Mixed Mental Arts
Summary: As kids, we're like little sponges blindly copying culture from the people around us. The cultures into which we were all born evolved to fit very old agri
Chris Ryan's van is back in town and that means it's time for Hunter to climb back into it again. After dosing Hunter with some sort of mystery tea, the idea sex gets going and Uncle Chris and Hunter start talking about a movement that's building in the podcasting world. UK-based artists Fantich & Young call it Primeval Yet Contemporary. Some people call it Chris-Ryanism. Chris Ryan calls it PaleoModern. In the great improv game that is life, Chris Ryan has now taken Paleomodernism to the next level. He has given us a simple resource for detribalizing humans en masse: The Big 7.
For months and months, the members of the Mixed Mental Arts community have been pushing me (Hunter) to have Thaddeus Russell in the dojo. It is a testament to the wisdom of crowds that so many people have pushed so consistently for this meeting of the minds. The #ideasex was outstanding. Thaddeus Russell is the author of A Renegade History of the United States (https://www.amazon.com/Renegade-History-United-States/dp/1416576134). He hosts the superb Unregistered podcast (http://www.thaddeusrussell.com/podcast/) and has founded Renegade University (http://www.thaddeusrussell.com/). It's a genuine pleasure to have Thaddeus in the dojo! Thank you to the many, many people who have suggested we have him on. Bryan "The Emperor" Callen and Hunter "Toto" Maats thoroughly enjoyed it.
Humans have always been a strongly symbolic species. We painted on the walls of caves. Pharaohs, Kings and Emperors created symbols of their power like crowns and thrones. Religions have fought over religious symbols. Nations have fought over national symbols. Today, we are no different. We are in a massive war over symbols: Confederate statues, Google and much more. The real question is what do we do about all this? Well, while the rest of the world continues to argue about symbols Bryan "The Emperor" Callen, John "The Caveman" Durant and Hunter "Toto" Maats just keep wandering around the elephant and trying to understand why other humans see the world the way they do.
Ricky Varandas is the host of The Ripple Effect Podcast. Recently, Hunter and Ricky met up in Dartmouth, MA. As they looked out over Buzzard's Bay, they chatted about what it means to live in an age when everyone gets a voice. Right now, we're in what Joe Rogan calls the internet's painful adolescence. There's turmoil, uncertainty and blindly clinging to simplistic ideologies that give us a feeling of certainty. But just like Middle School, this too shall pass :) You can check out more of Ricky's awesome convos at The Ripple Effect Podcast and find him on Twitter at @rvtheory6
Back in episode 257, you heard Christopher Leon Price's #knowledgebomb on The Art of Losing. In this episode, we interview Christopher to understand how he came to appreciate the power of this lesson through a mixture of video gaming, appreciating Mixed Martial Arts, teaching children chess and having to try and teach Hunter Maats how to do audio. This last one, in particular, has proven to be particularly challenging. Fortunately, Christopher is a very patient and supportive teacher. There are lessons to be learned from every aspect of life. So far, because of my own biases, we've focused heavily on books and science. But games (from chess to Mixed Martial Arts to Megaman II) can teach you how to learn, unlearn and relearn. In fact, they may be better at doing that than an analogy about the FAA featured in certain books. :) [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNTkOlB6_aI&[/embed]
Ever since we had Jon Aguilar on the show back in Episode 251, Jon has been telling me I had to have his very brilliant wife on. And so, while driving back from a friend's wedding, I stopped by Casa Aguilar in Santa Barbara and started a conversation with Jenni Aguilar. Hours later, I understood why Jon felt so strongly that that I should talk to Jenni. Coming from an entirely different angle, she had reached many of the same conclusions as I had. For me, the arrival at evolutionary thinking and a desire to mix the mental arts had come from a desire to make sense of the cultures of the world. For Jenni, the emotional driver was something much more primal: her child was hurting. After a series of traumatic brain injuries, Jenni scrambled around the available science looking for anything that might help her son. In the tradition of Lorenzo's Oil, that tremendously strong emotional experience drove her to overcome intimidation, impenetrable medical jargon and assumptions about what was medically possible. The result is that today you would never know there was anything wrong with her son. In the end, what Jenni has done, what Katie and I did with The Straight-A Conspiracy and what many of the authors who have contributed to Mixed Mental Arts is to take pieces of fractured science and made kintsugi. They have filled in the cracks with gold. In the end though, the efforts of a handful of humans are nothing compared to what the evolutionary efforts of many Mixed Mental Artists can do testing these ideas against each other and against reality. Why? Because evolutionary processes are way smarter than individual humans. Once you accept that, then you approach evolutions' solutions with an appropriate humility, try to understand what evolution has done and figure out how to work with it. A prime example of that is aligning your body in a way that supports childbirth.
They must put something in the water in New Hampshire because Brett Veinotte and Katie O'Brien reached very similar conclusions through tutoring: as an experience school sucks for A LOT of kids. And so, Brett decided to do something about it and create better resources for parents and kids looking for an alternative. Out of that was born The School Sucks Project. For more on the work of Brett and his team, check out their website. In this episode, Brett and Hunter compare notes on The School Sucks Project and The Straight-A Conspiracy. There's no doubt that school sucks for many, many kids. The question is why and what should we do about it? That's exactly what this episode is focused on exploring! This is the beginning of a beautiful bromance. [mbm_book_grid id="6425"] P.S. Brett has already released this episode on his podcast feed.
When ordinary men have birthdays, they receive gifts. However, Big Mike knows it is better to give than to receive and so, on his birthday, Big Mike has gifted to the people of the Callenphate his wisdom. You're welcome, humanity. Just remember that your fearless leader is Bryan and not his far more physically imposing and wise father.
This morning's lesson is taken from The Gospel According to Joe Henrich. Read by the very wonderful Martin Lewis, this reading captures the heart of why The Secret of Our Success is actually The Secret to YOUR Success. Understanding that social intelligence is humanity's superpower is understanding how you can not only survive the #Jobocalypse but thrive in it. Learn from everyone all the time. The more cultural apps you download the more you'll succeed. If you're interested in more on this, you might enjoy the series Cate Fogarty and I wrote on I.Q. at MixedMentalArts.co. Part 1: The Hijacking of the I.Q. Test Part 2: Humanity's Superpower Part 3: How much does skin color tell us about a person's genetics? Part 4: What's race got to do with intelligence? Nothing. Part 5: Welcome to the I.Q. Revolution. [mbm_book_grid id="1386"]
Andrew Hunt and I first got to know each other a decade ago doing stand up in Los Angeles. During the intervening decade, we both learned how to learn and how environment shapes behavior but in entirely different ways. Regular listeners to Mixed Mental Arts know my story all too well. Andrew’s though is more interesting. Andrew grew up in Los Angeles and was diagnosed with numerous learning disorders. Like a lot of kids I’ve worked with, rather than empowering him, school left him feeling disempowered and alienated from learning. Then, he got involved with Jacques Fresco of the Venus Project who among other things changed Andrew’s life by teaching him how to learn. The day after we recorded this episode, Jacques Fresco passed. Now, it’s on us to stand on his shoulders and see further. [mbm_book_grid id="8450"]
At this point, Chris Ryan probably doesn't need any introduction but why not give him one anyway. He's the author of Sex at Dawn and one day he'll be able to call himself the author of Civilized to Death. In the meantime, he hosts the superb podcast Tangentially Speaking which Mixed Mental Arts' own Isaiah Gooley probably loves more than Mixed Mental Arts. That's how good it is. This summer Chris will be traveling the US in his van. He took me inside it. It was amazing! [mbm_book_grid id='6901']
Walid Darab is the host of the Greed for Ilm podcast. Bored and in traffic, he looked around for podcasts for Muslim-Americans and found they were either all SUPER religious or in foreign languages. So, he decided to start one for everyday Muslim-Americans who were curious about a lot of things. And thus was the Greed for Ilm podcast born. What is ilm? Ilm is the Arabic word for knowledge. And Walid is greedy for ilm. So, it's only natural that he should have found his way to Mixed Mental Arts, formerly known as The Bryan Callen Show. Out of this, Walid has had Bryan, Katie and me (Hunter) on Greed for Ilm. It's about damn time we repaid the favor. That's just basic Afghan hospitality. In this episode, Walid and I discuss the process of moving beyond the immature arrogance of adolescence when wisdom does not go beyond your throat and the journey towards getting it into your heart. This is the process of blind copying through the emotion of awe by which culture is transmitted and by which young people like @evidence_reason get duped by genius myths created by Fundamentalists like Sam Harris who project a cool, arrogant certainty. It's a genuine pleasure to have Walid on the show and I can't recommend that everyone do Walid's assignment. Go talk to a Muslim and get them to tell you about life in the Islamic world and see if that fits the statistics people like Sam Harris have told you. Who has a more realistic model of life in the Islamic world? Mohamed Ghilan, Walid Darab and Hunter Maats or Sam Harris? The people will decide but for them to decide they must hear both sides.
Isaiah Gooley is an analyst, musician, and writer. He's been all over the place, and is still trying to learn as much as he can along the way. Check out his music at greatghouls.com, greatghouls.bandcamp.com,or soundcloud.com/isaiah-gooley. He'll be sharing some of his favorite chengyu (or Chinese rules of thumb) to help up your mental game!
Christopher Leon Price (aka Big Papa Werewolf) teaches kids The Art of Losing through chess. He learned it in large part from Megaman 2. In addition, he heads up Team Werewolf (the audio team at Mixed Mental Arts) and takes the messes Hunter hands him and mixes them as best he can. Fortunately, Hunter is a master at The Art of Losing and is perfectly happy to learn from his mistakes one screw up at a time. Slowly but surely, Big Papa Werewolf is teaching Toto how to record better audio. You can find Christopher Leon Price on Twitter at @clpfilm.
One of the more interesting things to come out of the last few months in my own personal Mixed Mental Arts experience has been hearing more from all of you how these ideas resonate with all of you. In particular, I appreciated a conversation with Matty (@Matt_Maurer on Twitter) about how he appreciated that history could be seen as one long progression. Humanity has always been trying to solve very much the same problems. It is just that over time we have been able to see further because we have had more and more shoulders to stand on. Why are we so much smarter than the people of the past? Well, coming of age in the culture of science, I was led to draw a sharp line between the scientific project and religions. Science was real. It was tangible. It was based on evidence. It was TRUTH. And anyone who disagreed, questioned or thought anything else was an idiot and a fool. However, as I've mentioned elsewhere, in reading the science that simple narrative has become increasingly problematic for me. The people of the past weren't so biologically different. Their brains recognized patterns. Did they not recognize patterns in human behavior that have stood the test of time? Yes. They did. And it wasn't until I was confronted by having to spend time among Christian Fundamentalists that I had to really think hard about what, if anything, made science special. Someone else who has had to think hard about these questions is today's guest sensei in the dojo Mohamed Ghilan. Mohamed was born in Saudi Arabia like yours truly. Unlike yours truly, he has a PhD in Neuroscience, is getting an MD and is a Muslim. As a scientist and a Muslim, he knows full well that the evolution of better and better beliefs and mental tools was going on well before science showed up on the scene. Today, someone like Mohamed is often portrayed in the media as a bit of a unicorn. He's a Mus