“I don’t know who discovered water but I doubt it was a fish.” ~ Marshall McLuhan
“Astonishing! You mean that you learned all of this JUST through physics?” ~ The Dalai Lama to Anton Zeilinger upon completing a tour of his Innsbruck laboratory, as recounted by Alan Wallace.
“L’inconscient, c’est le discours de l’Autre.” ~ Jacques Lacan
“One mountain, many paths.” ~ Buddhist adage
To sin: to miss the mark.
Eric Weinstein and I both studied at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1980s, but I doubt Weinstein was as interested in Professor Philip Rieff’s work as I was. Nor did Weinstein appear particularly interested in the sociologist when Rabbi David Wolpe mentioned him during an episode of “The Portal.” Weinstein is what Rieff would call a “bagels-and-lox Jew,” a cultural Jew, but not a philosophical Jew. And this is where Joe Rogan and Eric Weinstein’s latest three hour podcast missed the mark: for the synergy between the two men was conspicuous in its absence. During the final 30 minutes of the episode, when Weinstein discussed his 14 dimensional theory, Rogan should have wailed, “You should try DMT, man!” because that would have landed them firmly on common ground, or rather in common ethers where physics intertwines with spirituality. Until Weinstein meditates on how Sefirot relates to and interacts with Ein Sof, and maya relates to and interacts with Brahman and sunyata, he will not be able to construct the formulas he is so yearning to create.
So is space travel (without rocketships) possible? Absolutely. Is time travel possible? Absolutely. But first you have to concede that space and time are illusory; they are constructions of human consciousness, the way we happen to make sense of phenomena.
Physics is one subset of science; it is an hermeneutics, a theory of interpretation, a lens. Biology is another. Economics is another. Painting is another. Music is another.
Human consciousness is influenced by the systems of thought that human beings have created (or that have evolved or emerged, however you care to frame it). Such systems include science, capitalism, American democracy (wherein 2 of the last 5 presidents lost the popular vote), the arts, education, property ownership, competition, sports, travel, transportation, work, banking, currency/money/credit, the future, government, justice, law, history, race, sexuality, media, entertainment, religion, freedom, authority and as I discuss in my book “How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening,” The Myth of Romance.
And then under the above systems fall additional subsets: for example, medicine would fall under science, pharmaceuticals and surgery would fall under medicine, appendectomies and heart transplants would fall under surgery, and so on.
Weinstein’s first episode of “The Portal” was riveting and brilliant because he and his friend and employer Peter Thiel agreed that “all systems have been corrupted.”
So the common ground that I imagined watching unfold between Rogan and Weinstein would have been as such:
What is the nature of reality?
Weinstein could have offered a perspectives such as Kant’s: “There is an objective reality ‘out there’ but we can never be certain of our subjective understandings of that reality.” And then Joe could have offered something more pedestrian such as, “The nature of reality? That’s a stupid question, man!” which would have been a humorous update of the Buddha’s usage of the word (translated in English as) “unprofitable.” Yes, maybe a lot of Western philosophy is composed of unprofitable questions. It is distinctly possible.
Then, they could have discussed…
What are the limitations of human perception?
To which Joe could have offered that fractals remain invisible to the human eye without enhancements such as DMT for himself and artists such as Alex Gray, or absinthe and other spirits for artists such as Braque, Picasso and Duchamp.
Then, they could have discussed…
What are the limitations of human consciousness?
Can you imagine infinity or is the best your mind can offer are placeholders for such unfathomable concepts?
And then they could have delved into philosophy of mind and discussed…
What are the categories of consciousness? Or, how does human consciousness “chunk” reality? Spatially? Temporally? How else?
What are the systems of thought that influence the way we think?
Or as Joe might phrase it…
Why do we think the shit that we think?
Wherein Eric could ask Jamie to pull up Foucault and systems of thought on Wikipedia and then Lacan regarding the unconscious.
How have those systems of thought become corrupted?
We already know “why” those systems became corrupted: because power corrupts and human beings primarily will choose satisfying their own ephemeral hedonic treadmills than looking out for the greater good. This is why regulations ensure secure yet limited “freedom” while the neo-liberal free market is self-terminating, as Weinstein’s friend Daniel Schmactenberger so astutely observes. And if many of the above systems have been corrupted and are amidst “self-terminating” or imploding, then the final questions would be…
What are the next systems after capitalism, currency/money, property ownership and how can we help facilitate a smooth as possible transition to the next way human beings interact?
I love how Thomas Piketty phrased it the opening of his new book: “Every human society must justify its inequalities: unless reasons for them are found, the whole political and social edifice stands in danger of collapse. Every epoch therefore develops a range of contradictory discourses and ideologies for the purpose of legitimizing the inequality that already exists or that people believe should exist.”
Pimps up, Ho’s Down. Welcome to the Jungle.
Is human consciousness with all of its quirks and foibles capable of creating sustainable, incorruptible, compassionate, equitable systems?
One fundamental problem is that human consciousness appears to be primarily an either/or system. Weinstein goes into several binary possibilities about his theory late in the podcast. He starts “Either I’m crazy OR I have something (of note)… either… either…”. Eric, it’s a particle AND a wave. You are BOTH crazy AND you have something. So this seems to be a tremendous foible or propensity of consciousness: constantly juxtaposing. Black and white. Sun and moon. Wet and Dry. Raw and cooked. Male and female. Master and slave. Winners and losers.
And this foible manifests as dialectics both within science and in common discourse. Thesis plus antithesis equals synthesis. But what if reality is more akin to a Jackson Pollock painting and human consciousness inflicts order onto chaos by imposing artificial dialectics? And are their psychological ramifications to perpetual oppositions? R. D. Laing thought that schizophrenics had the most accurate perception of reality.
The mandate of science to ascribe causality; as I have stated elsewhere, ignoramuses conflate correlation and causality, which is one reason that science has become fatally corrupted. A brief search on the Internet will show you that people believe they can “prove” virtually anything scientifically; however, most scientific studies can be and are eventually refuted.
According to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle we cannot measure the position and velocity of a particle at the same time. There are infinite variables that compose the matrix of reality; it is impossible to hold enough variables constant in reality to accurately measure anything. Yes, on paper and in graphs we can make if/then approximations but if you deconstruct the field of economics it is easy to discern that it is more of an art than a science and most economic “winners” are luckier than they are smart.
Including the dimensions of percipients and measurement instruments in 14 dimensional theory is an act of post-Einsteinium genius, but Weinstein is at his best when discussing his brother Bret’s discovery that the mice used in laboratory experiments are genetically disparate from mice in the wild and may have therefore corrupted a good deal of the results when experiments were conducted using those mice. This is exactly the type of exegesis for which these irreverant podcasts shine: dismantling the old regime and legacy media by exposing hypocrisies, contradictions, and lies and offering new, more accurate, more authentic narratives, narratives that do not depend on anyone’s bottom line.
Which is why both Rogan and Weinstein undermine their own causes by pumping and pimping sponsors. Both are sufficiently wealthy to never earn another penny and live at the same level of comfort they and their families have become accustomed to for the rest of their lives. By accepting money to advertise products for others they become part of the problem.
Funny, both Rogan and Weinstein respect Tulsi Gabbard because she cannot be bought. Do you not smell the hypocrisy? Or does this betray jealousy, ladies?
In my article, “The Problem with Ayahuasca,” I argue that ayahuasca is not a hallucinogenic; employing Vedanta I argue that maya — everything we perceive through our five senses and chunk into narratives — is the hallucination. We are seduced by the blue pills of our Matrix’s fictions —such as, that we live in a meritocracy and will be rewarded for working hard. What folly!
Here’s my wishbone to pick with Joe Rogan: I am saddened that the universe/mystery/Brahman/God/sunyata/Eif Sof has not yet allowed you to become one of the animals you have murdered at the second your arrow pierces the unsuspecting animal’s heart. I appreciate the commitment of a murderer who eviscerates his own victims, in the same way that Bill Maher said, “Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.” However, there are consequences of living in a society that murders 50,000 cows per hour, and billions and billions of other animals per year. Ever hear of climate change?
While their discussion of professional wrestling was a great analogy to unveil the intentional theatre of Donald Trump, I propose that Rogan and Weinstein have sinned by missing the opportunity to enlist a wide audience in a methodological new narrative regarding how we attain the next society – preferably before we blow ourselves off of the planet or the earth hemorrhages the cancer known as humanity from itself via tornadoes, tsunamies, hurricanes, volcanoes, plagues, viruses and myriad other problems for which Weinstein’s matzah offers neither escape nor solace.
As opposed to say Native Americans who lived as part of Gaia, Christian-Scientific-Capitalism (or the way it has evolved) has placed a primacy on humankind and thus licensed us to be sanctimonious apex predators, conduct grotesque experiments on fellow people, murder billions of animals for meat and fur, pollute the oceans, drill and frack, contaminate the ozone layer, and make the earth’s climates unstable, as well as continously justify the exploitation of others under the guise of bullshit meritocracy.
And where Weinstein is correct in being contra “equality of outcome,” he should recognize “equality of outcome” as a straw man propped up by myopic self-righteous blowhards such as Jordan Peterson. What we should agree on is “Equality of OPPORTUNITY.” So while reparations for slavery may have unintended psychological ramifications and be useful primarily in assuaging our collective guilt for slavery, as a society we need to figure out a way that all people start on more-or-less equal footing and Warren Buffet’s “lucky gene pool” and its requisite nepotism are minimized.
Weinstein is right; human beings are terrible shepherds of the planet earth.
Trump is a symptom; not a cause.
Weinstein’s 14 dimensional theory appears to include both McLuhan’s aforementioned fish as well as Schrödringer’s Cat, but “The Portal” will remain a cul-de-sac until people like Rogan and Weinstein admit that white males and the systems we built such as capitalism are the cause of most of our addictions and the planet’s afflictions.
Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” Through his use of DMT, Joe Rogan has had insights into other levels of reality beyond human consciousness; however, he possessed neither the erudition nor acumen to discuss them intelligently with Weinstein. So the next time you are hanging out with Eric at the back bar of the Comedy Store, Joe, please tell him that you’ve already visited Jupiter and Neptune and you didn’t need his fellow Penn alumnus Elon Musk to propel you there.
Maybe human consciousness remains in the maya part of the Matrix and trapped on earth because we have become addicted to the taste (of power)? Our predatory proclivities and will to power allowed us to crawl out of the primordial stew, learn how to farm, build glorious cities, create miraculous inventions and channel magnificent music and art. At this pivotal moment in history, let’s put searching for the source code on the back burner and instead develop new systems of thought that hinder and alter the predatory and ultimately self-terminating impulses of human consciousness.