Adam Zbegner (PART 2) is a father, husband, and intellectual in recovery. We became friends over twenty years ago from our involvement in a recovery community. We have spent many hours chatting, reviewing books, music, and playing Risk (The Game of Global Domination). Today we meet to discuss a book we decided to read and review this winter titled "The Case Against Reality" How Evolution hid the truth from our eyes by Donald D. Hoffman. See Links Below.
BOOK ON AMAZON:
Can we trust our senses to tell us the truth?
Challenging leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. How can it be possible that the world we see is not an objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman grapples with these questions and more over the course of this eye-opening work.
Ever since Homo sapiens walked the earth, natural selection has favored perception that hides the truth and guides us toward useful action, shaping our senses to keep us alive and reproducing. We observe a speeding car and do not walk in front of it; we see mold growing on bread and do not eat it. These impressions, though, are not objective reality. Just like a file icon on a desktop screen is a useful symbol rather than a genuine representation of what a computer file looks like, the objects we see every day are merely icons, allowing us to navigate the world safely and with ease.
The real-world implications for this discovery are huge. From examining why fashion designers create clothes that give the illusion of a more “attractive” body shape to studying how companies use color to elicit specific emotions in consumers, and even dismantling the very notion that spacetime is objective reality, The Case Against Reality dares us to question everything we thought we knew about the world we see.
DONALD D. HOFFMAN :
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Discussions on addiction and recovery. We interview clinicians/researchers, legislators, and individuals that include a variety of means to recovery. Joe Van Wie is a father, husband, filmmaker, and reformed media consultant in recovery.Fellowship House
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jon edwards 0:03
Oh, hi, Jonathan Edwards here, producer, editor, etc. This is part two, you're listening to part two of Joe's interview with Adam, part one is already available. And you definitely do not want to miss that if you haven't listened to it already. We're skipping the intro and going right back to where we left off something about the nature of existence in the universe. And well,
you know, I'll listen along with you, and we'll find out together.
Joe Van Wie 0:35
Are you annoyed? You can't dial in once in a while, just check in, even if it's a couple 100 years later, like what what's what's what's still going on? What's left here?
Adam Zbegner 0:43
Yeah, well, the life happened. As a very specific circumstances came together. And these proteins and the constituents of life were formed. And they combined, somehow, yeah. And they were able to change. Without external, cause, they, these little constituents came together. And change was happening within them. I mean, Iraq, doesn't change without something acting on it, no wind or you push it over, or you smash or whatever. These little constituents could change through an impetus internal to themselves. All of you know, there's all these changes going on in a solid time, but it's sort of automatic.
Joe Van Wie 1:43
Yeah, we just arrived in the middle of the story. Sometimes I feel like a stranger. I thought I had such autonomy the way we're raised, you could everything's up to you, you're going to and now I'm 44. And I realize how little access or agency sometimes I even have over my own brain. The cadence and momentum of the thoughts I wouldn't even want to have that day are out of my grasp. I can't steer them.
Adam Zbegner 2:11
Yeah, you could think of consciousness as a tip of pyramid. The tip you know, came last I needed all this stuff first and in place before the apex on there before you could have consciousness. And it only gives us access to very little about what's going on in us. But
Joe Van Wie 2:30
some do you ever feel consciousness is not a view. Like there's the like i The meditation practice I have it's this idea of non duality that there the selfs this, it's an illusion. But it seems necessary sometimes, but if it's unmeasured unchecked, makes you ill makes life hard. So for, for me like a person with histories or like likes, dislikes, pain, pleasure, a ruminate. And I freeze, I stop, I don't interact with the physical world. Well, I started, my fitness isn't going well. And this is all happening in consciousness. But if I put consciousness under a microscope of what I think I'm calling me, say meditate for 10 minutes, this, I think this is profound, and is the idea of my recovery. I don't have the agency I thought I had if I start watching what's really arising in my head, and I'm not choosing it, what so is this where is the self in this mix of consciousness, thoughts rise up, and where I put my attention kind of seems to be a pattern, or without thought, or or choice, I get on feedback loops. So who's in fucking charge?
Adam Zbegner 3:54
So the self is a very interesting topic. I guess, kind of, we sort of think of the self as like those things about us, which is sort of stay there. Or like, the self is my memories, my dispositions, my likes, dislikes, eye personality, all that stuff. But then you look inside, for the self and a sense of a hard kernel that's always there. That's us. What is most of us, you know, memories can change and disappear. We can forget, new memories come so that's can't be essential to the self because, you know, doesn't the memories don't make us who we are through through our life
Joe Van Wie 4:49
where the Eve would you go far as to say, what is this what I believe talking to yourself the internal voice it's a Do it in English, it's English language in there, that I can't call that self.
Adam Zbegner 5:07
There's, you can reflect on your own thoughts, right? And your feelings. So you have the feeling self to think the perceiving self than the self that looks at that. And you can reflect on it on your memories of perceiving, and of acting and all that. So the self is split in the sense that there's a reflecting and there's a reflective upon self. There's the self, the spontaneous self, which is acting and thinking and perceiving, and then the self that looks at that stuff and thinks about that. And, you know, which is the real self? Well, they're both, obviously, part of the self. But where's the hard kernel? That doesn't change?
Joe Van Wie 5:57
Yeah. And would you call that change? It's not Joe van, wie it's not Adam? How do you describe it? You know, I'm here, you know, teachers, Hindu, Buddhists, the self this this open awareness, right? But is the understanding and texture and depth of awareness? How does that separate from cognition? What if you're not intelligent, or you have brain damage or damage to your frontal lobe? What's the level of you having that awareness? So the self is it's not? I have a hard time understanding this. Because if I can't think or haven't thought, well, even in English are the limitations of that? Does it add value to what? Say a yogi is telling me open? awarenesses? Yes, where do they get pulled apart?
Adam Zbegner 6:52
Can they be the, the two, what they
Joe Van Wie 6:55
sometimes I hear, maybe I'm Miss understanding it. But I've been studying it now three years. Now, I don't know yogi. Like, I'm saying yogi, for the general term of, say, a meditation or a Buddhist idea. I
Adam Zbegner 7:08
know, consciousness, you know, like very little about, I used to meditate actually, a long time, I remember used to meditate a lot. But meditation, the kind I did. The point is to observe all this stuff arising in you, and let it go. Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 7:25
And it's hard to let go of it, just to look at
Adam Zbegner 7:27
it. Because none of that is essential to the self, the self is empty the self is, what is when all that stuff is removed. And like that self, you could think of it as like, an eye or a spotlight, which, you know, all this stuff is in the spotlight, that's rising and falling. But the spotlight is what you are, and that has, that spotlight has no positive qualities. Now, this is great, because I gotta talk about Khan. Again, one of my favorite things in Kant has to do with this, what the self is, when you that beyond the categories and perception and all that he call, it's very big mouthful, that transcendental unity of apperception. And it's the same in everybody. It's, I guess, the spotlight, I guess, would work to, it's that unity and time that makes memory, and goals and everything possible. And that's why we have a self, we only have a self because all these rising and falling all these different perceptions are unified in time. We can access what we just saw, through memory, we can think about what we'll do tomorrow. We remember our childhood. This unity, access to what we've been and what we will be is the self that's all it
Joe Van Wie 9:05
is. And I like to describe that but and that's caught but I think the way I was raised in Western thought especially Judeo Christian as as the self might have existed prior to rising up and the here's the two problems I went to self begin. Is it the same for an eight year old that it is for 16 and a 44 year old? No,
Adam Zbegner 9:28
the transit only unity
Joe Van Wie 9:31
is the possibility of self with. Yeah, well.
Adam Zbegner 9:37
Everything else that we think and perceive and remember, is transitory. The Unity isn't? Okay, unity is always there. I mean, it's interrupted when we go to sleep. Yeah, but we remember going we remember going to bed. The Unity remains we wake up and we remember yesterday.
Joe Van Wie 10:00
Did you I've had periods of disassociation after I spoke to you about that. Yeah, it's an illusion. Yeah, freaks you out? Because you see how little self is there? Yeah, it's contingent on my memories.
Adam Zbegner 10:14
It's, it's, it's nothing substantial about it. So because everybody has it, if they are, if they have this unity, they have a self. And it's no different from ours. In terms of the unity, the unity is the same in the sense that they have a unity, I have a unity working memory, narrative, wait, memories are different. But they have this unity in time. Yeah, it's how they can have memories. This is the thing that remains. And this is this kernel, the hard kernel that is there in the center, that we are, and it's not substantial. It's not a thing. It has now qualities beyond the unity. So
Joe Van Wie 11:00
6000 years prior to Kant, Hinduism had this idea. And they poetically in the goddess Shiva, and he's time and death, the impermanent. And then if I get stuck outside of what we would call the now the Unity or the pinpoint and the experience, you cause yourself, undue suffering, life will have suffering. But if I can't stay in the unity that you can't, or that timeline, I think that's where this is all become profound to me, because I, I didn't spend a lot of time in the unity. If I really examine my own thoughts and how I experienced life, it seems like I'm always or always have almost a neurotic anxiety about me. Or at least internally, I learned how to hide it well, but at times, but when I would get the unity, it would be scary, because it's really hard to hold on self there. I like to be romantic when it comes to self. But I saw that slip away when I woke up from a coma. And I would think of how, I don't know, fragile. The idea of what you're holding self is with the material world what I can't see happening in my head, only having visuals coming my eyes. But there's stuff in there that I know if it gets broke. I'm not going to be me. Oh yeah. Or like the memory of what I think I am now very disturbing. It's really disturbing. It rattled me,
Adam Zbegner 12:37
I work with retired nuns, some of them have dementia. These were highly intelligent, accomplished people. Reduced to I mean, there's nothing left of what they were that they don't have personality anymore. They don't speak, they can't do anything for themselves. Some of them are clearly in distress. Some of them can't speak but it's they're constantly aren't. So the memories and it's all jumbled up. They have no idea what they're supposed to be doing any time. They don't know how to do basic tasks. But they are afraid because everything's confusing. And they're just afraid all the time.
Joe Van Wie 13:22
And do you think the fear and the anxiety is coming from just
Adam Zbegner 13:26
it's because that their brain is literally parts of it are gone that if you look at an Alzheimer's patients brain, there's holes in it? Yeah. So they lost the ability to have that unity in time. They sometimes you know, like they transport back to
Joe Van Wie 13:45
have you ever experienced that yourself? I like a disassociated and
Adam Zbegner 13:49
only through drugs. Yeah. This associative drugs like ketamine and extra Thorfinn when you take enough you're sore that self car, kind of I've done it
Joe Van Wie 14:01
it's I don't know why I wanted to enjoy it like maybe the pain of an escape of of how little distress emotional distress I would have a threshold for I was willing to step into that void. And it would heroic doses of psychedelics, the theologians but I remember time it is becomes incoherent form becomes incoherent there's a terror at first, because whatever sense of self is still grasping, and we will whoa maybe I took too much a bit of fucking grip on something here. It's given me my head. And then I'm just it's incoherent. I'm gone. Like there's no body. There's only colors, fractal kind of shapes, like a puzzle factory kind of unfolds itself. And what's interesting to me is that's not a hallucination in the sense of A manifestation from my psyche, it's kind of perceptions being just so it's, I'm perceiving something what? Whatever Hoffman called the interface is sending some kind of signal that hey, you're looking at its self disappears. That's what people would call ego death but have a view can you point to an experience be a drug induced, or through meditation where you've experienced your ego flailing or being bruised or dying comes back to Bryce is from the, but it's a, it's freakish. It feels like I've experienced
Adam Zbegner 15:43
very extreme psychic pain through benzo withdrawal and alcohol withdrawal. And I guess it's the closest I've been to ego death, because there are no, there's no ability to have a goal, or enjoy anything. You know, whatever it is about you, that makes you you, it doesn't matter to you anymore. Your hobbies, the people you love, you can't care about it. Because the pain is all there is. The pain, the panic, the every moment is painful, and you can't do anything to get out of it. So the ego, the ego of desires, and goals that is gone, replaced by this pain, this intense dread. And meaning, there's no meaning. Things aren't meaningful to you, it can't be. But just to switch gears, I want to go back to what I was saying with the butterflies and get the finish there about WHY CONSCIOUSNESS happened in living things. So those butterflies problem solved. But unconsciously, it was just a physical process of natural selection, which solved the problem
Joe Van Wie 17:21
of them finding each other in the trees
Adam Zbegner 17:23
without without having to think or plan. Yeah. Language consciousness allows us to do that kind of thing. In real time, whoa, whoa, whoa,
Joe Van Wie 17:35
is freaking me out. Okay, we keep going. I just, that's just how powerful languages I think a jar is. The idea is this. What if we didn't have language? Right? If we didn't come up with syntax or anything? Well, we have access to this consciousness. Okay.
Adam Zbegner 17:53
Without language, we couldn't think about these things. I mean, it's what we're thinking we like about language, we can't say because we have, and we've we've had it since we can can't remember. Like, what's it like to be a five month old? But I mean, you can perceive what that language and you can picture without language,
Joe Van Wie 18:14
then related to the butterflies, like you're saying it's conscious, but it's consciousness without language.
Adam Zbegner 18:21
I'm saying they didn't have consciousness on that day. But his problem was solved without it. Without consciousness. Okay, the problem was reproduction, reproduction is difficult when they can't see each other. The solution was a clearing on top of a mountain where they could, yeah, we are conscious. So if we faced a similar problem, we would think about it and come up with solution and then act on it. And we could do that very quickly. Once we have Well, the problem is we can start thinking and come up with a solution and then interact with the environment to fix it. And when we can do that all in an hour or whatever the butterfly is had to it had to take many, many generations. What do
Joe Van Wie 19:09
you call thought then in a butterfly? Like let's not like to take away the biology like, problem is jeopardizing reproduction right God is a solution to a problem. It's a solution to a problem. So without thought like thought and the way we understand say, just even language it's just fun to think about a group of butterflies solve a problem what is soft like it's hard to apply this to the hive without agency without voice like why do they want to win? What are they gonna win? Well,
Adam Zbegner 19:46
what do they wait don't have any they don't have desires. I mean, they are. They are these things which have parts which have functions and store information. There's a check Over the Map, there's a drive in them to reproduce and to, to,
Joe Van Wie 20:04
to keep on living that drive. But it's just strange to me
Adam Zbegner 20:07
like say, you know, what we call instinct, right? The instinct is been formed by natural selection to. And, you know, they're the things that are part of instinct are there because they are conducive to fitness. The what wants this to happen, reproduction in life continuing nothing. The life itself doesn't want anything. It has instincts drives,
Joe Van Wie 20:37
it's automatons. They're just doing things. They're programmed,
Adam Zbegner 20:41
the environment interacts with them. And then they react because of the way their, their genes, the instinct in them.
Joe Van Wie 20:48
How do you defeat an argument, say from a creative intelligence design perspective, say, fundamental Christian that's, you know, intellectual? And they say, well, right there, I'm pointing to design. They're like, what can make that manifest as you take a bunch of unconscious objects, or materials, and we talked about the subatomic now the, you put enough together, they create some sense of complexity, this game just starts happening out of chaos of butterflies and people and we're on a fucking podcast talking about, well, what
Adam Zbegner 21:25
led design argument doesn't work because we know design emergence, without a designer.
Joe Van Wie 21:33
Well, it emerges simply but we were while we, if I was on their side, I'd say yeah, you're You're still saying this from the perspective of time? What if this creator doesn't experience time and skills like us? It's watched 10 minutes of us
Adam Zbegner 21:47
while some you know, some believers, they think evolution does happen. Yeah. Oh, and that God's set it in motion?
Joe Van Wie 21:54
He's the prime mover. Yeah. Or coin? Well, he wasn't until
Adam Zbegner 21:59
I can't say whether that's true or not, no, can no one can? Like I'm not against that idea. I have no desire to answer that question. Because I don't, I can't answer it. I don't think anyone can know Me neither. And if someone asked me, well, you know, let's set it in motion. I just say, I don't know. I'm not going to pause it something. I don't know. I don't know what
Joe Van Wie 22:26
doesn't add attributes to the
Adam Zbegner 22:29
pay more questions after? Why is there this thing setting in motion? Yeah, but um,
Joe Van Wie 22:35
haha. But um, what if it's something that wouldn't be, you know, historically, what we would think divinity? Is some just virtuous or dichotomies, even if it was like sorrow. So there's two competing forces, there's a creator, and he has this adversary trying to metal up his creation.
Adam Zbegner 22:55
Like, like, you can come up with all kinds of neat narratives about it, about why we're here why life we have, yeah. And there's, you know, they are they occupy a place in human culture, a very important place. Obviously, they wouldn't happen if it didn't. Obviously, they answer. So, you know, these deep questions we have, and they give meaning to a lot of people. But they aren't, they aren't primarily answers to questions in the terms of why things are the way they are. Because they don't really work as answers because there's just new questions.
Joe Van Wie 23:35
So if you're a free thinker, fairly intellectual, and you're coming from your position, is this a hanging up? In feeling totally immersed into a community that uses the word God very freely, but then, you know, hedges it don't worry, it's higher power. Don't worry. Again, you can make you know, it's whatever your understanding is, but then you're live in the Poconos, Northeastern PA. And we're all winking. You know, we know what God really works. Don't use the don't use the wrong god. How do you that requires you to have a lot of tolerance?
Adam Zbegner 24:15
Yeah, well, when I was younger, I was a a atheist in the Senate and I was anti theist. I thought it would be better if we didn't believe in God and that reject him if he existed. And I thought people who believed in God were were wrong and that they should be convinced otherwise. I don't think that anymore at all. I am still an atheist in the sense that I don't have any belief in God. But the basis of my atheism is not evidence based. It's that the I don't know what the concept of God is because you know, to say if something exists, you need to know what it is first. like you need to have a definition. And then you see, well, is there something out there which satisfies this definition? The definition of God is infamously. I mean, you ask people what God is, and like, you get a different answer. So like, they definitely definition. I don't know, what the definition of God is. I know what people say, but they say all kinds of things. So if someone asked me, Does God exist? This is called theological non cognitivism. It means that these words like God, soul, heaven, I, if I say I'm a theological, non cognitivist, which is what I am, it means I don't know what these concepts mean, or I don't know what these things are that you're talking about. So I can't say whether they exist or not. Because I first didn't know what you're talking about. Now, if you get specific, you say, Well, did Jesus come back from the dead? That I know what that means? And I can say yes or no, like, I believe he did, or I believe he didn't. But when you say Does God exist? I cannot answer, because I don't know what's being asked about.
Joe Van Wie 26:15
So if you're going to be poetic in your own mind, and not for the sake of a clean, formal, logical argument, and you want to relate to a community of people who are having transformations, or ideas of transcendence, because of the proximity of the group, the virtues and exercises to trying to practice it the 12 steps or say, dharma recovery, or some smart recovery, a cognitive and to hear this word gone all the time and know its meaning some kind of substantially different thing, even if people are green on God, you know, it's a different internal experience what? And for God to be really true, it goes, it has to be unified. And people's minds. Like for it to be powerful, there's
Adam Zbegner 27:00
a God, or it's not, whatever God beans, if there is this thing, know what, you know,
Joe Van Wie 27:09
how do you skirt that though? Defined community, like, like a fellowship? Because I struggled with that,
Adam Zbegner 27:15
yeah, I used to I don't anymore, I'm a I know, the higher power is a fundamental part of it. And, you know, used to really bother me, because I could be whatever, you know, it's your higher power. Obviously, if there's a higher power, it's, it's the same for everybody. But that doesn't bother me anymore. Because the important thing is having as non local power, which can help you and what's non local, it's outside of you. It's not in you in it's not created by you. For me, the higher power is obviously the group, in the sense of the group has power, the group can do things you can't look at the people who are sober for you, you can't do that, you know, you come in Yeah, I can't do that. But somehow they did it through being connected to the group. So that's evidence the group has power you don't. The group has desires. So the group wants you to be sober. The group wants you to succeed. And the group the group has other powers to the can just regular thing, the group can help you go there, they can pick you up some of them who can pick you up. The group can even help you out with money. I've seen that happen. Yeah. Anyway, there's all these powers in the group, but you don't have yourself. And if you accept that, that's, you know, you've except there's a higher power greater than you that can restore your sanity. You see, people are saying, and you're now you know, that they're saying the group, AAA made that possible. That's all the evidence you need of a higher power. And it's easy to accept that and then you've done that step. And then I guess tricky with prayer. You don't pray to the you don't pray to the group, right. I
Joe Van Wie 29:22
I don't pray. I did. When multiple times in my life I don't pray on the reg I do. Say prayer. Sometimes it seems to be an interruption to rumination. Now. I don't have an idea of the God. But I'd say the prayer St. Francis, seemed like the virtues I did not have to interrupt my own thoughts with the scrip and kind of say these things I'd rather bring joy or courage rather than fear. I'd rather understand people first than they need to understand me. I didn't Have that agency anymore that footing in life I was in such pain and distress My mind was unbridled. So I but meditation I think anyone, and I think it's I think it's worth exploring because it's like, man, you could go through life not having any clue of what kind of quantum McHugh computer I've been stuck in is calling myself I don't know what it says. Meditation. Kony is the first and only practice or tool I've had to be able to put a real mirror up to what I've been calling myself for my experience. It doesn't complete it doesn't give me a full flushed out. But it makes me feel like I have more of an interesting and profound life. I'm experiencing it more deeply.
Adam Zbegner 30:53
Yeah, I mean, I mean, like, I've read about lots of different things, because I feel like life is richer when you know what's going on. When you when you now,
Joe Van Wie 31:10
but it's also more painful. Would you agree?
Adam Zbegner 31:14
Yeah, it can be because you learn a lot of things that are disturbing, or, you know, like, take history. History is horrible. I mean, it's Hegel called the slaughter bench of history. History is mostly violence. Even what we think of as high art civilization is only created through violent exploitation. Yeah, the cruelty. So yeah, it's gonna be painful when you're like, Oh,
Joe Van Wie 31:42
well, there's that aspect. I want to just say that you just know that the history, but then there's the other painful aspect of things that your culture might have provided the comfort and provide meaning will drop the floor drops out.
Adam Zbegner 31:57
Yeah, you thought that these were objective, universal things. And then turns out they're just a product of this culture. And in particular time and place. And other people have different different ideas about the
Joe Van Wie 32:13
stock could be a crisis. For some it was for me, when myth drops out went away, I had nowhere to grab onto what is it all the way throw it all out? Like this is built on a huge fundamental.
Adam Zbegner 32:26
Here's the great thing, though. Okay, so like, we each have our welcome morals, and we have the things we're for and against. And we think we have ideas about how we should treat people, and how we treat those we love and those we hate. These things were kind of inculcated in us as we developed, partly because of how what we are, but also what we were taught, what kind of people were around. And then we have these stories about why they're the best, like, why being good. Whatever your definition, good is, is right and true. And it's the universe sort of, you know, justifies it like, this is the way to be. There is an objective, eternal reason. Yeah. And that's what justifies this way of being,
Joe Van Wie 33:24
well, wouldn't it be courageous of me in that same paradigm, people fail to want to understand I'm going to be the villain. I'm doing this because we need one. This story doesn't work without me.
Adam Zbegner 33:39
If you accept
Joe Van Wie 33:41
you accept that role, that'd be exciting. You're being an interesting person. And I always looked at this line in Scripture, like your thoughts been either hot, or be either hot or cold, like, on the variables attend temperature, but never be lukewarm in the middle? Because the serpent will eat you up and spit out? Well, nothing
Adam Zbegner 34:03
interesting emerges from the middle
Joe Van Wie 34:05
now. You know, the SI audience.
Adam Zbegner 34:10
There's lots of stuff I could talk I'm trying to. Alright, so like, we have an idea of what it is to be good and to do the right thing versus the wrong thing. Some of us think that this has to be justified by some principle or, you know, something beyond us, which makes it right and true. Objectively, not just because we feel like it. Yeah. And that
Joe Van Wie 34:35
usually shows itself as a story or creation story to the end of the story. We're victories to the good, but I
Adam Zbegner 34:43
believe is that the sensibilities that we have just developed in the physical world, in a community over time, and that they change and that they don't have any justification beyond that. That's not disturbing to me because change anything about the way I am or the way I've like I still, I still have an idea of what the right thing is. It's disturbing to me when people don't do it.
Joe Van Wie 35:12
So like, like, viscerally
Adam Zbegner 35:15
like, you see, you see a homeless person and you, you start insulting them, or kicking them or whatever. Yeah, I'd say that's the wrong thing. And that you shouldn't do that. And I will judge you if you do. I don't have a god or principle, objective principle, which tells me that that's a sensibility I have developed, you know, developed over time. Would you have
Joe Van Wie 35:45
developed? Like, they always say, would you have developed it? If we didn't have?
Adam Zbegner 35:48
Yeah, it would be different. If I if I lived 200 years ago, it would have
Joe Van Wie 35:52
been different, like, it will always go back to the prime idea was the revelation to primate. Did someone show up and say, Hey, he got it all wrong, stop shitting all over the place and the clothes on?
Adam Zbegner 36:06
So that's a story about where they came from. Where did these ideas, feelings and ideas? Yeah, well, they, this being gave them to us. I don't honestly believe that happened. I think they regenerated over time. 3d mushroom, they aren't static. All right. So like, there are certain things which are pretty constant, you know, like, when people say killing murder, yeah. That's not true. Like, okay, a samurai would cut off the head of someone who didn't bow to them. Yeah, that's murder. But people, people in that culture didn't think that was wrong, the samurai should, that that's what the samurai should do, because the matter of honor and honor was, they had this sensibility about honor, very strong, that that was developed over time in Japan. And it shows up as the as the right thing, and to not do that is the wrong thing. Now I'm sure for the guy getting his head cut off in his fan, he didn't want that to happen. And his family would be devastated and everything but murder is wrong. Like we regard as wrong as certain contexts and others we don't. I mean, I think dropping bombs is murder. You're not only dropping bombs in a city you're killing on combatants. you justify it by saying, Well, we have to win the war. And that's ultimately good, better than not winning. But we have all kinds of situations where we think killing is good, or at least, at least justified. And those contexts that say killing is good here and not here. That's changed. You know, it's not me hasn't been the same old. Modern humanity is much more sensitive to murder. And pretty much so
Joe Van Wie 38:12
you know, we we saw it almost naturally, would you there's there seems to be a progress up to today, of things getting every century less violent, some hiccups here and there. But
Adam Zbegner 38:24
as we become more humanistic, in a sense, we see, we kind of have this belief that life is valuable in itself, and that destroying life is
Joe Van Wie 38:36
bad. And that's almost a high that it's almost seems globally, it's because of global now,
Adam Zbegner 38:42
development of empathy, of putting yourself in someone's shoes.
Joe Van Wie 38:46
What does that do? We'd have a long discussion, because right there, I see a total pivot to your favorite Marxist ideas is what does that do to production? If we don't have
Adam Zbegner 38:59
Yeah, well, production, production on the scale of that we have it requires immense violence and
Joe Van Wie 39:05
lack of empathy, exploitation, like how does it fully formed if we're going in the direction of enlightenment, a transcendence that's just happening to value human life? What does that translate? Yeah, so everyone in the same story, Marx
Adam Zbegner 39:22
had the idea that like, history was moving towards a society which truly acknowledged the individuality of each person. And this society worked to make it so each person could develop unhindered by need, their needs will be met. Oh, yeah. How do you develop as personality? How do you become educated? needs have to be met first. It's
Joe Van Wie 39:52
um, as we were last guest here we were talking about Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and you can't be if fully developed or explore the potential of consciousness when you were talking spotlight and lantern consciousness of attention. You can't even get to the ideas of self self actualization, the apex of the pyramid were on top of consciousness being the pyramid, let's just even say without basic needs being met food, shelter, water, or you're still have to keep the primal part of your brain. Yeah, you active measure threats, be aggressive, competitiveness, always operating from a sense of personality, that's the ego to take go out to the world take things back. That's intense. If that was alleviated? I mean, what would be the potential that evolution or this little path we take? It's your imagination can't stop. Right? Would you
Adam Zbegner 40:52
the, the people who are who because of circumstance have to toil their life away can don't have the time or the energy to develop as a person, they, if you're just working and then sleeping, and you have very few possessions, and you don't have access to a lot of things you can't travel? You can't I mean, you have very little freedom. Even if your political freedom is guaranteed, you're not a slave, you're not imprisoned, you are free in the sense that you can say what you like, about where you like, but
Joe Van Wie 41:40
do you still see that freedom you're about to describe? It sounds like you're gonna say but is it like a serfdom is you're attached to a proximity because of your labor.
Adam Zbegner 41:49
It's an illegal freedom. And it's a negative freedom. It's, it says what you can do with, and it says nothing about the material circumstances, where are you? Where are you live in. So we're all equally free, and that we have freedom speech, but a rich person, their speech can do a lot more than mine can, they can get it to a lot more people, it will influence minds. And mine won't, I don't have access to the kind of media and technology and I can't travel to make my word have power. So we're both free to say what we like but they can do a lot more with their speech than I can because of the material substrate they have.
Joe Van Wie 42:47
But let's just stop there and personalize a little Are we ever driven to do that you personally because
Adam Zbegner 42:56
I have I've always
Joe Van Wie 42:57
had interesting thing you have really flushed out morals and thoughts when we have conversations. Did you ever have a drive anywhere? And you did share that on a scale that would require publishing, speaking? Doing a formally we I have
Adam Zbegner 43:13
I have lots of effects. In terms. I'm not very social, because I get a drains me. And I'm not ambitious, in the sense of making things happen to improve my lot in life. And a lot of that has to do with my own social anxiety. And my non competitiveness i i don't like competing. Yeah. I mean, I did want to be, I did want to go in academia at one point in my life. But the process of getting there isn't just about learning and teaching. It's also there's all this other stuff, and you're competing, and you have to convince people that you're worthy of the job. It's very hard for me to do. I don't know. I mean, I don't know why. I mean, I developed such a way that I had this problem with this stuff. And in that meeting new people is terrifying. Sometimes the mayor going in new buildings even as and I never had this sort of ambition that arose in me to to become this or that. And that drove me I was always driven more towards these private pursuits, which gave me a sense, I don't know they they stimulated me, and they've made me content. So that made worldly concerns about success. fall away. I think I developed them as a way to cope when I was a teenager because I was I had very few friends and I was made Find Them bullied. In middle school. I developed these ways to cope private pursuits, private flights of fancy. And they became a big part of my life. And breaking out of that towards ambition. Worldly ambition never really happened. Did alcohol? Yeah, also I was an addict and I screwed up a lot of things. I dropped out of school. I destroyed relationships, legal trouble, whatever, like that also hindered. And I'm at a point in my life now where even if I wanted to pursue worldly success, I can't, I don't have the resources or the time. I am profoundly unfree in that, I struggle to survive. And that's that takes a lot of my time. You know, and I, I could spend time regretting it but you know, there's no point.
Joe Van Wie 46:03
No. Did did alcohol initially give you make you feel the opposite of that or make you feel comfortable within? This is who I am? Was there a Liberty alcohol? Could it soothe you and
Adam Zbegner 46:19
alcohol? I mean, more than any other drug alcohol was like, a warm blanket. It sort of enveloped me and made me unafraid and made me being sociable was no effort. I could externalize my thoughts easier. I didn't think about what other people thought about me. Yeah, euphoria. Everything else was more interesting. I laughed more. I was to be stimulated by conversation more. And yeah, the fear that I've had my whole life just went away completely. Only alcohol did that. I mean, like I've done opiates, I still have that fear that
Joe Van Wie 47:07
hacker Yeah. And buzzing Yeah, alcohol was a great elixir for that than that condition. So the condition prior to that, if we had to put a term or an idea or a concept or a generalized anxiety disorder, some idea like someone's saying or diagnosing I'm not a clinician, but it's treating something else. Addiction in itself is is really a defense rising. Have you met anything that could defend you not in the immediacy and the impulse of alcohol? Since then, that gives you kind of you feel stable around outside of a is there any ideas? What do you what do you what do you replace it with? Alcohol? Yeah. Or, or better yet, how do you confront the infrastructural problem, fear? Pain, unresolved pain in the starts to cause like, me inadequacy? So this connection,
Adam Zbegner 48:14
a big part of it was I came to learn over time that other people are not how I thought they were. They are not happy. They, they pretend. I mean, I'm not saying nobody's happy. But a lot of people pretend to be happy. They pretend that
Joe Van Wie 48:33
you mean intentionally pretend or like drinking like an elixir. Like they're diluted,
Adam Zbegner 48:39
diluted. While they're putting some people Yeah, like potentially both front. Yeah. I mean, I know this because they tell me to do it. They say you know, your
Joe Van Wie 48:53
best explanation because they wouldn't be like, Oh, you're not getting it? No, no, I getting it. They're telling me to do this.
Adam Zbegner 48:59
You have to pretend to be to like them, or you have to pretend to be happier. And that tells me that they do that. And I never learned to do that. And I have no desire to do it requires so much energy. I mean, I'm too old now. Anyway, no, I'm not gonna become this other person.
Joe Van Wie 49:21
You're not gonna join us. We're all here happy pretend. We've found out how to pretend.
Adam Zbegner 49:28
For some people, they find it. I find a way I'm disturbing or upsetting. Not because I'm bothering them or insulting them or doing I'm just not and I don't appear engaged enough or happy enough or interested in them enough.
Joe Van Wie 49:47
I used to feel that I would always try to entertain you with jokes. There'll be some afternoons it would just be us hanging I'm like, now reaching out of you just have your arms crossed. We'll be watching some fucking deranged movie or Yeah, you have that effect of people, especially people who wouldn't understand or don't know you. But usually the word disturbed is awesome.
Adam Zbegner 50:10
I will say this, I did try to pretend when I was, when you're a teenager, that's when you're learning to be sure. To be a grown up. Yeah, you're learning who you are, right? So you fall in with people and you sort of emulate them. So you're, you're putting on this mask, seeing how you like it. And if you like it enough, I guess it kind of becomes who you are. But I would go from like different styles. Yeah. I was like, kind of a hippie. I adopted hippie clothes, heavy music.
Joe Van Wie 50:42
But didn't total gel. So like I
Adam Zbegner 50:44
say, this, this is work. I mean, it took a long time for me to become comfortable with who I am and not have to put on a mask. Or pretend that I'm happier than I pretend that I'm more successful than I am or pretend that whatever I mean, no, it's a lot of it's about my face, like, make my face more expressive. People want me to do that. Either they say it or it's obvious. I mean, male, a man will tell me to smile. Usually you think of men is telling women is your smile more honey you have? I mean, a lot of people I don't even know like at work would be like, hey, smile. It's a beautiful day. I'm like, What are you thinking about that? I cannot. I can't imagine going about looking at people and saying, Where's that smile and saying, you know, they, they just don't have the right expression, like fucking care what expression someone has didn't say your prayers. I let people be who they are.
Joe Van Wie 51:55
Let me ask you in the midst of that, and I am your friend. And I believe, and I know you have a sense of self that last, when you're sober, or if you were distressed, or you're sober, like, and then if you were in active addiction, as your friend I'm seeing there's this, there's this clean narrative that doesn't break. There's Adam, there was Adam. And I don't think it's a person like they always describe it as a personality change that now will overcome alcoholism. And we are talking about this, but I don't think you're you're not mocking that idea. You know, some people are deluded themselves into some kind of persona, this charm. This is what sober life is I have to dial it in. That does that is exhausting. I've experienced it myself. And if you stay alive long enough, it will collapse and explode in your face. And people get hurt. And you you experience pain. How do you describe in yourself? What what is Adam in between? Say we both have had experiences of feeling the fundamental kind of expression of a or practicing it. And then returning to thinking Where do you see what what is the narrative that is like I could safely come back? How do you get back? What is recovery to you? If you feel you fail that what you were perceiving a is an expression of
Adam Zbegner 53:32
a is a contains multitudes, all women. It's not one thing. Yeah. Different people approach different ways. You know, I was with a certain group of people when I first started, and they were very specific and, and intense about the steps and doing them just like the book. And they all sort of had this demeanor that was the same when you fall in with a group. Yeah. When you fall in a group you explain that.
Joe Van Wie 54:05
Adam Zbegner 54:07
right, they were close talkers tone. Yeah. They look to you in life too much more than the average person
Joe Van Wie 54:13
kind of the earmarks of a cult a little like, Wouldn't what up? We're not even being sensationalized. Let's just stop here. Let's explain who like without saying this is from a generalized area. It wasn't here. They were
Adam Zbegner 54:26
Quakertown and Quaker town. was reading your I don't know. But
Joe Van Wie 54:33
so they became a subculture within a subculture of AAA.
Adam Zbegner 54:37
It's very tight knit, the more tight knit the group, the more you're gonna sort of be drawn to be like them
Joe Van Wie 54:43
to emulate them. And they had a leader that always starts with a leader. Yeah, I don't remember his name, but I don't remember his name. But let's unpack this because this would look like they could show up at a meeting. And they knew the book, and they talked about it as if it was like they were Orthodox, it was scripture. Let's not deviate. Let's get started. And then, you know there you're talking about 30 to 100 people in this kind of circle where they if you meet one of them eventually you get to their leader. And if I'm not mistaken, it was kind of you slick almost a and a sex cult within a
Adam Zbegner 55:24
he owned a halfway house and he was having sex with people in the halfway house. I don't know money, the details. I had already stopped having contact with them before that.
Unknown Speaker 55:42
We've met around that of like, oh, man, do you really call dude.
Adam Zbegner 55:46
What that taught me is that I can I can adopt. I can adopt a pretty intense group. Culture. Yeah. But I will. It will wear me out fast.
Joe Van Wie 56:01
Yeah. I think that's I
Adam Zbegner 56:03
fell. I realized that I was putting things on and I was like, why this is?
Joe Van Wie 56:11
Did you feel it? Before you could articulate
Adam Zbegner 56:13
it you felt at first i At first I was overcome by all the enthusiasm and charisma
Joe Van Wie 56:21
that grosses you out, oh, this
Adam Zbegner 56:23
is great. They're very happy. And they say this stuff, very simple stuff. The steps are simple in the book, you know, it doesn't take very long made them see life totally differently. And it happened to me, like I felt different after the steps, and I was like, happy and smiling. But then, when negative things would arise, they disturbed me greatly. Like I'm not doing it right. I feel free. Oh, yeah. And they don't seem forever. I mean, they say they are and they talk about what they're always like smiling. And I was really afraid or I had dark thoughts or whatever it was. And I would hide it because I didn't want to be judged. Yeah. You do that enough. And it just goes away. The the excitement goes away. And I just sort of fell out with it. But also the people that they sort of talk the same as never, they never develop their ideas. It's always the same simple stuff. They all say the same stuff.
Joe Van Wie 57:39
And it's unchallengeable. Like it starts to become,
Adam Zbegner 57:42
oh, no, if you they're like, to challenge it is they're like, what they're like, What are you doing?
Joe Van Wie 57:50
Why are you angry? What's
Adam Zbegner 57:51
the point? Like? They're like, what's the point of questioning? I'm like, I don't. I'm not saying there's a point. I'm just saying that I'm sort of driven to do that. And why wouldn't I? What am I supposed to be afraid of asking questions? If I'm supposed to be afraid, and that's not good. I already should say this is bogus. If it means if it only works, because no one inquires about the nitty gritty of it, then that's not a good group. I mean, you shouldn't be afraid of questions. They shouldn't be out of bounds. And if your health mental health depends on keeping that stuff at bay, it's not very strong mental health, like a real believer. Like look at a priest, Catholic priests, a lot of them, they are perfectly fine with you saying whatever you want or asking any question about their faith. And they aren't. They don't get offended and they don't know that they are open to any acknowledge or any line of inquiry. That's, that's a healthy faith that will remain that strong. If you know this stuff doesn't knock it down. It can engage with it. That's the kind of if I were to have faith, that's the kind of faith I'd want.
Joe Van Wie 59:10
The practice of kind of Catholicism, the thought the intellectual life
Adam Zbegner 59:15
of Catholicism is attractive to me. I learned a lot about Catholic theology. Because there's an expansiveness to, to what they allow you to ask them and they might not have answers to everything. But you can ask and there's not a sin. No. I mean, it used to be back a few 100 years a
Joe Van Wie 59:42
kill apostates. I've always wanted to go back to church to help. There's a formal way to leave the church. I've never seen it happen. I would love to see it happen at a mass someone go up and renounce their Catholicism. There's a procedure you would have to acknowledge should be awesome. But with that attractiveness and but the morals I know you have how would you want to even endorse or being in league with also the cruelty or the politics of hiding and systematic torture, tortured and molestation of children for centuries essentially? Like, like, is that where the kind of like you wouldn't join a fraternity? Because of
Adam Zbegner 1:00:38
I wouldn't join a fraternity for all kinds of things. Well, I think they promote a pretty unhealthy culture. But also I'm not gonna kind of person who could possibly enjoy being fraternity. I don't like parties or
Joe Van Wie 1:00:57
ritual was shared ritual.
Adam Zbegner 1:01:00
Now I hate all that stuff. But
Joe Van Wie 1:01:01
do you like observing it?
Adam Zbegner 1:01:03
Yeah, sometimes depends, I guess what it is, but I see the value in it. It's not like I think it's all stupid. Yeah, sure. It all has a purpose. Believing in God helps a lot of people, the practice of the religion helps them it gives them community, it gives them purpose, history is sort of binds their life together. In this greater purpose.
Joe Van Wie 1:01:26
There's a story, there's nothing there's a uniqueness in that to think you're part of a story that isn't, you know, I think there's dark parts of atheism that is reached through abandoning, say Catholicism. Or if you're Jewish, and you were raised in this culture, but then you your intellect, can't sustain it, or your intellectual life, and you arrive at atheism. And the atheism initially is just filled with the hard reality of materialism the world solid now that there's no texture of mind, body, it's all kind of just happening, this evolution, cold, hard story of evolution. That can become a crisis. Because there's, there's no room for poetry or the spirituality, or the modern term of it. I struggled with that. It's, it was hard for me not to go into nihilism to become a beam raised Catholic, being an atheist. Arriving back into a recovery community and total crisis, there's panic a little bit because I'm like, How do I put my foot in this world? Like, I want to be a part of a story, I want to think the bully is, I want to think there's meaning beyond my thought, like, I want connection. I don't know what that I don't know how to talk about that without feeling like freak.
Adam Zbegner 1:02:51
There's all kinds of ways to have connection. So besides a store a grand story, but it requires you to not care about those grants or a grant answer. So like, it's like a project, like some people, they're in the Red Cross or something. It's a big project, and you're with a bunch of people, and there's all these goals. And the people who do it, they do it because they think it's worthwhile and meaningful. And that gives unity to their life. But you have to dispense with another bigger story, which makes that story meaningful. Like, why is that meaningful? Yeah. Is it because God has dictated that we help each other? Or do we desire to help each other? Because of how we have formed over billions of years? Yeah. Not everybody obviously thinks we should help each other. Some people. Some people are they hate humanity. And the sick
Joe Van Wie 1:04:06
that's from mental illness? Well, first off, you don't you don't believe in free will do are like like in the context of this. I'm not saying pure determinism, but it's not free will and the agency. People don't choose to be the villain.
Adam Zbegner 1:04:21
Nobody chooses who they are. Yeah, no, I don't. We act. We often act like people do. Yeah, I treat people I've raised to believe that don't treat people like they are who they want to be. They aren't they they are what they are. And they didn't choose it. If there's choice, real freewill. It's a very small part of our activity. Most of what we do is habit even like so like me, me brushing my teeth, a habit but so was like, the movements I'm doing right now. I'm not thinking, I'm not choosing to move my hands. I just did because I brought my attention to it. But usually we're doing things without any cognition, because it's built from habit, little babies. They don't have many habits at all. And they're just flailing and trial and error. You we're
Joe Van Wie 1:05:18
just when does free will arrive by we talked about this. Look, Mike arc Angeletti. I don't remember Mikey runs Clearbrook. Now as the executive director. And it's, it's, it's hard to talk about, it's not free will in any like, choose your own reality and your decisions. That's not happening. It's hard to commit stay pot committed to the full idea of determinism. We're stuck on these railroad tracks. And we were trying to point out, is there times very limited times of agency? Because is that the only way to describe it,
Adam Zbegner 1:05:55
that it my view is described? Yeah, obviously, we have times where we deliberate and decide. They're not common. Most of our day, we're not doing that. No, I get up. Let's say, the baby gets up and like, I'm dissolve these automatic things start happening. I get the baby, I changed her that I had to put her somewhere safe. So I can go smoke a cigarette. And then I got it, I brushed my teeth and go about all the things that need to be done. And it's all sort of habitual. I'm not deciding consciously. I brush my teeth now or not, I'm not thinking that. I just go brush my teeth.
Joe Van Wie 1:06:36
It will be a cascade of failure
Adam Zbegner 1:06:38
and anxiety. I've had to decide every
Joe Van Wie 1:06:39
have I felt my brain died. I felt moments like that. I'd be like, should I go downstairs? My and it was usually under extreme. Yeah, the end of fight or flight or a trauma. I wouldn't be like that for months. Like I'm wasting time, I would eventually just go back to bed.
Adam Zbegner 1:06:55
No, we are most efficient and effective when we're running flow state. Yeah, it's just happening when there's not that intervention of deliberation and decision. We decide when things are gone wrong or novelties happened. Or, you know, like, I'm eating my friend for lunch and I get there like, I gotta look at the menu and decide what to eat. I'm deliberating I'm reading and I'm thinking about what food I want what it tastes like. And then I have some point it feels like I say I want that. And that means I don't want it that undoubtedly happens that's what we call freewill. That's all there is to it that happens it's It's nuts. The question is is that caused or did we just choose
Joe Van Wie 1:07:44
Yeah, what a lie stack down all these other determination points that are committing you to remembering why you like grilled cheese Who told you to let like where's my free will begin
Adam Zbegner 1:07:57
well, if if your free will decision to eat grilled cheese for lunch and posts everything else in the menu is caused and not just chosen freely from inside. Somewhere in you just come you know you pick something and that's what you know the causing is you picking? Or as the picking cost? Is that cost? If it's caused? I think it is. It's caused by things you're not conscious of it's caused by physical prices. It's crazy.
Joe Van Wie 1:08:28
And if mathematically were the hard science of the world, just raw data if we knew all the set points of the mechanical world, even in the first 300 million years of set if there's an all knowing presence of math and how this dance had happened when you know you were having the grill like if there was an observer back then that could compute all this knows Adams gonna pick that fucking grilled cheese. So ditch days are an Adam and Izzy choosing the grilled cheese if all of this has been a play of just atoms moving and God intended
Adam Zbegner 1:09:06
as the hard determinism says it's all been set by cause and effect the chain of causation since the beginning that my decision to eat go cheese has caused caused by a brain state and that brain state was caused by things going on in the body and previous brain states. And that brain itself was caused by evolution, you know, so there's this chain of cause eventually leading to the decision to use the grilled cheese. Yeah. We don't have access consciously to that chain. We just
Joe Van Wie 1:09:46
so the expression of free will is it you know, you have to, like posit that it's an illusion to feel agency. Some reason this makes us more functional to experience time. If determinism is true, but I'm still feeling I have free will and I chose the grilled cheese, what is the purpose of even having the delusion having
Adam Zbegner 1:10:11
that free will? I can only speculate. I think it's a side effect of consciousness. Consciousness didn't emerge. This is my speculation consciousness didn't just come because animals have to decide because it's more fit. No. Consciousness first was just sensation. And then a patch of skin could sense light,
Joe Van Wie 1:10:34
you know, a worm, a worm would probably be,
Adam Zbegner 1:10:37
you know, rudimentary consciousness is something probably something like, direct experience. But now memory or
Joe Van Wie 1:10:44
sorry, I would do that return it was a worm. Like, wow, if you could just focus on your breathing and see red lights peeking through your fingers. Like that. Okay, there's a consciousness in that light perception. Go ahead, though of
Adam Zbegner 1:11:01
consciousness obviously does serve? It does. This isn't beneficial to us. It allows us to problem solve at a very high speed. Why do we have all this technology because we can problem solve unlike any other living because
Joe Van Wie 1:11:17
we're gonna build God and then disappear.
Adam Zbegner 1:11:20
So consciousness does that for us, allows us to do that. And that's beneficial terms of fitness. I mean, eventually, it might not be if we destroy ourselves with technology that's not that's not conducive to fitness, obviously. But it must have emerged because it was conducive to fitness for some reason. And that's the reason or one of the reasons it allows problem solving.
Joe Van Wie 1:11:49
There's a freak you out that fitness can be so phenomenal driving us to this complexity that we're it's to be off planet like like there, there is some sense in this guiding invisible natural selection of complexity. That it it's operate in a timescale I'm almost talking about natural selection. It's hard not to that it's conscious.
Adam Zbegner 1:12:13
It's even Darwin, it's really hard aren't Darwin fate you know, because the way he spoke about it, like selection we think of selection as can't use something selecting there's something behind this. Yeah, it's hard to talk you know, they're metaphors, then it's not real selection sense of a real selection
Joe Van Wie 1:12:28
measured threats in our plan and our terrain as this would be highly probable it's going to kill this species off where it's living in either moved, like something in evolution drew drove that species to move from that place geographically, because there's no food it's becoming hostile temperature changes. Is something driving us to get off the fucking planet. Like is this natural selection? Are we claiming it as intelligence, there's you can't separate them.
Adam Zbegner 1:13:00
Just because our consciousness had to emerge because it was conducive to fitness. But that doesn't mean every product of consciousness is conducive to fitness conscious can do things which have nothing to do with fitness. Daydreaming doesn't have anything to do with fitness.
Joe Van Wie 1:13:15
Well, think of the complexity of leaving the planet leaving the planet too early, all the resources dedicated, that are going to hurt people here who are living on the planet to get off planet. This is a real complex decision for a species to
Adam Zbegner 1:13:30
getting off planet me extends our reach and extend the species. Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 1:13:38
The exploitation as a species that's here, like how many people are gonna be so say like Elon Musk, wild entrepreneur, tactician, showman, whatever you want to think of him. He's a billionaire at whatever the, you know, investment, and the return on investment. How many people work for him? How many people buy his products? How many people don't get any clothes, anything close to the value of what they cost them went to him? So he's drained this economic idea how we run live billions and billions of dollars from and he's going to put it towards getting us off off planet. Let's not even it wasn't too violent. I guess that's not bad in the context of history, but is that what it's going to take? Do we need exploitation to survive? To make decisions it sounds like little like transistor hubs. One human has to be the transistor hub. How do you act that way without exploiting hundreds 1000s of people beneath you to make the decision that nobody's going to want to make consciously now as the way we I know it's winding down but you know, all of that. That said, the last kind of idea was because I just bounce off in the wind down talking about that was, I was listening to Sam Harris. One of his podcasts, he said, looking for the meaning in life is a psychological problem, not a philosophical problem. I'll add with that Woody, how would you unpack that
Adam Zbegner 1:15:22
Vidkun Stein thought of lots of questions were psychological problems. There, there was a mental basically mental health problems. And, you know, to, to solve it,
Joe Van Wie 1:15:34
there it is observed, in a way Stein's book, solve it,
Adam Zbegner 1:15:37
you have to realize the questions don't make sense. That's what, you know, it's a kind of, anyway, but meaning of life is not really a philosophical question, because it doesn't really mean much. Like a philosopher will take it and unpack it and find out that there's not much being asked about that, you know, what is meaning? Meaning is, you know, things are meaningful to me. People are meaningful, movies, meaningful art. And I love animals, you know, that, whatever. Meaning is something that exists in the context of life. And people can have shared meanings and everything, but life itself, to say, What's the meaning of it, that it's hard to say what you're asking about life's here, and it was caused. That's it, that
Joe Van Wie 1:16:32
means experiencing meaning,
Adam Zbegner 1:16:34
right? When you when you ask about a meaning, you're assuming something for which it has meaning? And if we're asking the question, then life itself, but just life doesn't mean anything to us. Because it doesn't serve any purpose like particular, we particular life forms, and we want to live and that serves us but life existing. You know, we, it's not meaningful, in the sense of, we can't say what reasons here for it all, like, what is life for? There is no answer to that question. What is that cow for? In terms of our purposes? Well, to make milk and we eat it or whatever. So, things have meaning in the context of purposes, there are purposes. If there's a greater purpose, we have no access to it. And we know the meaning of life would be would mean there'd be something for which it had meaning. And that would be the answer.
Joe Van Wie 1:17:39
Would that be the premise of Wittgenstein's work? The Tactus would they purpose defined
Adam Zbegner 1:17:47
by track status? The Wittgenstein in, in that work? Has it really concerned with things like meaning it's more like, you know, these basic philosophical problems mind body problem,
Joe Van Wie 1:18:01
I skipped the first half of that book, I'm not reading six pages of his what,
Adam Zbegner 1:18:07
what is truth? Yeah, how do we say things that depict the world? These are the problems he's concerned with, and he's about untangling them or showing that they're pseudo problems or giving an answer a definitive answer.
Joe Van Wie 1:18:21
I think the freaky thing about that it's it's the guiding intelligent force of AI developers first like before ally, coupled with Alan Turing, they're looking at that and saying, See, we intelligence could rise if we build it this way. Is, that's cool. Drupal freaks me out. Are we special?
Adam Zbegner 1:18:42
Yeah, well, they. They're now philosopher, or Western philosopher that I know have ever done anytime, asking and answering What's the meaning of life? Now? philosophers are concerned with specific questions, that's far too broad. That question means different things to different people. And if someone asked me that, I would say, I don't know what you're
Joe Van Wie 1:19:06
talking. I want you to get away from it.
Adam Zbegner 1:19:09
Why do you want it like? I would have to ask them what they mean. Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 1:19:14
Do you really want to? Well, and we did to two minutes or two hours and 24 minutes up on my longest podcast.
Adam Zbegner 1:19:23
I don't know why anyone would want this.
Joe Van Wie 1:19:27
Well, I force it, I found a way I have this new app that just plays it on phones, like Target phones and just starts playing amazing. totalitarian into entertainment. Well, why not? It's recorded, you know, 6000 years from now, some freakish life form. It's just curious of what you know, apes were talking about. Maybe they can recreate us from the sound. They don't even need the DNA. I know that sound. I know what that molecular structure of that sound would look like. They recreate the neurons in my had in there like safe? Yeah, I knew it. Alright, get rid of them just get tossed back out. Well, I hope we can talk again soon and thanks for coming on man.
Adam Zbegner 1:20:13
Yeah, no problem.
Joe Van Wie 1:20:15
Take a smoke break
I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better. Find us on all better.fm or listen to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google podcasts Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards, an engineering company 570 drone. Please like or subscribe to us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember just because you're sober doesn't mean you're right
jon edwards 1:21:27
are you still there? I told you this episode was long. Is the last time I've been to interrupt. Probably
Transcribed by https://otter.ai