Philosophical Paradoxes - Part 6 - Transcript



0:00:00 Introduction to Philosophical Paradoxes
0:00:32 John Fowles and The Magus
0:02:42 Remembering Sam Cooke
0:03:29 The Tragic End of Sam Cooke
0:04:04 The Wretched Story of Sam Cooke's Death
0:05:31 Impact of The Magus on the Speaker's Life
0:06:41 The Alchemy of Fiction and Historical Narratives
0:08:18 The Terrifying Gift of High Intelligence
0:10:22 The Dangers of Anti-Rationality and Sophistry
0:14:33 Analyzing the Story of Hamlet
0:17:56 Overcoming Attempts to Create Uncertainty
0:21:02 The Weapon of Uncertainty and Its Effects
0:22:56 The Dilemma of Providing Certainty
0:26:25 The Darker Motive Behind Demanding Certainty
0:29:31 The Paradox of Truth and Relevance
0:32:28 The Paralysis of Intelligence and Option Paralysis
0:34:19 Consequentialism as a Tool to Paralyze Intelligence
0:35:58 Living by Principles to Overcome Option Paralysis
0:38:31 The Challenge of Embracing Principles
0:39:12 Concluding Thoughts on Philosophical Paradoxes

Long Summary

In this extensive conversation, I dive into the topics of philosophical paradoxes, literature, music, history, intelligence, and societal dynamics. I reflect on my personal experiences and insights, covering a wide range of subjects in a reflective and thought-provoking manner.

I discuss how John Fowles' work, especially "The Magus," influenced my perspective on living authentically and setting rational standards. I touch on the tragic life of Sam Cooke, his impactful music, and the complexities of his legacy.

Delving into history and philosophy, I explore the concept of certainty and uncertainty, highlighting how intelligence can be both a gift and a challenge. I address the idea that uncertainty can be used as a weapon to manipulate and control intelligent individuals within society.

I reflect on the role of principles in overcoming option paralysis faced by intelligent individuals. I discuss how principles provide a guiding framework in decision-making and how they can be a source of strength in a world filled with uncertainty and conflicting ideologies.

Throughout the conversation, I emphasize the importance of staying true to principles, navigating societal pressures, and embracing the complexities of intelligence in a world that often values certainty over introspection and depth of thought.


philosophical paradoxes, societal dynamics, personal experiences, John Fowles, Sam Cooke, intelligence, uncertainty, societal pressures, principles, decision-making


Introduction to Philosophical Paradoxes

[0:00] All right. Philosophical paradoxes. We are rounding the bend.
We'll do some more. I think this will be the last one I'll do for now.
We'll do some more in a bit. Let me know what you think.
You can email me, if you like, at host at
You can support the show at slash donate. and you can join the community at or slash freedomain. All right.

John Fowles and The Magus

[0:32] So, John Fowles. John Fowles is a writer that both illuminated me and disappointed me.
So, John Fowles wrote a book called The Magus about a guy trying to discover his true self in a relationship and imparted to me, I guess this would be in my early 20s, maybe I was 20 or so, imparted in me the idea that life should not be lived with an invisible choir, a sort of Greek chorus of praising and condemning you for your various choices.
Life is not to be lived for externalities.
And really the beginning of integrity is to have your own standards that that are rational, rather than following the approval or disapproval of others.

[1:24] It's hard to sort of existentially argue that you exist if you are a leaf in the breeze of the words of others.
You are a follower, you are a conformist, you are water, not a solid.

[1:41] This is not a radical idea, This is not a shocking new idea, but it was for me back then, right?
It was for me back then. You know, like kind of how when I first listened to it, it was actually Sam Cooke is a singer I love.
I love Sam Cooke. Like, holy crap.
The man spent his entire life in the recording studio. Like, when my daughter was young, I was looking for versions of the Grandfather Clark.
And the Grandfather Clark was too tall for the shop. up. And Sam Cook recorded a version of this, like every single thing, every single thing.
And I loved his work with the soul stirrers. I loved his solo work. I was, of course.

[2:23] Very disappointed with how he died, but an amazing, amazing singer.

[2:29] A phraseology, passion, and a great songwriter too.
Rome wasn't built in a day, change is going to come, you send me just.

[2:38] Great, great singer. And often imitated, never duplicated.

Remembering Sam Cooke

[2:43] I remember when I was in my teens, I looked older than my age, and I used to go to nightclubs and bars, and I remember going to see a soul singer by the name of Otis Clay what a great name for a soul singer and I thought the performance and he was just like in a bar basically and it wasn't the El Macombo but something like it I was so excited that I absolutely demanded all of my friends come and pay the $10 cover fee to see him the next night he was so such a passionate singer and I I remember he did a cover of Change Is Gonna Come.
It's one of the great songs in the American Songbook that was written shortly after Bob Dylan came out with Blowing in the Wind and Sam Cooke, who used to do covers of Blowing in the Wind. You can hear them in the Harlem Nightclub cover.

The Tragic End of Sam Cooke

[3:29] So he did covers of Blowing in the Wind. I actually remember a girlfriend of mine from many years ago said that a black singer like Sam Cooke cannot master white folk in the same way, like white folk music in the same way that white folk can't generally handle soul tunes i just i thought it was a very interesting observation i don't exactly know how true it was but sam cook listened to blowing in the wind and he's like where's the depth and power of our music and then he wrote change is going to come and then shortly after he was killed.

[4:00] And so, I mean, the general gist of the story is he was with a prostitute.

The Wretched Story of Sam Cooke's Death

[4:05] He accused her of stealing something of his.
He barged into the motel owner's office and she shot him, fearing that he was going to attack her.

[4:15] It's really just a wretched, tragic story. And he actually wasn't, I remember being quite surprised that he didn't actually have that much money.
He had like a hundred grand or something when he died.
And he was one of the most popular entertainers, of course, of that time. time so when i was given a record of sam cook's greatest hits i listened didn't really know much about him i think i knew about don't know much about history don't know much biology i think i knew a little bit about that and i think i'd heard you send me but i remember getting goosebumps when the opening chords and the i was born by the river and great uh great lyrics it's been too hard living but i'm afraid to die i don't know what's up there beyond the sky it's just a great great set of lyrics very powerful and the vocals are just staggeringly good but anyway so when i listened to summertime which of course is a song from an old musical your daddy's rich and your mama's good looking i remember that being the first tickling of sexual market value okay so men have money women have looks and blah it just started me down it's just amazing what you could build out of these tiny scraps but the margas was a pretty important book for me i was assigned it in my English literature class and read it with great avidity.

Impact of The Magus on the Speaker's Life

[5:32] And it was one of the books that when I was asked to write an essay on the book.

[5:39] I floundered around. It's one of the things that I ended up leaving my English degree.
I did two years of an English degree. I did almost two years at the National Theater School, then I finished up in history.
And one of the reasons I switched from English to history was because I'm a good writer and a good debater, I could write essays about English literature literature that could not really be marked wrong.
You know, this is my argument for some particular aspect or theme of the book.
And because I write well and can debate well and argue well, who can prove me wrong?
Right? And that's why I switched to history is I wanted a more objective discipline.
Back then when I thought history had some facts in it, other than, I mean, there are are facts in history, but all the narratives are false.
I mean, that's my perspective. Now, we can see this, of course, in the history that's being forged in the moment, where we can see actual events be transmitted into falsehoods, like right in front of our eyes.

The Alchemy of Fiction and Historical Narratives

[6:41] The alchemy of fiction that drives the fantasy of history, historical narratives, we can see being created in our own eyes, like right in real time.
It has deconstructed that. So, the facts of history are are unimportant.
The narratives of history are everything, and the narratives of history are generally false.

[7:04] It's the old Norm Macdonald quote. This is nothing particularly shocking, I'm sure, to hear.
It says right here in this history book, the good guys have won every single time. What are the odds, huh?
So, yeah, the Magus was a big book for me.
This scraps of it, But I remember even, you know, 20 to 57, 37 years later, I remember that he gets a teaching, the main character gets a teaching post in Greece.
And he says he was always surprised that just, kids who weren't that smart coming through his school who had names like Socrates, Socrates, and Aristotle, and so on.
I don't know if there were that many Plato's around at that point.
But yeah, I remember that.
And I remember the tortured love affair and the breakdown of the false self.
So I thought John Fowles was a good writer, but I never liked any of his other books.
I tried The Maggot, I tried a bunch of other things, and I just couldn't.
So, you know, when the writer is It's a one-hit wonder for me, at least, to throw these flash in the pan, and then how do you sustain it?

[8:11] So, John, and this is going to be very, very important to your life, this one.
You can enjoy the rambling intro as you see fit.

The Terrifying Gift of High Intelligence

[8:19] But John Fowles said, intelligence, high intelligence is a terrifying gift. This is paraphrase.
High intelligence is a terrifying gift. The ability to predict the consequences of any action means you will get lost in a labyrinth of hypotheses.
Rule one, do not lose the will. A labyrinth of hypotheses.

[8:45] Intelligent people are more prone to uncertainty, and all progress comes from uncertainty.
All progress comes from uncertainty. uncertainty so uncertainty needs to be in the it's one of the definitions of what needs to be in the Aristotelian mean uncertainty is essential for progress too little uncertainty and you remain stuck in vanity too much uncertainty and you become paralyzed and easily overtaken by less less intelligent people who are in possession of more certainty.
So how is it that we can combine intelligence and certainty without becoming prejudiced?
To be certain of things without being hardened in our beliefs is a real challenge.
Now, it is one of the central issues that philosophy is supposed to solve.
The major job is to teach you what you can be certain of and what you need to be curious about.
Out so we need to be certain that axe murdering is wrong but we need to be curious about the best way to solve social problems because otherwise we we end up in this completely bizarre scenario.

[10:03] Where in sort of modern philosophy we don't even know what's real we don't even know what's true True, but we know that we can call certain thoughts bigotry and be absolutely certain that those people are evil, no matter what.

The Dangers of Anti-Rationality and Sophistry

[10:22] And I remember, this is sort of many, many years ago, I did a fairly famous show at the time. It was a two-parter, I think, called Jennyism.
There was this woman, Jenny, I was having a debate with, and she said there was some, left-wing legal policy that she wanted implemented, but she also said that she couldn't prove that Europe existed because she'd never been there, right?
And I remember laughing, and it sounds unkind, but it genuinely, it's not meant to be unkind, it's just genuine humor and astonishment that this woman jenny was not certain that europe existed but was absolutely certain her socialist policy should be it should socialist policies should be enacted there i mean to see how how bizarre that is like when you get the sort of chain of epistemology and you see how i don't know if this exists i don't know if this continent even exists i can't prove it i'm not certain about it but i'm absolutely certain that my pet socialist this project should be enacted into law there.

[11:24] That's beyond bizarre, but that's kind of the inevitable result, that the reason why certainty is attacked is so that anti-rationality can advance unopposed.
The reason that reason is attacked is so that sophistry fells its mortal foe before before the fight is even joint.
The reason that subjectivism is championed is so that intelligent people who could argue back are denied the certainty that gives them strength.
I mean, to disarm your opponent prior to the duel is the best way to win.
Don't bring a knife to a gunfight, as the analogy sometimes goes.
So, to be intelligent is to have doubt, and to be less intelligent often, though not always, of course, these are just general trends, we're too smart to need all of these asterisks, right? So, I'm just going to talk in general terms, tons of exceptions.
To be more intelligent is to have doubt, to be less intelligent is to be certain.

[12:33] And society has to make decisions. Society has to make decisions.
And if the intelligent are full of doubt, and the less intelligent are full of certainty, and society needs to make decisions, the less intelligent will end up being the captains and stewards of the ship of the state.
Or, to put it another way, way, doubt is a way for the less intelligent to gain control of social apparatus by infecting the more intelligent with doubt while never doubting themselves.

[13:11] So if you can get, let's say you're not that smart, but you want to be in charge, then what you can do, the smart people stand in your way, because the smart people can out-debate you, out-argue you, and usually out-think you.
So what do you do if you're not that smart and you want to be in charge?
Well, what you do is you start asking people the how-do-you-know questions, the basic metaphysics and epistemology questions and so on.
And then while they're scrambling in the pea soup of uncertainty, you stride forward with all certainty and step over their half-bog-swallowed brains and you get your way.
Uncertainty is a weapon used by the average against the smart Because the smart want to be certain and have doubt and see the outcomes of all choices.
And this is Hamlet versus his uncle.
This is Hamlet versus his uncle. Hamlet is full of doubt. His uncle is full of certainty and sin.

[14:13] Hamlet has doubts as to whether the ghost of his father is either A, real, or B, his actual father and not something sent by the devil, a phantasm sent by the devil to lure him into the sin of murder. These are good questions to have.
These are good questions to have.

Analyzing the Story of Hamlet

[14:33] In general, and in all circumstances and cases that I can conceive of, if a person hears voices telling him to kill someone, don't kill anyone. That's murder. murder.
So Hamlet is right to doubt, and right to question, and right to be paralyzed.
Because he might be going mad, and his uncle might be innocent of the murder of his father.

[15:00] Which is why he creates the play. The play is the thing wherein we'll catch the conscience of the king.
Such great writing. Oh, eternally carved into the glowing fabric of man's mind and the universe.
So, to be smart is to have doubt.
One of the reasons that people got angry at UPB is that UPB gives the intelligent moral certainty, which means they can't be sent off in a wild goose chase of epistemology and ethics, by the average who wish to take control of the social apparatus.
To take a sort of silly analogy, right, I mean, you've got Army A and Army B, and let's say Army B is able to convince Army A that they're not certain of the morality of their cause. us.
Well, that's going to cause a lot of debate and sap the fighting spirit of Army A, therefore Army B, that remains certain of the validity of its cause, thus wins.
Wins the battle, wins the war, wins the fight, wins the territory, wins control, and then wipes out Army A.

[16:08] Uncertainty is a biological weapon aimed at sometimes overdeveloped neofrontal cortexes. It's a virus. Paris.
You infect people with uncertainty and you can take them over.
While people are arguing about lifeboat scenario, property rights debates, you stride in and take their stuff.
So it's like you want to go in and rob a house, but there's a big old dog there. What do you do?
Well, you drug a piece of meat and you throw the piece of meat to one side.
The dog eats the meat and falls asleep and you rob the house.
So what the midwits do is they say to the smart, you have approved this to me.

[16:54] And then the smart are like, well, I want to be certain. I need to prove things. I love to debate.
And there's a hidden sort of motive as well, which I'll get to in a sec.
So then the smart go off and debate like crazy and wrap themselves up in knots and torture themselves and create flowcharts and syllogisms and so on.
And while they're out of the way, the midwits take over.
Now, that's the offer. The offer is to debate. and early on you know when the history of the show is written in the future and it will be early on there were lifeboat scenarios that were put forward right guy hanging from a flagpole can he kick in a window in order to save himself from falling to the ground and so on right and i answered those very easily and very quickly and that was really annoying to people that's really really annoying to people because I'm like the dog that ate the meat, but I ate around all of the drug, ate around all of the poison and thus was stronger to repel the thieves.

Overcoming Attempts to Create Uncertainty

[17:56] That's annoying. People got really mad at me about that. Same thing with people would say, define love, define truth, define determinism, define free will.

[18:08] I would do those things. I have done those things and they've not been overthrown.
Define virtue. Yep. Okay. I'll take on that challenge and I'm going to be certain about it.

[18:19] So people would come in with, the midwits would come in and try to distract me and neuter me, to neuter me by having me, and this is part of the Socratic thing as well, right?
So they would say, A, define this, the general way that you do this, the way that you neuter the intelligent is, you say, give me a definition, and then you find an exception, right?
And then the person has to go and refine their thesis, and this game just never ends for most people, right?
I was able to put a stop to it with my definitions of love, definitions of free will, analysis of the nature truth reality the repudiation of the cartesian brain in a tank hypothesis definitions of free will i mean really i have brought and and the final the crowning achievement which is the definition of a good and evil upb which takes away a doubt if you don't want to have doubt you can lose your doubt by working with the definitions that i put forward and i know that's kind of grandiose well if you want to lose doubt working with the definitions make sure you've understand them and if there's refinements to the definitions i'm happy to make them but the definitions have not been accepted or debated which tells you that the people who want answers don't want answers they just want you to get out of the way so people would come to me.

[19:44] And you know this is the concern troll you know there's in a sense like well you know i i really want to be certain i just don't know that i can be and if you can help me out that'd be great that certainty would be excellent right and then i would make the case and they get angry reinstall them off, right?
So they don't want certainty, right? They don't want certainty.
They want to drug people with insecurity.

[20:06] Of course, we can see that, right? I mean, the atheist community has not had any luck answering the question of ethics.
UPB comes along and absolutely answers the question of ethics.
I'm going to say this now because it's been 15 years more, and I've debated it endlessly here and there.
I've written books, articles, done podcasts, presentations, you name it.
And it is absolutely impossible to overthrow the central tenets of UPB. It cannot be done.
There's no uncertainty. there's no doubt it is 100% syllogistical proof.
The only way that you can overthrow the proof for UPB is overthrowing the concept of proof entirely.
That is 100%, there's no doubt whatsoever.

[20:48] I didn't have any doubt when I wrote it and published it. Since then, my lack of doubt, if it's mathematically impossible but psychologically possible, my lack of doubt has only grown.
Lack of doubt, not doubt. Lack of doubt. My certainty has increased.

The Weapon of Uncertainty and Its Effects

[21:02] Priest even people who hate the argument can't overthrow it that was sort of the irrationality rules debate so people who want to drug you with uncertainty don't like it when you resist the drug right iocane powder what is it in princess bride the guy who spent his whole life developing a resistance to iocane powder so they can't be drugged in fact the drug that if the drug that's supposed to debilitate you makes you stronger that's not good right it's like it's almost like Like you feed a relatively, you feed a medium-sized dog a drug so you can rob the house and the drug actually turns it into a feral wolf or a pack of wolves, really. Well, you're not happy, right?

[21:44] Oh, I just want to feed the doggie. No, you want to drug the doggie.
When the doggie comes back stronger, you'd run away.
Oh, I just want to, you know, I just want to get certainty, which is a desire to infect other people with uncertainty.
Oh, I just want to get certainty. I'm just looking to close this loop off.
I just want to make sure I understand and be certain. and then when certainty comes back, you run away because the debilitating drug hasn't taken and so you can't rob.

[22:07] Now, I said that there was a darker motive to it as well and there is.
Oh, but there is. So the darker motive is that when the sophists come along with their pretend demand for certainty, oh, I just want to be certain, I want to make sure I'm right about this, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
When the sophists come along, the midwit sophists come along with their pretend demand for certainty, there is a threat implicit which is that if you actually come back with certainty, you're a target you're going to be targeted like if you come back with certainty, you will be targeted so there's it's a double deal one is that.

[22:43] Want certainty and the other is that if you actually provide certainty i will attack you and of course i was attacked from very early on for the provision of certainty so that threat.

The Dilemma of Providing Certainty

[22:57] That threat like we can do this listen smart guy you're in the way of me taking power smart guy so we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way the easy way is i pretend to have doubt and you run off get out of my way and pretend to be doing something by mucking around in the cellus of metaphysics and epistemology.
You know, it's get out the way, don't bother me, go take your drug, lie down in the corner, let me rob, and you won't get hurt, right?
So when people come and say, I don't have certainty, the intelligent, the intellectuals, what we often do deep down is we say, ooh, ah, yeah, okay, so this guy wants me to get out the way, like the unconscious or the sort of deep negotiation negotiation and so much of life is this deep negotiation that is pretending to be about abstract things, but it's around very real power and often aggression or violence.
So someone comes along and says, oh, okay, Mr. Certainty, tell me what truth, reality, morality, free will, tell me what all these things are.
So that person has identified you as being in the way of some power that they wish to achieve or maintain.
And they're saying, oh yeah, prove it, prove it, prove it. And deep down the intellectuals, we all know that if we do prove it, we're in danger.
Whereas if we go off and muck about, we're out of the way, we get to do things that are vaguely enjoyable, we're not a threat, we're not attacked, right?
So it's kind of like, you know, we would be the dogs in this analogy, and someone comes along.

[24:26] With a drug for the dog and a whip.
A drug and a whip. I say, here, doggie. And the dog knows if he doesn't eat the drug, he's going to get the whip.
And so the doggie's like, okay, well, I'd rather be, if the guy's going to rob anyway, I'd rather be asleep than whipped.
All right, so yeah, here, doggie, good doggie. Take the whip, right?
And the dog's like, okay, if I don't, like unconsciously in this analogy, the dog is like, okay, if I don't take the drug, I'm going to get the whip.
And I'd much rather take the drug and fall asleep than take the whip and be tortured, be assaulted.
I mean, that's kind of exactly how it played out, right? Then I provide certainty and get attacked.
And the people who demanded certainty never thanked me for providing it, right?
That's the, right? So the guy says, here, good doggy. Just want to feed you, doggy. Just want to give you something to eat.
And then the dog gets bigger and stronger and the man then whips the dog.
Because he didn't want to feed the dog, he wanted the dog to get out of the way, wanted the dog to be drugged and fall asleep.
Because, you know, feeding makes things stronger, and so if the man feeds the dog, the dog gets stronger, and then the man attacks the dog, the dog didn't... The man didn't want to feed the dog, he wanted to drug the dog.
Drug didn't work, so the secondary disabling mechanism of attack and violence comes out.
And the intelligent know this by instinct, right?

[25:53] Of the ways that intelligence has preserved itself in society is by succumbing to the lure of irrelevance okay i'm really smart and the price of survival in society is pursuing the irrelevant, and then of course if you do pursue the irrelevant you become an academic and so on then you'll be well paid you'll get prestige you'll get summers off you'll get sabbaticals every couple of years you get to put doctor in front of your name you get all all of this so they'll they'll pay you well.

The Darker Motive Behind Demanding Certainty

[26:25] For a commitment to irrelevance in other words staying out of the hungry jaws of those who want to snap their fangs down on the body politic so that's the that's the deal that's the deal oh yeah show me certainty is if you come back with certainty i'll f you up your ass is mine whereas if you go off and pretend to pursue certainty and become irrelevant, I'll pay you well I'll bribe you to stay out of the way again it's kind of like there's an unarmed security guard and a guy who wants to rob the warehouse shows up and he says here's how it's going to go I'll give you 500 bucks to go to the bathroom for 10 minutes or I'm going to shoot you in the leg I'll give you a lot of praise if you become irrelevant but I'll attack you if you you provide the certainty that I claim that I want?
And that's the deal, right? Anybody who approaches you wanting certainty is almost certainly, certainly if they're, you know, if they're power mongers in their own, it could be personal lives, doesn't have to be politics or anything like that.
But anybody who approaches you and demands certainty is, it's kind of a threat.
Because I'm trying to think like, certainly among people who've listened, they're very grateful for things like UPB, universally preferable behavior, my rational proof of secular ethics, available at slash books for free.

[27:42] But of the people who have, in a sort of public sphere, kind of called me out, demanding certainty, wanting debates, not one of them, not one of them in my entire life, and really we should talk about the last 18 years or so, or, you know, 16 years since I formalized UPB, although one of my earliest articles was proving libertarian morality, which is the genesis of UPB, but not one person who has demanded certainty from me has ever thanked me for providing it, right?
If you are tortured by pain and I give you a cure, wouldn't you thank me?
If you're tortured by uncertainty and I give you certainty, shouldn't you thank me?
But I'm never thanked. I'm only attacked, right? I mean, I'm an empiricist.
So this makes sense in theory, it makes sense in history, and it also accords with very public evidence.
Have you ever seen seen anyone who wants certainty thank me for providing it no they just they move the goalpost they attack they go ad hominem they talk about consequences and so on right so just just so you know how this plays right.

[28:51] Like everyone in society, when you're a kid, everyone in society says, well, you got to tell the truth.
But if you do tell the truth about being bored, unhappy, frightened, aggressed against, beaten, spanked, right?
Bored in school. Like if the teacher says, tell me the truth.
And you say, the truth is that you're really boring. And all of this subject matter is incredibly irrelevant.
And I look at all the adults in my life and none of them are putting into practice the stuff that you teach me here.
So you're wasting my time, right? That's an honest, true statement.
So So everyone says, tell me the truth, and then attacks you for telling the truth, right?
I mean, basically, they tell you that truth is a virtue when you're in possession of information those in power want, and truth is a vice.

The Paradox of Truth and Relevance

[29:32] It's rude, it's mean, it's nasty if you're in possession of information that's inconvenient to those in power, like your teacher, right? You're boring and all that, right?

[29:43] So that's the deal. That's the deal. That intelligence, and I'm not complaining about the deal, right? Right.
I'm not like because if all the smart people had provided absolute answers to these pretend questions about uncertainty, we wouldn't have made it.
We wouldn't have made it. And, you know, high intelligence may have slowly eroded from the toolbox of the species.
So it's a fine deal. I get the deal. I'm not condemning. I'm not right.
I'm not getting down on all this. I'm just pointing out that these are the mechanics, and really, until the internet, it was impossible to not take the deal.
Those who did not take the deal were generally tortured, ostracized, murdered, or unmated with.
So, that was no real answer. So, you trade your survival for irrelevance, which is why most of the philosophers throughout human history have not talked about child abuse.
I mean, really, functionally, all the philosophers have avoided the topic of child abuse because that's where a philosopher can be the most relevant in the promulgation, pursuit, and spread of virtue.

[30:58] But if you bring virtue to the question of child raising, well, people get kind of mad if you haven't noticed, right?
Which is understandable, and I really do sympathize with that, you know. Now, mean parents have relied on tens of thousands of years of philosophers talking about whether we're a brain in a tank rather than asking whether beating children is moral.

[31:17] It's bad luck, you know, if you're a bad parent in the past and, you know, some philosopher comes along and starts talking about this stuff.
I mean, like, I'm really sorry, you just, historically, you drew the short straw, man, it's tough.
You had every reason to believe that this lie was going to continue. So, yeah.
Then the last point I sort of want to make is, okay, so how do we overcome option paralysis?
We can see every outcome and we get lost in what, and I go through this, right?
I still go through this. I'm currently wrestling with Kant. I wrestled with my relationship to the majority.
You know, my level of compassion for those who have attacked me.
Like I still wrestle with all this stuff and I think it's important that I do.
But how do you overcome that?
How do you overcome come down. Well, the opposite of doubt are principles.

[32:05] The opposite of doubt are principles. If you're intelligent, then you can see all the possible myriad effects of everything that you do, which means that a train can only go two directions, right?
Forward on the track or backwards on the track, one way or the other, north or south, east or west.
I mean, there are switches, I get that, but you can still only go one way on any particular track.

The Paralysis of Intelligence and Option Paralysis

[32:28] The fewer the choices the more the certainty and since less intelligent people tend to see fewer choices they tend to be more certain but their certainty is only because they see fewer choices the more intelligent you are the more choices and outcomes you see and the more choices and outcomes you have.

[32:47] Smart people can do just about anything and the dull-witted again no hate just just a fact of life there are tall people short people and so on they're full humans right you get all of this right but that is i mean if you've ever seen the movie goodwill hunting right i mean the ben affleck character says man if every morning i'm i'm hoping that you ain't going to be at work every morning i'm hoping that you know if you're still in this neighborhood cracking beers with me and watching the game in 20 years i'll kick your ass because you've got choices i don't have you can go and work for some brilliant think tank you can go and be a mathematician you can go i'm stuck stuck doing this.
I'm a human forklift moving construction stuff from A to Z for the next 50 years.
You can do anything you want.
And the fact that you're still here is heartbreaking to me.
That's a great speech. Now, it's not common that the people as low-witted as the Ben Affleck character would make those statements, but that's fine.

[33:44] Smart people have more choices and smart people see more outcomes, more possibilities.
They see more variables in play and therefore intelligence leads to paralysis.
When I can go and do anything, when I can go anywhere and do anything, where do I want to go and what do I want to do? It's tough.
And history, of course, is absolutely littered and scattered with brilliant people massively underachieving because of option paralysis.
So consequentialism is a deadly drug for the hyperintelligent.

Consequentialism as a Tool to Paralyze Intelligence

[34:20] Consequentialism is put forward as a way of crippling high intelligence right this is midwits put forward consequentialism because they know it's going to paralyze intelligent people because if you're going to judge an action by its consequences then the people who can see the most consequences are going to be the most paralyzed the people who can see the most consequences are going to be the most paralyzed if you're a train you go north or south that's it you go forwards or backwards so you get two options if you can go anywhere and do anything right do you want a or do you want b flip a coin right a or b it's binary one or zero but if you have infinite possibilities what do you want to do with your life then you're more prey to incentives i can't make a decision let's just look where the most money is the highest statuses or whatever and and then you're under control of those providing that money and status, right?

[35:12] So consequentialism is put forward as an irrelevancy drug that takes the intelligent out of the game of society.
And the way that you counter this, of course, is with principles. So how do you live?
Well, you can't live according to consequentialism as an intelligent person in particular, because you'll get option paralysis.
So you live based on principles, and that's the great gift of UPB is to give you principles.
What should society do? do? Well, you know, this is Thomas Sowell, you know, there aren't any solutions, there are only trade-offs, right?
So you say, ah, was the welfare state good or bad? Well, there's these pluses to it, but there's these minuses to it.
There are benefits, there are costs, short-term, long-term, and you end up not being able to do anything because you're too busy chasing your own tail in increasingly thickening fog on a barge that's sailing off to nowhere.

Living by Principles to Overcome Option Paralysis

[35:59] Whereas if you have principles, the initiation of force is immoral, property rights are moral, theft is immoral, then that's your answer.
That's your answer. Now, answers for intellectuals are dangerous.

[36:14] If you don't go away from the fight, people will fight you. If you don't run away, people will fight you.
Running away to irrelevance is the unholy bargain that's offered to the intellectuals.
I'll give you money. I'll give you status.
You can have some coeds to bang, at least in the past. I'll give you all this cool stuff. Just be irrelevant. Okay.
Okay. And this is something Ayn Rand complained about. I think there was a meeting of the American Philosophical Society during the turmoil of the 60s, and they were like, are nouns epistemologically real things?
Is a noun, something like that, right? It's like, okay, so she's frustrated at that, and it's like, but that's the deal.
We give you money, just shut up and go away. Get out the way. Get out the way.

[36:56] It's like, we've got a road coming through, and your house is in the way.
We can do this a nice way, or we can do this the nasty way, the easy way or the hard way.
The easy way is, we give you a lot of money for your house and you get the fuck out the hard way is we're just going to demolish your house right and just sort of popped into my head of course that that's the opening of hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy that there's an interstate sorry it has a hyperspace bypass coming through and earth has to be demolished which of course i mean logically of course makes no sense and arthur dent is intellectual and paralyzed in his life thinks Thanks for all the options.
And of course, he runs up against a guy who's a direct ancestor of Genghis Khan, who's very certain and aggressive, right?
So this is the society of the Vogons, Arthur Dent is the intellectual, and the midwits are the guy evicting him.
Because I can guarantee you this, people like Genghis Khan did not trouble themselves puzzling over what was real or true or not. He conquered it.

[38:04] The enemy of the warlord is the moralist. So the warlord bribes the moralist with irrelevancy by sending legions to demand what is true.
And if the moralist doesn't take that deal, then he is disposed of in a much uglier way.
So the only answer to option paralysis, which is a mark of significant intelligence, are principles.
But principles are scary. And we may We all know this, right?

The Challenge of Embracing Principles

[38:32] Principles are scary because principles put you in conflict with very certain and often very aggressive people.
So that's what I get out of the John Fowles quote about intelligence.
And I hope that this helps clarify the way the world works and your challenges and my challenges in this exciting, exciting time.
It is an incredibly exciting time. I can't tell you how agonizing it would have been to be a moralist, an intellectual in the past.

[39:05] I would have been corrupted by bribery or disassembled by blowback.
But I can't imagine I would have been much tempted by irrelevance.

Concluding Thoughts on Philosophical Paradoxes

[39:12] So, I thank you everyone so much. I appreciate your feedback.
Let me know what you think of this series. You can post, of course, comments under the videos or wherever you like.
But I'll stop this for now. This is the end of this Philosophical Paradoxes.
If you have more of course you can always post them at and maybe i'll do more but i really really enjoyed the series and i thank you for your time attention care and support for allowing me to do this i do believe the most essential work in the world that is and the universe that we know of thanks everyone so much have a great day bye.

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May 2024

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