Ask Me Anything #16

February 19, 2019

Questions Answered

What are your thoughts about picking a career, or about picking areas of academic study that lead to viable careers?

00:00:05February 19, 2019

Recently you mentioned that Noam Chomsky had expressed interest in coming on the podcast. Can you provide an update on whether this is happening?

00:06:05February 19, 2019

Who is your favorite thinker that you mostly disagree with?

00:09:25February 19, 2019

What exactly were the "pointing out instructions" you got from Tulku Urgyen that you described in your book Waking Up as "the most important thing you ever learned from another human being"?

00:14:30February 19, 2019

I’m a middle-aged man who has never had children. Do I need to have kids for my existence to matter?

00:15:25February 19, 2019

They say that "the unexamined life is not worth living," but is this really true? I spend hours every day thinking about (and sometimes agonizing over) "deep" questions and political problems, and I experience real suffering as a result. My girlfriend is completely oblivious to these concerns, and she’s generally happy. What should I make of this?

00:21:33February 19, 2019

How do you see the election of Trump now that a few years have gone by? Have you come to new insights or conclusions?

00:24:29February 19, 2019

Teachers like Eckhart Tolle advise us to “let go of the past.” Jordan Peterson and others recommend that one “go through one’s life with a fine-toothed comb” to become a better person. Which approach do you feel is more beneficial?

00:26:43February 19, 2019

Does the rigorous nature of scientific consensus itself justify belief?

00:32:01February 19, 2019

Do you see any downside to your association with the "Intellectual Dark Web"?

00:34:24February 19, 2019

What are your thoughts on the morality of football given its connection to CTE?

00:35:06February 19, 2019

What do you think of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s suggested marginal tax of 70% on income above $10M?

00:36:35February 19, 2019

How do you determine when it is a good idea to respond to lies and dishonest criticism, and which charges are better ignored?

00:37:46February 19, 2019

You've said that society would be better off if we recognized that we don't have free will. What positive effects on society do you think would follow if people realized the self is an illusion?

00:39:11February 19, 2019

Have you ever had anti-Semitism directed at you? If so, how did it make you feel, given your ambivalence toward Judaism as a cultural identity?

00:40:40February 19, 2019

Under the influence of certain psychedelics, users regularly report "receiving messages" from entities, plants, or spirits. What is your take on this?

00:41:47February 19, 2019

What are your thoughts on the problem of cultural appropriation?

00:43:45February 19, 2019

How do you think about regret? If free will is an illusion, one cannot (or should not) feel regret towards something one didn’t choose. I can understand this conceptually, but this doesn’t eliminate feeling bad about past choices and their consequences.

00:45:45February 19, 2019