EF18 SHOW NOTES
Looking to play or download the episode? Click here… EF18 (AMA-EF3): The Mystical Allure of Converting to Buddhism and Speculating about Quantum Mechanics— Ask Me Anything for Episode EF3
Episode EF18 Summary
Spoiler alert: You’re about to listen to an Ask Me Anything (AMA) of Episode EF3, which was Season 1, Episode 1 of the Evolve Faster Podcast titled All Aboard the Experience Machine: Destination…Unknown. The driving question of this episode (and this AMA) for you to think through is … what are we supposed to do?! It’s a fascinating question that actually has surprisingly little research or philosophical investigation.
As a reminder about Episode EF3: Jonathan finds himself forced between two paths: a meaningful life filled with risky choices, or a safe life that might be filled with regret. If only there were a way to make everything simple, like an autopilot that steers the train towards an easy, happy and perfect finish line for you. But he has just half a day to find the solution to the issue we all face on a daily basis—What’s the right decision? 12 hours, millions of questions and seemingly no answers.
The first episode of the first season of the Evolve Faster Podcast Episode is driven by the big question What Am I Supposed To Do. We as human beings are known for making bad decisions in the moments of desperation. And what crisis than the existential crisis? Possibilities are limitless, correct answers next to none and there is no how-to manual. Ready to start?
To peek behind the curtain of Episode EF3, we’ll dissect the following submitted questions:
- Why DO people turn to Buddhism? Should I?
- Why does it seem like quantum mechanics gets pulled into every discussion of a mystical, scientific challenge these days?
- What is panpsychism and are scientists really talking about it (again!)?
- Is Johnathan’s relationship with his father a metaphor?
- What is Vuja de?
- How do you know the Sartre quote is wrong? Does it matter that it’s not?
- What happened to Jon at the end?
- What if I’m stuck in someone else’s experience machine, being controlled? Should I take the red pill? And is the Matrix really unoriginal?
- And more
DEDICATION: Episode EF3 is dedicated to Robert Nozick, an American philosopher and conceptual creator of the mysterious Experience Machine. Experience Machine is one of the more useful thought experiments posed in the last century. Because would a world where you can handpick your experiences indeed be heaven? Or would this scenario be hell, neatly camouflaged in a colorful but cheap package? His other prominent work is Utility Monster, which instructed that even our plans that are born with best intentions could give birth to a dangerous monster. Meaning, it’s not the plan that makes the better tomorrow… but you.
Although an open liberal, Nozick’s focused on disputing the liberal reforms wanting to control the economic possibilities of a citizen. He firmly believed everything needs to be as simple as possible to function properly. It’s common sense that each one of us has the right to the fruits of own labor as long as it doesn’t damage another individual. A simple thought that’s heavily skewed today.
It is precisely these skews of the dominant subgroup that create confusion and limitations. People who belong to the same general group (country), but don’t belong to the authoritative subgroup face limits in the actions they can perform. Finally, the non-dominant group (although more significant in numbers) gets lost wondering what are they supposed to do. Confusion and lethargy at its best.
HOW ROBERT NOZICK INSPIRES EF3
In Episode EF3, the main character does his best to find out if he wants to live in Nozick’s Experience Machine. Or, perhaps he’s been in a personalized version all along? Nozick’s alternative view on the social and political state that dates back to the ’70s, is as equally valuable today. In today’s world, where everything is more than ever either black or white, people like Nozick are essential for our development. No matter from which “side” they come from.
If you want to find out more about Nozick’s work, I suggest you read one of his books or you can check his last interview:
- Work used in this episode: Anarchy, State, and Utopia, (1974).
- Other Prominent Work
- Find Out More:
INSPIRATIONS: Plato, besides being the father of Western philosophy, he’s also the paternal godfather of that nagging “What am I supposed to do?” question. Even two millennia later, it remains unanswered. Hilary Putnam, a philosopher and scientist who wasn’t afraid to question his belief. Putnam had to put everything under in-depth analysis to expose the deep flaws, including his own. Jerry Fodor, a neuroscientist who dispersed the notion that the existential fear is anything more but a faulty alarm clock. Jean-Paul Sartre, a French philosopher that provided a worthwhile block of knowledge to help us realize what it means to be human. Episode EF3 was further inspired by Charles K. Fink, Russ Shafer-Landau, Epicurus, Jeremy Bentham, Peter Singer, John Stuart Mill, Kansas, Pigeons, The Wachowskis. For a full list of data and references, please see Episode EF3 Show Notes.
Alan Boyle, How to spot quantum quackery, www.nbcnews.com. https://www.nbcnews.com/science/how-spot-quantum-quackery-6c10403763 (Accessed: Feb 8, 2019).
Barbara O’Brien, Atheism and Devotion in Buddhism, www.thoughtco.com. https://www.thoughtco.com/atheism-and-devotion-in-buddhism-449718 (Accessed: Feb 8, 2019).
JoAnna Klein, Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious?, www.nytimes.com. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/science/plants-consciousness-anesthesia.html (Accessed: Feb 18, 2019).
Julie Corliss, Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress, www.health.harvard.edu. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mindfulness-meditation-may-ease-anxiety-mental-stress-201401086967 (Accessed: Feb 8, 2019).
Michael Shermer, The Number of Americans with No Religious Affiliation Is Rising, www.scientificamerican.com. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-number-of-americans-with-no-religious-affiliation-is-rising/ (Accessed: Feb 18, 2019).
Rafi Letzter, Chinese Researchers Achieve Stunning Quantum-Entanglement Record, www.scientificamerican.com. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chinese-researchers-achieve-stunning-quantum-entanglement-record/ (Accessed: Feb 18, 2019).
Matt Blitz, We Already Know How To Build a Time Machine, www.popularmechanics.com. https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/math/a20718322/building-a-time-machine/ (Accessed: Feb 18, 2019).
Philip Goff, William Seager, Sean Allen-Hermanson, Panpsychism, plato.stanford.edu. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/panpsychism/ (Accessed: Feb 18, 2019).
Philip A. Pecorino, Blue Pill Or Red Pill?, qcc.cuny.edo. http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/INTRO_TEXT/Chapter%201%20Introduction/Blue-Pill-orRed-Pill.htm (Accessed: Feb 18, 2019).
Any of these quotes make you think? If so, please support the show by sharing…