EF3 SHOW NOTES
Looking to play or download the episode? Click here… (EF3) S1-E1: All Aboard the Experience Machine: Destination…Unknown (Season One, Episode One)
What Am I Supposed To Do?
The big question driving Episode EF3 is… What am I supposed to do? You can’t say we get to choose if we want to live this life or not. One day you’re born, and that’s it – your journey starts with zero preparation. Life is like playing guitar in some super complex jazz band – you have to figure things out as you go. Thus, it’s natural we don’t know what the heck we’re doing, and we get lost. Should I go to college? Maybe pack my bags and travel? Should I leave everything behind and start fresh? Because really, what are you supposed to do?
There are only a few people born with the talent to play the guitar of life, but what about the rest of us? What should you do to get what you want? Even worse, what is that you want? Sometimes, life can be a big quiz that only has questions, but almost no answers. Nevertheless, the questions you ask are more valuable than you might think. It’s the constant questioning you do that moves you forward even when you feel glued to a single place. All you need to do is accept the ride.
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.
Shafer-Landau, R. (2010). The Fundamentals of Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Basic Books.
Fink, C. K. (2013). “Better to Be a Renunciant Buddhism, Happiness, and the Good Life.” Journal of Philosophy of Life, Vol.3, No.2 (April 2013):127-144.
http://www.iep.utm.edu/epicur/ (Access Date: January 1, 2018)
Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism Is a Humanism (translated by Carol Macomber, introduction by Annie Cohen-Solal, notes and preface by Arlette Elkaïm-Sartre), Yale University Press, New Haven, 2007.
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