interest promoting your own stuff. I wonder if I could just ask you to take a couple of younger colleagues and maybe lift them up for our audience who should we be watching who’s coming up who you think is really deep in terms of observation and saying, you know, comedy, Carmichael
Bryan Callen 1:38:35
was doing stand up for a long time and I think he said he wanted to quit, which is a tragedy because he was so unique. And his success is not an accident. He was opening for myself and a guy named Doug Davidoff, one of my favorite comics and favorite people and, and I just immediately was shocked at how smart this kid was no money, I think comes from North Carolina and he was Spike Lee found them and he He did some specials, but they don’t do it justice. He’s just a very special guy. But in terms of sort of the younger up and coming folk, I think Alan makowski is really funny. I think a guy named Chappelle Lacy is really funny. I think. I think Fahim Anwar is really funny. There are some really, these are people at the Comedy Store, go to the Comedy Store, okay. And on a Tuesday night, on a Wednesday night, on a Thursday night, and sit in the original room, and I promise you, you’ll see some people you’ve never heard of, that’ll crack your ribs. And, and those those names come to mind immediately. Just funny. I mean, funny. And then you got the beat like Sebastian and all these other people that are working in or have already arrived. But But yeah, there are a lot of young people who are who are, again, respond To a confusing time, right there responding to this confusion, it’s coming into the comedy world. I mean, you know, so things you say things you can’t say. I mean cheese. All right. Well, you know, I mean, I don’t think there should be any rules.
Unknown Speaker 1:40:15
Well, I think that
Eric Weinstein 1:40:18
the rule that I like is that the more skilled you are, and the more your comedy ultimately uplifts people, the more not only should you be allowed to say, but the more you’re obligated for the rest of us to show us how to find the humor, the absurdity. And I was
Bryan Callen 1:40:35
talking to a humor for Christ’s sake. When you hear stories about people who are in hijack situation hostage situations, even in even in even in prisoners of war. They tell fucking jokes. Right? So
you’ve got man sometimes? Well, you know is
Eric Weinstein 1:40:51
if you ever read this short piece again by PJ O’Rourke, which I think is titled Is it serious? No. And his point is lies are said with incredible earnestness, but it is truth that is uttered with a dismissive giggle. And I just loved that he has really good he talks about this was Thomas Moore, you know, being executed or forget who and he says, You know what his last. His last utterances were jokes about Make sure not to miss your mark because I wouldn’t want to create a mess or something like that. And, you know, I think about that, as I tend to believe people who are kind of smirking and giggling, without being mean about it just as a sign of like, Well, hey, I’m actually plugged into the madness of all of the tensions in the world rather than just ideologically saying, I know which way to go. Yeah. Do you, um, tell me about your fascination with science, which you’re trying to hide and cover?
Bryan Callen 1:41:56
Well. I just think that it’s
The like maybe like mathematics, I mean, there’s a there’s an there’s the first of all, there’s a lot of people who claim that this is scientific and things like that. And but, um, I like science because at the heart of science, it seems that the you start with doubt and you continue with doubt. And, and usually though, I guess I would define science or the scientific method as that which you can measure, and that which you can replicate under the same circumstances. I think I’m right about that. I mean, to an extent at least, there’s, there’s a truth to that, that you can’t deny. Well, you know, if you’re if you’re anti vaccine, please pick up a history book. You are just a piece of literature to see what smallpox diphtheria, measles, mumps and all these other terrible diseases did to people. I mean, if you really are anti antibiotics if you don’t like antibiotics, well, I don’t know if you know what consumption is but it’s tuberculosis and killed a lot of people, including Chopin, and some of the greatest minds so we’ve pushed way beyond our biology and that those scientists like Fleming, etc. Those scientists those physicists we owe them a great debt of gratitude the people that invented things like the Geiger counter and X ray you know, these these and
Eric Weinstein 1:43:26
then experimented on their own family man, it was just thinking, I think it’s Ron Giddens wife’s hand being X ray, there’s a giant ring on it. Yeah.
Bryan Callen 1:43:36
Yeah. You know, and then got,
Eric Weinstein 1:43:38
you know, leukemia or something. Well, you know, Mercury. Yeah. Same. Another one theory, you know, I don’t know if you know, Benjamin juste. So this was like a gentleman farmer. It was at physician and he noticed that the milkmaids never got small posterous That’s right. And so he injected his own family with the pus from cows to give them Cow pox reasoning the cow pox protected you against deadly smallpox. How crazy is it that you’re willing to experiment on your family or this guy did? The the officers are not actually caused by stress by bacteria rivalry or something. Exactly.
Unknown Speaker 1:44:16
You know, this
Eric Weinstein 1:44:18
the badass School of Science where you accurately
Bryan Callen 1:44:22
cured hepatitis C which killed my cousin. Is that right? Yes, we’ve cured hepatitis C, Hep C is at least in northern Europeans. I don’t know if it’s still good, because I know interferon didn’t work at all with African Americans, but it worked with northern Europeans to an extent you know, the different things you different biologies, but I mean, we have I think it’s a nine month regimen where we we cure it, ladies and gentlemen, cure it. So I remember the AIDS epidemic. I watched my neighbors die slowly and without dignity. I watched how horrible that disease was. I was in New York City. I was in the theater scene. I wasn’t I wasn’t I wasn’t acting class. I watched young, beautiful men die horribly. They had kaposi sarcoma, they had lesions all over their faces. They had one thing after another, I had another friend who wouldn’t let us see him in the hospital because he was so I went to college with him and he just, he just looked like he looked, it would give you trauma to look at him. I watched it, I saw them die. And then I saw something called protease inhibitors come along, and these motherfuckers had to rebuy their property, because they all sold it. Now they’re rebuy it and now they all live normal lives. And in fact, the AIDS virus has been compromised so often, because of these different kinds of cocktail drugs that are becoming less and less toxic. It’s had to compromise itself so often, that it is now something you probably can live with,
Eric Weinstein 1:45:47
like diabetes, only the difference is you don’t have to take drugs because it’s become such a weakened virus. That’s what happens. Yay. Yay to Western science. Yay to science. Forget Western science. You Data science doesn’t belong anybody along the west to the east, yay, to, to experimentation, yay to doubt, yay, to reason and compassion, by reason serves compassion. I mean, this is the thing that makes me bananas. If we had started to tell ourselves, I mean, I don’t know if you remember this. One of the lies about AIDS was that it just began in the homosexual community, and that there was no difference between heterosexual and homosexual transmission. And that was a an attempt at a compassionate lie. Yeah. But it was not actually wasn’t true. What but it was also not compassionate. Because the more that you told these sort of superficial lies, the less you could actually get at who was at risk. Why
Bryan Callen 1:46:45
it’ll news organizations and I read a book about it. I think it was called the news about the news. I’m not sure. It was the he worked at CBS or and there was a lot of pressure on news organizations to go out and find heterosexuals with AIDS. Right and They combed the landscape for it and found a couple of women who were straight who had AIDS just to make sure that it wasn’t just a gay disease that Well, it wasn’t what but but but so why so they couldn’t figure out why it was a heterosexual disease in Southeast Asia in Africa, but it wasn’t in North Northern Europe in European populations in the Middle East. Well, why? Why was it also a certain gay men got it. But in fact, the gay men that did get it were the ones taking, you know, the bottoms, if you will, right tops a lot of times survive the epidemic. And I know a number of them who did it through my theater days with couldn’t figure it out. Was it a secondary infection? Was it healthcare in Africa? No. What What happened was the bubonic plague. I think you and I talked about what they have. What if you survived the bubonic plague. And you you have some gene variation that developed where you have a resistance to the actual disease unless it’s pushed into your body with a hypodermic needle or Or somebody dick if you were you know but but otherwise it’s gonna be hard to contract it that’s why the army couldn’t figure out they’ve test everybody for AIDS and it was the the cases were slim to vanishing in at least people that were admittedly heterosexual. Right. And then we started to see that there was something going on here that that it was it did discriminate the disease did discriminate, not because God said it so because there was a genetic there was a genetic genetic mutation thanks to the bubonic plague it anyway, so So why do I like science? I guess it gives me some answers.
Eric Weinstein 1:48:35
Nobody is more than you like science. I mean, you’re pretty. you incorporate science into your comedy. Yeah. And I was curious as to whether those two parts of your brain play harmoniously and
Bryan Callen 1:48:49
insight. I would be so lucky you have. I mean, I’m nowhere I’m not even your area code in terms of your ability to jump between the romantics and I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen
Eric Weinstein 1:49:02
how many topics have you jumped between this? You’re all over the place. I wonder,
Bryan Callen 1:49:06
oh man, you have a deeper I mean your ability to view movies and literature and poetry and music. And so I actually never met anybody like that. I’m very flattered.
Eric Weinstein 1:49:15
You’re a polymath. That’s how I feel about you. The The thing I was trying to figure out though, and something I haven’t cracked, would be, can we use comedy as a means of delivering deeper analytic truths? Is there a natural fit. So for example, if I make something rhyme, the brain remembers it more easily. I upset people by saying things that rhyme are more likely to be true. And what I really mean is that when people work out a very pithy aphorism, or or rhyme to remember something, it meant somebody said this was important enough to construct something that the brain will find Sticky, and a joke. Like almost every joke contains an element of surprise. If you saw it coming it wouldn’t be fun, right?
Unknown Speaker 1:50:07
That’s right. That’s right.
Bryan Callen 1:50:08
Yes have an answer. Of course. comedy is the lubrication. comedies lubricant. Of course. Look, if you want to change someone’s mind, as Jonathan Hyde said,
Unknown Speaker 1:50:17
You got it, you’ve
Bryan Callen 1:50:18
got to make them feel safe. You know, this is this is this is where I’d have Sam Harris and he does a good job for the most part, but I’d have him read the righteous mind again, if he hasn’t. I mean, you know, Jonathan heights damn right about the fact that if you want to change somebody’s mind, strike some common ground first. You can’t tell somebody who’s a religious who because their religion gives them meaning and it gives them a feeling of safety, right? You cannot tell them you cannot tell them that they are like, like Lawrence Krauss and people like that. You know, you can’t say you believe in a fairy tale. It was a book written by peasants 2000 years ago. That makes me really angry when people well, that’s what Lawrence Krauss did on my podcast. I said, Lars you’re you are not building a fucking bridge. Hear, dude. I mean you are you can sit there and be right as a physicist all day long but I mean, okay, cool, dude. I mean, you’re doing zero you’re doing you’re doing a great job of destroying, you’re doing nothing to persuade and destructions way easier than persuasion. It really is. It’s my problem with canceled canceled culture etc. So
Eric Weinstein 1:51:19
so this is interesting. I hadn’t heard this before. Yeah, in some weird way and correct me if I’m wrong. There is something about the rationality movement, the skeptical movement that is interested in cancellation of its own but its canceling religious culture.
Bryan Callen 1:51:37
I think so.
I I get very worried when somebody uses the word rational over and over again, because they they are religious in their own way. They’re praying to the God of rationality. I don’t think that all the answers lie there. Yes. If you want to figure out a way to have fresh fruit and vegetable, vegetables in the wintertime rationality math, science, yes. If you want to push ourselves beyond our biology, With vaccines and antibiotics, of course, but man, listen, listen, listen, don’t take my mythology away from me Do not try to take my romance. I like not knowing I love I like I love not knowing what’s not being able to explain certain things. Look, it’s like this. If I take a piano and smashing it with thousand pieces and, and put it in a big sack, I can say this is a piano. But it’s not a piano. It’s not gonna be you know, when it’s sitting in a corner, it’s a piano only when somebody gets sits down and learn how to touch it, just so it’s exactly like it was I think, was Aldous Huxley, who was Darwin’s Bulldog, you know, and, and they had this good natured debate at this, this college that and Matthew Arnold, the American, you know, poet, slash writer slash philosopher. And there was this great debate where Aldous Huxley said, you know, we man started as protozoa and became this pointy eared long tail hominid. And then we, we became man and I have that proof because it’s called the origin of the species. Yes, absolutely. There’s no question that evolution is true. I believe in evolution. But as Matthew Arnold said, maybe it is true. We started we started as protozoa became monkeys, but there was something about that monkey that inspired it to Greek. There was something about that monkey. Yeah, that created the deep and dark writings of escalus and Sophocles, Shakespeare, the Parthenon, Beethoven, Mozart, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and the list fucking goes on Eric Weinstein, and it goes on and off. There was something about that,
Eric Weinstein 1:53:49
that that that that created beauty for its own sake, you know, it’s that beautiful, that beautiful Schiller line man is it man is truly is never more himself than when at play. And play being defined as that thing which you do for its own sake. Don’t take that shit away from me. I don’t want to explain about Look, it’s worse than this. We are driving mysticism narrative fiction out of science, when the really amazing science, the stuff that is, you know, that is like going to church is increasingly put under pressure from the sort of skeptic, rationality community. skepticism and rationality are super important to both of us. Yeah. But there’s this other impulse, which is the imaginative impulse and when you sic rationality and Skepticism on the imaginative impulse at an early stage, you are killing the thing that built all the rationality to begin with inspiration. Do you know what this is? This is a Klein bottle. And the weird thing about it is is that it only really exists in four dimensions. So this is a model of Klein bottle. Technically, we would say it is immersed In our three because this handle should not be going through this part of the bottle, and so there’s no inside and no outside. It’s like a two Mobius band sewn together. The only reason I learned about the Klein bottle was that I was given my father’s Xerox something in his office when I was growing up for the National Lampoon. It was just, it was a fundraiser for terminal flatulence that looked really official, right, that showed a toilet blown apart. And, you know, people suffered from Terminal flatulence, but it is potentially curable. So at the end of this crazy, like foundation promotion fundraiser, on the back page of this thing was a short story about a client bottle that was used as a contraceptive device. And the idea is that it would take the sperm and send it to the fourth dimension, so no one would get pregnant. But this guy gets stuck in the Klein bottle. Now, this is a completely crazy insane thing, but I never heard of the Klein bottle. Yeah, and I remember reading the story and saying, I’ve got to find out what that is. Is that a real thing? Sure enough, you know, there was an entire topological theory of non orientable manifolds. And the only way that I got to it was from a humor magazine. Right?
Bryan Callen 1:56:16
Yeah, that’s great. Well, what about the idea that you’re a mathematician? So I heard there’s a great course called the great ideas of philosophy. And it’s, it’s from the teaching company. And I just quoted a little bit of David Robinson, Dan Robinson, who is written more about philosophy than anybody in the past 30 years, but and he said something interesting, you talked about how, you know, a theoretical mathematician spends their whole life, you know, they had a dream about some of this possibility, this mathematical possibility. And they spend their whole life coming up with this equation that they solve and it bears no real relevance to the material world. But then they die and Okay, and thanks a lot. And we have this theorem that I guess you came up with it was probably 300 pages long or something like that.
And then about 100 years later, or 20
years later whenever it’s used to put a rover on Mars or something, and it does bear direct relevance to the material world. So, you know, again, it’s what we talked about before, it was like, there are certain mythologies, you can disprove that all men are created equal with biology and math, you can actually disprove it very easily. You can take LeBron James and send us to a whole sent a bunch of tests. But there’s a deeper truth to it that when we collectively and when we collectively embrace this mythology, this myth, right, that we are all created equal.
It provides a better fucking world it provides a better cut
more food on the table, more equality, more diverse, more interesting culture and ultimately a stronger culture because we’re more creative.
So that’s a truth so so even though I
can disprove it mathematically, robot biologically, for whatever reason. see different kinds of trees? It bears? sweeter fruit. So what of that? What is that crazy idea?
Eric Weinstein 1:58:07
Thank you, you Val Harare, by the way for bringing that to my attention. Right. Did you see him? Did you see the first or did you hear the first terrible interaction between Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris? Where’s your dad? Okay, fighting.
Bryan Callen 1:58:19
And that’s what that was. I was like, Sam, you know?
Eric Weinstein 1:58:23
Yeah. You back, Sam you back Jordan in that I thought
Bryan Callen 1:58:26
they both got mired down and I liked them both very Yeah. But I do think that Sam kept putting this flag there and couldn’t move on. Well see, I understood what Jordan was saying, though. So let’s just recapitulate
Eric Weinstein 1:58:37
for the for the folks that. Yeah. So my recollection correct me if this isn’t yours is that Sam was trying to say that truth was very important. And Jordan was trying to say if something doesn’t contribute to human fitness, then in some sense, it wasn’t true.
Bryan Callen 1:58:54
Sam a little bit different. So I think what’s what Jordan was saying was there are truths that Would that that there are say scientific truths that if we followed through with what he said, Yes, we would we would extinguish the world. Right? And that’s not that’s, that’s so that that’s not a truth that that, that so he was trying to marry truth with fitness. Is it fitness or with with with? Well if I guess positivity something
Unknown Speaker 1:59:24
Eric Weinstein 1:59:26
I don’t want to be fair to Jordan because I don’t want to be unfair to either one of them. But what I was looking to get was your actual insight in something that I’ve struggled with on Sam show I said, I can reduce most of what I care about, or perhaps all of it to four different values that compete with each other. And I said it’s truth meaning fitness and grace. So that there are things that are true that rob my life of meaning, and so I have to trade off between there are things that are true, that might be less fit, like you discover some way of blowing the world up. That’s very cheap in any high school. student could do it, that would decrease human fitness. And then there’s things that are true that are not graceful, that are not beautiful that that I wish were not true.
Bryan Callen 2:00:10
And we need to talk about this. Nisha talked about the idea of plural truths. Okay. I mean, when I, when a chemist looks at a painting, when you look at a beautiful painting like the Sistine Chapel or something, it brings you to your knees, right? a chemist could also say, Well, what you see what you think is blue is actually not blue Your eyes are, that’s a trick that your eye is playing. And they’d be truth to that as well, which is
Eric Weinstein 2:00:32
you take the take the David with its famous distortions of form. Michelangelo’s David only works because it is in fact, not truly a human form. It’s a distorted form that is reprocessed to be perfect, right.
Bryan Callen 2:00:45
That’s right. Another another way to look at it. Let’s just take dogs for example. Yeah, it’s true that dogs are scavengers, pack animals and hunters. And it’s also true that they’ve probably evolved to manipulate you with their little Wags and their Data schema and schema are fucking manipulating. Right? Okay, great. It’s also true that dogs are awesome. Yes. Do I kiss them? And I love them. Yeah. out of them. And then when they die, I cry so hard. I can’t okay, but it’s not. That’s true, too. There’s room for all
Eric Weinstein 2:01:16
the well see, but I don’t I don’t like this. I love the idea that there are things that actually I’m willing to sacrifice truth for. So you’re saying it one way, Jordan, same way. Same thing when
Bryan Callen 2:01:28
we, when I’m trying to they could have let go of that. Because they would have got they got mired
Eric Weinstein 2:01:32
down. They did. And then they had that. You know, I remember Sam’s agonizing Should I do a redo? Yeah. What I get out of it. And this is an uncomfortable place to be. But it’s interesting because it’s uncomfortable to your point about what to mine in order to get to comedy. So I’m maybe I’m just trying to get to a podcast is why did you imagine that truth was going to be a great guide to everything else. In other words, why would you imagine that truth wouldn’t be something that you might have to give up a little bit to get a better idea. Come. I don’t believe that the Supreme Court is the nine wisest Druids, just because they wear black robes. But on the other hand, maybe I get a really better outcome. If I learn how to suspend disbelief when I go to the Supreme Court, which I’ve attended once, just the way when I go to a movie, you know, transport me Take me away make me believe that this is in fact true.
Bryan Callen 2:02:20
Yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s true. I mean, that’s, that’s very true. There’s that there. Again, it goes back to these plural truths. It depends on where you’re standing. And the question you’re asking maybe, you know, there are all these sort of different variations on it, but sometimes something can be true. Very true for you right then and there. I mean, it may make no sense but I’m just having a great time.
Unknown Speaker 2:02:40
Yeah. Or fuck I love you.
Bryan Callen 2:02:42
Yeah. And then you get then you then you have time to think about it. Like I was gonna buy that car. I asked that person to marry me, but I really felt it in the moment. Maybe that’s just my biology talking. But you Yeah, I think there are different levels. They’re their truths with a capital T and then they’re smaller. Maybe they’re illusions. But I like the illusion.
Eric Weinstein 2:03:02
Well, I mean, I think that one of the things that you can point to is just the way, the way you talked about why do people get carried away and end up in Vegas marrying each other is that in some sense, maybe our biology knows that we can’t trust our rational mind. And that if we don’t feel swept away, that one of the reasons that these impulses are so hard to explain is, is that biology has designed this drive to reproduce to be almost suicidal, that you’re willing to sacrifice. You know, if you think about it, in terms of biology, you have Soma, which doesn’t reproduce and you have germ lines like it, what’s between your legs, that has a hope of immortality, and you have to make sure that the soma is overwhelmed by the need to perpetuate the germ. And so in fact, we’re born to be self destructive and irrational in our somatic selves, because it is our line that in some sense has to live forever.
Bryan Callen 2:03:57
Yeah, you’re a series of sensations. You know, and you chase some sensations and run away from the others a lot of times I think that that’s where meditation and certainly something that’s been Harris’s I do because of that book that I’ve always been fascinated by I read a lot of when I was a young man, I read everything about Zen and you know, it’s very into martial arts guy and I read a lot about, you know, the Japanese tradition of Zen Zen and the Art of archery and motorcycle main race and all that stuff. And, and I even was one to my periods, like, the Greeks know nothing, and, you know, I’m gonna meditate on it, you know, and all that stuff. But um, but Sam Harris’s book spirituality without religion, I really, really liked because, and I really like his app. I’m not a prank, but I do it every day. And I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. So if you’re out there, you’re welcome. Yeah, he’s, he’s, you know, but you guys haven’t hung out. I’ve never met him.
Eric Weinstein 2:04:53
let’s let’s let’s rectify it. I think you guys would be fast friend. I think he’s, you know, to be honest, I would love to potentially Explore with you some of the issues about how to bring truly high level math, physics biology to a wider audience. I haven’t really figured out exactly.
Bryan Callen 2:05:11
I don’t think you will, Eric, I think that you Well, you know, they say that Einstein was really good. And it’s actually I take that back. Einstein, they say was really good at explaining the theory of relativity and gravity and things to a kindergartener. He could use diagrams. And I think if anybody is qualified to do that, it’s you because you’re you you just are a romantic dude.
No. emotion, but, but But yeah,
Eric Weinstein 2:05:38
yeah, there’s such an emotional core to this stuff, right?
Bryan Callen 2:05:40
I know there is and so and and, you know, when you were talking on Rogan about how you like leaving this world, and you like you’re in a world of ideas, I just, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I have not stopped thinking about what you said. And and so you are eminently qualified to simply find these ideas and turn them into something beautiful.
Eric Weinstein 2:06:02
If that’s true, and I don’t know that it maybe it’s
Bryan Callen 2:06:04
it is a challenge. It’s a
Eric Weinstein 2:06:06
challenge but but if it’s true, it has to do with a very weird thing, I think, which is that symbols were not really available to me as a language because of my learning issues, they sort of they, they play around and they jump here and there and I can’t really read equations just the way I can’t read music. And so for me what happened was I had to find some other route up the mountain because the symbolic route was blocked off to me.
Bryan Callen 2:06:32
You got to make it relevant. So So why I always say to people who are not who haven’t gone down the education road, I say I use these little things young man, I know how to talk to him. I go education is good. You know why? And they said, Why go because it teaches you the difference between a good idea and a bad idea.
I like that. Yeah. And then I say you should study some
math with a foreign math there’s nothing to listen to study some geometry. Why? Why? You know well because it teaches you how to think and they What does that mean? I go teach you how to formulate an argument teaches you how to debate and beat somebody crush somebody. That’s how my father did it to me because it gives you ammo it’ll teach you not to be a fuzzy thinker okay any masculine he created a masculine energy around map Guess who got an A in math this guy and I wasn’t I was always thought I didn’t have a math brain. But as soon as he did that, I was like, I gotta fight the communists. I gotta have a brain. That’s I gotta have a rational mind. And I got to learn how to how to, you know, formulate an argument to beat that guy in the argument. I never I didn’t understand it yet. I didn’t. I hadn’t read Jonathan Hite
Eric Weinstein 2:07:32
yet, but it’s very interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever read Einstein’s. I guess it’s a it’s not a eulogy. It’s his celebration of plunk for his 60th birthday. No. So he just did you seem to have read everything.
Bryan Callen 2:07:47
Okay, Max plunk.
Yeah, at least I know Max, his first name. First Name. So Oh, yes, of course. Planck. It’s pronounced clunk.
Eric Weinstein 2:07:56
So he Einstein said look in the mirror in the mirror. of science, you find three groups of people. He says The first is the craftsman. And the craftsmen are largely there. Because they enjoy the beauty of the construction and the purity of it. He says, then you find the competitors. And they’re there because science makes for a great game with which to beat each other and contest. And he says, there’s a third group, which is the smallest of the three. And he said, that group is the searchers. And they don’t do most of the work. He says the only thing about the searchers is that the mentioned wouldn’t be there if not for them.
And it’s just this it’s like a gimmick. But like these guys is all that matters to
Bryan Callen 2:08:44
me like when I hear that when you just give us that metaphor, but this is a fuck How can you not be a searcher? The problem is that I’ll never be happy because i’m not i’m not enough of a searcher this. It’s like the great jazz musicians you ever everything was Albert Murray who who spoke about the difference in attitude and you hear
Eric Weinstein 2:08:59
this from that was a dog whistle that you just pulled like the fact that you brought up Louis Armstrong. Yeah, Louis Armstrong is captured in our public imagination as a novelty singer as opposed to the greatest genius that jazz ever produced who
Bryan Callen 2:09:12
wing like he invented
Eric Weinstein 2:09:15
real modern jazz almost single handedly
Bryan Callen 2:09:17
he could do again the great the great ones like this, like Charlie Parker and like, they, they would they would they, they knew their notes, there was the song and then they would go off. they would they would improv, probably hear thematically and come back to the theme. they’d find their way back. I mean, that’s the whole point of stand up the whole point of any kind of self expression, living in that danger zone inspiration, doing something you didn’t think you could do. You know, there was that great thing in the karate kid. I remember when he he breaks all the bottles
that he cuts off,
I think, I don’t know It’s first time I’ve ever
Unknown Speaker 2:09:52
Bryan Callen 2:09:54
We all you know, I mean, we all want to live in that danger zone. I mean, you know, but GPS Good Boy Player horn, put it back and go home. Don’t be crazy. You might not find your way back. You know, but it’s this is what this podcast hopefully you know, it’s funny talk I swear so Well, the thing is
Eric Weinstein 2:10:15
I want to make sure that you can escape this this episode so I don’t go on forever but I would love to have you back and the thing that would be most meaningful to me would be to find some way for you For you and me to explore some relatively difficult scientific ideas together, okay? to see whether or not we could make great audio and video out of out of it because the thing that will be most meaningful for me is if some of the really gorgeous stuff and you know we both are talking about the the craft and the emotion and the thing is, is that if this doesn’t end up producing some amount of transcendence and let’s be honest, most of these episodes that I’m going to do are not coming To get to the level of transcendence that I’m looking for. But if we can do something to push out the best stuff that people don’t know, is there, the symphonies that are sitting there and I always make this analogy as sheet music that has never performed. Like that’s how I view academic papers. So many of these things are symphonic. And they there’s no public performance that allows you to say, Oh, that’s what those people were dealing with. Oh, my God, is that really part of our world? Is that really known and settled? It’s amazing.
Bryan Callen 2:11:29
Yeah, I would be very moved because I think you’ve got a mind like, almost nobody I’ve ever met in terms of range conversational ability and the ability to also just emotionally and analytically touch a subject simultaneously without one displacing the other big is coming from Eric Weinstein. That’s a huge compliment. But you know, I don’t know. But yeah, I’d love to, I would enjoy it and especially trying to come up with as you were talking about coming up with a complicated, we’ll end with this. Come here with a complicated mathematical, you know, just discussing, or trying to discover or talk about, you know, a complicated scientific idea I was thinking about when Socrates was trying to prove the existence of the soul. And the notion that we are all mortal and have been here forever. He took the two slave boys and asked them a complicated mathematical question. And one kid he asked a series of questions and couldn’t get the answer. And another kid, they were both 11 or something and asked him the questions and, and got the answer after led him to the answer to a series of questions. And he said, I think it was to me knows the great mathematic mathematician in you know, in Athens, he said, Now, do you see that this boy souls not been here long enough? So he didn’t have the answer in his soul. But this boy had the answer, and I just had to ask it out of him. Therefore, his soul has been around longer like so the point is, we’re going to see if I’m an old solar young so I my guess is I’m gonna be a young
Eric Weinstein 2:12:58
so my guess is it Hearing you are a superposition of all so thank you my friend. What a great time guys you’ve been through the portal with our friend Bryan Callen. Look for his special complicated apes. And if you happen to be in the Los Angeles area or any city Brian is visiting his comedy show is astounding. I think you’ll really enjoy it. Brian, thanks for coming on the show.
The Portal podcast transcription series
- Peter Thiel
- What is The Portal?
- Werner Herzog
- Timur Kuran
- Rabbi David Wolpe
- Jocko Willink
- Bret Easton Ellis
- Andrew Yang
- Bryan Callen
- Julie Lindahl
- Sam Harris
- Vitalik Buterin
- Garry Kasparov
- London Tsai
- Garrett Lisi
- Tyler Cowen
- Anna Khachiyan
- Eric Weinstein – State of the Portal 2020
- Bret Weinstein
- Sir Roger Penrose
- Ashley Mathews (Riley Reid)
- Ben Greenfield
- Agnes Callard
- Kai Lenny
- The Construct: Jeffrey Epstein
Geometric Unity – a First Look
- James O’Keefe
- Daniel Schmachtenberger
- Eric Lewis
- Jamie Metzl
- Ross Douthat
- Ryan Holiday