We are always designed to desire to get what we want, but does our list ever end? Can we actually find contentment once we achieve our goals? When can we say that the finish line is at hand? Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen discuss the possibility of humankind’s never-ending list of wants that directly shape our society. They go deep on our collective nature to fight a common enemy and stand for our principles, as well as the gravity of the possible political shift with Joe Biden’s presidency. They also share thoughts about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, going on a diet (particularly vegan), and the possibility of humanity cheating death through technology.
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How Society Is Impacted With The Desire To Get What We Want
I was watching an Instagram video from an artist that I admire. His name is Alex Ebert. Some of you may know him as the lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. He has a pretty amazing solo career with his music, art and activism. Alex has been branching out into some interesting territory on his Instagram page. He released at the beginning of 2020 a wonderful solo record that I highly suggest if you’re into music, you listen to, download, and pick apart. It’s a fascinating mashup of a lot of different genres. It’s difficult to classify and different than his work with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
The point is he’s been talking a lot about manifestation and creating your own reality. A lot of the principles that we’ve touched upon here on the show, not just demystifying, but myth-busting a lot of these concepts that new age people have been holding onto for many decades. We have a sovereign reality, we created ourselves, and it’s independent of anyone else’s reality. If we’re walking around with an abundance mindset and a lot of self-love and sovereignty, we don’t have to be affected by other people’s poverty, struggle or challenges. Certainly, 2020 has shown us that we’re pretty much all bound to a similar reality with COVID and the economic downturn. In the video he posted that I want to reference, dig into, and talk about maybe the interweaving of all this, he was talking about a lot of people’s desires to find a villain to rage against.
In the election where Donald Trump was defeated by Joe Biden, for all intents and purposes, it looks like Joe Biden is going to get sworn in on January 20th. He’s observing that anthropologically, a lot of people will go from one villain to the next villain. It’s almost as if they are looking for something to fight and rage against or something that’s trying to take away their rights, liberty or pursuit of happiness. Now that Trump has been defeated, he’s noticing that a lot of liberals or progressives or however people classify themselves are finding new things to rage against. It’s the masks, the COVID policies, the shutdowns in California, Michigan, and other states. He was positing this idea of why is it that as humans, we sometimes feel the need to find an enemy to fight all of the time? There’s this desire to label something as bad, wrong, or taking away our rights, our privileges, and our freedoms.
He was saying that it’s a never-ending thing. If you’re in this mindset of always looking for something to fight against or to make someone an enemy, that’s a never-ending rabbit hole. It’s given me a lot of pause in reflecting on how I have done that in my life. Perhaps there’s something that I’m always like, “This is bad. We need to defeat this person. We need to defeat Trump. We need to defeat fascism. Fuck the masks or the vaccines.” He’s going on this very wise diatribe of, why do you always have to be looking for something to fight or somebody to make the villain? We have talked a bit about politics here and sociology in our explorations on the show. I’m throwing it to you, Whitney, to think about. What do you think is behind this mentality? Have you observed it in yourself? Have you observed in people in your life this idea that we always have to fight against something that’s trying to destroy us or take away our rights?
I’ve certainly observed it and I don’t feel that strongly now. I feel very neutral in general because I’ve gone through phases of wanting to prove somebody wrong, get on my high horse or take a strong position. It’s interesting the psychology of why we want to stand up for something or look for something to be opposed to. From an environmental and a vegan standpoint, I have experienced a lot of this thinking the Earth is falling apart and we’re treating it horribly. How dare people do that? There’s a lot of self-righteousness in there and the same thing with vegan. I’ll catch myself now judging other people for their behavior like, “How dare they do this or that?”
I feel more balanced about it because I’m not changing my opinions about sustainability, compassion, cruelty, health, and all of that. I’m being more accepting because I recognize that not everybody is of the same mindset. I think every person probably thinks things differently than one another and sees the world differently. We all have these nuanced lifestyles even when we agree upon something. We see this within our friendships, our romantic partners, our children, and our parents. If you look at anybody in your life that you’ve spent a ton of time with and have a lot in common with, even they are not exactly like you. You can get into an argument with somebody, even when you think that you’re being clear and somebody is on the same level as you.
I believe that it’s within our egos to get on this pedestal and think that we have all the answers and that anybody who’s not with us is against us. This ties into many of our conversations when we talk about that episode we did about gurus and experts. Who is anybody to call themselves a guru or an expert when we’re constantly learning? We can use that term lightly if we’re not taking it super seriously. If you take it super seriously, my belief system is that a guru or an expert doesn’t have anything else to learn. It doesn’t have a way to grow. I immediately questioned somebody when they come across as if they have all the answers. There are a lot of people getting up on pedestals because it’s socially acceptable to do so.
We are in a phase of our society now, especially due to social media where it’s culturally acceptable to take a position and take it aside. As you’re bringing up politics too, it’s encouraged to take aside like, who are you voting for? Who are you against? I’m not at a place where I want to be super one way or another. We talked about this in the episode with Ben Decker. When it comes to politics, I feel strongly about who I voted for. I do have issues with who I perceive as being opposite. I also don’t feel fully comfortable shaming somebody for voting for someone different than me or trying to proclaim that if you don’t vote for this person, then you’re against this person, and all these proclamations we want to make. I find that very in the ego.
Where my mind goes piggybacking on what you said is this idea that if we make life the way we think it ought to be, we’ll feel okay. We’ve talked about permutations of this in terms of materialism. Once I get the house, the car, the wife, and a certain amount of money, then I’ll feel fulfilled or complete. I finally feel I can be joyful in my life, that capitalist materialist ladder that we’re all encouraged to climb in many modern societies. A related dynamic of that is you mentioned the vegan community, the earth rights, the ecological activists, and a lot of the communities or arenas you and I have played in and continue to play in. We have many passions and many things that we certainly endeavor to make positive changes. The slippery slope that I’m looking at is similar to the materialist conversation in the sense that if we get half the global population to eat vegan and stop eating animals, that will be better for the Earth. We’ll feel like our mission is complete or whatever. If we get people to start reducing their package consumption of single-use plastics, we get people to stop polluting.
We get the automakers to start making electric cars. We get less dependence on coal-fired power plants or fracking. I don’t need to go down this rabbit hole. It seems to me that if we look at the recorded human history, there’s always been something that small groups of people have looked at and said, “This is ‘wrong’ or we ought to change this because it’s damaging the earth. It’s taking advantage of people. It’s trampling the weaker people in our society.” I don’t know that there’s ever going to be a point where we look at the world and say, “It’s finally peaceful now and equitable. Finally, we’re at a place of a certain level of compassion and non-violence.” It’s a weird thing and I’m trying to explain it.
It’s almost like my heart has this idealist mentality that we could do that. We can create a more equitable, compassionate, and fair balanced world. The other side of me who maybe looks at the patterns and the cycles of human history goes, “I don’t know that we’re going to ever get there, that we could ever create a world where conflict, war, disagreement, strife, and the polarization will ever fully be gone.” We could go back to Egypt, Rome, Sumerian and look at history. There’s always been war. There’s always been conflict. There’s always been classism, kings, pharaohs, and the elites at the top and a whole lot of people at the bottom. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. I question whether or not those of us who are trying to idealize life or have an ideal standard for the world if that’s an even appropriate thing to hold onto.
I feel like it’s complicated. It comes back to this idea of thinking that we have the answers, wanting something, expecting something, and how things take time. A lot of us want to see something happen in our lifetime. We want to see changes. My grandfather was a good eye-opening experience for me because he lived until he was 97 and a half. I remember him multiple times in his lifetime saying, “I wish I would be around to see this thing happen.” He was aware of the fact that even living for almost 100 years, he wasn’t able to see everything develop. He did see a lot. It is a long period of time, but world peace wasn’t achieved within his lifetime.Everyone has nuanced lifestyles, even when most people agree upon something. Click To Tweet
There are a lot of things like he wasn’t alive for COVID. Can you imagine all of the things that are going to happen after our lifetime? It’s humbling when you realize that our lives are short and we don’t have as much control as we think we do. I almost wonder when people get to this place of trying to control things too much. It’s that they’re almost desperately clinging to like, “I’ve got to make a change before my life ends.” There’s something wonderful about that, but like anything else, we can’t be attached to the outcome. We can’t be clinging to all these expectations. We have no idea how quickly change will happen or how long it’ll even last. If we look at our government, we had this president who was trying to make a lot of big changes and he did make a lot of changes.
We now have another president coming in who is probably going to revert a bunch of those things. We have this four-year period of someone coming in and trying to drastically change things. We have somebody else in who’s like, “No, we are going back to the way it was. We’re going to change things again.” As citizens, we don’t have that much control because that person is the president and we have this whole government in place. We have a certain amount of control and then there’s a number of things that we simply don’t have as much control over as we’d like to think.
I saw an article on ABC11, and they had an image of this which was interesting. It was almost like a vaccine report card, a written, actual physical record of whether you had or had not received the upcoming doses of COVID vaccines, which are scheduled to come out soon to first responders and the most critical need. They are from Pfizer and Moderna. I know the University of Oxford has a vaccine that’s also coming out. Those are the three big ones internationally and nationally here in the US that are going to get rolled out. My point about politics is that even though I voted for Biden and I would typically classify myself as perhaps one on the side of liberalism. There’s been some comments and leanings toward him potentially making vaccines mandatory for certain applications.
I have had many civil conversations about vaccines with people online for the most part. My concern with the new administration is whether they’re going to start being heavy-handed with requiring a COVID vaccine to do things like fly, get an updated driver’s license, attend sporting events or concerts, which we love to go to. There are going to be some interesting ethical ramifications and considerations with all this. If for some reason there are some national constraints put on flying, we have family that lives thousands and thousands of miles away. Do we get a vaccine so we are “allowed” to fly and go see our loved ones? Do we refuse the vaccine and say, “I guess it’s road trips for the rest of our life?”
Digging into the research of what’s in these vaccines, there are concerns about the composition of the higher levels of mercury and heavy metals of the modified mRNA genetics, the DNA sequence that’s in there, aborted fetal cells, and egg albumin. If you dig into some of the components in these vaccines, it’s a strange hybrid Frankenstein, weird Neo futurist thing. My concern as we’re going there as part of this conversation is the balance between having our physical sovereignty and our rights to our health potentially threatened by some national mandate that might require us to get a vaccine to have access to certain things. I’m curious if you’ve thought about this. If there is some mandate with the new administration, and we’re faced with the challenge of fly or not fly, go or not go to concerts, this is all conjecture, what do you think you might do about it? Have you thought about this at all?
I have thought about it and I don’t have a conclusive answer yet. I don’t know up until now, I have been over the mindset of not getting vaccines unless I feel like I need them. I haven’t felt like I’ve needed a vaccine. I can’t remember the last time I had one versus some people go get the flu vaccine every year and they don’t think much of it. I haven’t felt the need. That’s my general perspective when it comes to my health and well-being is if I don’t need something and I don’t want it, then what’s the point? In general, with going to the doctor, I’m not somebody that goes to the doctor all the time. I go when I feel like I need or it’s recommended.
It’s complicated with vaccines because there’s the side of things around what’s in them. I see a lot of videos on TikTok. People are making light of this like, “We eat all sorts of crazy foods and we don’t always check the ingredient list. Why should we be concerned?” One of the popular trends is like, “I’ve been eating junk food my entire life so I’m fine. Why should I worry about what’s inside of the vaccine?” There’s that mentality that I don’t fully agree with, but I also see the point. I’m unsure at this time, Jason, because of your question of, does it feel necessary? I hear a lot of people saying, “I can’t wait for the vaccine to come out.”
My gut feeling to that is, why are people excited about this vaccine when it’s brand new? That makes me uncomfortable. We don’t have enough experience with it, but I can see that people are excited about it because it is hard to stay inside all the time. It’s hard not to see our loved ones. It’s hard not to travel. This way of life has been a challenge and by the time vaccine is widely available, we’ve probably been going through this for a year plus, and that’s a long time, and a lot of people have died. I can see why the vaccine is exciting because that means fewer people will die. We’ll be able to go back to what we perceive as normal living again for the most part.
I’m not an anti-COVID vaccine and I’m generally not anti-vaccine. It’s more of a personal thing. I suppose it’s not far off of being pro-life versus pro-choice. I can see both sides. I can understand them. I have my opinions on that, which I’m not going to get into, but I also lean towards the middle even though I have one strong opinion. It’s not super far left or right is my point. I felt the same way about vaccines. I think that anti-vaxxers can be extreme and I think pro-vaxxers can be very extreme as well. I like to balance out a lot of different information. Being someone who enjoys research, I will probably do a lot of research and I hope that there are different vaccines that we can choose from.
I hope that we can be educated because I don’t feel comfortable taking a vaccine that’s brand new. That scares me. That puts up a red flag. Also, to some of the points of these people making light social media content on this, we experiment a lot with different types of vegan food. When you look at brands like Impossible Foods, that’s a big experiment. That stuff is being created in a lab and includes genetically modified ingredients. GMOs haven’t been around that long. My point is, it’s still a short amount of time that we’ve had genetically modified ingredients and I’m not 100% organic. I’m putting genetically modified foods in my body sometimes. I’m sitting here like, “It’s not that harmful.”
That leads me back to wondering like, “Maybe vaccines aren’t that harmful. Maybe it’s worth it.” Ultimately, this is a long answer because I haven’t talked about it out loud, so I’m still processing it. I’m still figuring it out. The big point here is at this point, I don’t feel like I need or want the vaccine, but that could change. The vaccines are constantly changing. Accessibility is changing. There are a lot of factors in place and I’m certainly not against the COVID vaccine too. It’s going to help the world a lot. If it could prevent unnecessary deaths, then that ultimately is the most important element. It does come down to hopefully, a personal choice. I’m grateful that Biden has said that it’s not going to be mandatory, but he implied that he hopes people get it. I hope that it won’t be mandatory, but I would like to have that choice.
I lean hard toward the anti-vax side personally, in the sense that human immune systems have developed over tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years. I tend to lean more toward the anti-vax side in the sense that if we are taking care of ourselves, in most cases, to trust our immune systems to fight off the infection and develop antibodies strengthens us. My favorite comedian of all time, George Carlin had a bit in one of his specials where he was talking about the overdependence on antibacterial things. Everything’s antibacterial and anti-germ. He’s like, “When I was a kid, we swam in the Hudson fucking river. We swim in liquid shit. Do you know what that did to our immune systems? It has strengthened them.”
There’s something to be said about allowing the human immune system to “work out” what it needs to work out. Saying this, I’m by no means overlooking the deaths that have occurred. I’m not saying like, “Their immune systems weren’t up to snuff.” I’m not being a cold discompassionate person when I say this. This idea that we need science to protect us is a slippery slope. When I had my motorcycle accident in early November, prior to my surgery to repair my collarbone, the orthopedic surgeon said, “Have you had a flu shot?” I said, “No.” He said, “You’re going to need a flu shot.” I said, “No, I’m not. I don’t need a flu shot.” He said, “Here’s the thing before we do surgery on you because one of the pieces of your clavicle is close to your lung. We don’t want your lung to collapse. To support your lung function and your respiratory system, we require you to have the flu shot before surgery.”
I pushed back hard like a motherfucker on this guy, but it ultimately came down to the fact that my body is broken. It needs a surgical plate installed. I have to have surgery. My bone is not going to heal itself on its own the way it was shattered. I had to make a decision to look at my values, which leans toward anti-vaccine. I did not want the flu shot. I had no desire to get the flu shot, but in order to have my body surgically repaired, I had to make a decision. It wasn’t even a decision. I can’t leave my body broken and my bone shattered, I need to have surgery. I’m going to swallow my ethical stance or my value to not get a vaccine and get the goddamn thing so I can get surgery.
It was a moment where I was pissed. I didn’t want to get it, but I understood why the surgeon and the doctor had said it. It’s interesting because, during my follow-up appointment, I went back in to get my body looked at and the doctor was like, “Have you had your pneumonia shot?” I’m like, “I don’t need your fucking pneumonia shot. Stop pushing the shit on me.” The issue that I at least have in my healthcare system is that almost every single time I see them, “Do you have this shot? Do you have that shot? Do you have this vaccine?”The process of learning often means finding conflicting information with something you currently believe. Click To Tweet
It’s like, “Do I believe that you’re concerned about my health? Are we looking at the financial incentive through the drug companies for you to continue pushing these?” Every single time, “Did you get this shot?” I’m like, “I don’t want your damn shots,” but in this one case to get surgery, I made an exception. In some ways, it was easy because, what was the alternative, stay broken and not get surgery? It was tough for me to accept that and get that shot.
I would probably react the same way. It just comes down to each moment in noticing our resistance, because as we were talking about the very beginning, it’s very easy to get biased based on our bubbles. When you’ve been vegan, you’re indoctrinated into believing that if you eat any animal products, you’re committing this huge sin. Some people strongly believe that. I’m not that extreme about it. I certainly go out of my way to avoid animal products. As many vegans know, every once in a while, you accidentally ingest something. You think that you’re buying something vegan and maybe you forgot to look at the ingredients and suddenly there’s some milk by-product in it.
You get served food and you don’t realize until after a few bites that it had cheese in it. These things happen and we can get upset about it and freak out in those moments. We can say, “Now I got to deal with it. I got to figure out what to do even though this goes against my values here.” A better example of this is when it comes to sustainability. I’ve been studying sustainability for many years, but I still buy products that are plastic. It’s hard, but sometimes it’s convenient. Sometimes the price is right. Sometimes I’m dying to try a certain product. There are some people who are committed to being eco-friendly they would never do those things. There are times where I feel guilty about it.
A lot of the time, it comes down to that moment in evaluating the options, trying to figure it out, and being aware of the long-term effects of it for myself and the planet. When you’re a vegan, you’re thinking about yourself, the environment and the animals. There’s a whole ripple effect. Sometimes we can freak out over things that may not have as big of a ripple effect as we think that they do because we’ve been so conditioned to view it from these extremes. The same thing is true about organic. I know some people who were super committed to organic living. Is it going to kill them to have something that’s genetically modified or has unnecessary chemicals or pesticides on it? Probably it won’t kill them, but it does go against their ethics. It does go against their belief systems and it makes them feel like they’re making a bad choice. Was the flu shot going to kill you? Probably not. I’m sure it might have some long-term damage to a percentage of people. There’s enough evidence to say that. We’re taking a risk, but we take risks with so much in our lives.
It comes down to this perfectionism mentality. It’s an individual decision. Going back to this mandatory thing, that’s what is important. You probably could have found a doctor that wouldn’t require you to do certain things. Are you going to go spend the time and the money to go find that? Maybe yes, maybe no. Are you going to move to a different state or a different country that doesn’t require you to do certain things? Maybe yes, maybe no. Parents have to deal with this all the time with the school systems. It’s hard. I know a lot of mindful parents that struggle with these decisions all the time because they might find a lot of benefits to living in one place, but they don’t fully align with all the rules and regulations there.
It’s about the severity and the volume of things too. When I was having a conversation with my mom, Susan, we were talking about vaccines, I asked her, “In the ‘70s when I was a little, do you remember how many vaccines I had back then?” She’s like, “I think you had like five.” She was listing them off. I don’t remember them off the top of my head. It might have been measles, rubella, mumps, but it was like five. I was born in 1977. If we look at a standard suggested vaccine record, we’re looking at the potential, there some evidence about the MMR combo vax, the measles, mumps, rubella combination vaccine. There is contentiousness about the sheer number of vaccines on record. In some jurisdictions, it’s 40, 50, 60. There are dozens of different vaccines that are recommended.
I remember talking to my mom about when polio was ravaging the United States when she was a little girl, and how the polio vaccine was credited with eradicating that for the most part from the United States. It’s taking into account the way that the pharmaceutical companies have been increasing the dosages, varying the combinations, and increasing the sheer number. If you think about it, if my mom in the ‘50s maybe three vaccines, in the ‘70s I had five. In 2020, depending on the doctor and where you’re at. It can be dozens of vaccines and it begs the question, why?
If humans have existed for Millennia without vaccines, or in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s gone with 3 to 5 standard, now we have dozens. Something is fishy. Something is odd about this. I always say follow the money. Look at where the influence is and who’s profiting. I’m not saying this to be a conspiracy theorist. Look at the profits of companies like Pfizer, Moderna, Noventis, and companies like that. Where are they getting their profits from? It is important for each one of us to do our research with an open mind to try and overcome any confirmation bias because I tend to be an anti-corporate rage against the machine. It’s funny, we started with that. I tend to be angry at myself at times looking for an enemy to fight against but, is this necessary? Do we need dozens of injections for our children so they can be “healthy” and protected when generations prior got through with 0, 3, or 5? It’s food for thought. Each one of us needs to sit and consider all of these ramifications for ourselves.
The one thing that I observed too and you talked about having kids, is the friends and the colleagues of ours who have had this debate in the state of California of whether or not to vaccinate their kids to allow them to come into a public school setting, or even a private school setting. Through COVID, everyone is being homeschooled so it’s not necessarily as much of a consideration with kids being homeschooled, having tutors and distance learning. It’s one of those things that I’ve always thought. I don’t necessarily plan on having children, although who knows, it’s not an aim of mine in this lifetime to have them. I’ve often thought similar to the ethical consideration I had of getting the flu shot before my surgery. If I were to enroll my child in a public or private school that required a vaccination record to enroll them, that would be a tough decision.
It’s something that I’m not facing, but reflecting it back with good friends of ours like Adam who we’ve had here on the show, and other families. It’s been a wrenching decision of we don’t plan on homeschooling our kids. We want them to have a community experience. We want to have the social bonding of being around friends in a school setting. What’s the minimum number we can get away with and how can we space them out in order to do this? To your point, if you don’t want to be in a state that requires these, do you pick up your family and move?
It’s a complicated nuanced conversation we’re having here. Depending on whether the reader is neutral or on one side or the other, or some people might be pissed now, we don’t know. We don’t know how you’re reacting that’s why we love to hear from you. Like many things that we discuss here on the show, there are many gray areas and it’s not necessarily a black or white conversation. I know you want to be as healthy as possible, and want to make as many educated, informed decisions as possible. If there’s one topic that I get a bit riled about in all of this, it is the vaccine conversation because it ought to be a choice for people. Anytime they make things mandatory that we have to put something in our bodies, that’s when I start to get into a warrior mode. If in the state of California, they were to make them mandatory, I would probably move to be honest with you.
To be fair, you’ve been thinking about moving anyway so maybe it will be the final straw.
It’s the cherry-flavored vaccine on top. What this ties into is a conversation we’ve mentioned that we’ve been inspired by Joe Rogan’s podcast and his format before. One of the most compelling episodes that we’ve referenced here, and that I’ve dug into a little bit deeper where his conversations with Elon Musk about the hybridization of biology and technology. I don’t know if you caught this, Whitney, when Elon did a strange demo of him hooking up the Neuralink, which is this neurological computer/AI system. In its ultimate application, it helps prevent things like mental illness, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar. There are a lot of interesting potential applications for this Neuralink technology Elon is investing in.
He did this demo where he hooked the Neuralink up to a pig. It didn’t demonstrate what he’s talking about. It was a strange thing. I don’t know if you saw this. There’s all this fascinating discussion in our lifetime of creating cyborgs, where we will be seeing the increasing hybridization of humans with technology. I feel weird about that too in the sense of, are we going to get to a point of what Elon’s been talking about where we could potentially download our consciousness onto a hard drive or a cloud-like avatar, where we could take our consciousness and put it into a different vessel?With the way humans are currently going, achieving global contentment and peace is seemingly impossible. Click To Tweet
That brings up this idea of immortality to create clones of ourselves or hybrid biological technological vessels, where our “consciousness” would never technically die. We would transfer it to a different vessel. That brings up a whole different host of ethical considerations and may reframe our concept of what death is. I’m curious if this is something that intrigues you, excites you, freaks you out. Would you consider ever doing that? Maybe we do live to our 90s or 100s, and they’re like, “We’ve got this great cloned hybrid cyborg vessel that you could download your consciousness into.” How do you feel about that whole conversation? It’s an offshoot of what we’re talking about.
I haven’t thought about it before. I wouldn’t say it freaks me out because, by the time that happens, it’ll be a common thing. In some ways, I’m an early adopter and in other ways, I like to wait things out. I probably would want to wait that out a bit. I don’t feel super eager to digitize my life quite to that extent, but who knows? This is the thing, we can’t even know how we would react to something like that until it happens. That’s my big perspective. I’m in this present moment and I’m making the best decisions that I know how to make right now based on my belief systems. How I’m going to feel a month from now, I have no idea.
That goes back to my initial point about expertise and being a guru. Maybe you’re an expert at this moment, but if you are constantly learning, then you’re going to be on a different level of expertise a month from now based on what you’re studying and reading. You might completely change your perspective on things. The number of times that I’ve changed my opinion and shifted my belief systems based on education is remarkable. I’m humble enough to admit when I’m wrong, most of the time. Sometimes it’s not easy, but I am trying to stay open-minded and not try to act how I feel in this moment is how I’m always going to feel about something because I enjoy learning. That process of learning often means that you might find something that conflicts with something that you’ve believed.
For example, when I was studying the keto diet, that was different than some of my old mentality about being into starchy foods and eating a high carb diet. I was super into a high carb diet a while ago. Now, I believe that a low carb diet feels better for me. While I was studying keto, I was coming across a lot of information that was about animal products. This is another great example. I might not believe that I should eat animal products, but I understand that some people believe that they should eat animal products and that’s okay. That’s part of the keto diet for the majority of people. Vegan keto is still a new thing versus most people associate keto with eating a ton of animal-based foods. They all believe that that’s good for them because that’s what they’ve been taught. That’s what they’ve learned. It was an interesting study in keto when the great majority of information I came across was about animal foods. I had to put my own spin on it. If you stay humble, stay eager to learn, and stay present, you’re going to make the best decisions that you can at that moment.
If I can wax philosophical for a second, it’s an idea of not a dual-edged sword, but I appreciate the studies of longevity, epigenetics, intermittent fasting, antioxidants, and things that affect our DNA. I’m into that. That’s one aspect of health and wellness that fascinates me, but going back to this idea of a hybrid between science, technology, and biology. If our body dies, the vessel dies, but our consciousness never dies and gets transferred to a different vessel, how would that even change our relationship to death? Can you imagine if you have a loved one that’s close to death and there’s a different body, robot body, a clone, there are a million different versions of this conversation, but your grandma, your spouse, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother gets transferred to a different vessel?
They wake up in this new body and they’re like, “That was a trip.” You’re back, but you look different. You’re in a different body, but the essence of your consciousness isn’t dead. It would dramatically change our concept of spirituality. It would dramatically change our concept of death, how we view death. It’s a fascinating thing to think about, isn’t it? Not only that, if we keep going down this rabbit hole of if we knew that at the end of this body decaying or being in an accident or whatever, they could transfer our consciousness and download it to a new thing, how would that change people’s behavior? Would they be more reckless? Would they take more risks? Would they not value their lives as much? Would they value them more? I’m pontificating waxing poetic here, but it does beg the question, how that would change many aspects of how we view life and death? That’s the part that fascinates me. How would it change our eating? How would it change our health and fitness? How would it change our relationship to God and spirit if we knew we could transfer our consciousness to a different body or vessel? It would change so much about our relationship to life.
Did you know that there’s a TV show about this? It’s fictional but it’s called Upload. It’s on Amazon Prime and it’s based in 2033 when humans are able to upload themselves into a virtual afterlife. Computer programmers manage their entire afterlife. The living can go communicate with the dead and then the living can then go upload themselves to that same afterlife and then be with each other through eternity.
I did not know about this. Have you watched it?
I have. I didn’t like it as a show. I loved the concept, but the acting, it’s a little cheesy for my taste. I have heard people rave about it. There are ten episodes in one season. I want to give it another chance because people say it’s good. Stylistically, it is not my thing, but the concept is awesome. It’s like digital heaven. Also, it’s fascinating from status or financial perspective because there are high-end afterlife that you can choose if you have enough money. The first episode touches upon classism and how the rich can afford a better afterlife than the poor can. I don’t even know if the poor can afford to even choose that afterlife. It’s very much about having access to things that other people might not have access to.
It’s interesting to consider that. It reminds me of the movie Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger where you could take a virtual consciousness vacation. If you haven’t seen Total Recall, it’s a good movie. It’s one of Arnold’s finest, but it’s similar in the sense where they hook his mind in his consciousness up to an alternate reality, but it diverts back to his real life. It’s a cool movie, but it is interesting. It touches on this sci-fi future reality where people with wealth, privilege, and status transfer to different mechanisms and means. As you said, things are changing fast.
Our perspectives and how we feel about life and what we’re learning seem to be continuing at such a rapid expansive rate all the time. To know how we’re going to feel about these potential future technologies, whether they manifest in our lifetime or not, there’s no way of knowing until we get there. For now, we do the best we can. We maybe sit with the questions that are right in front of us. I have a tendency to feel a lot of anxiety when I think about the future. It may be pedantic, rote, or cliche, but the more present we can be in the moment is an antidote for me at least to any future anxiety about any bizarre Neo technical dystopian futures that I might envision in my mind at 2:00 in the morning.
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- Alex Ebert – Instagram
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
- Cliche Advice: Are Experts and Gurus Faking It Until They Make It? – Previous episode
- Vaccination Cards Will Be Issued to Everyone Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine – ABC 11 report
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