Paul Conti: Narcissism, Sociopathy, Envy, and the Nature of Good and Evil | Lex Fridman Podcast #357

Narcissism is not arrogance narcissism Is the opposite of arrogance there is Such a deep sense of inadequacy and Incompetence in the self that the Defensive structure around that becomes Dominated by a rocket fueled Envy The following is a conversation with Paul Conte a psychiatrist and a Brilliant scholar of human nature my Friend Andrew huberman told me that Paul And I absolutely must meet and talk not Just about the topic of trauma which Paul wrote an amazing book about but Broadly about human nature about Narcissism sociopathy psychopathy good And evil hate and love happiness and Envy as usual Andrew was right this was A fascinating conversation as the old Meme goes One does not simply doubt the Advice of Andrew huberman Allow me to also quickly mention that I Disagree with Paul a bunch in this Episode as I do in other episodes even With experts in part for fun and in part Because I think the tension of ideas and Conversation is what creates insights And wisdom my goal is to always Empathize understand and explore ideas Of the person sitting across from me This agreement is just one of the ways I Think it's fun to do just that as long As I do so from a place of curiosity and Compassion This is a Lex Friedman podcast to

Support it please check out our sponsors In the description and now dear friends Here's Paul Conti Do you see Psychiatry as fundamentally a Study of the human mind and not just a Set of tools for treating psychological Maladies absolutely I think Psychiatry Is our best way to understand who we are As people I mean it looks at our biology You know how does our brain work how Does it connect the parts with one Another how does the chemistry in it Work it's a very foundational aspects of Who we are and then it manifests as Psychology what do we think what do we Feel what are our strivings what are our Fears so yeah I think Psychiatry Provides tools that we can use to help Each other but those tools come through It being a discipline of understanding So with every patient you see with every Mind you explore are you picking up a Deeper understanding of the human mind I think I'm trying to I think we should Learn we should be able to take Something away from everything we do you Know every interaction to some small Degree every conversation if it doesn't Have to be a patient just anywhere at Starbucks getting a coffee you can learn Something from that little experience Yeah even if you just reinforce sort of Gentle kindness and gratitude and and Decent human interaction there's a

Reinforcement of that that even if we Don't take away memories or lessons so To speak we can reinforce who we choose To be So understanding ourselves from those Interactions too not just the general Sort of philosophical human mind but Understanding our own mind Introspect on how our own mind works Yeah everything we understand about Anyone or anything else is coming Through here right so yeah so we're Understanding others where we're also Understanding ourselves it's all feeding Through US yeah yeah but it's a tricky Thing to step away and look at your mind And understand that it's just a machine And you can kind of control the way the Machine processes the external Environment and the way that machine Converts the things it perceives into Actual emotions like how it interprets The things it perceives you just sort of Step away and analyze it in that way and Then you can control it you can you can Oil the machine you can control how it Actually interprets the Perceptions in Order to generate positive emotions and Be like a what is it like a mechanic For the for the gears in the machine I mean I think to some degree to some Degree of it the difference I think at Least is I understand I think of Machines as not being inscrutable right

That that if there's enough study There's enough Acumen applied that we Can understand whatever it is we're Trying to to figure out whereas part of Understanding ourselves is understanding That there are things we can't Understand and I think that's that's Indispensably important I think to Health and happiness and also to having Enough humility to see how people can be Different from us how we can be Different from ourselves at times so Knowing that we don't know a lot and Having some idea of what that might be I I think is an indispensable part of the Process which I think is different from Machines I think yeah the machines You're basically saying machines Generally because they're engineered From a design they're usually going to Be simpler therefore understandable and You're saying the complexity of the Human mind is uh At least from our perspective nearly Infinite Is there a meta phenomena what sometimes Gets described as sort of levels of Emergence where at increasing levels of Complexity you have novelty evolved that You that you can't predict from from Lower levels of complexity like for Example atoms to molecules you know it's Just one example I I think uh neurons to Consciousness Consciousness to culture

Right that there are meta phenomena that Separate from the phenomenon from the Phenomena underneath of them and and Therefore by adding an entire aspect of Novelty so I I think we are I mean I really think this is true that We are all infinitely fascinating Because of these levels of emergence of Novelty that are inscrutable because you Can't predict from one level to the next Or understand fully are what make us and Not just us but I think sentient Creatures right human beings right but Sentient creatures inestimably more Interesting than than creatures that Aren't as sentient and and I don't know I think when when we think about machine Learning and artificial intelligence I Think it's that that we're trying to Create levels of emergence that now we Don't fully understand anymore which I Guess is both exciting and maybe scary Too Yeah so he started the physics of atoms Uh quantum mechanics going to chemistry Going to biology From the biology you have the functional Phenomena especially as manifested in The human brain and then multiple brains Connecting together through Consciousness intelligence creates Civilizations it's pretty interesting Where do you think the magic is at which Layer of the cake every layer because

Every time you emerge from one thing to Another I see it as an analog like the Concept of the dialectic right where I Think it was Hegel right who who Realized Um hey when you when you have like thing A and thing B and they're complicated And they come together you know you Don't get a hybrid of A and B right you Know you you end up getting something That's new that's novel and and I think That describes to some degree that like What emergence is except there's There's a whole new and it's Universe of Novelty right that that comes at each Layer of emergence that allows infinite Possibilities that weren't possible Before and I think that's why we're so Complicated that we're our functional Neuroscience right which I think is Psychology right our ability to think About ourselves about others to be Reflective is sitting on top of so many Layers of emergence like the idea of Standing on the shoulders of giants that We're you know each of us our Consciousness is standing on the Shoulder of a giant of many many many Levels of emergence of novelty so many Of which we don't understand I mean About subatomic particles everything That that quantum physics means you know When when does time become important Right as opposed to things happening

Outside of time and outside of space When do we slot into one temporal Perspective and then the complexity just I think grows and grows and grows yeah The interesting word you use is novelty If true this really blows my mind in Some uh either shallow or deep sense it Is true I'm trying to figure that out I Don't know if you know something about Cellular automata is this very simple Mathematical objects where you have Rules that govern each individual little Cell and they interact locally and that You know you understand the very simple Operations those individual cells but Add another layer of abstraction when You just kind of zoom out with blurry Vision these uh meta objects starts Appearing that function you could build A touring machine where they can build An arbitrary complexity of of compute of Uh of computation on top of this kind of Very simple object yes it's an Interesting question whether That was always there The atoms Somehow know about love right like about Consciousness About war and violence and evil and hate And all that that's already Laden in the Possibility of that the capacity for That it's already in the atoms it's Already in the physics it's already in Them

In in all the different chemistry and it Builds up and it's like even the origin Of life Still a mystery that's that's known That's in the physics that's known to The universe the basic uh background Physics in the universe Because if that's not the case Where does that come from where's that Magic And how many layers can the cake Possibly have how many are we gonna keep Building if it's all if there's if we're Constantly through this process of Abstraction of adding a layer to the Cake adding novel things Like where's the ceiling As we expand out into the cosmos if we Successfully can do that we're going to Keep building like more miraculous Complex objects and then the brain is Just like a middle layer Thing we tend to think of ourselves as Truly truly special manifestations of What's possible in the universe but Maybe we're just like the basic like Tiny building block of something much Much bigger we're in the early days of Being a brick and a very large building Sure look I think that's entirely Possible I mean I think the only Emergent thing so to speak that that we Build is culture right the aggregation Of us so you have individual human Minds

Which are entirely unique even the fact That time is different for you and me Right it may be by Pico seconds right But we can engage because our our Perceptions of time are parallel enough They're close enough right that we can Share a reality right but we're all Living in a different dimension of time Right I mean we know that right so we're Unique in that way and then the Unique Individuals that we are just like the Cells right start to create not just one Thing not just a culture but culture on Top of our individuality right there our Uniqueness our even dimensional Uniqueness of of time and experience and And Consciousness so we create cultures On top of us but what could be Beyond Culture right and and what is different From us either on underlying levels like You know like quantum physics or Chemistry or biology or entirely Different and unconceived I think is It's an immense question and I think It's one that should create humility in Us right that look look how much we Don't know and then how Reckless we are With ourselves with our Resources with With human life and and I think there It's I I it's important to say I mean You think about how entropy rules The universe around us I mean how over Selected are we how many not just Hundreds or thousands of times but how

Many millions of times does there have To be a selection Branch point before we Get into a sort of Eddie pool of counter Entropy right where you can begin to Create Right which which I think is why I say Okay the the atoms know about love right The the the fact that anything is being Created right means there's this over Selection for counter entropy where There can be a building of Greater Complexity of ultimately of novelty and We don't often think about that of of How far removed we are maybe light years So to speak uh from any other location Temporally physically in the universe Where this could happen and we don't Think about what does that Mean everything that you said love Everything is uh uh counter entropy goes Against the way Uh the basic physics of the universe so Maybe actually the atoms really don't Like what we're doing they want us to Stop they've been trying really hard to Stop and despite that we somehow uh Started this whole bacteria thing for For like a billion years and now we're Hearing it I give it kind of the other Way I don't think there's any purpose to Purposelessness right so so why would Anything be here if we if the drive Weren't towards Creativity right if the drive warrant

Towards those subatomic particles not Being nothingness that blips in and out Of existence right like we think is Going on in empty space you know for Light years upon light years right but Is Is there a design either natural or Intentional for Um a schema right a scenario that allows For the incredibly rare but not Non-existent Eddie pool of counter Entropy where good can happen right Where creativity can happen where Ultimately something can grow something Novel can happen there's no novelty in The vastness of space even though There's not nothing there there's Novelty here because I think the the Layers of uh of emergence start stacking Very very very high when we're in the a Place of counter entropy which then Could provide even thoughts about like Good and evil right the idea that Creating that preserving is good right It's what we build upon it's how we get To the Eddie pool of counter entropy Right so then destruction is not good You know what what good comes of Aggression and destruction right you Know unless we're protecting we can Think of of outlying cases but just Think in general concepts right the Destruction destroys it brings us Towards a state of entropy towards a

State of nothingness whereas goodness Commonality Um collaboration right Nurturing right brings Novelty it brings new existence into the Universe and I think we don't we don't Think about that we're in the middle of Something so vast and built on top of so Many layers and I think it leads us to Be Cavalier you know with with human Life including often our own So you think this there's a underlying Creative force of the universe that uh That might even have a kind of Built-in morality to it where Creating is better than destroying And then that somehow maps on onto our Society where we kind of try to figure Out what that actually means in terms of Good and Evil so there that's some Something is there like that but it's Like but it has to be It's like so nice it's so perfect Because it's rare Is sufficiently rare where we have our Own space like you can like close the Door and it's like I need to be alone Right now as our human civilization to Work on my thing so it's sufficiently Rare that there's not other alien Civilizations they're just like Constantly knocking on our door Destroying us Um but it still exists that's weird

Right right it's so fantastically Improbable yeah that I think we should Be very respectful of it and I think you Said there's a creative force that Values creativity yes things to be well Sure if it's a creative Force right it's Existence its ability to exist and to Create Comes from something other than entropy Right something other than so much Dispersion that there's nothingness Right so so the creative force will Value The sanctity of things right you know Keeping things together not destroying Things right building novelty including Novelty of knowledge novelty of Sentience I mean it fits with the idea That we're not nothing that that's Incredibly improbable and that there are These many many layers of emergence that We're standing upon and I think it tells Us something that we're not doing Ourselves a service to ignore right it's Not just a jump to saying oh there's a Religious answer to everything he says No it's saying Science isn't a God either right so if We if we if we think of science as a Tool and not as an endpoint in and of Itself what is the science telling us Like I remember showing up at medical School and it really is true I mean I Knew so little about the human body I'd

Only been in hospitals to visit people I've taken pre-med classes but sort of Intensely at once after I didn't take Any and I was working in business I I Knew next to nothing and and I had this Idea that was so naive in retrospect That I was going to learn so much right I was going to answer these questions Because I was going what's going on in The body what are these organs doing What are these cells and what I learned Was There was so much more that was amazing And mysterious and seemingly impossible Like even how a cell functions right Like what is going on inside of a cell The transport mechanisms and energy Functions and diffusion functions and Then you can go down to smaller levels Than that but when you come back out and You say how all those cells make a Kidney it's not Explanatory you know I remember asking The OB who had delivered my first child Right I was so amazed and I asked him Like what do you think like what do you Know you do this right you you're seeing This life created and you know and his Thought was nothing where I just marvel You know I mean I get to do this but I Just marvel at it and I think the more We know About us the more we respectfully Marvel And we should do that we should

Proactively Marvel at every aspect At every layer Uh that uh where the novelty emerges yes We'd be a lot less likely to say hey I Don't like you because of something Whatever it is you know race religion Culture sexuality gender identity Whatever it is you know oh I want to say I want rights that you don't have right Or I want what you have right I mean There's so much of this and I understand It's driven by scarcity and by human Insecurity and envy and all of these Things that I think could drive us Towards destruction but all of that Recklessness comes from Not having this initial appreciation and Respect that you're referring to and Just marveling at like wow okay we're Here that's amazing let's start with That But if we Marvel at this whole thing The human project The Human Condition The all the different kinds of human Beings that are possible What do you then make of that some Humans do evil onto the world First of all are all human beings Capable of evil if we're in the process Now we've got a little bit of momentum In terms of marveling yeah the layers of The cake uh should we also Marvel at the Capacity for evil in all of us yeah is That capacity there I believe that it is

Yes so what do we understand about the Psychology of evil where does that Originate in the human mind is it there In the new biology is it there in the Environment in the upbringing can I Clarify first I think the capacity for Evil I do believe is in all of us There's a difference between enacting Evil and and a sort of preset followed Developed plan of evil right I don't Believe that all of us are capable of Doing What the people who perpetrate the most Evil do right but I do believe that We're capable of of perpetrating evil Right and the the thought one thought Would be that there are drives in US I Mean there certainly seem to be drives In US towards survival towards Gratification uh in some ways towards Pleasure and that can get very Complicated because pleasure inside can Be relief of distress so if I feel very Badly about myself and I can feel a Little better about myself by making you Feel worse about yourself right which That plays out in a lot of human beings Is is that an indirect way of bringing Pleasure right so it gets very Complicated what's going on inside of us And sometimes the perpetration of evil Things can be through misunderstandings Anger impulsivity I mean the things that We can that we can have in Us and other

Times there can be there can be other Things going on which are through the Lens of unhealthy human psychology so For example the psychology of Envy which I think drives the Lion's Share of the Orchestrated evil right there's a Difference between impulsive reflexive Evil and highly orchestrated evil which I think is driven by Envy highly orchestrated evil are we Talking about a skilled societies like Totalitarianism so if we're thinking About about somebody like Hitler so as At scale Orchestration of evil Envy driving that So I mean that's really interesting to To think about I'd love to hear more About it so some of it there might be Some psychological forces that are in Tension With each other so one is If you look at somebody like Hitler It's difficult to know what was going on In his mind but it's possible to imagine If you just look at dictator's thought History that he thought he was doing Good not just for himself but for the People he believed have value so one way You can have what you can achieve what We consider is evil Is uh by devaluing some group of people And uh that could be all group of people So it could have sort of a narcissistic Type of idea that you basically don't

Care about other human beings that's one Envy is different I mean maybe they can Collaborate together uh or even uh like You mentioned you can actually enjoy Doing bad to others that's almost like Different because if if all it is is Like narcissism uh you disregard you Don't care what how others feel then you Can just have make cold calculated Military almost economic decisions and You don't care if a million people die Here or there but if you actually enjoy Some aspect of that or there is like a Resentment that fuels it it's not just Cold calculation it's like fueled by Some kind of personal or uh cultural Resentment I think it's all fueled by That you think so I think it's all field But I think the idea that say Hitler Thought he was doing good good right it Is like that is such a thin facade that It flies away like a handkerchief in a Hurricane right that Okay yeah I think that's wow that's Beautiful yeah it's it's built upon like It says I'll explain logical lies right Because people can build lies upon Specious logic right so the idea that Okay I am doing good because I believe That this Um ethnicity of people is good and this Is bad and now I'm going to do this and I'm going to make the world different And it's going to bring better to the

World and now I'm raising armies and I'm Building concentration camps and I think Like this is all in the service of good Is I don't I don't think anyone ever Thinks that right or they they think That but with because they're living in The surface patina right like they're Not allowing the hurricane in that blows Away the handkerchief and says like this Is all this is all this is all evil Right I mean how do you decide that some Group of people is good and some is bad And like what what is it that you take Upon yourself to to to play God or make Decisions about the world and I think What really is going on is people are Not doing that right there's something Cobbled together to say like why this is Right and this is okay right and this is Even good right but it is all A lie right it's a lie that's adorning The the what I believe is the fact I Believe that what's going on is the Gratification of Envy inside of the Person and whether someone says oh I Think this is good and it's okay if a Million people die or I'm going to enjoy That a million people die I think is the Same I think the the enjoyment the Gratification of the orchestrated evil Is there and that it all comes from Vulnerability and insecurity it all Comes from deficits in the sense of self Right I'm gonna have to process that

My my my slow Penny and PC is processing That so Envy underlies all of it the Psychological concept of envy what is That I keep putting myself in the mind of Hitler I guess that that has nothing to Do it doesn't have to do with uh Jews or Slavic people does it have to do with Specific amorphous Other In his mind that he's envious of I think It has all to do with him All to do with him there's not a love of The people with whom he Allied or even a Sense of the people who he persecuted Were worse than him it's all projections Out of what was going on inside of him Which was an intense sense of inadequacy A rage at being someone he perceived as Lesser than that's the difference Between so we can define words in Different ways even within psychology But let's say we take the definition Here of sort of jealousy as being sort Of benign right the idea that oh I might See something that you have that I don't And I might think I'd like that maybe I'll work harder to get it right or Maybe I can't get it maybe it's that You're younger than I am they say okay You know okay you know you have that and I don't I mean I have other things too I'm okay anyway but I might want those Things but it's very benign the jealousy

I'd like to be younger I'd like to be Richer whatever it is that we people Think right But it's just a thought and it's a Thought that can result in strivings or Acceptance right it's very very Different it's completely different than Envy which is destructive it's the Thought of I see something that you have That I don't have right and instead of Me working for it or accepting that I Don't have it what I'd like to do then Is bring you down Take you down to where I am and then I'll feel better right because from the Perspective of Envy it is all relative Those jealousy a kind of is about Because he said completely different but It's jealousy potentially like a gateway Drug to Envy like does it does it like Is it a slippery slope I think no I Think that jealousy is a natural just Part of the human phenomenon that we go Through life and we see like oh I'd like To have I think it's probably part of Our incentives right if you know if if I'm Farming and I have one row of crops And I look over and I see that you're Working harder and you have two and I'd Like to have two that can make me work Harder to have too you don't think it's Slippery slope from one to the other to At first you're like I'd like to work Harder but then you keep failing and the

Weather sucks and you keep failing and The other person becomes more successful Plus he's got a new hot wife now there's A nice tractor uh does it feel this all Working and then you get this idea that You know what I'm gonna steal all this Stuff I'm gonna murder him And that you know don't you think that's Just like a leap no I actually think It's the same phenomena no no because But I think there are things that are in Us as humans right so so the things are Just by being human like we can for Example feel we can feel compassion Right we can feel interest right we can Feel jealousy in in that benign sense Like it's all part of just being human If we if we start going from hey you Have more crops than I have and and you Know that seems like actually have a Better life in a lot of ways than I have I'm gonna kill you that that's not that Is not a progression of something benign Right that is but wait wait a minute but There is a human leap of the same thing Isn't it is because you're drawing a Line stuff you're saying like this is The this human stuff it's regular life It's benign But it feels like this benign thing is Just a low magnitude thing Version of the thing that's not benign Because there's there's probably a gray Area where it stops being put like

Jealousy you can have like healthy gel So you can have a little bit slightly Unhealthy there's a that's I think Jealous Guy this John Lennon song that I Love is just beautiful I mean there's Like this jealousy inside relationships Can make you feel like uh you know take Your minds in all kinds of silly Directions and it's crazy but like it Feels like that that's an extra neighbor To like being really crazy and toxic and All that kind of stuff inside Relationships and then that feels like a Next door neighbor it's like an Apartment building that feels like a Next door neighbor uh that eventually Gets to Hitler with uh with envy and Resentment of entire population of People you're right that there's a Causal yeah there can be a causal chain Right like if I'm not feeling jealous Maybe I won't ever feel envious right so So you can see okay so it can kind of Lead to it can open gates to huh like How much do I dislike that you have Things that I don't have right so yes in That sense but and I think this Supply That I think is so important that I Think there is a disjunction right it's If there's an asymptotic shift right From one thing to another because if you Speak in my language mathematically yeah Yeah yes that that's it's a way to Convey right something that's entirely

Different because if I start thinking You know I'm not going to try and make Things better right I'd like instead to Harm you that's that's qualitatively Different oh it's almost like you know What it is it could be I don't know what You think about this but Is uh in which direction Your motivation is pointing so if in the Response to the feeling of jealousy Your sort of Um the motivation says okay I understand This feeling I want to do less of it I think there's there must be a Threshold to which you actually want to Do more like it becomes a vicious Downward cycle so that's what Envy Becomes like the first feeling this idea That I'm gonna kill the farmer It turns into like more and more and More and you can't sleep and you're Visualizing the farm and it becomes the Devil and like you have this very you Know it's it's a it's basically a thing That builds into the negative Direction Versus returns to the stable Center yeah Now a person is cultivating evil yeah Right they're saying hey there can be Seeds of Evil in all of us let me take That seed out dust it off plant it Nurture it right and then grow that seed Of evil which will affect all other Parts of the person's life right they They won't behave the same towards

Others in their in their life they'll They'll they'll become different as they Nurture fantasies of evil as they begin To create with side within inside of Themselves the the motivation and the Will right to enact the evil right the Hitler analogy would say look you take Someone who had a bad childhood right Who who like was not loved who who was Taught and told that he was less than Okay like that we know that happens I Mean that's why child abuse is so evil Right it's telling children the the Worst possible wrong lessons right They're not good enough they'll always Be hurt you know they can't keep Themselves safe they don't deserve Safety right so then you take someone Who then nurtures that seed of evil Which is a choice and says well I can't Paint well enough and no one appreciates Me and I don't like how I look and I Don't fit in with the people I want to Fit in with and then and on and on and On and on and on and there's a hatred of Self through that lens of misery of just Being repulsed by the self but that's Unacceptable to the self so oh it has to Be someone else's fault Right it's not my fault whose fault is It right and then you see on mass the an Action of evil towards groups of people Who who somehow in this person's mind Right are responsible for his misery and

There's the justification of evil and Then all the you know whether it's this Will be better for the economy this will Be good this will be that like that's All lies built to justify the evil those Are surface level narratives yes and the Envy is the the deep down mechanism that Enables and that's the endpoint that's Being served what's being served is Destruction right which is why it always Brings more destruction right I mean how Many times do do Wars that were started for purposes that We would look and say like those were Evil purposes like how many times Does good come of that even we look at The modern world what comes of it is More evil is more destruction and Hitler's outward destruction eventually Came Inward and you know you see Pictures of what Berlin looked like After the second world war right it Wasn't just destruction perpetrated Outward as awful as that is it's it's It's catchy right like people used to Worry if you you know before the during The time of the Manhattan Project right If you start this Chain Reaction you Know will you blow the whole world up Right or will it stop within this bomb Or not and we see okay the chain Reaction of evil hasn't yet blown the Whole world up but look at the look at How the catastrophe spreads and you

Think 50 to 60 million people dead in The second world war which truly was a World War what destruction was spread Around the globe and this is something That can't be stopped once the Chain Reaction starts like if Hitler was Successful like it would just keep going If he had been I think if it's personal Psychological level I mean right because We think from the perspective of Destruction success would have needed Led to the need to conquer more then There's factions and infighting and then Eventually you get the same mass Destruction right and and never does the Inaction of evil satisfy what the person Is initially seeking like people want to Feel better about themselves right we Like winicot who was uh a British uh Pediatrician who who wrote about Children and adults from a very deep Perspectives he wrote about the idea of Good enough right and then you can sort Of extrapolate that like we all want to Feel good enough like not just limp over The line good enough but I want to feel Good enough that I'm a decent person in The world and like what I do matters and You know I can I can have an impact on People and you know people can like me And care about me it's there's a Simplicity there that people want that When people don't have and there's Certain other factors maybe they're

Temperamental factors or historical Factors can lead to trying to soothe the That deficit right through envy and and I think it starts with with it starts With that and it often starts in Childhood not always but it often starts In childhood when when the the child's Brain and psychology are so vulnerable And you know you see Salient child abuse If you know if you look at what was Hitler's background and what was Stalin's background and I mean you could You could look at almost anyone who's Perpetrated evil or they're serial Killers or whatever it may be the the Majority not everyone but the majority Had these lessons in childhood that said You're not good enough you can't keep Yourself safe no one cares about you and And in a subset of people that's going To generate envy and that you know that That seed of evil then gets planted and Nurtured As a fighter jet Brewers above us the Sound of a fighter Jetta boss it's been Good by an orchestra if you get you Quickly forget the comfort of being in a Peaceful place that's one thing I saw in Ukraine Is um Hey you quickly get comfortable here the Whole trip back I was thinking it's so damn good to be In America it's a whole just a whole

Like it's like a three day trip back It's so good to be American We might take that for granted It's a population but I do agree So the destruction never alleviates the Envy Are all humans capable of envy I believe the answer is yes if you think Do we all have the possibility of evil In us I think the answer to that is yes But we have Free will we have choice we we can Choose what we do with that which is why Just because someone is a sociopath you Know for example is it doesn't mean that They're not responsible I mean our you Know our medical legal jurisprudence Right has Um has absolutely borne that out that Legally medically we think okay if we're Responsible presuming we're healthy We're not unhealthy in other ways it Eliminates our ability to to be Circumspect but that we're responsible For what we do and don't nurture inside Of us I mean there are plenty of things We could decide to nurture anger and Hatred about you know I can think of Slights difficulties whether it's Something someone else has done to me or I could blame fate or I could be mad at God or the world we can all make those Choices and we're responsible for them Or if we're recognizing things in us

They're like oh I you know I too have That in me but I don't want to nurture That I don't want to Foster that or do I Choose to nurture and Foster that and I Think ultimately in our subject of Hitler as as evil if Hitler had kept Winning and winning right I think Ultimately he would have been the only Person on Earth Right and I really do believe that Ultimately everyone everything else Would be killed because it's such Destruction right destroy everything Right and probably when that didn't work Then there's the destruction of the self Right because Nothing Soothes Envy that is stoked by the sort of Flames of evil and what you see is more And more anger and more and more Frustration which is why I really do Believe someone like that who who Nurtured evil in themselves that way Ultimately would would destroy they'd be Like him and one other person then he'd Kill the other person I think that's Really powerfully said but even just to Return to the jealousy versus Envy I Still think that it's the same Flame And envy is just the bigger version of It so I I think I just in my own personal life I've felt jealousy towards others like

You said like oh this person Has a I don't know a cooler thing drink It whatever trinket I cared about and Usually it's when somebody's really Close to the the trinket You're Building Uh and I I early on like in my teens I realized that Just just empirically speaking that Jealousy over a period of a week just Doesn't feel good And it's not productive it doesn't help Me build a better trinket Um or it does if I turn it not into Jealousy Towards another person but into a love For building a better trinket it's like Oh cool almost you know what like Proactively speaking uh and later in Life like people like Joe Rogan actually Have been really uh powerful in this for Me just as a fan of his To celebrate other people so it's almost As opposed to ignoring that other person With a cool trinket it's like Celebrating their awesomeness in my mind Yeah like just saying how awesome the Humans are able to do that and actually Just how awesome is that exact person And being able to do that yeah and that Somehow made me more capable to build my Own trinket better yes and it feels good Also like it makes me feel happy and now You're not jealous anymore you're not Jealous anymore right so that's why I

Think jealousy is different right Because he's saying there's a week of Jealousy like I don't like this right I Don't like but if you take that in a way That says wait a second actually this is Awesome this is fabulous and this person Did this that person's awesome right Then Then what you're not raining on anyone's Parade right and in not doing that even Inside your own mind you you gain a Greater cognizance of your own Capability right well if he if he can do That or she can do that why can't I too Like I want to build I want to make the Better trinket too right yeah now you're Thinking creatively nowhere in there Nowhere in there was the emergence of Evil I just disagree with that I think There was a choice made where I I looked At my if my life was darker more Difficult I think it has nothing to do With the actual little flame of jealousy I felt I think he has to do a lot more With the other context if if I If if my life were more difficult there Was more abuse there was more challenges I think that decision I could have made That decision a different direction yes Maybe I don't know Um yeah you you've written brilliantly About trauma if there's a bit more Trauma as the background noise of my Decision making I'll be more likely to

Uh not be able to uh pull away from the Gravitational field of that jealous Scene It would build and build and build A build so I think I it's not to Disagree with the brilliant a person but Like I feel like that flame that flame Has the capacity to engulf the whole World I guess the initial flame of Jealousy the little bit like especially The Younger You Are It's a it's almost like a habit you get To build in either direction because I've early on built a habit of saying I'm going to uh channel that jealousy uh Into productivity and into celebrating Other people in that jealousy disappears That was like a little Discovery for me I discovered that I get it that doesn't Come nobody tells that to you you kind Of discover that little thing I could Have easily not discovered it I could Have easily discovered That it kind of feels good to to like Mess with that other person to like uh Think uh shitty thoughts think negative Thoughts do negative things to the other Person because that could also I I just Think the capacity in that initial Feeling is there and I think it's the Decision we make because like otherwise I think it dissolves responsibility Like well surely I'm not Hitler Therefore this jealousy is normal no I Just feel like every jealous has the

Capacity to turn into maybe not Hitler But a toxicity that destroys in a small Way in your own little private life but It could destroy I agree that Jealousy brings us Can bring us dangerously close to Envy I Mean maybe maybe let's see if if Um a heuristic we could agree on right Let's see so let's say okay if we look At the terrain of the mind is geography Right so if I'm feeling happy satisfied Probably like I'm pretty far from from Envy land right right but but if I'm Feeling jealousy now I'm I'm I'm coming Kind of closer to that border right and I still I think there's it's a big thing To go over the border right that the Border isn't a gray area right there's a Border to go over and I think that you You I agree completely once certainly About trauma that the more trauma there Is because then the more Misunderstandings there are about self And feelings that I'm not good enough And then that can be anger about why and Who might be oppressing me and you know I hate myself and everyone else who Seems to be better like so the trauma Can drive us in these negative Directions but we're still crossing over Something right so so if you have the Trinket and I think that's awesome I Want that I want to work harder you know What I could do though is I could sneak

In tonight when no one's around and I Could move something around no no way I Don't want to do that right but it's Like I came over the Border a little bit And I thought maybe maybe that's a Better way but then I came back right And I'm and you're we're responsible for That right because it is a choice to say I don't want to work hard I'm already Working how how hard I don't want to Make my trinket better I want to think Mine's the best one I could destroy Yours right and you know we're letting Our mind go over that border and do we Say right run that forward right let's Run that forward and put people around Us who feel the same way and start doing It so we think less of ourselves and we Debase ourselves do we run headlong in Or do we come over that boundary and That's maybe the capacity for evil in us That we come over that boundary all of Us right at times but do we come over it And then said no that that's not my Choice that's not my self-definition I'm Coming back but I'm trying to justify Maybe there are certain other Sociological forces that help us cross The border too so in Nazi Germany we've Been talking about Hitler but then There's also the the German people and So maybe when there's a bit of a mass Hysteria so all these effects of like uh Combination of propaganda with the small

Jealousies and resentments of the people That don't cross the border uh uh Together they can with with great Charismatic leaders that sort of uh Really fuel that fire that we feel when We're part of the crowd so maybe those Individual kind of psychological Barriers we have to take that leap from Jealousy to Envy those can be made Easier the the leap can be catalyzed Through this mess 100 100 I think that To me is a massive point we're talking About layers of emergence right so if There's individual Consciousness then There's culture right and you know we're Products of the soup we swim in so to Speak people would say that when I was Growing up right we're products of the Soup we swim in so if the soup that We're swimming in is the soup of hatred Yeah right then it's going to Foster all Of those things so then you think about Just in a painting with a very broad Brush the culture created in Germany Prior to the second world war and like What was the impact of the reparations After the first world war right of the The punishing reparations impoverishment And you know basically humiliation right That people were feeling okay like That's there were a whole bunch of Decisions that impacted that cultural Perspective right then there must have Been aspects just like I see in many

Ways parallels in in America now of what Are our standards for what we're Communicating to others right how is the Media deciding like what's real and What's not real what's true what's not True what's hatred that that is only Going to do evil versus what's hatred That's okay because I might sell Something by by putting it out there I Mean that was we know that was going on In Germany during the rise of the Nazis And and I think there's a parallel to You know do we value truth do can we Stand together and say no matter how Much I might disagree with you Politically right we can still Understand like that there's there's Right and there's wrong right there's Truth and there's lies right so so I Think those are just two examples of Determinants of culture and then the Culture is a determinant of you know is Someone like Hitler marginalizes like That's a that's a crazy evil person oh My goodness like whoa right or is that Someone who gains a greater following And more adherence and then there starts To be a momentum because why because What did demagogues do I think they they Have a giant lasso and they harness the Envy of of thousands upon thousands upon Thousands of people that's right you Feel worse about yourself too doesn't Matter what the reasons are maybe it's

Your childhood maybe it's not maybe it's Job failings maybe it's professional Maybe it's personal doesn't matter like You have nv2 let's put it together and Do some destruction because that'll make Us feel better which is a lie So we've talked about Envy where does From the leader perspective uh things Like narcissism or sociopathy Psychopathy come into play What can you make of The world we live in maybe the leaders That run the world from the perspective From the lens of narcissism so I am Struck 20 years of doing What I do now I've been a psychiatrist For 20 years and I've practiced in so Many different settings and I consult in Different settings I've been fortunate To have a very wide purview of like What's going on in people and in the World around us And I am struck with amazement that of All the things I see that I say abnormal Let's say from the mental health Perspective this could be depression Panic attacks uh hearing voices Addiction but there's so many things That cover everything That narcissism is not Frequent compared to a lot of other Things so it's it's it's small in terms Of their narcissistic diagnosis right It's it's much less than many other

Things but it causes the Lion's Share I Don't just mean the most compared to Anything else but but I think more than 50 the majority of Bad things evil things destructive Things that I that I see in the world Around us I think narcissists are wildly Destructive because they are driven Completely they are lodged completely in The lane of Envy Can you um try to sneak up and we don't Want to be lost in definitions but can You try to sneak up to a definition Non-clinical definition of narcissism That we're talking about so narcissism Is a deep Pervasive and unquestioned sense of Inadequacy In the self that comes along with anger And fear and vulnerability Fear of Destruction fear of annihilation That is compensated for by Aggression by is it by the the mechanics Of Envy by trying to make the self uh Seem better at the expense of others by Taking from others uh by being Completely Cavalier to the thoughts and Feelings of others that narcissism is Not arrogance now narcissism is the Opposite of arrogance there is such a Deep sense of inadequacy and Incompetence in the self that the Defensive structure around that becomes Dominated by rocket fueled Envy

So the Machinery of narcissism is Envy But uh what do you make of the kind of More popularly discussed kind of symptom Of narcissism which is a seeming Not caring about other people Sort of a very inward facing focus in Terms of the calculation you make when Making decisions about the world Narcissistic people definitely care About other people right it's the people Who are schizoid right and say that Don't don't necessarily register other People right but narcissism people care About other people but it's entirely Vis-a-vis the self right if I'm schizoid I don't really notice or care much who You are right but if I'm narcissistic I Absolutely care because I'm watching Every last detail of you what might you Have that's better than me yeah right It's it's an it's an incredibly intense Focus upon individuals and demographics Of people but the priority the the the Goal is entirely about the self which is Why it can become easy to say I don't Care if a million people die right That's how different is that from going Out and destroying one person or a Million people right it's it's in the Same category of those people only there Exist is only meaningful in how it Relates to me But it's still Meaningful it just seems like a very

Difficult uh leap to take that I don't Care that a million people die That Seems to be even with Envy That seems to be a big Like feeling and thought to have if you At all care about them Are other people I guess Tools for alleviation of your sense of Inadequacy right I mean I don't even Care about in that like being caring at All I mean caring about in that noticing That the person exists right I mean Someone who wants money and and notices That there's a hundred dollar bill out Cares about that I mean they don't care About the the 100 Bill and that doesn't Mean anything to them just have thoughts And feelings but but it's going to Attract attention they care about it Because it's something that they want Right the same way people will care About others but only from the Perspective of do you have things that I Want or can I feel better about myself By taking something from you by making Things worse for you people often talk About narcissism as like the opposite of Empathy Uh-huh but sort of empathy again depends How you define it but it's a Is a is a careful consideration Of the mental space of another person of How the other person sees the world

And and so you're kind of saying that Narcissism narcissistic people would be Also be very good at that in in order to Understand How maybe the other person can be Manipulated or something to alleviate Your sense of inadequacy right so There's a difference between the Mechanics of empathy so let's say again We can Define things different ways Let's say empathic Attunement is the Ability to be attuned and to think okay What's going on in you what might you be Thinking what might you be feeling some People have a lot of empathic Attunement But that's a that's we could look at That as mechanistic right it doesn't it Doesn't equate to care right an empathic Attunement Can come along with empathy or not Right so so yes people who are Narcissistic they're they're they can Mentalize well so you mentalize meaning The ability to to understand or to Consider thoughts feelings motivations And other people right so so people who Are narcissistic can have empathic Attunement or mentalization depending Upon how we want to describe those Things but that has nothing to do with Care with actual empathy or kindness or Or consideration so in that sense Empathy usually popularly used means That you care like your happiness is a

Line this is uh I need to read this book I've read so little science fiction That's been one of my goals for this Year to catch up on some science fiction So uh Robert Highland uh from Stranger In a Strange Land has this quote about Love which is love is that condition Where another person's happiness is is Essential to your own so that's a good Definition I guess of empathy where yes You're very sensitive so mechanistically Very sensitive to the state of another Person's mind And your goal is to maximize their Happiness it's like essential to your Own happiness so the the happinesses are Aligned and when that's like elevated to Its highest forms you can call that love Romantic love friendship and so on okay Okay so one more thing about the nurses Some people can be sort of benign Narcissists where they want great things For themselves right but if they have Enough great things they can sort of Tolerate others being happy too and and These are people who sometimes are Actually quite highly liked right Because they have to have the most money The most power the most of anything Anything more than anyone else could Challenge but as long as I have that It's okay that you have some too right And then that can make you happy and can Make you like me right so so benign

Narcissists can be can be well liked From that perspective but It's still all about them and that can Change if for example there's a scarcity Of resources now right but but they're Generally they're not people who are Being overtly destructive although that They're over the border into the you Know into the Envy territory right Malignant narcissists are very different Where they then want to have everything So they so even if I have a thousand Times more than you do I Still Envy you What you have because I want to have I Don't think I can feel good enough about Myself unless I have everything And once I have everything I won't feel Good enough about myself either and I Don't have to have more right it's like That's malignant narcissism which we we Think of as sociopathy right again we Can Define these words in different ways But they're very very negative Concepts You know it's that's that's profound Sociopathy malignant narcissism uh you Know Envy writ large sociopathy is Malignant narcissism that's a convenient Way to think about it Uh no because we can do sort of Sociopathic things that but not be Sociopathic like well you know I tell a White lie it's it's like sort of Sociopathy on steroids right is is then You know Envy writ large is malignant

Narcissism well just like you're saying Like there's empathic Attunement as you Said so there's the the mechanistic Aspect of empathy and sociopathy and Then there's the big label you get Attached if you're just doing that thing Regularly I guess living your life Through that lens yeah right yeah and uh Is there a nice Spectrum that's like Narcissism sociopathy and psychopathy is It all the same kind of a nice stroll Through the woods off the cliff or not Really because Words don't have clear definitions like Psychopathy and sociopathy there's no There's no there's no real definition of Psychopath or psychopathy or does that Mean someone's sociopathic but psychotic Like there's really not a we end up Using those words colloquially right Which is why you know Concepts that we Can Define like you like Envy empathic Attunement Um narcissism even though there might be Nuances and definitions like we can Define them in ways that are widely Accepted including within psychology and Psychiatry so it's nice to just think About this a broad umbrella of Narcissism and the levels to which it's Benign or malignant and then also Separating into the different mechanisms Like interaction by interaction which Sometimes can be narcissistic but

Broadly speaking do you do everything Through the lens of malignant narcissism That makes you a right a sociopath or a Malignant narcissist yes and the thing I Would I would add to that is the thought About culture right it's like how does The the cultures were in whether it's The culture of a household right the Culture of a community the culture of a Nation or the world right how does that Impact what unfolds in that person and Then how does what unfolds in that Person impact that culture well that's The the question is what unfolds in that Person Yeah how does culture affect it but how Does your own psychological development Unfold that because narcissism in Leaders is the most impactful thing Right who are the most impactful Individuals what is the most impact of Individual psychology we have it's Usually leaders of countries or leaders Of major organizations and so on and one Of the things you mentioned with benign Narcissism it's that seems to be aligned With success right if you care about Your own success That that's going to be you're more Likely to be have narcissistic Tendencies I suppose Um and so my question is when you Follow that threat of narcissism to Become the leader of a country

Now you have a lot of new interesting Psychological complexities to deal with Like power that'll cliche that power Corrupts Does that is it possible for power to Corrupt the human mind to where it Pushes you farther and farther Into a malignant narcissism into this Destructive Envy what are your thoughts On power like the effect of power in the Human mind yeah Power is Um Let's say an accentuator right an Intensifier right so so I think it is True that there are people who can be Sort of in a gray area where there are Malignant narcissistic Tendencies and And behaviors but there are also ways in Which that person can think outside of Themselves and think in a broader way And and think sort of kindly about Others and and they're they're sort of Trying to navigate whether they're aware Or not that they're trying to navigate Between one and the other and then the Allure of power is well just look just Exercise that power and you'll feel Better right you're gonna it'll show you Right that you're good enough look at The power you have and whatever may be Going on in the person's mind that then Power yes can corrupt yes I think that's Why we we have to have checks and

Balances right because we don't you know We we are all inscrutable to ourselves Let alone to others so so we must have Checks and balances and we should always Have them on ourselves as well as on Others we should we should want that for The health of ourselves in the world Around us Um so I think all of that is true but There are also people who don't Necessarily become I'm corrupted by Power right that there can be an Understanding and a grounding uh that They're a steward of power right uh you Know a Shepherd you know I mean the ways People describe utilizing power and Utilizing it a benign what it in a Benign way that then Fosters the healthy aspects of self Right so like gratitude and humility Right if I mean if we if we could add a Healthy dose of gratitude and humility To everyone or to our society there Would be a sea change right but how do You how do you feel gratitude how do you Feel humility those things are Incompatible with narcissism Envy right With really the bad pull of things that We're talking about and part of the Reason I you know I'm so focused in my Work and really what runs through all of My thoughts about life is that the Impact of trauma right because trauma You know creates these false lessons and

It walls us off from truth and and you Know it starts to point towards the the Unhealthy ways of Um of trying to feel better about Ourselves but we have the health in US Two we have those Seeds of Health too That can grow into being a steward of Power and sharing power being Considerate and kind and we see a lot of That in the world too right it's not all Just the evil we you know we see plenty Of people who do good and who are Generous of spirit and you know we have Both in us and it is I think you're Talking about our culture and what the Seeds that we sow and and the climate That we set including putting Governors And boundaries around like how do we how Do we rein in or say that the more Aggressive the more envious or Destructive is unacceptable right how do We Foster the the part that's kind and Considerate and reflective and and slow To judge of like hey let's learn a Little bit more like how do we Foster That and I think a lot of that comes Back to early childhood education I mean I think we don't do nearly enough to Protect children and and as a corollary To that we don't do nearly enough to Educate children and we said I want to Write a book second book I write is Gonna it's gonna be everything I needed To know about life I learned as a second

Second year postgraduate Psychiatry Resident I was like why you know why Then did I learn so much about Unconscious motivation about the impact Of trauma about how we can be envious And how we can act out you know even About how our emotions Trump logic in us Like what why why don't we teach these Things when we're young enough to Understand like why is that other kid Bullying me right or why just because I'm a little bit bigger do I want to go Thump that other kid on the head like What what what's going on that we don't We don't do those things you know we Just we're tripping ahead of ourselves And we don't stop and think How are we using our resources how are We how are we shepherding forward the Next Generation which by the way is a Generation that's going to determine our Fates too right as we get older but we Don't you know do that I often think of Like in the Olympics you know you see Like the the great sprinters right and They've got to come out of the blocks Perfectly right because if they come out Of the box a little bit too fast they're Going to fall over right they're going To just fall forward and and I I often Just see that in my head about us as you Know as humans and as a culture that We're rushing so far forward we don't Stop and say wait let's let's keep the

Basics here the basic techniques of like How are we navigating forward in in Life Or do we just throw all those away Because I can get some benefit by Saying that you're bad even though What's being leveled against you is Wrong right like what why why do do I Take that or do I say no that there's Something more important here that we Want to Shepherd forward in ourselves as A culture and I think preventing Childhood trauma and changing the ways That we educate children and adults Would could again make a sea change and Maybe set us on a course towards even Towards a greater likelihood of survival As a species yeah so talking to like uh People in in elementary school About human nature And teaching them was so uh how people Can be resentful and envious and how how To deal with your emotions uh how to uh Yeah so these basic interaction things About human relationships about Friendships about betrayal about love About all those things like it just it's Actually strange that we don't we kind Of hope the parents talk about that kind Of stuff right but then the parents Often Uh you know need therapy themselves but Parents just didn't learn it yeah I mean I'm not joking that I was I was mad you Know second year after medical school

Like how is it like I think even things In my own life and you know how I you Know like how much shame I felt after my Brother's suicide like I was already an Adult right as a young adult but I felt So much shame I didn't like I had no Understanding that that oh look it's It's a it's a reflex to trauma right to Feel guilt and shame and that of course I was feeling that it didn't mean it was True because I felt it but I mapped the Fact that I felt ashamed to the fact That I should have felt guilty and Ashamed and I like led to some very Negative things in my life and I had to Sort of pull myself back from and Recover from and like I didn't know that Right I didn't know the automaticity of The reflex and how pervasive it can be And how it can put blinders on us and I Mean it's just one example but you know It's example of something big that Happens to people that we don't learn Learn about and I find myself sometimes Having conversations with a person Because I still do a lot of clinical Care of having conversations with a Person after a tragedy and I'm saying I Can't believe right again I'm saying the Things that this person didn't learn in Elementary school because like none of Us did right and then look at the misery And the suffering and then I think this Is one person among how many millions

Among Us who you know who try and go About their way without knowing things That are easily knowable because they Don't even know that they're knowable Because we don't teach them to ourselves So how to deal with trauma that trauma Happens first of all uh that suffering Can happen and small trauma and big Trauma all that can happen and there's Natural ways to deal with it so Um in the case of traumas you write About And we can also just talk about some More of the details of that but it's It's good to uh bring it to the surface To talk about it to not be ashamed to Hide it inside to be some kind of secret Uh that it's actually Uh I mean there's a lot of positive Things to say here at least from my Perspective one is it's discussing Trauma and dealing with trauma together With other human beings by talking about It is a path to deep friendship and Intimacy with those people Um there's a dark aspect to trauma to War that Communicating it or sharing it Bonds you yes so like the other side of Trauma is like love is uh you need that Hardship not you don't need it but Hardship and Trauma can often be a Catalyst for a deep human connection if You bring it to the surface as opposed

To kind of hide it on the inside I mean If we can just Linger on it because You've been through a few Uh very traumatic events in your life When you were 25 years old as you Mentioned your brother committed suicide What did that event teach you about life About death And about the human mind What certainly brought me face to face With the truths of life and death Because I had not had A major trauma before then so there Wasn't a major trauma sort of in my Developmental years that what can carry Forward is a sort of omnipotence defense Right I mean the thought is that when We're toddlers we all have like an Omnipotence defense which is like I can Just try and get up and run and move and If I run into something I'll get up and Do it again right that we you know we Kind of have to and it's part of the Protection of the parent Etc but we we Think we can get out there in the world And do things and we just do and if we Don't have major traumas we can sort of Carry through the oh like bad things Aren't going to happen to me you know Like they I know that they're there and I know they happen to people but they Don't happen to me right and sometimes What will happen is being confronted With such a tragedy wipes that away very

Very quickly and then the person feels Extremely exposed like oh I I thought That like I was going to be okay and now I know that I'm not and then and that Can start to lead to what does that mean And now is this all coming for me now You know is is did I get so lucky for 25 Years nothing bad happened on nothing But bad things are going to be happening Am I cursed is my family cursed right And and I think that leads to say what The learning about the human mind In retrospect I I think I understood at The time to some degree but not like I Do now I can put words to it now right Enough I'm like how Incredibly important powerful uh Powerfully important negative emotion is Right that how a sense of guilt and Shame and vulnerability can can just Pervade our entire life perspective so All of a sudden we're swimming in a very Different soup and it's a frightening Soup and it's a toxic soup and I'm most Struck by that and and that goes along With the idea that look we're not taught That that emotion always beats logic you Know like I think the idea of Descartes Any other idea that we're rational Creatures you know the kind of comes Down to us through Western thought is Like completely not true like we're Rational creatures only if there is an Emotion grabbing for our attention right

Like you know we're attending to one Another we're being very logical right What we're doing now if we heard a Frightening noise right outside the door Like we'd be entirely different right The emotion would Trump everything is They stop paying attention to this right Now safety is at stake and we we we Think differently feel differently Behave differently right and this is What happens to us not just in Situations where something drags us from Yanks from one emotional state to Another but it can be very very Pervasive so my sense of anger Frustration Inadequacy and then soothing and Unhealthy ways you know soothing by Drinking too much and then kind of Hating myself in the first place and and Hitting the world around me and then you Know starting to think well who cares You know what happens like you know There's some very dark thoughts and and Choices that came from a changed Perspective of Self in the world So what do you do in that Um because of trauma again small or Large You find yourself Swimming or drowning in a soup of Negative emotion what do you do What do you do with that emotion I mean We don't have to even talk about trauma

Is I think the interesting thing is You know Um any one of us throughout the day can Find ourselves Uh taking a bit of a dip in the pool of Negative emotion what do we do with that The first thing is to separate how we Feel from what's true Because we don't do a good job of that As humans if I feel Bad about myself it's very easy to then I conclude like I'm bad right if I feel Ashamed of myself I conclude I'm a Terrible person who's shameful right This is that you know there's an old Psychodynamic concept of what what these Call an observing ego still gets called That it's not ego in the sense of Arrogance right it's the ability to step Outside and to to see ourselves right so That's what lets us keep the difference Between our feelings right and what we Know to be true like we could be very Angry at someone and so I think that Person is terrible I think the person's Stupid I think that right now because Like something negative just passed Between us this inside of me it's just Because of how I feel like when I when I Can separate that how do I actually Think about that person right and you Know we get driven so so frequently by How we feel because how we think Therefore what we believe right just

Kind of comes on its heels as if the Feeling is dragging it along and I've Been struck by that it's one of the Things that has struck me so The most right among the very most in 20 Years of of working as a psychiatrist is How we are led by our our feelings our Emotions as if they are truth and then They create truth because we Embrace What they're telling us as true And that is I think incredibly I think It's how people learn Prejudice I think It's how people learn self-hatred I Think it's how we learn so many Destructive behaviors and then the the Blinders on us come in more and more and More and more so separate you know we're Driven by what we feel unless we Understand that what we feel is Different from what we know to be true Or what we can decide on one way or Another and that requires Realizing and catching the emotions Themselves realizing that it's an Emotion a feeling comes into your mind Overtakes you a feeling of anger Dislike hatred all of that it just comes In it's like why did that person just Cut me off in traffic or something like That that that feeling so what you just Kind of take it as a feeling and Realize it's a feeling that doesn't Represent some deep reality about the World that's fundamental or you that you

Just kind of watch it and Let it pass Which is the natural way of things yeah We decide if it means anything you know If I'm mad right someone cut me off and You know I feel hatred and I want to Destroy them right to stop and thinking Look I I've got that in me I I can you Know the stress is running too high in My life like is it really good should I Be should I be on this road 10 minutes Behind schedule like is it what am I Really doing so we can learn but but yes It's an observation skill right and it's An observation skill that we can develop You know I often think about you know There's something called the tapestry Theory which I think initially was a Theodicy of explaining I believe this is True I'm not sure of this but the idea Was that oh we don't see God's plan Because we're we're up too close to it Right like as if there was a beautiful Tapestry on the wall and we're standing Right up it we're only going to see one Part of it we need to stand back from it And and you know I remember learning That religion studies class being really Fascinated with that at the time and and I think that there are a lot of things Things we do that about right and and in In training ourselves to have an Observing ego what we're saying is hey Look the just the the busyness of life

Or my own impulses or the pull of Emotions are trying to pull me up right Close to whatever tapestry there is There and I want to sort of resist that I mean I mean I'm better off if I really Stay further behind it and then I make a Choice if I want to come close to it if There's some really positive emotion or It's friendship or it's love or it's Nurturing whatever you know what let me Come right up to this right but I want To choose when I'm doing that I don't Want some Drive I didn't decide to like Take me by the back of the head and and Put me up against that tapestry so the Interesting exercise Uh for me and I think for a lot of People in modern civilization is the the Internet with social media that it it's Almost like going to the gym or Something like that at least that's the Way I see it because there's a bunch of Forces On uh social media that are trying to Make you feel things Most of it is kind of in the negative Space of feelings Because Um there is actually a strong gravity Pull to negative feelings for some Reason and so the uh and the Brain Notices them more I don't know what that Pull is but it's there and you get to Observe it on social media like if you

Actually just scroll through social Media You feel the gravitational pull of Negative emotions and I I just see as a Kind of exercise of like You feel the pull just like when you go To the gym there's a resistance and I Practice like stopping a stepping away To look at the tapestry right it's and There's different mechanisms I think all Of us have to learn uh for me there's a Kind of uh you mentioned uh gratitude And humility so Like if somebody uh if it's me Personally I've recently gotten attacked A few places here and there uh uh you Know if they're saying that they're much Smarter than me I practice kind of Humility like you mentioned and I kind Of imagine that they are smarter than me Those things like help me to kind of Like pull away like and then maybe they Have a lesson to teach me like I don't Take their sort of negative comments to Heart right but I imagine the human Being and like that they they might have A lesson to teach me and in general when It's more amorphous kind of negative Feeling I'll think the other thing is The Gratitude just like uh different Versions almost Mimifiable versions of like oh this is Pretty cool like we got a thing going Here there's like human civilization

Like bickering and having a little fun Like lunch food fight and it's kind of Cool like we get to interact in this way And Um there's a bit of humor there's a Thanksgiving dinner like if you like Thanksgiving dinner if you're arguing About Paul it can feel like really Intense like I can't believe you said This but if you zoom out it's like Family this is like this is amazing so That kind of feeling uh really helps and But it's like it really is like going to The gym it's like building up a muscle To be able to um Pull away from those emotions like I don't think I get to practice that Kind of emotion regular day-to-day life Because like you can't it's hard to get Those reps on social media you could Really get the Reps in it's kind of cool Like that's the way I I see social media Is a chance to sort of practice that Stoicism of like of gratitude of Humility of loving other people in the Face of this negative emotion all that Yes and you know there's there's a Certain kind of psychotherapy that that Talks a lot about this idea that like oh Everything is as it should be right Which doesn't mean from some moral or Justice point it's just that often if You look at things One thing leads to another to another to

Another in a way that's actually very Very predictable even though we might be Surprised about it right and so an Example so I would say that gratitude Often does come along with a healthy Pride right so so you you could say in The example you gave I'm being assailed On social media okay So you can say well you know there was a Time I sat out I I set forth to impact People right to to be able to reach People and to impact them right and look I feel a sense of both gratitude and Pride that I've done that right because Because you did it because of your your Effort right your work your intelligence Your thoughts like you're responsible For it right but also You feel gratitude because any one of us Who's here and has any opportunity has Reason to feel immense gratitude right So then you can say okay what's actually Going on here is something successful I Set out to do something and and I'm Doing it right And what it brings with it absolutely Includes being assailed there's no Surprise there right that that because Of because you know people who have Anything good serve as lightning rods For Envy so then yes there will be People who want to make up lies or Whatever they want to do because you Become a lightning rod for Envy by

Having succeeded at the thing you set Out to do about which you can feel a Healthy pride and gratitude right and Then I think that kind of puts it in its Place I mean you're still going to make Decisions about it but it makes sense Then like you you have a mechanism of Understanding it that not only makes Sense to you but reflects the truth of What's what you actually have done and Achieved and what's going on in the World around you well I wonder if we're All kind of a little bit unique in this Because for me uh I mean maybe it's Useful to kind of talk through my own Experience of it is um for me I try to Avoid especially in those situations to Feel Pride Because I'm just looking empirically I feel way happier if I focus on Humility If I ever think of like oh yeah you know When you do something meaningful or you Become more popular you're going to Experience these kinds of I feel the Attacks more and I I it's like me versus The world that's the feeling that you Start getting and that does not create a Pleasant feeling so to me the pleasant Feeling is like uh stepping away like Kind of laughing at it all right like With a with a smile and not like in a Negative like laughing at people but

Just like laughing at the the theater Like the circus of it like this whole Absurd existence we've got going on and Then just having a humility in like Everybody has a lesson to teach me it Just makes me feel good the pride thing I do like feeling When uh in in a positive pool of emotion So if I'm building a trinket And I finish it I'm like really happy With myself like I finished this thing And I usually actually like to do that Alone Like I don't need an audience for Pride I like to sit there and just like oh This is cool I did that you know uh but I just I find that in social Interactions Um pride is just a danger I guess it's a Dangerous drug for me because it like It's such a small It's a small step away from then losing All the humility and then you start Getting very defensive and that's not Going to that's just it starts you on a Spiral of negative emotion Um but I also I mean with with everybody You've mentioned this and will probably Sneak up to it in different directions Um I do think there's different brains That we all have like my brain is Exceptionally self-critical like Non-stop it took of a it's like an Engine that's always there

And um But at the same time you're I'm able to Zoom out and have gratitude and it just It's as if there's like two brains and They're like cohabitating happily And I can uh the better I get at this The more I can use the one that's Self-critical when I'm trying to be Productive because naturally I'm super Lazy so I'm trying not to be less lazy I'll be self-critical right and then uh When I'm not being lazy why just there's A special moment I want to enjoy that Moment I'll turn on the Gratitude engine I feel like generic advice that people Would give if your brain is Self-critical it's not a good thing Like you should probably get rid of that I don't know about that because it seems To be working yeah like I I kind of like It I kind of like this grumpy old man That's in there that's like Like that thing you did that really Sucked But I was like and I kind of you know There's a movie Grumpy Old Men okay I I Like I like that grumpy boy the grumpy Cat is in there and it's nice but yeah I Can have a bad effects on relationships And on uh maybe uh my well-being maybe As you get older and all that kind of Stuff so yeah you have to monitor all This kind of stuff but I don't know I Don't know which one is like because

You've kind of highlighted it's good to Have gratitude and humility but it's Also good to have a little bit of Pride I wonder what that like a set of Ingredients for healthy what like Healthy life looks like for each of us Whether we have to customize and figure Out what that is Because some of the cake is already Baked is the problem and because of the Trauma like if I was like eight years Old maybe I could be a little more Flexible but at this point like you got The thing you got and it's hard to like You can fix a lot with it you could it May not be easy but there's a lot of Plasticity and a lot of pliability there Across all ages Again people are different and there may Be idiosyncrasies of why one person is In a different place but but as a General rule I think the answer is Absolutely yes I mean people have Evolved and I've worked with people Who've really changed themselves and Broadened their conception and Understanding you know they're in their 80s or you know we I think we can do it At any stage of life and I would make a Case for For intra-psychic so not between people Necessarily right but inside of oneself For the feeling of Pride and maybe if we Call it self-esteem right like let's say

We call it self-esteem right or we could Call it healthy Pride we could put Either word to it but if you think about What we're trying to avoid is say a Sense of inadequacy then it is good to Sort of own what's ours We can put ourselves a little bit out of Balance Um either in terms of building up Resentments or in terms of decreasing Self-confidence right if we're not Owning everything that's ours right so So a thought thought I would have about Let's say about some pride or some Self-esteem right is it can work against Vulnerability right which we know can Also in some situations push us towards Jumping the boundary into envy and all Of that so so think about vulnerability If You conceive okay people are sailing me And you just go to a place of gratitude You know it can it can send a message That okay I'm just lucky and I hope I Continue to get lucky as opposed to like That's not true right like there's There's ability inside of me and Discernment inside of me that tells me I Can have a greater sense of confidence That I'll navigate what comes my way Right so because the The Pride or the Self-esteem part is owning what we've Contributed to the goodness we've Created right which doesn't in a sense

Helps us feel better about ourselves and It also helps us feel armed against say The slings and arrows of you know Whatever Outrageous Fortune may come Next I don't know I don't know I don't Know again disagreeing with an expert Here yes I think that's generally good Advice but I I think you mentioned Vulnerability I think it's like uh I've just been Doing a lot of research on Rocket Engines and Fuel and speaking of fuel I I just think I get a lot from being Vulnerable because vulnerable leads to Intimacy in friendships and Relationships I get a lot from being Intimately close with human beings just On a friendship on a on a like a ideal Level in conversations and so on and so I would rather err on the side of Vulnerability like to me pride is Destructive I think I already Yeah I I already have a pretty good Engine that says like Life is awesome I don't need help for That that's fine that one is working It's the it's I I just feel like the way To face the world That's full of uncertainty that could be Full of Cruelty is with Uh humility and gratitude I don't know I Did this pride thing it feels like I I Know that for a lot of people it's Really important to really

Um really work on Pride to make sure They don't uh crumble under the pressure Of like the they don't give in to this Insecurity that destroys them but I just For me empirically speaking I seem to be Happier facing the world with humility And just being grateful The Pride I'm Really worried about that like I just it Feels more destructive than anything See what I think as you're telling me That in order to be presumptuous but I Make some thoughts or some conclusions That tell me hey you're in a pretty Healthy place right and the reason I say That is because I agree completely about Vulnerability I mean think about Humility and gratitude make us Vulnerable right it's like wow I'm Grateful thank you I'm grateful for you You know we could get shot down or Something you know something bad could Happen and something could make us feel Bad so so yes we we need vulnerability If we if we try and eliminate Vulnerability we're living miles into The envy you know land right so you're Describing a healthy vulnerability but Then my brain says that's because on the Other side of this the Seesaw so to Speak has to be a healthy sense of self Whether we call it self-esteem or Healthy pride and then I'll cite what I Think is the evidence for that is you Describe the negative voice right as

Like the Grumpy Cat right but That's a good negative voice to have Right because it's telling you like hey That wasn't your best like come on do Better or right like you can do better Like this you know this there's a Negative voice in some ways but it Believes in you it's right it's it where That voice could be it could be a Negative voice that says you didn't do That well because you suck you don't Deserve anything good right why should You even be alive right I mean like That's the negative voice that you know That can gain so much force if there Isn't a balance of healthy self-esteem So I think because you're well balanced You know you you have what you need and Then having more of it seems like oh That's not so good but they're people Whose negative voice isn't the grumpy CAD it's it's hateful right and then That's a person who needs to to bring That into into greater balance yeah I Think my uh my negative voice is like a Grumpy cat that's like a French Existentialist maybe a little bit of a Nihilist but just kind of is It doesn't get hateful it's not like a Hitler cat so it's just a little it's a Little more Um yeah I guess there is kind of like This line that we've come across a Couple of times between the the benign

And the malignant right but of course You have to monitor that line I just I think you have to be careful uh When you face really difficult Situations of As you've gone through life more and More difficulties you you face a lot of Loss and suffering especially later in Life Uh you have to be careful with that Voice Uh that that grumpy cat can get awfully Confident and then if you don't have any Source of uh positive emotions in your Life you can become too heavy of a Burden Yes which I think I think this leads us To I think is a really important fact Right that there are some people like a Significant subset of people who get Happier as they get older they have more Contentment a stronger sense of self you Might think how could that ever happen Right like we're getting closer to death We're accumulating insults right like You know everything hurts a little bit More and we have less energy and we Accumulate losses and traumas why would Anyone Be be healthier across time if you're Happier across time and and what we see Is it's linked to the good to the things That we're talking about right it's Linked to say let's say vulnerability

Versus Pride like there's a good balance There right there's a lot of humility There's a lot of self-esteem the person Is is spending a lot of time standing Back from the tapestry and looking at it Right and and what can come into people Is in sort of a sense of equanimity like I sort of understand you know I'm being The best person I can be I'm you know And that's not always even great and They're things that I don't feel great About even while I'm trying to do that But but look I'm I'm being who I'm Choosing to be right and and that Doesn't have to be in some big way I'm Not saying that means any one specific Thing you know that means the person Who's taking care of their cat and Tending their Garden like that's enough We we have to have the you know love the Ability to put good things out in the World right and to put our our ability To work and be to make things different Out into the world and make things Better and if we're doing that we get Happier across time become because we Come to a sense of peace with ourselves I'm not supposed to be everything I'm Not supposed to do everything I'm not Supposed to fix everything right I'm Also not supposed to suffer all the time For the things I haven't gotten right You know what I guess I'm kind of and it Leads back to winnica right the the

British physician of I'm you know I'm Good enough And that seems to help people feel feel Happy you know contentment and be Generative and productive into later Life it's like that's what we all should Be wanting but it's even it's kind of an Afterthought though some people are like That as opposed to wait a second right Like what's going on with them and let's Do all of that Albert Camus writes in Mythic Sisyphus Quote there's only one real serious Philosophical problem and that is Suicide Deciding whether or not life is worth Living is to answer the fundamental Question in philosophy All other questions follow from that So basically to be or not to be Uh do you think there's a Uh truth to that statement this question Of why live at all Um do you think there's truth to that Statement being a really really Important question for us to answer yes Yes and what's the answer I think the answer is yes And I think kmu answered it yes too no I I I love his writing and and You know I think there was a A streak of nihilism that I think grew In his writing over the years and and The thought is I think that Cameo died

By Suicide I think we're not sure of That because it was a car accident Um but I've always read that as this This the primary scholarly opinion and I Think it's interesting that after his Death uh a book called the first man was Published which I don't know if he had Intended to publish I don't remember the Specifics about it but it's about him as A child right and it's interesting the First man I mean he was the first man in His existence right the most you know The one that felt and experienced Everything and there's sadness and and Distress and all in that book but There's a beauty of of life and living And experience and and I think to Compare that beauty like that's life Even if something's difficult and scary And sad like there's something beautiful Around the corner and he's a kind person And a new discovery you know more what Was in him as a child and I think that We can get jaded as we get as you and I Were just talking about a few minutes Ago we can accentuate the negative and Foster the negative and come to a place Where we're looking for some in-depth Philosophical answer you know some thick Book you know that's going to explain All that to us instead of the Simplicity That we've been talking about I think Humility gratitude helps us have just Simple

Positive experiences feelings of Contentment feelings of connection with Another person learning Discovery and I Think the answer to kingman's question Is yes and I think it lies in his Writing about when he was a child which I think he saw is less important than His later writings and the intellectual Heaviness when I think maybe he had lost His way a little bit from the things he Understood when he was younger so Another way to talk about it and I'd Love to hear what you think is about These broad categories Let me be started with Kierkegaard of Existentialism absurdism and nihilism And I think Camus considered himself an Absurdist not actually an existentialist It's kind of a middle ground where I Think existentialists I don't want to characterize it in the Wrong way and there's a lot of different Definitions but I think existential is Ultimately Do think that there is meaning In sort of Pursuing The Passion of life like Pursuing the mo like in living life That's where you discover the meaning at That individual level Of fully embracing life And I think sort of nihilism Is uh again it's kind of like a spectrum But now listen basically says

There's no meaning And it doesn't matter Nothing matters I don't even know but somehow that lands You in a place that's totally uninspired Maybe not list would disagree with that Maybe there's a way to live a creative Life in a nihilistic mindset and I think Of absurdism is somewhere in the middle Where Pursuing meaning at all Is not a good idea So kind of I think existentials say you Should be looking for meaning and it's To be discovered in your own actions in Your own life in the moment and uh Absurdism says life is absurd nothing Makes sense don't look for the meaning Just live just be I think that's kind of The the the later kamu kind of Um philosophy I don't know if you can Sort of comment on these kind of nuanced Ideas here if there is no Religious guide to your life What do you think about this kind of Search for meaning do you see that There's some wisdom in the Existentialist perspective of Discovering it in your own life in this Passion and this kind of day-to-day Existence in the moments of your life That bring you Joy that kind of thing You're bringing different sort of Perspectives and trying to tease apart

Like wait what are the differences in Those perspectives right and I think What it points out is that Okay we tend to conflate things as human Beings right and to take two different Things and try and make them into one But we also I think on the other end of The spectrum get very overly Reductionist and I think that when we Get to overly reductionist we lose the Ability to learn from anything or to Generate meaning right I mean think About Sartre who is you know the thought Of existentialism is so consistent with Him right who on the one hand you know Wrote about you know very clear terms Like this is what it is and this is what It isn't and here's how you're going to Make your meaning in a very like Academically pro-scribed way but he also Wrote short stories like the wall right Where there's something totally absurd Happens right as part of the story right So I I think what ends up happening is People either reduce themselves or get Associated with something that is by Being overly reductionist takes us away From meaning right the idea that look we Don't know if there is a an overarching Religious meaning or you know what we Call a religious meaning or purpose like We don't know that right So okay if we take that as a given that People who say that they know are having

Faith like how Spinoza described Faith Right faith is that you don't know but You believe anyway right it's not Because you have faith now you know Something right because I think that's a Slippery slope to the persecution of Others right so so if we say okay we Don't know Then You know we're left either deciding okay Well then the hell with everything you Know like is that movie A Strange Brew Right Bob and Doug McKenzie where like The the breaks don't work on the car and One of them says oh why bother steering Right so if we don't know that there's Meaning like why bother stealing let's Just give up the ghost right and I don't Think that's even what the nihilist said I mean I think the coonan said we should Get rid of everything that we've ever Created except Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and start over from there but So even people who are very nihilistic Or associated with that yeah a lot of Them are just not liking what we had Built right so if we accept that a lot Of what we have built as humans inside Of us and outside of us is really Counterproductive and doesn't help us And that absurd things happen in the World right and that often the way Social structures and systems build up You build themselves up is absurd I

Think our health care System operates in A way that's absurd right so if we Accept that there are absurdities that We don't know if there's truth then what Are we left with but like well let's try And make meaning right or take it you Got set said um yoso yo Amy Circumstancia right I myself and my Circumstances right which is like look We're we're we can't control everything We we live in circumstances around us But within those circumstances we can Make decisions and Define ourselves and And I think the Brilliance of that and I Think tying it all together right in a Way that's not trying to be in a sense It ties it all together by not trying to Answer everything concisely that yes we Can make meaning like we see that if Someone trips in front of me I could Walk around them or I could help them up I mean no one can tell me that it Doesn't matter what I do I absolutely Reject the idea that oh I could step Over them or on them or I could help Them up and it doesn't matter oh yeah be The try being the person on the ground Right so we create meaning but we live In our circumstances and there are Absurdities both within us and outside Of us in our social structures and there Are a lot of things that that pretend to Have meaning that don't then there's the Shades of nihilism But ultimately

There's something going on here that's Doing the best we can in the context of Just not knowing Yeah I tend to see I don't know if it's Genetic I think I tend to think just Observing the internet the number of Memes there are uh I think many other people are like me I Tend to see the the humor in the Absurdity And I tend to enjoy it from that kind of Angle I see the kafka-esque nature of Society of different aspects of society And just kind of notice the magic with a Smile And just laugh at the circus of it all Because it is magical that the circus All comes together it's like a little Bit out of sync and then just a guy Playing trombone but like overall it's Pretty good it's pretty good right and We can look at that and just kind of Marvel and go yeah right which which I Think is a relation to at least a lot of What we in the Western World think of as Eastern right it's like as Non-attachment right because then if There's something absurd and it's like Not good for me you know right then I Accept that too instead of getting angry About it and railing about it or seeing Some Cosmic meaning in it right I think There's also a healthy non-attachment in What you're saying too so there's uh I

Mean you mentioned Eastern thought There's uh But also Buddha have kind of uh spoke of Life is suffering uh do you think There's truth to that that suffering is A is a fundamental part of life I think it is a fundamental part of life I don't think that means that life is Suffering right if we say well life is Suffering then what am I doing that I'm Trying to erase from my mind like the Birth of my children right like things That were filled with joy right like Life is not entirely suffering but life Brings a lot of suffering and for some People it brings such disproportionate Suffering and the people don't survive The suffering and I think when people Are conscientious and empathic that that Really bothers us right the suffering in Our own lives and the fact that others At times could could seem to be so Overwhelmed by suffering that they don't Even get a chance To see good and I think that there's I Do think there's truth to that and There's sadness and distress to that but To say therefore life is suffering I Think is just completely untrue and you Know it ignores the fact that someone Even made a trombone right let alone That there's a little bit out of sync And someone's playing the trombone like That's cool there's there's a you know

There's elements of the Absurd that you Said are neat and interesting and and if We start accepting that we can't Understand or control everything then we Can accept and I think really love and Foster the beauty in our lives Yeah I think uh the word suffering is Doing a little bit too much work because I think it's probably referring to the Philosophical concept of that uh Yeah this is absurd the absurdity right That stuff just happens randomly Um evil people succeed good people fail Right there's a seeming random Injustice On occasion right and occasion there's Justice in uh yeah all of it that feels Like um and maybe because it often There's a lot of loss and then there's a Kind of Matching complementary aspect to any Good feeling that all comes crashing Down like every hello right from a Physics perspective ends in a goodbye Like uh That's a really sad thing like I've I've Uh you know all the amazing people I get To meet in my life all the amazing Experiences eventually they have to end And that's part of what makes them Amazing But why is that sad is it because we're Taught to think that I tell you look at Some point you and I are going to say Goodbye today like I hope we're richer

For it and then we take that goodness Off with us like I I want to celebrate That because it's it's all part of the Goodness I think we're taught to think Oh that's so bad and it equates to death And misery and It's I think it's often not that way I Think there is a sadness to it but I Also don't think that sadness isn't a Negative thing it's a it's a different Way to celebrate a beautiful thing so There's a melancholic nature to it or Something passing of of it leaving is That old Louis CK thing that I go back To over and over uh from from a show Louis where um Uh he was all heartbroken that he just Broke up you know with the um with Somebody he loved And he told about that to an old man and The old man said uh you're a fool that's The best part I missed that part where You sort of are lingering in that loss You're feeling the pain of that loss Because that lasts the longer it's the Most intense it's the most reliable and It's a kind of celebration of the love You had like losing the love is still a Celebration of the love Um I think you don't want to over Romanticize that but there's some aspect Of Truth to that like that melancholic Feeling of remembering a beautiful time That's no longer there

Is is a kind of celebration of it and is A kind of Joyful experience even though It it's it's very easy to experience it As a negative emotion I think it's just Like you said I mean it's up to our mind To determine how that emotions really Felt but it's a tricky one because it's Like heartbreak to experience that is a Positive thing people can reminisce at Funerals right and and laugh because Other people can be very very sad and Perceive that this that this person is Has died and perceived the sadness of it But in perceiving that and really living In it then you can have people who want To remember that person by like telling A funny story why because each of those People carries that with them so I I Think what you're saying is is Consistent with healthy function as Human beings because we're going to Encounter sadness and loss like what do We do with that right and do we do Things that ultimately create some Redemption or even reparation inside of Us and like reparation is a big word in Psychology right it's how we repair Damage and loss so if we lose someone And we're sad can we by telling funny Stories about that person remind Ourselves that hey they're still inside Of us whether they're out there look at Me I don't know but I can call that Person of mind inside of us and then we

Have something that's that's good and Beautiful that comes of that too In the introduction to your book on Trauma Lady Gaga wrote it she wrote the forward The intro She said this about you quote I can now Say with certainty that this man saved My life He made life worth living this goes to Our discussion about uh the uh the Mythic Sisyphus kamu question about why I live So I think at least to me she's one of The most brilliant and unique artists Ever so It's a difficult question but a question Of creativity what role does trauma play In um In somebody like that in this artist That has created some incredible things Uh what positive constructive A role does trauma serve and what Limiting role does it serve in Preventing that person from flourishing More trauma can certainly drive us to Creativity right the two even to push Again so to protest against what the Trauma tells us you know trauma tells us Lessons like nothing matters and you Don't matter and nothing will ever be Good and then nothing is beautiful and And we can push against trauma they know There is life in me there's something

There's goodness for me to spread in the World to express and spread so I think Trauma fuels creativity in many many Many ways trauma also shuts down Creativity right of people who are for It's one example a trauma that escalates To the point where now the person is Soothing it with alcohol it's one Example and now the impact of the Alcohol shuts down any creativity so so Can people be creative and outward Thinking without trauma I think Sometimes if I remember correctly people Will use in mind you well Kant is an Example of someone I think hadn't Traveled much and didn't have trauma and Like look at what he knew so okay They're going to be exceptions right but A lot of our creativity is in some ways Fueled by our suffering although it's Complicated because it comes from Generative places in us right so those Places are there they're not created by Suffering but maybe suffering makes an Incentive or a passion inside of us and And a person you know Stephanie who you Referred to is just such an incredible Astounding creative force and sure some Of that comes from trauma some of it Comes from you know trauma fueling Degenerative creative places in her but What I helped her to do she's very Generous with her words but but what I Helped her to do was to see all that she

Is and all that the creativity in her is And all that there is to to create Through love and caring and uh Compassion and and to again see that I Mean a lot of time that's that's what I'm doing clinically I think it's what's Good psychiatrists or mental health Professionals do is we help people see The beauty that is there right because Oftentimes we're way too close up to That tapestry and what brings us close Is often the sad thing so we're up close In all we see is the negative I mean It's easy then to get classically Nihilistic but by helping someone take a Step back and to see who they are and What's in them that's how people get Better and it's how people re-engage in In life it's such a difficult thing Because if you were to For studying human beings It seems like the optimal trajectory Is having some trauma that doesn't Destroy you That forces you early in life to really Struggle with the intricacies of The Human Condition And then later in life as you form and Like you build an expertise around and Mastery Start to do exactly what you said would You step back and look at the tapestry So if you if if uh if you don't have the Trauma it seems like just empirically

Speaking there's of course just a huge Amount of data and all kinds of Anecdotal evidence but it and I'm I want To be careful here because maybe I'm Romanticizing Uh hardship But it does seem that hardship and Childhood If it doesn't break you can be Constructive it's like like you said Having that trauma one of the ways to Fight it is to say I am worth something Right I am and this is you know Um David Goggins talks about this is Like this is um I am somebody I I can't be somebody Special and I'm gonna prove it to you I'm gonna do this I'm gonna do this big Thing it's this engine that drives you Forward yeah comment on that because Like from a like a parent's perspective You want A child to have an easy life Right you want them to uh not have Hardship certainly not have trauma But that's such a difficult dance Because Um in some ways a little bit of hardship In a gradually increasing amount of Hardship that doesn't break you can Really develop you into a really Interesting complicated Um person and it helps you flourish as a Creative being I don't know what the I

Don't know I don't know if there's a Question I'll just keep saying random Things no it makes look I think it makes Good yeah it makes good sense to me I Think you're trying to get at like we Need trauma and like and what and how Are we defining it right because we say Trauma hardship difficulties I mean we Could set aside we could we could set Apart say and differentiate things that Are difficult but that are overcomeable Right yeah versus things that we could Use trauma the word trauma this way if We if we chose to that are just like Entirely negative like like someone Saying oh You can't do that and you'll never Succeed because well and then they tell You something about yourself okay Because you're from here you're this Race religion whatever it is right we Think well you know it could that could Make someone say hey I'm going to show You I'm going to overcome right but then They're overcoming something bad right Like it's just like there's nothing good Or helpful about that right if someone's Saying that so the person has to Overcome it that's different than Something that is placed in front of a Person where where the whole conception Of it is something positive that you can Make through effort right so you know I Remember how do I think I was 15 years

Old there's some rule like we you could Then go I don't think was picking Raspberries or blueberries right and I Think and my parents wanted me to see Like okay let's go see how that works Here now you got 50 cents at the end of It right and then you think about that When you know you want to buy baseball Cards or you you know you think about it And you you work hard and I could Remember like it was hard and I was Sweating and I was tired and but I Learned from it I mean so the reason I Remember it today so so yes parents Might want their kids to have like a Good life right but not necessarily an Easy life you know and I think that was Done they took me to do that to so I Have a greater sense of responsibility In a sense of like hard work is Meaningful and it's important and and I Think that that kind of thing is good But if we separate that from something That's just denigrating prejudicial like I think those things aren't good but They're unavoidable so it's not Necessarily that always some trauma good I would look at it more that some trauma Is unavoidable I mean you know it's hard To how do you go through life and not Have any losses or anything negative or Anything sad and then people are people There may be people who have not a lot Of that and then there's a sort of

Complacency or and they don't do it as Much as they could or feel as good as They could you know then there's other People who have a highly attuned Emotional it's the people with very Highly attuned emotional compasses for Which a little bit of trauma becomes so Intrusive so it's so much of it is Person driven but I do want to Distinguish between things that are just Purely bad add that we might overcome or Find some fire in our belly about or Whatever the case may be and things that Maybe boundaries or barriers either Directly purposely placed or not that in A sense invite us or or inform us of the Possibility of striving and overcoming Finally in tuned emotional compasses It's so true that there is uh that's a Component of it too it's there's almost Genetic How sensitive you are to particular Trauma so little things can have a huge Impact or gigantic things uh serious Abuse in in childhood can be by some People overcome more easily right so It's not just what's the trauma because What's the trauma that makes certain Problems you have to match the trauma to The person and a big part of what you're Matching to is that you know genetically Based characteristic of how finely Attuned is that Empathic Attunement to that Compass so

When you think about if you just return To Childhood when you think about trauma And childhood Um what can we say about the impact Of child abuse On the development of a human being I think The impact of it is so Disproportionately Bad and hurtful Compared to things that happen when We're not children and and I want to be Very careful about how I'm saying that Because people can Through their strength and resilience And and human interconnectedness can Overcome that I don't mean to say that Anyone who's experienced those things is Can't make it through it or over it That's that part is not true But it is true that the impact is so Disproportionate to anything else that Can happen because the brain is Formulating right so so both you know It's like if we say psychology is like Applied neurobiology right and we look At both of those as a as as Um different ends right even though There's a lot of gray in the middle you Know the the neurobiology is changed so Just just one example of a much greater Salience of uh vigilance mechanisms of Of uh mechanisms of self-protection Mechanisms that can make a person feel

More fear and more insecurity and hide Themselves away from the world and not Trust the world and I mean I mean not Trust the world even enough that oh I You know I'd like to have a better job And there's and you know another one is Here that I could take but maybe it Could be worse you know they think of Being afraid of that right like there Are all sorts of ways in which in which The changes to those Pathways impact Someone and and that's just one of you Know we could bring trauma experts Together that could talk about that for Days right like what is the impact upon The brain biology so that then gets Changed inside the person and from the Perspective of those changes the Psychology on top of it changes like What do I think about myself do I think That I'm worthwhile you know even in my Mid-20s after you know uh without Formative traumas in a pretty strong Sense of self and some achievements There was a there's a big trauma then With the death of my brother and I start Questioning am I cursed am I worth Anything I mean at 20 something years Old and and doing reasonably well at the Time you know what how does this impact A child of six seven ten twelve years Old right we're sending such powerful Messages that then change conception of Of self and that negatively changed

Conception sits upon the negatively Changed neurobiology and I think if we Really thought hey let's do the best we Can just for humans in general for the Human race our species in general is we Would handle children and and caring for Children so much differently in terms of Protection mechanisms intervention Mechanisms how many times do you see Where where like there's now there's Been some trap some tragedy and the Child gets a little bit of support and You know they had they had some therapy You know that was provided by some Insurance carrier you know that they got Once a week for 16 weeks or whatever I Mean we should be wrapping our societal Resources around children but we don't Use our resources well you know I was Just reading it's a little bit of an Aside but about 300 and something Billion dollars a year in cost to the U.S economy just from schizophrenia and You think It cost a fraction what do we actually Put into caring for people who have Schizophrenia so so first there's a Moral imperative but let's say we put That aside and we only care about the Economy right because there are Mechanisms of thinking that look at it That way how could we not amend that Right but we are so reckless with our Resources and we're tripping ahead of

Ourselves that we don't think oh my Goodness there is no better place on God's Earth for prevention than here Prevention in terms of human suffering And also where where do people like that Go I mean more often people like that go To place of increased suffering Inability to take care of themselves or To be in in supportive relationships Okay we know there's a higher prevalence Of that but we're also creating the pool Of people through which the Envy the Narcissism the sociopathy the Destruction arises so again if we care About people we would be so focused on That if we don't care about other people And just ourselves or just economic Costs we would still be so focused but You know we're not and we tend to just Kind of call it good because we don't See anything disastrous happening at the Moment Um and I think there's a societal Negligence there to the shame really of All of us Um when child abuse and the impact Neurobiologically and psychologically is Potentially the greatest cause of Suffering directly and indirectly on the Face of the planet How much does trauma Of that kind and and later in life Affect your ability to love another Human being

Saying inside a relationship connect With another human being It can impact it a lot and again I want To say can people overcome and be as Loving to to a partner or a child or Anyone else yes but we're talking across Society right how are we setting the Odds right we're setting the odds Towards a higher sense of vigilance a Decreased sense of self-confidence an Increased sense of vulnerability right a Decreased Comfort interacting with Others right what we're doing is we're Pushing towards isolation and misery and Depression and resentment I mean those Factors push towards that you know we Know that the research is so strong that At you know adverse childhood Experiences and these things that happen The more the worse the more prolonged The more that person is up against as They try and navigate life And uh I suppose one of the elements of Intimacy like what we're talking about Is is vulnerability And maybe there's a Is there a fear of being vulnerable Of being hurt again Is that ultimately the barrier to Intimacy yeah if you taught a lesson That says the world is not safe And you're not good enough for someone To keep safe and you're not strong Enough to keep yourself safe that's a

Final common pathway of of the vast Majority of child abuse right is telling Those lessons to people then how how can That not Change the lay of the land against Against openness against the ability to To rationally consider trust and Mutuality and to protect oneself but Also take chances and you know do the Things that we have to do to to create The greatest happiness in our lives we Set the odds so much against us as Another pathway which I think is uh is Really Interesting because of uh I've seen it In people is is this kind of ability to Detach yourself From feeling any emotions To like protect yourself It's almost like you're not quite there It is a word physical isolation of Affect it's a defense mechanism yeah Isolation of affect yeah is that a Common weight another Common way to deal with trauma Well Isolation of affect can cut both ways so So if there's been a major trauma let's Say someone has seen something terrible And they're isolated from their affect And at one time it was thought well Maybe that's good right they're not Hysterical they're not distraught but we See that is not good right because what

Needs to be be held processed you know We need to get our arms around in some Way shape or form has just been Separated off right so we know that is Not good right but isolation of affect Can also serve us very well when I think Back to being an intern you know a Medical intern in the hospital and you Know you might have to go and Pronounce someone Dead with you know With hysterical family members and then You know 10 minutes later five minutes Later might be two minutes later really You know you have to go to another room And you've got to maybe do some Procedure that involves you know having Your focus on on a certain thing and Making sure your hand movements are the Right way or talking to a person in a Way that is uh that's very different Than where you just came from that's Very hopeful and so then you have to Isolate the affect of what's going on Around you and it happens not just in It's just one example but we have to do It in life so that we can put affect Aside to process later or not feel the Full weight of affect where we know the Meaning like I know the meaning of the Tragedy of the person I just pronounced Dead but I want to separate that for Myself because I'm also aware that it's Not my tragedy so that I can then okay Put that affect aside and go do the next

Thing that I have to do so that I think Can cut both ways Right but then you have to like reattach It Understand that it's good to be close With emotion even painful emotion Right right like because that's the Human Experience right it's it's like I Feel like if you if you build up a skill That you can detach yourself from Emotion I think that could become its own kind Of yeah it becomes too easy to do it Yeah right and to reinforce that's when People are suffering too much Over too long a period of time then you Know we're creatures of habit right and Even though our brains are you talking About our brains are sitting on the Shoulders of the giant of the maybe a Thousand levels of emergence that come Underneath of them our brains are also Also working very simple habit based Ways like if you and I chose a word Right now and said it 500 times we would Know it's just a silly experiment but We'd both be saying it tonight right Because our brains are also creatures of Habit so if you over and over and over Have to isolate yourself from affect and You develop those mechanisms well you Develop those mechanisms and they don't Go away any easier than if we said the Word 500 times and decided to forget we

Won't forget no matter what we decided So how do we find our way back How do we overcome Trauma what are the different Pathways The first thing the very first thing is To acknowledge to ourselves and often to Others which might be one other person Who might be in words spoken it might be Written like what the trauma has been Because the the lessons of trauma the Evil lessons of trauma and I'll use Example of my own life the lesson that Told me that I was shameful uh cursed And hopeless right It's a very evil lesson right but my Brain will say it over and did say it Over and over and over to me and if that Just sits inside that's how trauma Fester is that's how trauma hijacks our Thoughts our emotions so being able to Say to ourselves and to another like This is what's happened right okay this Is what's happened we're built to Massage words and to create meaning Through words right like we don't Massage pictures write images we talk And massage meaning with words so it so When I finally went to see a therapist And I and I could say you know My brother whatever words I would have Said like he he killed himself and I and I I can't Accept it or I can't imagine it and like I let it happen like so I had to say

Those things right so then I could begin To bring some sense of of truth to it You know and I think it was a long time Ago but the therapist probably said Something like okay probably sees on you It's you let it happen it's your fault Right because you got to get at those Things so that so that one can begin to Bring into Focus what does the trauma Mean and what does it not mean I mean a Classic example is it is that what would You say to someone else example you know He'll say well I now how many times have I it's just I cry if I stop and think About it enough you just stop and talk To someone who is sexually assaulted Through no fault of their own who comes In and tells the story they've been Telling themselves about how it's their Fault they should have walked home a Different way they should address Differently they should have left Earlier right I wrote about it in the Book over and over and over now you have A person who let's say you take a person Who's intelligent engage in the world Who's like capable of understanding lots And lots and lots of things but doesn't Understand that right if it were someone Else that person would understand in a Moment that's not that person's fault Right so so what you want to do is Overcome the fact that the negative Emotions that the the hijacked emotion

Systems of trauma are telling that Person a lie and they're telling them so Strongly and so Awfully so meanly that the person just Takes it inside and starts to see it as True right so you begin to hold that up To the light of day and again one Example could be okay so someone my Person who's coming in next has actually Been through something similar right and Can do you mind can you stay and just Tell her how it's her fault right and Like oh my God no because I could never Like then they see right and again I'm Not this is not always how you do it but Sometimes you can get a person to see Like well that would be the most Horrible How could you do that right the person Can maybe commit they're doing it to Themselves so so you know you you begin You begin to put words in a structure And say okay look let's look at what's Going on inside of you like you have to Be scared of anything you're thinking And feeling in fact the fear is in not Exposing it to the light to the light of Day that's where it gets the best of us And now like everything is different and Whether that involves use of medications For intrusive thoughts and and Depression or there's no medicines Needed but it's all reframing like Whatever it may be that comes next the

Whole world has changed when the person Has acknowledge what's happened exposed It to the to themselves and to trusted Others around them and begun to look at It in some way other than the stuff in An evil box place that the trauma Initially puts us through our the Reflexes it creates in us it's Interesting that there's power to just Saying it out loud right It's a first saying your perception of It out loud Other in that case that might be your Fault and then working through out loud Working through That it may not be Any experienced therapist will tell you Will tell you this that every now and Then it will happen that someone will Come and and they'll say something Usually it's very early on in the Process they'll say something they've Never said before and they immediately Are are like in an entirely different Place and they may have been for decades Right and I can remember a person saying That the the a coach had raped him and Just saying it this was decades before And everything was different I'm not Saying everything is now is perfect but His life was in a different but as soon As he said it he could see how dare like He thought that person did that to this Child the child was me he'd never

Thought it until he said it out loud Because his mind was going over and over With why it was his fault what he did to Deserve it how he kept going back so it Must be his fault it was in it as soon As he put words to it he saw the truth Of it and you lose a bifurcation in the Path of life then and any therapist has Had you know stories like that which Just shows the immense power that it it Can even be that just uttering the words Makes just a Cascade of change all at Once This is saying those words to another Human being Uh yeah it makes you wonder about that Compulsive Loop that happens in our Heads right uh until it's brought to the Surface it's so interesting entirely Non-productive the loops and sometimes Even if we put what would I say to Another let me write it down it can get Rid of those Loops in our in our brains Any even thought of outward expression Is the enemy of those internal Persecutory negative thought Loops how Do you find a good therapist I I tend to think of uh listen I'm a fan Of podcasts I'm a fan of conversations It feels like a re you know it's it's Like finding a good friend or something It feels like a difficult Journey Um maybe I'm wrong in that but it just Feels like such a

It feels like a partnership a journey Together versus like some very Simple clinical procedure Well the first thing I would say is to Change the entire Paradigm like most People like okay I need a therapist so People feel often like they're in a Weakened position because they need you Know quote unquote a therapist then Therapists are rationed right I mean how Many Insurance panels have lists a mile Long of qualified therapists who could Be on that insurance panel but there's a Certification process like these make no Sense right the state's already Certified the person right but there's So many barriers to entry that now we're Rationing this resource which we should All stop and pause for a second and Think like we're okay with that as a Society and by the way everything else Is like that too when we're trying to Get help for our health so let's step Back from that for a second now it's a Resource that's not in great Supply and Then a person begins to think You know essentially I'll take what I Can get like I've got to get somebody And I don't know enough to know anyway Right and those are very disempowering Thoughts as opposed to saying look I'm Going to be an empowered consumer and I Want to I need to choose someone who Gets over some just some basic hurdles

Of what I think a reasonable human Interaction right so like is a person Making eye contact do they seem Interested right like these are basic Points about any human interaction Including a therapist right then you can Say okay is there Word of Mouth anyone Else who has something good nothing Better than a word of mouth Recommendation from someone you trusts Right or anybody can have a good website But you say let me look at the website What is it saying if there is one right Does it does it resonate with me or not Right but after all of that then you go To see the person with the idea that You're interviewing them right the idea That yeah I hope this person can help me And if so great I'm with the program but I'm thinking about it do I want this Person do I feel heard do I feel cared For Um which doesn't mean is it easy right It might mean is it hard and I leave and I feel like like emotional for a couple Of days but but I see that I'm facing New things no this process of assessment So that one isn't settling for something That is formulaic over package and I'm Not trying to be overly critical of Therapists I mean there are people Everywhere who do their jobs well and People who don't do their jobs well but Most therapists are working in systems

That push against doing the job well Right because they're rationing care and There's a lot of number of sessions and There's enough such time before a person Can return and so often it's an uphill Battle because we're trying to be helped Within systems we've created and Tolerate that are pushing against Helping us Yeah but you know that interview process Is tricky I mean if you're in a rough Place mentally Um just like with with any kind of Interview it's hard not to Think that a failed interaction failed Interview Uh there's there's something wrong with You sure right there is an authority to A therapist I think where you think like They've got it all figured out right and I'm a mess and therefore if there's Something off it's all my fault All right so it's a very tricky and it's Easy to then give up and then because It's like that's step to try to get a Therapist the first like step to get Help forget therapists like any kind of Help that's a big leap to take I guess When you're in a rough place I agree Completely we should not make people Swim against such a strong current to Get their needs met I mean we see this In such obvious places where you have an Elderly homebound person who can't get

Their medicine because oh there's been Some change and they didn't put the new Number into the form or Lord knows what I mean it's it's incredible how we force People to swim against strong currents To get things that are just basic at Times for their survival and and with That in mind I don't have a lot of Respect for where Health Care is at or Where mental health is at the the field That I work in has accepted all sorts of Um aspects of of how things go someone Else controlling how how how long the Interaction can go on how the Interaction is bounded what can be said And done what medicines can be Prescribed there's so many external Controls in the systems we work in that We and I say me included like all of us In the field Have let it get to a place where it's Obscenely difficult to get help Obscenely difficult and we should say That's not okay I think psychiatrists And and therapists and Master's level Social workers psychologists and you Name it I think we should all say this Is not okay and then we as a society Should be saying this is not okay Otherwise what you're saying which is I Think completely true will only become Worse as there's more and more barriers To getting the help a person needs and Each time a person isn't helped it sets

The odds against them getting more help I I should say here that you know when I Started working there were times I would Send people to an emergency room right If there's some emergency you know Emergency in their mental health and They were at risk and there were times I'd send somebody to an emergency room Where if you stopped and looked it would Have been malpractice not to do that Right now it's not just me who who has An incredibly High threshold for sending Someone to an emergency room because you Send someone who's in a lot of distress And oftentimes they're sitting on a Gurney in a hallway or they're locked in A small white room and all they had was Depression you know they're just scared When they go in and 36 hours later oh They're feeling a little better why Because they're desperate to get out of There and someone sends them home I mean So our systems have shifted so much that We we tolerate now on mass what is Egregious to the individual So you are a psychiatrist in terms of Doing therapy psychotherapy What does the successful interaction Look like perhaps a fun question uh Perhaps not uh what do you think of the Psychiatrist Sean and Goodwill Hunting Played by Robin Williams So what is the full range of interesting Interactions can there be an intimacy of

Friendship a kind of Um varied interaction that kind of Blends the lines of you know 30 minutes Session once a week or whatever versus Like a really kind of Deliberate long-term project that cares About the well-being of a person across The months and years Or is the what can you say about a Successful Interaction between therapist and Patient I think we're much better served By the latter Right and again it doesn't have to be Over years we maybe person doesn't Person might need that over weeks they Might need it over months they might Need it over years but if I'm Understanding correctly you're Describing something that is like a real Human engagement yeah right and I work In a field that for years and years and Years the patient didn't get to see the Therapist was sitting in a place sitting Behind the person right so that's not of Course the only tradition and there are Aspects of that tradition that can be Very humanized but the idea that we're Supposed to not be human I mean this Medicine is shot through with this right That the doctor's supposed to be God and It protects the doctor and that makes Its way into therapy and the idea of the Superiority the therapist knows more

Um I mean in some ways yes but the idea Is like to know more about mechanical Things like right to know more about Like facts and knowledge not as a human Being right if we approach therapy as a Collaborative human Endeavor right where If we're going to do it together of Course I'm going to learn from you too Right I mean we're two human beings and We're talking about things that are deep And personal and intimate and and I Don't want I'm not going to participate In a way that makes it like about me as Much as it's about you but we're two Humans and what's gone on in me may have Relevance and sharing it may have Relevance and at times you doing Something back for me may have relevance I'll give you an example of a person who Would not let me help him it was a young Man so when I was in training who was Very very sick and needed to change Certain choices and habits or he was not Going to survive and I had no ability to Help him whatsoever and I went and I saw A supervisor who was existentially Trained where here it's different from Existentialism in the classic sense but It's about really human connection right And the guy was always wanting to teach Me something right because I I can get By in Spanish but he was fluent in Spanish and he and he wanted to eat oh You traveled here and he'd say oh you

Know a word to see if I knew and I was Always directing back to what I was Supposed to do right and the supervisor I've never forget he said let him teach You Spanish like okay come on so we had A couple sessions where if you look from The outside you say what is going on There like right like this it was they Were Spanish lessons yeah to me right Yeah and then at some point he brought In his mother and it was we hadn't Brought her in yet and he he was in part Showing off that he taught me something Right and I said a couple things and he Felt more powerful like he was younger Than me and he felt sick and Disempowered but he didn't feel that way Once he taught me something and we Showed it off to his mother right and His behavior started to change he Started taking better care of himself he Could see a little more what I was Saying he's like you're a wonderful Person look you love your mother and Your aunt and they love you and like Look he could start seeing that about Himself but that came from humanness and And I think that's the way we help People I don't understand why we don't Do everything that way it's like right We're two humans but if you're doing Something for me then there's something You have an expertise and I don't that's Why you're doing it for me the reverse

Could be true but it doesn't mean we're Not just two humans doing something Together and the healthcare system and The legal system should not get in the Way of that I mean there's liability and All these kinds of things that um Can get in the way of the humanness I mean some of that is Justified you Have to be careful you have to make sure There's of course you're irresponsible But A little too much can destroy the Humanness I'll use a weirdo usually you Say something is insane like it's not Consistent with sanity yeah and the Presence of the legal system look I'm All for of course Physicians have to be Held we have to be responsible and Everybody makes mistakes and people to Be accountable for their mistakes Um I understand all of that but what we See now it's so Absurd that oh like everyone is Frightened right everyone is frightened And then just looking to like how do I Slot into the box check the check the Boxes of what I'm supposed to do and not Get in trouble you know people get sued Because someone was at that hospital and That doctor touched their care this Happens in the VA system it happens in Other systems too so you might have Touched their care and no one's even Saying you did anything wrong but they

Say the next person did oh someone Settled on your behalf and now you have A malpractice Ding and maybe you can't Get a license somewhere else like Doctors are terrified and they're Terrified for good They're terrified for good reason Because the same society that has given Doctors in many ways too much power over Time and and treated doctors maybe too Much like Gods now is I think enacting Some of society's anger and envy out on The Physicians even the idea that like a Person would know what medicine like I Saw a couple TV commercials give me this It's like it's interesting right Because even if let's say I take myself Out of it doesn't feel good obviously But it takes about it's like wow like I Went to school for like eight years for This and you don't even want to hear my Opinion right you're not taking good Care of yourself right it doesn't mean You should think my opinion is gospel Because I said it but but people then Don't have an understanding of like what Is expertise what do people learn how Can people help us understand and make Better decisions it kind of goes out With the wash and then the the the the Position of the expert I mean it's a lot Has been written about this right gets Diminished over time very much to our Own Peril and then often with aggression

In the medical world coming back towards The alleged expert Yeah expertise is a tricky one such a Such a tricky thing because uh Coupled with expertise can the attention Is this arrogance that can come with Expertise right the arrogance can make The the expert feel like they're more of An expert Um and there's a vicious cycle and then The arrogance in in the current in the 21st century especially with the Internet the arrogates can uh completely Force the public to distrust the expert Because it all they see is to get Arrogance versus the expertise so Um ultimately you have to have I think Um the the greatest experts and Masters I know are are the ones that have uh Complete humility right humility and Gratitude and gratitude he's just back Which is usually a really good sign that Somebody Is at the top of their field Right and they'll acknowledge that they Don't know everything right which is Hilarious right so like the the the the The best experts I know are the ones That will say that they don't know right Not call themselves the next person Right right it's very confusing or know That they know a lot but don't know the Answer to this you see that a lot in Medicine that person knows they're an

Expert surgeon but they also acknowledge They don't know if this is the right Time to operate that's how you get to The best answer instead of someone who Is an expert and always knows the answer Yeah uh if we actually rewind to uh the Beginning of our conversation we talked About Uh you mentioned something I wanted to Return to so there's a there's layers That are uh there's an emergent novelty And you mentioned that we as human Beings and we introspect and our own Mind we really can't know most of it Um which of course uh makes me think of This uh the unconscious mind Subconscious mind uh and Carl Jung how Much is hiding there in the shadows You've you've uh investigated a lot of Uh trauma how much is there in our mind That's not directly accessible to us Like what can you say maybe Philosophically About how much is there Uh lurking in the jungian shadow I think there's a tremendous amount There but I but I wouldn't I don't Immediately go to An ominous perspective right because if It's lurking there right it can come get Us right and and to some extent that's True right because either the seeds of Evil are there if we want to plant and Nurture them you think good things can't

Lurk But you're right you're absolutely right And the youngin Shadow is supposed to Not just be dark things it's supposed to Be everything supposed to be a lot of Positive things as well yeah right which I think brings us to self-knowledge to Truth whereas I think the the opposite Of Envy narcissism sociopathy I I do Think is all rooted in truth it's both The truth so the good things about us or The ways we're not we're not blameable For the blameworthy for the things we're Blaming ourselves for ETC but the the Self-knowledge and the truth and and Getting away from the The Reflex of Anger frustration Envy shame what I Think happens then is all of that Underneath the surface if we look at Like the Consciousness is the top of the Iceberg you know outside the top say Well outside the water so is what's Underneath like shifting and it can pull The top under right or is it supporting The top and and really I believe is Honesty truth self-knowledge humility Gratitude dude all this simple stuff Good mental health is always consistent With Simplicity you know humility Gratitude or easy things to say like we Know what that is right we understand What that is soothing Envy by having uh Immense power and subjugating others is Getting very very complicated right what

That is and how that plays out so if we Are in touch with ourselves If we're Honest with ourselves if we own what's Ours we don't try and own what's not Ours right what happens then is Something isn't waiting inside of us to Sort of jump us with some new uh fact of Self or challenge of self right then I Think what what happens are phenomena Like intrinsic learning like the way That so much happens inside of us Automatically right how people who have High levels of expertise know the answer To complex questions more rapidly right It doesn't take them longer to think Through it but they have more knowledge To Think Through it's that more happens Rapidly and unconsciously so they know The more comp Plex answer more quickly And readily right and we can build that In ourselves not just in terms of Factual knowledge but in terms of how we Respond to things right if if I make a Mistake do I respond with reflexive Shame right if I see someone has Something I'd like how do I respond We're more in accord with ourselves and Then the automaticity in US is is Serving us better so that's in the Positive do you think do you draw some Wisdom from the the early pioneers Of psychotherapy like Freud and and Young yes that there's some repressed Uh there's some stuff to work through

That is in uh the unconscious mind Yes I think there's Always like 100 percent Of the time if you have a living human You have things to work through in the Unconscious mind right there's too much That goes on around us that we might Find unacceptable and suppress right There can be Smaller but important examples right Someone who Um Feels that they're not a good enough Parent and they I don't know they Dropped the child's plate right and Um And there's a feeling about that of Badness in them that the person that Can't tolerate and pushes away right and Maybe they become a little bit less Confident a little bit less assertive Like those small examples are important Because they may be low valence but There can be many many many many many Many of them right then you can look at The opposite end of the spectrum where Someone for example feels or they have To they're repressing their sexuality Right unconsciously there's something That is so important to say to how a Person feels about themselves to whether They can seek fulfillment to how they Feel about their ability to interact and Engage with others in ways that are

Loving and generative over time so so From smaller things that accumulate Often at a rapid Pace to really big Things we are pushing things into the Unconscious because they're not Acceptable and we need to explore like Why is that not accept maybe there's an Unacceptable urge because it's really Not acceptable to me right like a Violent urge maybe there's an Unacceptable urge because I'm actually Listening to the LIE Society is telling Me about what's okay and what's not okay Right so in exploring those things yes We become happier and healthier and that Could mean if we're already happier and Happy and healthy it gets better we get More insulated against the negative or It can mean the person who's really Nurturing some of those seeds of of evil And envy does that less or steps away From it so whether it's good or it's bad It's it's in there inside of us and we Benefit from understanding that idea of The observing ego right like I said the Part that can stop and say hey this is What's this is what I see what's going On in me what have you learned about Exploring the human mind about the art Of conversation Is ultimately therapy's conversation Yeah Is there something you can put into Words yeah like what makes it a a good

Conversation I think language is among The most amazing gifts we have and it's Also one of the most like clunky routes To misunderstanding right I think of Like there's a concept of facticity you Know things that are like I guess Necessary evils and from the religious Perspective I think is where the word Started but of language being like a Facticity right that we need to Communicate with one another we want to Communicate so we develop words and we Have these amazing brains that can have Language and that's all well and good But our fantasy would be more like Mr Spock right you know the Vulcan mind Meld was like I communicate with you Because we put our hands on one another And we know you know by doing this what What we're thinking and what we're Feeling and we won't have Misunderstanding so because I think we Can approximate that we can come kind of Close with language right or we can be So far away from it that we can say the Same word and of opposite meanings and Have it generate immediate animosity Right that we need to be very very Careful with language with communication With conversations and I've come to Understand that much much more as I've Gotten older both in terms of how Hurtful Um you know Reckless speeches which is

Why I'm horrified by so much of what we See in our political discourse right the Slurs the negativity that's attached to Something to some word you know how one Can utter something and it can go into Another person just into the ear but Then go through so many parts of the Meaning of the brain that that person Feels a pervasive sense of shame or Beleagueredness right so yes Reckless Language absolutely hurts people and we See that all the time in ways that I Think are just atrocious and also how Bad miscommunication Harmless I mean I I really learned that Through a lot of different ways but in The work as a therapist of like really Wanting to make sure that I'm really Understanding you and you're really Understanding me and a lot of work goes Into that communication I think people We can get into a rhythm of it and then It happens more easily but I think it's It it's like it's a life and death Difference at times you know a lot of Times right in the world around us Between clear and accurate communication Just so I said a word because like I Think you know what I mean or something Like that yeah so to that I mean there's The the uh Camu quote that I like as Much unhappiness is coming to the world Because of things left unsaid So that has to do with the clear

Communication But there's also um A dance To a conversation a a poetry to it there Is ambiguity to language and if you have A kind of awareness of that ambiguity And you play with it that's what wit and Humor come in that's allows you to sneak Up to difficult topics without uh sort Of trampling on them I don't know uh There there's an art to it as wealth Um there's an art to the silence you Know uh just allowing both human beings One of the most intimate things you can Share with a human being is silence yeah That's communication it's it's a Different communication but it ties more Powerful yeah giving a person space Right to uh accumulate to integrate to Make sense of their thoughts enough to Say a word maybe a memory is spark so They can think about that memory and uh Like process that memory so it's not Just words sorry it's not just words Right because now you're talking about Communication as it's body language it's You know it's expressions of empathy It's movements it's pauses right like The communication process is very very Complicated and and deep yeah and some Of that is building trust but also Challenging a person I wonder about that Whole process with uh with strangers for Example

Uh how you do that successfully like you And I just met uh today But I think A lot of our interaction is very free we Can get to know each other in any way we Want there's a few conversations that Have coming up In general where there's a lot of other Pressures and constraints on those Conversations there's a there's a danger To it there's risks there's the Political forces involved like what what What from not from my perspective but Probably from my as well of how do you Say this thing what are the words that Are going to offend right and you're Learning that about a stranger at the Same time you know and you don't it's a It's a it's an interesting dance because You have to walk Carefully but deliberately right Carefully because uh I've I've learned This about about myself about others There's certain words that can trigger a Person That that can make a person feel poorly Like Shitty about themselves Uh so you can you can push you can Challenge a person about something and They're totally okay with it but if you Use a certain word to do it it's gonna It's good it's maybe it maps to some Childhood thing that their father mother

Used to say or something like this and Uh I mean part of the art of Conversation is actually Being a little bit free and using those Words but being extremely sensitive in Detecting when a person reacts to a Particular word and like storing that Away it's like okay then we might want To return to that later Because there might be an interesting That could be a tip of an iceberg that's Actually representing something Beautiful or you might want to just it's A nothing word that you just want to Avoid because it's a distraction and so All of that kind of has to be integrated Into the dance of language this is Really interesting especially when the Stakes are really high when you get one Conversation right we have when you sit Down you have one conversation and it Makes The difference between like say you had One conversation with a patient this is The only conversation you get to help Sometimes it is the case yeah and like This is pretty high stakes yeah oh man Yeah it's tough I guess you get over Um and like over time I guess you get uh Used to the the high stakes nature of it When you develop an ability and all that On skills processing right right right All that part of the iceberg that's Underneath the surface is doing all of

That right is reading you know Behavioral cues verbal cues and and Recognizing the Primacy of emotion over Logic right if it were all logic it'd be Different okay we're gonna talk about This thing I'll say things you say Things back even if it's politically Contentious sex okay we're just going to Talk logically but you know that's not The case right there could be a word That raises a certain emotion and you Know you don't want to tread there Because the emotion will color the Person's ability to engage and so you're Aware of all of this and then I think From the perspective of all of that I Mean it's like standing on the shoulders Of your own internal giant right that Understands you know language and Emotions and body language and Attunement to end history and triggering And all of that and then on top of that As you're standing up on those shoulders You're trying to be effective right and Then I think that's where you know Effectiveness can be unilateral or it Can be together I mean I think some of What emerged From Victor Frankel's writing after the Second world war was how much a shared Humanness means to us how much of that Can be an incentive for survival beyond All others right so so the idea of are We doing something if we're

Communicating unilateral like I want Information from you or I want you to do A certain thing when we're done talking Right right it can be done communicating That's a very unilateral type of Effectiveness which can make sense Sometimes I want information out of a Patient because I want to know what to Do next right so it doesn't have to Always be negative but it can also be a Tool of manipulation right if someone Would say coming from Envy or narcissism I want to communicate in with you in a Way that makes you do what I want you to Do right different from that is where It's a shared communication where you Know there's like an umbrella so to Speak over us and we're doing something That we can all that can only happen Together because we're us we're the each Person right and we come together to do Something that's a shared Effectiveness Like I think we're doing now like Elucidating and pursuing thoughts and Getting ideas out and I think the best Situations are shared Effectiveness Situations because you call upon the Resourcefulness and the internal Resources of both people but you uh Especially with strangers especially When it's not labeled the therapy Session Um you kind of actually stumble into That

Cooperative state Like uh You have to organically Develop a trust together And almost Lose Yourself it's ultimately I do I think you put it really nice I Think successful conversations even when It's with uh like even if it's like with World leaders or logicians people that Operate in the space of reason the most Successful conversation will ultimately Be in the layer in the in the landscape Of emotion like that's where the Interesting stuff will happen that's Where you'll discover anything and That's where you get to actually meet to Start getting an understanding of each Other what you actually mean even by the The statements that are supposed to be Kind of uh rationally based it's it's Right it's like you lose yourself you Lose yourself in the way you do when You're uh when you're children and You're just not shooting the [ __ ] about Whatever topic and you just forget Yourself again Right yeah well you kind of Plug into the unconscious mind a little Bit and you get to speak maybe Indirectly but to the things that really Drive you to the thing that really to The things to the emotions I suppose That Underlie your world view I feel like

That that's where productive Conversations can happen whether it's a Patient or just a stranger you're Talking to uh at a bar about geopolitics Uh you mentioned Victor Frankel uh what What do you make of his work man search For meaning what are the the lessons you Draw from his work of him as a Psychologist but also from that a very Powerful work that reflects on his Experience in a in a in a Nazi Concentration camp yeah I think that It was Almost a profound reinvention of Humanness right after something so Awful so Bleak and so despairing to Speak Anew about Shared humanness human connection yeah Meaning compassion That I think it was an intellectual Direction that that was adorned with all The emotions that we need to Adorn the Logic with in order to make real change In the world and I think that his work Is has fueled you know so many branches Have come from you know from his work Existential Psychotherapy and its place In in helping human activities today Right Um a a trend away from the idea that That we're all quite isolated and that What's going on between us is all very Transactional right I'm putting

Something out and you take it in you put Something out I take it in right the Idea no there's a difference there's a Shared humanness that creates a meaning Beyond the transaction kind of like you Were just saying The Logical stuff isn't Really that interesting because you know The logic is there's an answer to Whatever logic is we can do math right It's it's where does the the surprises Come in right either in terms of of Wonderful Behavior or destructive Behavior right they're coming from People's emotions so that's what we want To understand and that occurs in the Context of a person and other humans you Know even if it's the conception of Someone and all and other humans as Enemy you know or it's the conception of Of two people uh sitting together the Idea that there's a shared humanness and It's not all transactional and that he Could take that out of you know the the A pinnacle of of human tragedy and Utilize it in a way that informs us Being better as a species going forward I think is really Monumental what do you Think uh is the role of emotion in the Human mind In The Human Condition because you've uh We've talked several times in different Ways that emotion matters and it's a big Part of Who We Are But

Why is it there why is it useful what's Good about it it Will almost said it's almost like a Negative thing that we just have to live With But why is it also maybe a beautiful Thing yeah well I think he said what's The role of emotion emotion is the king If we want to use that analogy it's the CEO if you want to use that analogy Right emotion rules rules all we're Taught that we're logical creatures but We have innumerable pieces of data even Over the course of just a day let alone A human experience to tell us that is Not the truth is it ever logical to to Run into a burning building No right I mean Elijah's never going to Tell when to do that okay someone you Love is in the building the person's Already sprinted halfway to the building Right emotion rules us and so and so the Thought A thought is some of that is Evolutionary right that strong negative Emotion stays with us very very Profoundly right so example I'll give is If we're hunter-gatherers and like I Find a new berry and it tastes good and It seems nutritious and then and it is Right everybody I think it's fine it'd Be good to remember that right but if I Find a new berry and it tastes good and It seems nutritious and we both eat it

And almost die of sickness we better Remember that right so that so so the Primacy of emotion is in us for for Reasons that are about survival that the Emotion of it's my child in that Building or my loved one is why I don't Give a damn about logic and run into the Building right the emotion of I thought That was good and I got really sick and I better never forget it is also about Survival and the same applies to humans If if we're from different tribes back Then and in my tribe when you put your Hand out it's a greeting in your tribe If I if someone puts their hand out it Means hey I'm going to attack you and Take your stuff But then I put my hand out and you slug Me right then it's like I better Remember that right but you see how that Can lead into you know our our the Constructs around that I say oh people In your tribe are violent right they're Right we start then to make stories Around that but the Primacy of emotion Whether it's berries or it's humans who Might threaten us or it's humans we love I I think it's it's hard to to even look At the anthropological psychological Literature to look at what's out there And I think the face validity not to That that's part of survival right it's Part of survival it's so cool that you Get also things like love which are not

Often rational or grounded in logic and So on if you if you look like sort of From a transactional perspective A lot of times falling in love or Whether it's with friends or uh Friendship or romantic love it doesn't Really make sense I'm still don't I'm Not I'm still not sure what the hell it Is because like I mean it uh it's the Thing that it's one of the things or Love for your kids when they're born Right like that love the the the the the Parental love Um what is that that's so cool that we Get to have like if you're looking for The in the menu of items they give life Meaning that seems like a pretty good One yeah so my response you said that Gives Life Meaning my response initially Was going to be it's the meaning of life Right because saying okay emotion is About survival that's one part right That's and it's a very important part Right if we don't survive then then We're not there to have emotions right So yes it's about survival but as Important as that is that's the small Part of it right I think it is about the Meaning of life because it's about the Beyond self and I think it relates back To what we talked we're talking about The very beginning and the sort of Levels of emergence right and when we Feel love we feel happiness because that

Person feels happiness right there's Something that's so generative so Creative about that like we we want to Bring order to things and we we you know Happiness is consistent with Simplicity Right if we're healthy there's nothing Negative to say about our health right If we have health problems there's a lot To say right and it's it's emotion that Pushes us towards the the goodness that I think makes all the meaning for us I Mean it's interesting I actually I was Wondering your your thoughts about this As a scientist right because we we Accept it by and large that we have free Will right we deal with free will but Then we get upset that there's not Justice right so but how is it like if We have free will I could act in an Unjust way and then you're surprised or You know Vice versa's like why right we We have these thoughts because I think Because we're we're rooted we want logic To rule like there's a way which I can Understand logic I can manage it I can Manipulate it we sort of want it to be That way so then we we glorify logic and Then we misapply it like ideas like oh I Know we have free will but I'm now you Know shaking my fist at the heavens Because there's no justice right and I Think maybe what we're looking for is we Should go back and look at the Givens Like why is there there's only goodness

If there's Justice I mean that doesn't Make I I think the goodness why is the Goodness have to be tied to that right Maybe it goes back to the counter Entropy and the fact that when there is Something there is not nothing right and Where there is something there can be Awareness there can be goodness there Can be compassion right is it that that That what's really going on is not about Justice yes we have free will but it's That goodness creating Shoring up making Better that is The meaning that is the good right and That the evil is the destruction as Evidenced by the fact that it's over Determined probably a million times that We're in this anti-current of counter Entropy and we could destroy that quite Readily right and and then we're Nothingness like like everything else That we know of that's not us that Doesn't have the ability to do something That's creative or constructive I mean I Think that that's The answer and I think that our science Really tells us that that's the answer And I think it beckons us with ideas Like we know that things happen outside Of space and time right I mean they're Physics experiments right like we know This from the science of it yet we don't Stop and look and say wait is that the Magic of the idea Einstein said God

Doesn't play dice with the Universe I Think okay maybe God doesn't play dice with the universe That Quantum and determinacy and all of That is not just a flip of the coin so To speak but maybe it's in that Indeterminacy that we're given the Opportunity to assert ourselves right to Make something one way or another you Know maybe it's not God playing dice With the universe but it's God loading The dice in our favor if we'll only Listen to truth the truth that being Destructive doesn't help pursue anything Even in the person who thinks it will For themselves and that creativity and Generativeness and kindness and Compassion like this is doesn't that Seem sort of analogous to the Eddie Current of counter entropy that has us Here in the first place and I think That's where I I pin meaning and that Meaning then going back to the initial Question right is is generated in us Through emotion through what we feel That leads us to feel something that is Mysterious I don't know why I feel it Yeah in some sense the motion is the Kind of the fuel of that creative Imperative we have but if you step back And look at the tapestry a little bit It does seem that the destruction the Creation of the destruction or the yin And yang of of life that it all works

Only if The the the main engine is towards Creativity but uh destruction also Makes way for new things So that's the This kind of struggle it seems like life Is the struggle between the different Forces that make up the individual human They make up Society all this tensions Are necessary for growth for development This kind of uh inner conflict and outer Conflict are necessary for growth it's Not just the I mean in some sense it's from the logic Aspect you kind of want everything to be Perfect and and just for nobody to Suffer for everything to be perfect but Just like we talked about with trauma Just seems like it's such a big giant Mess what is it Bukowski said uh fine Would you love and let it kill you uh There's there's some aspect of uh the Negative aspect of passion and pursuit And Obsession and the the the the the Turmoil of the pursuit of uh of Happiness of the the creative Pursuits And all of that I mean I mean that's Part of life as well that's and I don't Know what to do with that Um from an individual perspective in Terms of figuring out how to how do you Live a good life how do you live a Healthy life because it does seem a bit Of hardship or sometimes a lot of

Hardship I can make a pretty interesting life I Think it brings us back to the to the Discussion that we're having sort of Before about like what does it mean like The challenges of trauma right and of Overcoming and I think here we gotta be And careful with the language right Because I I would then say let's take Destruction right and and separate it Into two things right like one is you Say destruction is like the the breaking Down the tearing down of something right Versus A process that has malice in it right so Just like when we were talking about uh Trauma and and um no setbacks things to Overcome and we'd say okay if you say Hey you have it harder than the next Person and you have more to overcome or Someone put a barrier in front of you For you to overcome that there can be a Lot of growth in that including the Times when you don't know if you gosh Can I do this right can I get over it Right if you're saying like that's that Could be that's Challenge and and Something to overcome that's very Positive but we're saying but there's no Benefit of like throwing a racial slur In there right we're saying because That's all bad like that's not even the Princess I'm I'm angry about that I'm Going to overcome that it's like that

Didn't need to be that didn't make Anything better if the person sees that And says I'm gonna I'm gonna overcome That it makes things less worse right Right is it but there's no there's no Good to something that's that's created As destructive when we look at forest Fires like look controlled Burns he said There's a forest burning down but that's Okay there's some this there's some Weakness destruction there there's a Tearing down there but it's in the Service of the next fire not running Through the community you know the town That's on the other side of it that's Very different than a forest fire say Started by arson yeah right so you might Say they're both tearing down they're Tearing down of the forest but one is in The service of goodness even though it's Hurting the animals and the plants it's Not all good right but but it's in the Service of something as opposed to Something else that's wantonly Destructive I think there's no good to The racial slur there's no good to the Arson right that's destruction in a way That's incorporating I think the malice Of envy you know something that's really Purely if there's a yin and yang that's The destruct that's the destructive That's the Badness end so racial slurs Is a surface wave of a deeper thing and So I mean this is I mean the reason I

Bring that up is like all right well Like you have these discussions of Censorship like what good does allowing Racial slurs in Public Communication do Right and it's like our communication Would surely be better if we don't say Bad things to each other it's like It seems like the truth is our Communication will be better if the Amount of bad things is a small fraction Of communication that seems to be more True because another aspect of human Nature with power the moment you start Censoring and removing bad words that Everyone agrees are bad words Then the people on the at the top They're doing the sensory start getting Greedy they start it starts expanding And this is the giant mess of human Civilization where we can't the the nice Piles you created are kind of Overlapping It's a gray area yeah I agree with it no I agree completely that the control of Language there are slippery slopes there I think there's a there's a very big Problem there so I agree I I think again Split parsing out the language I I'm not Saying hey we shouldn't have racial Slurs as if like let's stop saying the Words I mean the idea is the premise Behind it right like you know the the Prejudices if we could eliminate the Prejudice behind it you know I was

Struck I said I do not almost nothing About medicine I get to medical school And start with Anatomy right and it's Remarkable as you know to see where as The bodies are being dissected that like We're we're all humans like is it matter It doesn't matter any of these things on The outside like and that's true not Just like in our bodies but but in our Minds the part of the person that's not There right because now we're trying to Learn from the body and you know it Shows how Ridiculous it is if you think that we're 99 Point how many nines you know percent All alike genetically and by the way It's only like take another tenth off And we're all orangutans right so but Somehow we we have to see these Differences between us right and where Does that come from and I think that I Believe that all comes from Envy in that Classical sense that if I don't feel Good enough I'm going to want someone to Feel better about and so there can be Visual things that that person looks Different right or you think about the You know the I I spent some time in Great Britain and when there's a lot of Conflict in between Northern Ireland and Ireland right and you thought wow There's not there's not even a look Difference right it's the same general You know religious umbrella same

Ethnicity right but but now there's some Religious difference and I thought it's Not me trying to be denigrating you know Around the Irish conflicts like that's Human of oh there's no actual difference Between us if I don't feel good about Myself I'm gonna find one right it's That That I believe could go away it's driven By maybe the trauma of just being alive In the world and things can happen to us But we certainly promote in the human Created trauma people feeling not good Enough finding differences there's a Place for the Envy to attach and We're Off to the Races of you know Wars I mean We're talking about the second world war And we think what have we learned since Then would take us a day to map out all The wars since then right uh let alone For goodness sakes everything that's Sailing it right now so we're not pretty We're not good at learning from what Seemed to be some very Salient lessons I should mention one thing is that I Also know that you're interested in in Russian culture a little bit Yes uh Churchill said I cannot forecast to you The action of Russia uh it is a riddle Wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma so Uh what do you are some interesting Differences between uh so this this Eastern part of the world of Russia

Ukraine the Slavic countries the former Soviet Union all of that versus sort of The U.S culture what stands out to you From the literature from the music from The science all that kind of stuff I Think there's so much Intensity Intensity and and I guess I would say Fearlessness of expression that I see in The islavic culture maybe so maybe it's Across cultures because there's a Different way that expression occurs we Say like oh it's different and the the French then the Spanish or is different Than in parts of Africa and I think when You when you take that part of the world For whatever reason and maybe it's just Totally random or maybe it's you know It's aspects of geography and experience And migration but there's such an Intensity and and I remember like Listening to Tchaikovsky you know very Early on maybe not for the very first Time early on in my life or reading Dostoyevsky and and feeling like oh like Dostoyevsky's a willingness his ability And his willingness to express and Create such powerful aberrant states of Human Experience Um Tchaikovsky in his music the depths Of suffering think that it expresses has Always stood out to me Um As a way that like with the if if that's

Like the brightest light so to speak Communicating information that that's a Place to look and it's also a place that Resonated with me so strongly because I Think for some people who are Informative years and having very Difficult feelings right of like a depth Of feeling of like fear and how's the World going to be am I going to be Annihilated am I what do I even want What do I feel inside of me to to Encounter that being expressed so Intensely Um I found to be very very moving uh so I don't know if that's a good answer or Not but I think there's an intensity of Expression and a fearlessness you know Dostoyevsky wrote about terrible things You know what what happens in the person Is there a person who is brilliant Intellectually and very persuasive and Very capable of being effective who also Just chooses to be a child rapist right I mean he wrote about that he wrote About the truths of this is what we can Be as human and I think there's so many Lessons including the truth like people Will tend to think oh Evil's not very Bright or not very intelligent that's a Way to let evil propagate right evil can Be effective and attractive and Um very compelling but evil nonetheless And I just think there's a Fearless Willingness to to look at that and to

Describe it that I see primarily I've Studied in in Russian culture Yeah the The Fearless exploration of This whole human drama definitely does The yes gain others since in the 20th Century in the 19th century have done an Incredible job of that some of that just Like you said is the language the Culture I think that intense Romanticism Is there that is almost an over dramatic Um exploration of of uh Human Nature It can err on the side or a falter when It goes into a kind of cynical view of Life you know life is suffering I think That also has to do with the way you Deal with the trauma of the world wars And so on this is something the Different nations throughout Europe had To deal with that in different ways uh Some of them have channeled into envy And resentments some of them channeled Into a kind of nihilism or a cynicism And Ultimately the intensity of feeling is There which is sort of interesting Um to see and interesting how that Manifests itself in the kind of uh in in The kind of governments it builds up you Know there's there's more Um authoritarianism in that part of the World right uh versus the Western world That's more focused on the individual Versus the collective and uh when more Focused on the individual you have a

Propensity to Value individual rights With democracy and so on it's Interesting to watch and yeah to Reconstruct how that all came to be is It uh is it in the blood is it in the Mind is it in some kind of thing that uh More ethereal a collective set of ideas That we pass from Generation generation Right uh between each other sort of the Collective of it yeah it's it's Fascinating to see Um but now reinvigorated because there's Conflict in that part of the world You've also uh thought about the Cold War what lessons about the human mind About Psychiatry psychology And about looking at the Cold War Can we take forward in the 21st century So that we can avoid World War III right a major cold or hot War in the 21st century Well I think unspoken animosities are Very Very very dangerous I mean right it was A cold war there was there was was Fighting through proxies right the Superpowers were fighting uh surrogate Wars through proxies which of course in And of itself causes immense suffering But there's it's the becomes the Opposite of an exchange of ideas or an Exchange of thought you know I remember Even the Chris Jeff right not believing That the kitchen could look like it did

At the world's fair right and you know And and some of the misconceptions here Of like what things were like in Russia Right it was an utter it was a thought That those other people are not actually People right there's a there's an enemy Society of evil which then paints with a Broad brush in a way that makes it easy Too easy for the Cold War for war to go From being cold right to having boiling Over into utter destruction and you know I wrote it was it was really a true Story that when I Um was in it was still this Soviet Union But it was right around the time of the Soviet Union coming to an end and and And had gone on a a trip for students From uh from England and we got to go Places that people like hadn't gone you Know it would be foreigners had gone in Many many years it was just kind of the Right timing to experience that and like It really is true that someone said on Short notice to these poor kids that That like these group of Americans were Coming and I have a picture somewhere of The kid in a gas mask like they went Under their desks and put on a gas mask And they thought right that's what I Mean that's what Yeah they're taught to think about us And we're taught to think about them and Like now we now we're back in US them Right when you know we're all trying to

Survive and we're all such you know Human life is so Um delicate right you know let alone Human happiness and we make these Divisions and we create this aggression And latent aggression during the Cold War we developed right the ability to Destroy the Earth right and then just Sat looking at one another you know with It with further growing misunderstanding And the opportunity for the proxy fights Like rather say the Cuban Missile Crisis Which I know wasn't a war but it's an Aspect of that right where we just we Have ourselves wildly you know at risk Of Destruction Without any Mutual understanding and Again I would argue that that is the Opposite of the counter entropy right Like we are setting everything up for Less lack of communication lack of Understanding how do those feelings of Love and and shared humanness happen uh They don't right if you separate people And then we push ourselves more and more And more towards reinstating the state Of entropy that's present in the rest of The universe What advice would you give to young People Um that are fighting entropy with all Their might So uh Young people and and people that are

Wondering how to find a way in life what Advice would you give Um how to have a career how to have a Life they can be proud of I think Starting off with the first principles Okay what are my values right how do I Want to live life because you know I'm In my early 50s and when I was a kid you Know we waited for the the newspaper Came in the afternoon and then you know And then we'd see something okay what's Going on in the world we learned Something I'd get the West Coast Baseball scores right right and and Learn about oh here's what happened in Different parts of the world and by and Large I and everyone else there adult or Child were like living in a reality that Was largely our conception was largely What was around us right and now in many Ways it is I'm not saying it's entirely Negative of course that we have more Information we can sort of think Globally so to speak right but the other Side of that is so much of the world's Problems are are on us all the time Right like here's this awful thing that Happened how many awful things happen Each day and they're right in front of Us and there's such an immediacy to it All that I think it can be it can like Paralyze this with error right and and For someone who's who's young and trying

To make their ways like how do you Figure your way out in this world that Your word isn't even going to exist Right and then you see how profling it The the generations before you are right In so many ways and there can become I Think a push towards extremes either Nihilism or I'm gonna I'm gonna change Everything right and and it's like how About let's start from how do I want to Behave in my own Community right which Starts with like I don't want to behave In my household right what kind of Neighbor do I want to be I mean it might Seem like things like that are Till you're small in comparison to the Big things but I don't think they are I Think that's how you know that's how we Start building foundations that lets us Tackle the big things and then I do find Myself saying what I'm working with Sometimes doing therapy with younger People of helping them kind of bring Back their thoughts their strivings Their decisions more to themselves and Living with and around themselves more Instead of in something that becomes Very Theoretical and therefore very Threatening and unnerving so focusing on The people around them taking one small Step at a time to form deeper Connections to build something locally Yeah how do I want to be today if I go

Into the grocery store and the person in Front of me drops something you know I Can I can scout because you know because I'm in a rush right and I could be like That right I can be like that I've been That way many many times in my life Right and it's never done anyone a damn Bit of good including me right or I can Realize like the 10 seconds aren't going To matter can I help pick that thing up Or just smiling these are the seemingly Small things that I think make the tenor Of Our Lives yeah I I moved uh I think I Mentioned you offline uh one of the Really the main reason I moved to Austin Texas I just remember deciding it when I went To Walmart and a lady said Uh you look handsome in that tie or in That suit and tie whatever Like I don't think anyone's ever said Older lady she was very sweet there's Kindness in her eyes she said that I Don't think anyone ever said anything Like that to me in my entire life and it Was just I don't know it was like wow there's Kindness in this world I know this Sounds ridiculous but like it does not Sound ridiculous it's like those you Could be that for somebody You go go walk around in Walmart right The thing that you remember that yeah And and it's it's pivotal you're citing

It as hey that was a big part of me Moving here something with the branch Point in your life that comes from the Simple Kindness right of a person who Had goodness to give yeah right and Wasn't scared that you're going to be Upset by it or what right the rest right Right she probably didn't have the the Thought that you could be a sailing Right probably she looks She's Got Goodness to give it's simple to give it It's that simple and it's and it's Beautiful and it's worth more to you Than like how many studies would be on Where's the right to live or this and That none of that matters that mattered Was just that the freedom to be kind and That's emotion that's not logic at all That's that's purely just human emotion And a little bit of humanness that that Little bit of connection And then uh that's what makes life great Which is why it's not a bad idea right That you you moved here that way instead Of one could say well I can't believe you did that instead of Looking at all the data and hiring Consultants of what's the best place to Live but that would be wrong right like You you made a good decision right like That was good data it was impactful Data Even in your thoughts about how you're Happy living here right it's not that oh You discount you shortchange yourself by

Not relying on all the logic right you Felt something about the place and you Felt it as symbolized in a person and That made the choice for you it's a Balance of course but uh you also have To know yourself a little bit sometimes You can find stability and comfort and Kind of reasoning things out a little Bit uh maybe as uh people close to me Have sometimes criticized and that I'm a Little bit too romantic where I'll just Follow the feeling And you know life you know there's Physics right there's a reality to this World right and sometimes Um reality doesn't allow you to flourish If you just follow your feelings but There's a dance there and uh yes Happiness is ultimately found in that Landscape of feeling and emotion versus Facts And reason and logic as you said have Their place right everything yeah they Have their place but they're not the Be-all and end-all You're an incredible person Andrew Huberman is a friend of yours is he said You absolutely must talk uh called Dicerothy the the number of people you Know that are just incredible people There's just this group of folks that uh Somehow helped each other flourish and Grew together and I'm just I'm so happy You exist I'm so happy you're doing the

Work you're doing I can't wait for your Second book thank you and thank you for Talking today this is really cool thank You so much I'm proud to be among the Group of people that you cited uh proud To be their friend and proud that you've Had me on today thank you so much thank You Paul Thanks for listening to this Conversation with Paul Conte to support This podcast please check out our Sponsors in the description and now let Me leave you with some words from Victor Franco Everything can be taken from a man but The last of the human freedoms to choose One's attitude in any given set of Circumstances Thank you for listening and hope to see You next time

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