0:00 - The Fascination of People
0:57 - Understanding the Impulse
2:58 - Thwarted Ambition
7:55 - Dark Glee of Thwarted Ambition
11:43 - The Loss of Love
17:15 - Benefits and Costs
22:39 - Foundational Responsibility

Long Summary

In this captivating episode, the speaker reflects on the concept of a fall from grace in terms of public prominence and success. They share a personal anecdote about reactions to a decline in views on their content and delve into the root of people's fascination with others' perceived failures. The speaker delves into the joy some find in witnessing the downfall of those who were once successful, attributing it to a sense of satisfaction in not taking risks oneself. They emphasize the importance of not capping one's potential and highlight the significance of striving for greatness without prejudging one's capabilities.

Furthermore, the speaker discusses the trade-offs between maintaining a large audience and compromising on moral principles, ultimately prioritizing integrity and a good conscience over external success. They touch on the idea of a philosopher's true audience being generations after their time, emphasizing the importance of a long-term vision over immediate gratification. The speaker encourages listeners to focus on their relationship with their conscience and to prioritize principles over present-day prominence.

They stress the significance of fulfilling one's potential and making a positive impact, regardless of external markers of success. The speaker shares personal accomplishments post-deplatforming, showcasing a dedication to creativity and growth. They challenge the audience to consider the transience of external validation and to focus on meaningful contributions while striving for personal contentment. The episode concludes with a powerful message urging listeners to embrace their potential, play the hand they're dealt, and maximize their impact in the time they have.


[0:00] The Fascination of People

[0:00] People are fascinating. The world is fascinating. I absolutely love and adore all of you, and thank you so much for this great life. So somebody sent me this video. It was really interesting. On some forum, I can't remember which one it was, and it was a bunch of people all clustering around a screenshot where a video of mine on some platform had few views, like under 1,000 views or something like that, and there was this feast, and people were very thrilled and excited and jackal-like about how, oh, remember this guy? He used to have millions of views. He had millions of subscribers. And now look what he's reduced to. Look how far he's fallen. It was just wild. I understand it. I sympathize with it. I really do. Like, I understand the impulse. I understand the impulse.

[0:57] Understanding the Impulse

[0:58] And I'll tell you where it comes from. And no hate here. No hate at all. It's just like a really, really understand where this comes from. So the idea that someone who has succeeded hugely is not, you know, succeeding in the technical metrics of sort of views and downloads. The fact that someone who has succeeded wildly is no longer succeeding wildly is really exciting to people. And particularly if it's in the realm of integrity, morality, courage, you know, whatever it is, right? It's really, really exciting for people. And I understand that and I sympathize with that. And people take a great, dark, devilish joy in the fall from grace, which you could call it, in terms of sort of prominence or views and so on. And again, I understand it. I sympathize with it. But it's not a great place that it comes from. It's not a great place that it comes from. So let's say that everything that people have said over the years is true, right? I mean, that I had this big prominence, this large number of subscribers, this large views, and it's fallen massively. And of course it has. There's nothing false about any of that.

[2:17] But the joy is very interesting. The joy is very interesting. There are a lot of musicians that I used to like when I'm younger who haven't produced really a decent song in decades. I mean, we can all sort of think of them. They still tour and so on. Not just the one hit Wonders, but, you know, I listened to Sting's last album, which was bland and boring. And Paul McCartney's, you know, this is, maybe these are your grandparents' musical acts, I don't know. But, you know, do I take pleasure in it? I'm like, ah, they used to, they used to do stadiums. Now, you know, they're producing this stuff or whatever, right? And.

[2:58] Thwarted Ambition

[2:58] There's lots of people who, I remember I used to be really into the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury when I was in my teens. And then, you know, I was looking forward to his books. And then I read the last book or two of his that were just terrible, you know. And, you know, when you really, really want to love something and it's just like, this is dreck, you know, this is like, how did this get past the editor? This is just a cash in on the name. And that's, of course, a big problem, right? when you become, when you have a sort of big audience, then people will watch you kind of no matter what. And I remember a friend of mine in the music industry said about releasing Ringo Starr's album or something like some, some place that was releasing Ringo Starr's. He's like, well, you know, in Canada, you'll always sell at least 10,000 copies because there are Beatles fans.

[3:50] It doesn't matter how good or bad it is. And, you know, there are, there are people you read, there are musicians there are you know maybe maybe vloggers or whatever like whatever they put out you're going to consume and uh you will buy it sight unseen like this is sort of how it used to be in the world that you would buy things uh sight unseen uh so if sting put out a new album i'd just buy it and i would uh listen to it with headphones and you know pay great attention to it and so on. And that's the way it was. Some writer that I really liked would come out with a new book. I would just buy the book. I'd barely even read the back cover. It didn't really matter. I'd just buy the book and read it. Now, in general, there is an arc of creativity and productivity. It's about a 15-year arc as a whole. It's sort of been noted by many people. I mean, When was the last time that, say, John Cleese released a hilarious movie? And he is a very funny guy, of course. So there is this sort of general arc. It's about 15 years where people sort of have their peak, and then there's usually a decline. So, when people look at sort of the arc of my career or public presence or so on, and there's this sort of dark joy at this fall from grace, I find it really, really interesting.

[5:19] Now, there's a bunch that say, even if it's true. So, let's go back to that. So even if it's true, a hundred percent of what they believe is true, that I was this big prominent guy. And now I'm, you know, I used to play stadiums. Now I do jazz clubs. I'm this big prominent guy. And now I'm not this big prominent guy. Let's say all of that's true.

[5:38] And their perception of the misery of that process is actually really, really interesting. It's really interesting. The glee in the, and look, I know this is not everyone. I get all of that, but you know, it's not, it's not a tiny number of people either. So the glee in the quote fall from grace, the fall from prominence and all of that is really, really interesting. Why glee? Why glee? It's not to do with me. They don't know me. They don't know my life. They don't know what I'm satisfied with, what I'm happy about, what I take pride in, what I wish I'd done differently and so on. So it's not about me, obviously. I mean, almost never is with, Certainly with strangers, it's never about you or me. So what's it about? Why would they take glee in an audience collapse of a philosopher? It's very interesting. Now, come on. This sort of schadenfreude, this glee in other people's fall from grace, I mean, we've all had it to some degree. And I'll tell you where it comes in for me. Where it comes in for me is in the realm of...

[6:52] So thwarted ambition, that's where it comes. I haven't had it in a while, but it sort of used to come in, sort of thwarted ambition. So let's say that you really, really wanted to be a musician and, you know, you played and you played and you played and you got invited to go in a band, but you chickened out for some reason, you know, it happens, right? So you chickened out, and then chickening out is fine. I mean, it happens, but the problem with chickening out is it can kind of snowball, right? Like you can get more and more, and then you end up justifying, and once you start justifying chickening out, then it's no longer chickening out. It's prudence and things like that. And, you know, prudence is important in life, but, you know, you've got to have your courage too, right? So let's say then that you do chicken out from what it is you really wanted to do. Then when you see a fall from grace, the glee is, I was right.

[7:55] Dark Glee of Thwarted Ambition

[7:55] I'm glad I didn't look at this guy who followed his dreams and did really well. Now there's a fall from grace. So it was good that I didn't follow my dreams. That's the dark glee. Again, it's nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with me at all. I mean, I'm just some guy on the internet, right? But that dark glee is really, really important because what it does is it signals a crater where other people's dreams, ambition, and in particular, potential was. No longer is. It's a Peter Keating style, right? No longer is, but was.

[8:34] So I, you know, came from a poor background, a single mother household, and, you know, I got reasonably prominent in the realm of ideas and society, intellectual discourse, and so on, right?

[8:48] And, you know, like all philosophers and in particular moral philosophers and in particular moral philosophers who are not sanctioned by the system, you know, they give you your they give you your tenure and they give you your sabbatical years and they give you four months off in the summer and they give you a good pay and they do that. So you shut up about anything that's really important or transformational so a moral philosopher unsanctioned by the system is is going to face blowback that's that's inevitable and the only way to avoid that is to in my view not really be much of a moral philosopher but an appeaser so yeah i did well uh audience of course has declined uh since deplatforming without a doubt without a doubt now people why would they take glee in that because even if what they say is true that i was big and now i'm uh what is a small uh um uh rejected not doing the great work that i used to uh you know what i mean whatever people are saying right let's say all of of that's true. Let's say that, you know, there was an arc and I was at top and now I'm down and the glee is, okay, let's say all of that's true. It's not, but let's say it is true. Totally fine.

[10:14] With a bad argument, you can accept everything but the conclusion and still wreck it, right? So let's say all of that's true.

[10:27] So at least I fucking did it, right? Would you rather have prominence and a fall from grace, or never try and risk and succeed at all? At all. That's the part that's missing. Let's say everything's true. Did really well. Fall from grace. ah, fall from grace. Okay. Let's say all of that's true. So, uh, let's say, um, I don't know what we could say. 2010, 2020. Let's say I spent a decade, you know, at the top of my game and now I'm just a broken shell of who I used to be, whatever people say, right? Okay. Let's say I only had 10 years at the top of my game. How many years have you had at the top of your game? That's the sad part. And I, I don't say this with any superiority. I say this with genuine sympathy, like, okay, let's say that what people say about me is true.

[11:43] The Loss of Love

[11:44] Let's say that there's someone you know, who fell in love and was married for 15 years and had 15 beautiful, wonderful years with the woman of his dreams, has kids and so on, and then some tragedy befalls his wife and he ends up alone, like she gets ill or a car crash, and he's alone. on. You understand how the people who've never risked their hearts and opened their souls to love would look at the fall from grace and the loss of love and say, aha, you see, I knew it wasn't worth it. Look at that. He's lost everything. I mean, this is back to the old cliche, which was old when I was a kid, actually became a rhythmic song. It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Better to have succeeded wildly and then failed than never to have succeeded at all. And you understand the glee in the fall from grace, the glee in the failure, comes about because of the sorrow at the lack of trying. Aha, I knew it wasn't worth it. Look at him, he did blah, blah, blah. Right?

[13:01] That's sad. sad and i think not the admiration at the success but the glee at the fall from grace comes from a place a very deep sadness and sorrow and i really do i really do i really do sympathize with all of that i really do i mean to have lived a life where, I think everybody has staggering potential. I really, really do. I think everyone has staggering potential, and I view it as a form of pride and vanity to put a cap on your potential. You don't know what you're capable of.

[13:39] And putting artificial limits on what you think you're capable of is a form of, to me, fairly abhorrent vanity. I have the humility to know I don't know if I'm capable of something. I'm not going to prejudge that, because prejudging whether I'm capable of something, is truly putting the cart before the horse. It's prejudging something for which I have no evidence, right? I'm an empiricist, right? So I don't believe things without evidence. Now, if I've tried to do something and failed, then yes, I will accept that I'm not very good at that, right? And there's been a bunch of stuff that I've tried it in my life and not worked. But when it comes to sort of ideas and arguments and creativity and communication, education, I don't put any limit on my abilities because so far I haven't found them. And like, you know, I wrote a, I've never written a science fiction novel. I wrote a science fiction novel. People tell me, and I believe it is very, very good. So I wasn't going to prejudge and say, well, I can't write a science fiction novel. I've never written a science fiction novel, but the whole reason is I've never written a science fiction novel. So how on earth do I know if I could write one or not? I just do my very best and, and try. And I did have a fantastic idea for a story and it played out really well. So people who have prejudged their potential as minimal have lied to themselves or been lied to. And if you haven't found a way to raise.

[15:06] Your expectations of your own abilities to give yourself room to really play and explore and create and grow, then you've lived, I think, a fairly confined life, which is less than your potential. You don't know what your potential is. I don't know. And I know in a few areas what my potential is. Like I know I'm not going to be a hair model, right? I know I'm not going to be a gymnast. I'm 57 years old. I'm not going to be a gymnast. So you don't know your potential in areas where you haven't really hit it by trying and trying and trying.

[15:40] So people who've missed out on manifesting their potential and achieving the great things, which almost all of us are capable of achieving. It doesn't matter if it's a public or private sphere, but you're capable of greatness somewhere. So then when they say, oh, this guy somehow got the fuel to really achieve his potential. Now there's a fall from grace. It gives them belief like, oh, thank goodness. Thank goodness. It's like, you know, if you've seen these pictures of guys who who, you know, they were super buff guys, and then they became, you know, they won competitions, and then they, for whatever reason, got an injury. They lost their muscles. They maybe became a little overweight or whatever. And you look at that, and you say, oh, this guy in his prime when he was like 25 or 30 was super buff, and now he's 50 and kind of pudgy, and it's like, but at least he was buff, and at least, you know, he went out there, he gave it his all, and he worked out, and he won competitions, and he traveled the world.

[16:42] And I don't know if it's people who think, well, if you have all of this great stuff and then you lose it, you'll be miserable forever. Maybe that's what they say to people like Steph had this big audience. Now he has a small audience, so he's going to be miserable forever. Um, guys, that's not how it works. It's not how it works. It's not how it works. There are benefits and costs to having a big audience and there are benefits. There are, I'm sorry, I don't mean to say this It's so obvious. There are benefits and costs to having a big audience, and there are benefits and costs to having a small audience.

[17:15] Benefits and Costs

[17:16] Each have their charms. There are benefits to stadiums and there are benefits to jazz clubs. And if you just look at the benefits of a big audience and the costs of a small audience, you're lying to yourself because there are benefits and costs to everything, right? This is an old Thomas Sowell thing. There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs. There are benefits and costs. so for me and i think this is kind of true that the the price of having the big audience the price of continuing to have the big audience.

[17:59] Into 2024 would have been the kind of compromises, i don't want to make the kind of falsehood kind of misrepresentation kind of right so you know the blaze of glory stuff is fairly important to me. And, you know, I mean, if you want to go psychological, like I grew up in an environment where I had to falsify what I knew to be true in order to appease crazy, violent and immoral family members and people as a whole and so on, right? So I had to sort of compromise what I knew to be true in order to appease crazy, violent people, evil people sometimes. And yeah, I don't, I don't, Steph Barton, I want to do that anymore. Like I don't want to do that anymore. So, so if I still had a big audience, people say, Oh, he'd be so happy if he still had a big audience. But if I still had a big audience, it would have been because I would have a compromise on important moral principles that I know to be true in order to retain the audience. So that would have kept me prominent. But for me, it would have hollered me out inside. And I'm not saying everybody who still has a big audience is, is, has compromised, but for me, it would have been the case. And I didn't want to to pay that price.

[19:13] I didn't want to pay the price. And you understand this is how a lot of people get neutered, right? So you get a big audience and then you feel you're dependent on the big audience. It's your ego. It's your identity. You're dependent on the big audience. So then when they threaten to take away your big audience, you get in line, right? And, you know, that wasn't my approach, my experience. So the important thing is not the numbers on the video or the prominence or anything like that. I mean, they're not unimportant, but, you know, what's important is having a good relationship. It's so obvious, I'm sorry. It's obvious to me, maybe not to, I'm sure it is to you, right? But obviously there are people to whom it's not obvious.

[20:01] So, the absolutely essential thing in life is having a good relationship to your conscience. If you are set against yourself, if you are uneasy in the mansion of your mind, there's no place you can rest. There's no place you can be happy. If you are uneasy in the mansion of your mind, if you are being chased by an intruder called Walt, you did wrong. I really don't care how many people you have on your livestream. It doesn't matter. Being comfortable and happy and secure with your integrity and your conscience is what matters. And if the price of that is your audience, I mean, to me, it's not even that much of a temptation. If the price of a good relationship with your conscience is your audience, buh-bye audience. Because what matters is my relationship to my conscience, and through my relationship to my conscience, my relationship to my friends, my family, my child.

[21:24] Philosophy, morality. You know, Socrates talked about this daemon, or this gadfly. He was a gadfly, but he talked about this daemon, his conscience, right? And if conscience said it was a good thing to do, he would generally do it. And if conscience said it was a bad thing to do, he wouldn't do it. But, you know, I grew up with the Jiminy Cricket kind of cliched conscience. The conscience is really important. And, of course, the more you seek comfort and prominence in the present, the less you can benefit the future. Like, a philosopher's audience is usually at least two generations after his death. Like, a genuine philosopher's real audience is generally at least a generation, usually two or more, after his death. I've got a whole 22-part History of Philosophers series available for donors at You can go have a listen. I know that off I speak. So I know that. The more I compromise in the present, the less I benefit in the future. And the philosopher's benefit is radiates outwards, right? It's a small thing in the present and it radiates outwards into the future. You know, they say in science, science advances one funeral at a time. Like the people who believe in the old paradigm don't accept the new paradigm, they die off the new people, right? So there's some truth in that. And it's definitely true in philosophy. So that's the deal.

[22:39] Foundational Responsibility

[22:40] My goal is to use my ambitions, talents, and abilities to do the most benefit for mankind that I possibly can. That is, to me, that's just a foundational responsibility, like respecting gravity, right? It's a foundational responsibility. So if I compromise in the present, I don't benefit the future. If I don't compromise in the present, then I lose audience in the present, but I gain benefit in the future, right? I have a 500-year business plan. It's not really that much about the present. It's about principles, integrity. And so, having a good relationship with my conscience is very important. And having a good relationship with myself, with those. You can't have a better relationship with other people than you have with yourself. self. And so I want to love my wife. I want to love my friends. I want to love and be loved by the people around me. And that the price for that for me is, is just, you know, holding on to principles and, and doing, saying the true, true things that are important to moral. And yeah, there's a price to be paid for that. Of course, otherwise everybody would do it.

[24:02] So to the people who are sort of taking this dark glee in my fall from grace as they say it i'm just telling you man it's it's not what you think it is, it's not what you think it is i am as happy now as i was.

[24:28] At my height i am absolutely and in fact i wouldn't i would say more or less i wouldn't say more or less it's it's really it's a little bit of an apples to oranges thing, but i'm certainly more content i feel i'm doing fantastic work at the moment i mean i the work that i'm doing at the moment is just great um you know since, Since my fall from grace, from the audience, I've written a novel about a free society in the future. I've written a novel about the fall of society in the present. It's called The Future and the Present. Sometimes I'm good with titles. Actually, I think those titles are great, but I've written that. I've written my book on peaceful parenting, which took 14, 15 months to complete, and right now is out. I've recorded the 23-hour audio book. I also recorded the audio book for books for all my novels. I produced, I don't know, a thousand shows and had incredible call-ins with just a wide variety of really great listeners, and I continue to explore and create and grow.

[25:40] So if you fear trying to achieve your potential because you're afraid that something might lose you might lose something after that don't don't don't don't be frightened of that it's not what you think it is and listen by the by by the by.

[26:02] Everybody loses their audience right everybody loses their prominence when did you last see Jack Nicholson in a movie, right? Whether you lose your audience sooner or later doesn't matter. In the large span of human time and history, everybody loses their audience. Everybody gets old. Everybody gets decrepit. Everybody gets senior brain. So you're going to lose your audience either way. You're going to lose your potential either way because you're going to die. I'm going to die. What matters is what we do in the glorious arc between the here and the hereafter. Stop taking any kind of dark glee in what you perceive of as my fall from grace, which is not the case. Go and achieve. We lose everything anyway. Play the hands you've given. Bet as high as possible. Win as much as possible. Nature, time, and death will take care of all the losing, but win as much as you can right now because the world needs your example of potential.

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