WHY GRANDPARENTS SPOIL KIDS!

Importance of communication, defining expectations in relationships, value and equal rewards, promoting imagination within bounds of reality, experience as stay-at-home father, balancing fun and discipline.

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Chapters

0:00:00 Introduction and Invitation to Join the Community
0:03:42 Defining Relationships and the Importance of Definitions
0:08:34 The Definition of Good Parenting and Abuse
0:10:09 The Double Standard in Judging Effort and Performance
0:16:48 Hierarchies and Value in Relationships
0:17:27 Understanding the Value Exchange in Work Relationships
0:19:31 Providing More Value for Better Relationships
0:25:23 The consequences of making a game too real
0:27:05 The danger of blurring the line between fantasy and reality
0:29:26 Gaslighting and undermining parental authority
0:34:18 Balancing Philosophy and Fatherhood
0:35:54 The Serious Side Behind the Fun and Goofiness

Long Summary

In this part of the conversation, the main speaker, Defend Molyneux from freedomain.com, welcomes the audience and encourages them to join the community at freedomain.locals.com. They also mention an upcoming live stream. A listener asks a question about performing a reality check when dealing with family issues. The main speaker explains that strong feelings don't necessarily mean one is right or valid in a situation. To perform a reality check, they suggest two approaches. First, they recommend reversing the situation and considering if the other person would be upset if roles were switched. This helps gain perspective. Second, they advise considering if one's own silence has contributed to the problem, as not addressing an issue can make it one's responsibility. The main speaker stresses the importance of communication and not assuming that others are aware of one's feelings. They discuss how relationships often involve reacting to someone else's definition and provide examples from society to illustrate this point.

The conversation then shifts to the importance of definitions in relationships. The main speaker uses the example of differing definitions of love between a man and a woman and how these definitions can impact the success or failure of a relationship. They emphasize the need to define terms at the beginning of a relationship to ensure alignment of expectations. The main speaker also touches on the concept of parenting and how different definitions can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts between parents and children. They argue that it is unfair to hold unrealistic standards and expectations as everyone does the best they can with the knowledge they have. Instead, they suggest considering the presence of cruelty or harm rather than attributing deficiencies solely to a lack of knowledge. The main speaker reflects on their own limitations in certain areas, using a medical test as an example, and concludes that judgments and expectations should be based on an individual's capabilities and knowledge, rather than arbitrary standards.

The conversation then explores the question of whether it is fair for everyone to receive the same reward regardless of effort or performance. The main speaker argues that it is not fair, using the example of a race where everyone may be running as fast as they can but not necessarily deserving the gold medal. They state that effort alone cannot be the sole criterion for success or equal reward. Furthermore, the main speaker asserts that it is impossible to verify the extent of someone's effort or the knowledge they possessed. They mention that parents claiming they did their best is an unverifiable statement. The main speaker also discusses the concept of value in relationships, highlighting that hierarchies should be seen as voluntary relationships where individuals provide value in different ways, rather than being superior or inferior.

In the subsequent part of the conversation, the main speaker discusses the importance of value in relationships and how it determines the mutual exchange of positive things. They suggest that if someone is not providing value, it may be necessary to question the relationship. The main speaker also discusses the concept of providing more value in order to receive more in return, using the example of a raise at work. They acknowledge that some people may struggle to recognize the value they provide and suggest either finding a way to provide more value or accepting that they cannot see it. The main speaker emphasizes the need to think about relationships without hierarchy. They then explain how they personally come up with clear definitions, stating that they have worked hard to develop this skill. The conversation briefly touches on movie analyses and expresses openness to analyzing popular children's movies. The main speaker expresses their confusion and lack of understanding towards the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon, highlighting the practical value of the concept of hide-and-go-seek.

The main speaker further explores the concept of hide-and-go-seek and its significance. They highlight that hiding can be necessary in certain situations, such as avoiding a predator or playing games. However, they question the metaphysics of what happens during these games. The main speaker compares the Elf on the Shelf concept to losing money in a game of Monopoly, stating that it can be cruel to the child's ability to process reality. They argue that imagination within the bounds of reality is creativity, while imagination outside the bounds of reality is mental illness. The main speaker emphasizes the importance of telling the truth to children and not promoting lying. They also discuss how grandparents treating their grandkids well can create alliances between the grandparents and grandchildren against the parents, ultimately asserting dominance over the parents. The main speaker refers to a funny meme where grandparents secretly give money to the grandkids during times of conflict.

In response to a question about the main speaker's decision to become a stay-at-home father, they explain that it was due to their choice to pursue philosophy full-time. They discuss the challenges of balancing being a fun dad while also maintaining discipline. The main speaker mentions that people sometimes underestimate their resolve and strength based on their silly and goofy side, but they assert that they have the ability to switch to a more serious and assertive mode when necessary.

To conclude the conversation, the main speaker reminds everyone of their lighthearted and stern sides. They share a personal anecdote about a legal issue, emphasizing their resolve, and illustrate their uncompromising nature when necessary. They express gratitude for the audience's support and sign off, hoping to talk again soon.

Brief Summary

In this part of the conversation, I discuss the importance of communication and performing reality checks in relationships. I emphasize the need to define terms and expectations from the start. I also explore the concept of value in relationships and the role it plays in mutual exchange. We touch on the question of equal rewards based on effort and discuss the limitations in verifying effort and knowledge. I also address the concept of hide-and-go-seek and its implications in promoting imagination within the bounds of reality. Lastly, I share my experience as a stay-at-home father and how I balance fun and discipline. I express gratitude for the audience's support and sign off, hoping to talk again soon.

Tags

communication, reality checks, relationships, define terms, expectations, value, mutual exchange, equal rewards, effort, knowledge, hide-and-go-seek, imagination, reality, stay-at-home father, fun, discipline, gratitude, sign off, audience support

Transcript
Introduction and Invitation to Join the Community

[0:00] All right, everybody. Good afternoon. It's Stefan Molyneux from freedomain.com.
Freedomain.locals.com. Please join the community. You'll love it. It's great.
Wonderful, wonderful people. And you get all these kinds of cool, funky live streams going on, going down.
Got one going on tonight, Friday, 7 p.m., the 22nd.
Only two more donating days till Christmas Eve. So, question.
Is there a general guide to perform a reality check? For For example, when dealing with issues with family of origin, how to check your grievances, issues, levels are appropriate, that you're not flying off the handle.
It's a great question. Just because you feel something, even if you feel something very strongly, certainly does not mean that you're right or objective or valid and so on, right?
So it's a great question. There are a couple of things that I do, which hopefully will be helpful to you too, which is first thing I do is I do the old uno reversi, right?
So I do the reverse, and I say, okay, if the situation were reversed, would the other person be upset?
If the situation were reversed, would the other person be upset?

[1:06] So, you know, one of the things that you could say is, let's say that you're in the middle of telling a story that's kind of important to you, and somebody at the dinner table keeps saying, can we get the check? Can we go?
Well, it can be a little rude, right? Right. So if you talk to the other person, you can say, well, if you were in the middle of telling an important story for you and I kept insisting, can we get the check?
Can we go? You'd probably feel a little hurt or a little annoyed or something like that. So you do a reverse thing.

[1:34] I think that's important. The second thing that I do is I say, OK, has my silence added to the problem?
Right. Has my silence added to the problem?
In other words, if I've let a problem fester, is it on me, in part, that the problem is a problem?
If something somebody does annoys me, but I haven't really talked about it much or mentioned it much and so on, then am I part of the problem?
Have I contributed to the problem?
In which case, my irritation has a lot to do with my own inaction and not, of course, entirely to do with the other person and their issues or their problems.
Does that sort of make sense? right so make sure that you're not the one who's contributing to the problem so you know a lot of times what people do let's say somebody bites their nails and that clicking sound kind of drives you crazy you you know you need to talk about it with them and try and figure out some sort of solution either they stop biting their nails or you stop being as annoyed by it and so on but if you just haven't mentioned it and then you eventually blow up you're really blowing up more at your own inattention because there's a funny thing that happens in our mind when we're bothered by something, we forget that it doesn't bother other people, right?
We sort of forget that, which, you know, kind of makes sense, kind of important.
But we forget that it doesn't directly bother other people. Like, that's kind of important, right?

[2:57] So we're bothered, right? We're bothered by X, Y, and Z. We're bothered. We're bothered.
And then we think every time we're bothered that the other person knows that it bothers us and they're just doing it to be annoying and that kind of stuff.
You know how much this bothers, you know, that kind of stuff, right? We've all sort of heard or seen these kinds of things before.
You know how much that bothers me. Well, other people are, you know, quite often not particularly aware of how much what they're doing is bothering you and you need to tell them and then they can make that sort of decision.
And even if something you say, well, I've told you a thousand times how much it bothers me. He's like, okay, yeah, I get that, and that's important, but, you know, people forget, right?
People forget, have that sort of humility.
I think that's kind of important to make sure that you're not overdoing that.
Defining Relationships and the Importance of Definitions

[3:42] The other thing with regards to doing a reality check is, did I define the relationship, right? Did I define the relationship?
Is this my relationship, so to speak? Now, with your parents, guess what?
Your parents defined the relationship. relationship everything you do with regards to your parents is a reaction right i know that sounds real absolute 100 no matter what right but they defined the relationship they chose to have you they chose to early parent you they chose what they ate or what your mom chose what she ate or whether she drank when you were in her belly and so on right so your parents completely and totally and utterly and 100% define the relationship.
And so everything that happens after that is you reacting to their definition.
Is you reacting to their definition. Now, you can wrestle and try and change the definitions and so on, but you're still reacting to it, right?
You can say, ah, but when you're an adult and so on, well, as an adult, you're still reacting to their definition, right?
You're still reacting to their, even if you're sort of pushing back and saying, well this is not how a good family should be or it wasn't great parenting they define it as great parenting and so you're always and forever reacting to somebody else's definition if that person has.

[5:03] Authority over you so you know i mean you know do you know why people break up my why relationships founder is that people can't agree on definitions people can't agree on definitions so i mean you you think of this in society, right?
People say the welfare state is helping the poor. Other people say, no, it's not.
It's not helping. It's coercive, right?
And it doesn't help. Other people say, well, free health care helps sick people. It's like, nope.
In general, it corrupts the whole health care system and has people pursue unhealthy lifestyles on the assumption that they can get it fixed.

[5:39] And then what happens is they pursue less healthy lifestyles because they're not paying for their own health care directly.
And then what happens is when they do get sick, the health care is too swamped by everybody else so that they can't actually get the treatment that they need and actually makes them more sick. You know, so what is it to care for people?
Is it to forcefully redistribute income and resources or is it a private charity and personal responsibility?

[6:02] The different definitions of love. Is this why definitions are relationships?
You know, definitions are relationships.
If you can have the same definitions, you can have a good relationship.
If you differ in definitions, right, just think of love, right?
A man thinks that love is providing for his family.
The woman thinks that love is helping out around the house, right?
You know how tired I am. If you knew how tired I was, you'd help me.
So, you understand, these definitions are what drives good or bad relationships.
The man might define love as sexual access. The woman might define love as cuddly support with no sexual interest.
The man might define love as giving answers to the woman.
The woman might define love as just listening without insulting her by trying to give her answers. So, these definitions are foundational to whether you have a successful or unsuccessful relationship.
So, I say, at the beginning of a relationship, define your terms.
What is it you're looking for?
For the woman, happiness might mean travel. For the man, happiness might mean property ownership.
For the woman, happiness might mean kids. For the man, happiness might mean… You understand?

[7:18] Relationships and definitions.
Are the same things. They're the same things. If you can't agree on terms, you can't agree on a relationship, you can't have a successful relationship if you differ on terms.
So, in terms of family breakdowns and all the tragic stuff that can happen, the parents say, doing the best I possibly could is good parenting.
I did the best I possibly could, therefore, that is good parenting.
Good parenting is doing the best you can with the knowledge you have, and therefore, that is good parenting.
Asking for parents, let's say you have a definition of parenting that says.

[8:01] You are with me 30 hours a day, right? And they say, well, that's not a standard.
And you failed that standard because you were only with me 12 hours a day.
You had to eat and work or whatever and sleep.
So if you say, well, good parenting is when you're paying attention to me and 30 hours a day, your parents would rightly say that's not a realistic standard, that can't happen, that can't work.
And so you have a standard that is impossible to meet and you're downgrading us, right?
You're downgrading what we offered, right? So that's important.
The Definition of Good Parenting and Abuse

[8:34] If your parents say, we did the best we could with the knowledge we had and that's the best parenting that can be, then if you say that parenting was still deficient, then you're saying, well, we had to be omniscient, We had to be omniscient in order to satisfy your definition of good parenting.
Therefore, your definition of good parenting is kind of abusive.
I mean, if you have a standard, particularly of morality, that people just can't reach physically, like they just can't reach it, right?
Can't achieve it, certainly not consistently, then your definition of the good is actually abusive.
It's a standard that can't, like, never have an impure thought.
To have an impure thought is the same as evil, right?
There's actions, right? Thought policing. someone then that's a standard of good and evil that can't be achieved or attained or maintained or something like that right so what's the definition you know you you criticize your, parents parenting and they say hey hey we did the best we could and you were a difficult kid right so they have a definition of parenting called whatever we did was the best we could do, which is like saying every mark that everyone gets on a test is the best they can do right Everyone's mark, by definition, that's kind of true, but so what?

[9:49] So if you have a class of 40 kids, and there's sort of a bell curve of test results, most people are around the middle, some people are very high, some people are very low.

[9:59] Every single one of those kids can say, hey man, I did the best on that test I could with the knowledge I had.
But that's not how we judge people in society, right? Right? Right?
The Double Standard in Judging Effort and Performance

[10:09] If you get into debt and you can't pay your creditors, right?
And you say, hey man, I'm paying the most I can with the money I have.
We don't accept that. We don't accept that.

[10:24] If your parents were to have engaged a plumber and the plumber says it's going to cost $500, but then the bill comes in at $5,000, he's like, hey, man, I made the best estimate I could with the knowledge I had.
They probably would have an objection to that.
If you came home and you failed to study for a test and you failed and you said, hey, man, I did the best I could with the knowledge I had, your parents would not accept that.
So whatever I did was the best I could do with the knowledge that I had.
Well, of course, that's also saying that the only thing that would make your parenting deficient is a deficiency of knowledge, not the presence of cruelty or sadism or pettiness or meanness or, like, whatever, a desire to harm.
Right? So, the reason why there's these definitions is parents or abusive people, when they don't have power, and you confront them and say, well, you didn't do well, even by your own standards, as, hey, we did the best we could with the knowledge we had.
And the reason why people have a tough time with that is when you were a child, your parents didn't say to you, hey, man, you did the best you could with the knowledge you had.
They'd say, no, you've got to study more for the next test and you might be grounded if you played video games instead of studying for the test.

[11:33] Then your parents would say, hey, you're grounded. You've got to study for the next test and you did bad and you should have done better.
Right. So they don't accept. They don't. When you're a kid, you don't get I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. Otherwise, everyone would get 100%, right?
If you didn't study much and the most you could get on the test was 60% and you got 60%, then you got 100%, right?
You did 100% of everything you were capable of doing, right?
If somebody put the medical, some medical test in front of me, right?
A friend of mine is going for his, becoming a doctor, and he shared some of the tests.
So, if somebody put one of those tests in front of me, I'd get 5%, maybe? me, I would get 5%, which would be 100% of my knowledge. Do you see what I mean?

[12:17] So is it the best you can do, in which case everyone in a running race gets the gold?
Because everyone in a running race is running as fast as they can with the health and lung power that they have, right? The muscle strength, right?
They're running as fast as they can.
So by definition, everyone is running as fast as they can. Therefore, everyone should get a gold medal.
Everyone wins the race because they're all straining mightily and doing as much as they can.
Everyone in a singing competition is singing as well as he or she can.
Therefore, everybody should win the singing. You understand, right?
You follow where I'm going here, right? So there's the objective standard, how fast did you run the race?
And then there's the subjective standard, which is I ran as fast as I could.

[13:04] Therefore, to ask me to be Usain Bolt is unfair.
To ask me to run faster when I can't run faster is unfair, right?
So this sliding scale is what parents use in definition.
The definition of the good is doing the best you can with the knowledge you have.
But that's true of just about everything in life. Does that mean everyone in life should get 100% A+++, a gold medal, and so on?
Does that mean that if you're paid on piecework, you produce 10 widgets, you get $10 a widget, right?
Well, everyone is going to produce the maximum amount of widgets they can.
Some people are going to be, they're going to work smarter, not harder.
They're going to have faster reflexes. They're going to figure out ways that they can do things better and so on, right?
And so they produce five times as much. They get $500 or the equivalent of 50 bucks a widget. And some people are only getting 10 bucks a widget.
Well, everyone's producing as fast as they can. Does that mean everyone should get paid the same?
Is it the objective number of widgets that you produce or your level of effort that counts, right?
So this is definitions. What is the good? but is it your level of effort?
I didn't mean to. I really wanted to. I just happened to fall asleep.
I this, that, and the other, right?
Well, I mean, we can't judge things relative to a level of effort alone.

[14:29] We can't judge things relative to a level of effort alone.
I really meant to refuel that plane. I really meant to hit the brakes.
I really meant to not leave a scalpel inside the abdomen of the guy I was given the appendix, appendicitis operation two, right? Removing his appendix.

[14:47] I tried. And of course, the other thing too is, it's absolutely unquantifiable.
It's absolutely unquantifiable, especially when you look back in the past, like when you were five or six or four or eight or two or whatever, and you say to your parents, there was some bad parenting, they say, we did the best we could, but the knowledge we had, utterly unverifiable.
You don't know what knowledge they had. You also don't know what knowledge they were avoiding.
You don't know if they did the very best they could. It's just a magical statement that people say, which everybody would have questions about.
If you fail a test, you come back and your parents have to sign, you failed a test, like an F, like really bad, right?
You fail a test as a kid, you come back and your parents say, did you study?
And you say, yes, I studied so much.
I studied so much. I studied with friends.
I watched videos online. I did practices. I did so much studying.
And they say, well, okay, I'm going to call your friend. Oh, don't call my friend, right?
So show me your notes. Oh, I threw them out. Or, you know, show me your practice.
Oh, I threw, right? So you can just say, oh, yeah, I studied.
Yeah, I studied. The test was just too hard, right?

[16:01] So it's an unverifiable subjective statement that you were never allowed to have as a kid, right? Show your work, right? You're never allowed to have that as a kid.
And so if the parents would never allow you you to have that standard for them to later claim that standard is is wrong and bad and negative so, definitions man definitions definitions if the situation were reversed and have you contributed to the problem hopefully this helps but i think the definitions and relationships is really really important to understanding how the world works all right is there such thing as an equal partnership in a relationship or are there always hierarchies so in relationships i don't really like to think think of hierarchies, voluntary relationships, right? Certainly hierarchies in coercive relationships.
Hierarchies and Value in Relationships

[16:48] But in voluntary relationships, I don't like to think of, I'm just giving you a personal preference.
Then I'll explain why, if that helps. But I don't like to think in terms of hierarchies. I like to think in terms of value.
I like to think, so there's stuff my wife is better at. She does that.
There's stuff that I'm better at. I do that.
The hierarchy doesn't mean that that I'm inferior to her strengths versus my weakness, or that she's inferior to my strengths versus her weaknesses.
We're just providing value in different ways.
So what's the hierarchy when you bring your car in for an oil change? What's the hierarchy?
Understanding the Value Exchange in Work Relationships

[17:27] They're bringing value, which is called an oil change, and the knowledge and whatever it is, right?
But you're bringing value in terms of money to pay for the oil change. Do you see what I mean?
With your boss, he's bringing value because the value that he brings is worth more than the value that you bring.
So you're paying part of your salary so that he'll deal with the difficult customers, or the office politics, or the taxes, or the retirement plan, or the regulations, renovations or the building maintenance or the property taxes or the you know all the myriad the expense of the renting of the property the upgrade and maintenance of the machines so your boss will handle all of that and you carve off part of your salary so that he does all that stuff for you if you're a waiter right you understand the restaurant owner is dealing with all of that onerous difficult regulatory health inspection stuff you just got to cart food around or whatever so you're paying him to do that stuff for you.
So you're both bringing value and the value is not disproportionate because the guy who owns the restaurant is just bringing a lot more value because he's already got the restaurant and you don't, right?

[18:34] So that's important. I like to just think in terms of value that people bring to the situation.
That to me is what really counts in these kinds of areas. What value are people bringing to the situation?
What value are they bringing? If they're bringing good value, fantastic, then there's a good mutual exchange of positive things, right?
Good mutual exchange of positive things. If they don't have to be bringing value, that's also important, right?
And then you can sort of question the relationship, right?
So hopefully that sort of helps in general about how these things can be looked at. But I think in general, if you look at the value that people are or are not providing, I think you will end up with a more sort of accurate view.

[19:21] Of how these things work sort of in intangible practical reality, if that makes sense.
So I would say, look at it that way.
Providing More Value for Better Relationships

[19:31] And of course, if you want more out of a relationship, which is great, right?
If you want more out of a relationship, then you need to provide more value, right?
If you want to raise at work, then you need to figure out a way to provide more value.
Now, part of negotiation is to pretend that you're providing more value you than the other person, right?
So if a boss doesn't want to pay you as much, then he's got the job of trying to convince you that he's providing more value than you are, and to get you to accept less money, so to speak, right?
So that kind of stuff, if you want more proportion, right?
Let's say you're making a quarter of what your boss makes, right?
You're making 50k, he's making $200,000, then you need to find a way to provide more value relative to what he's doing in order to get the raise, right?
Now, it could be, of course, that some people can't really process the value that you're providing.
And, you know, that kind of stuff is important to figure out because if people can't process the value that you're providing, trust me, as a philosopher, this is pretty important for me, right?
So to know that there's a lot of people who just can't figure out the value that I'm providing.
They just can't quite understand.

[20:48] See their way clear to providing, to understanding the value that I'm providing.
And because of that, I either have to either find a way to provide more value or accept that they cannot see the value that I provide, right?
If I don't speak Japanese, I cannot appreciate a beautiful poem in Japanese, right?
So some people can't recognize the value that you're providing, in which case either they're right and you're not providing much value or they can't see the value, like the blind man can't evaluate your painting and so on. it.
So don't really think in terms of hierarchies in personal relationships.
Think about all of that, right? So I'm always blown away by your definitions.
They always seem to thread the needle of practical, clear, and timeless.
How do you come up with such great definitions?
Is it a flash of inspiration or something you have deliberated and have to deliberate over? Are they easy and obvious for you, the product of decades of consistent hard work, or they're still sometimes challenging?
Well, occasionally they're challenging, for sure. But for the most part, I've worked so hard on having clear definitions of things and worked that muscle so hard that the definitions mostly come very quickly.
And then, of course, I put them through the empirical test, sometimes even live and in conversations and all of that.
All right. Hey, Steph, I've got two things I've been thinking about recently.
One was how you did a bit of an analysis recently on certain magical witchcraft wizardry movies and what their meanings are.
Have you already done analysis on other popular children's movies?

[22:08] If you did, I'd be very interested in listening. If not, would you be be willing to.
I know you do some recent movie reviews. I was just curious since a lot of kids spend time trying to be like their favorite characters, so I thought it might be useful philosophically. Yeah, I've done some kids movies for sure.
You could just do a search at FDR podcast for movie reviews.

[22:24] And I'm happy to do more movie reviews. My other question is, with Christmas just a few days away, I've been seeing a whole lot of Elf on the Shelf stuff on social media.
I've never been into it, and honestly, it creeps me out. But what is the philosophy around it?
And is it actually creepy or am i misinterpreting it thank you as always for providing so much insight and merry christmas well thank you my friend i really i really appreciate that so the elf on the shelf for those who don't know i think it's a fairly recent phenomenon and it was uh some some i think it was a bunch of sisters and so on who came up with this idea that you put an elf on a shelf and the kids have to find the elf the elf moves around and it's just one of these things like.

[23:09] I mean, the fact that it rhymes just seems to be hypnotic for people.
Like everything that rhymes just seems to be really hypnotic to people.
And that's, I don't understand it. It doesn't make much sense to me, but it is just a thing.
It is just a thing. If it rhymes, people love it. If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit.
It's freedom of speech, not freedom of reach. It's a kind of hypnotic thing where people say, well, because, and this is poetry and because it rhymes it has validity because it rhymes it has weight and so on repetition has weight and rhyming is a form of failure mnemonic repetition so yeah i i don't really get why oh elf on a shelf right and there are all these memes like uh elephant you've heard of elf on a shelf get ready for and then they do something else that rhymes so what is what is it all about well i mean hide and go seek is great it's a great way to train kids to hide if there's danger and to to find people who are hiding.
So hide-and-go-seek, because we are both a predator and a prey species, we are a predator species and a prey species, so hide-and-go-seek makes good sense, because sometimes you need to find things.

[24:21] And sometimes you need to hide, right?
If the predator's chasing you, then you need to hide. If you're trying to catch something or whatever, then you need to find it.
So having this kind of game, you know, I think it's fine.
The real question, though, is the metaphysics of what's happening, right? The metaphysics of what's happening.
I mean, can you imagine you've got, I don't know, $100 worth of savings, right?
As a kid, and this is your hard-won savings and all of that.
And then what happens is you're playing a game of Monopoly with your dad, and at the end of it, at the end of the game of Monopoly, you're down $100.
Like you owe the bank $100 you can't pay.
And he says, oh, yeah, well, I'm just going to take your money.
He goes up, uncorks your piggy bank and takes your money. You'd be really upset.
Because it's gone from a game to something very real now. It's gone from paper money to, well, quote, real money.
It's gone from a theoretical to a practical.
The consequences of making a game too real

[25:23] And that's kind of cruel, right? I mean, Monopoly is a game of trading, of alliances, of money management, and so on.
And so when the game suddenly has a metaphysical reality, it's not just play money now. It's like real money.
I mean, I just, I lost the game and I lost my savings, right?
Right? That's pretty bad, right? That's pretty bad.
So, if the elf on the shelf is, you know, we've got this toy, we're hiding it, and so on, okay, it can be fun for kids to look for that kind of stuff, and it's kind of neat, and you can come up with creative, and it's not just a game of hide-and-go-seek or whatever, right? And that's fine.
But if you then say the elf is real, he's a living creature, and he voluntarily goes and hides on his own every night, that's terrible.
Then you're suddenly taking a game and making it real and in even a worse way than if you suddenly steal a hundred bucks from your kids because they lost a monopoly game right like that's even worse, so i mean my daughter and i we played a whole series of games that were highly imaginative we did kitty games where she she and her friends would pretend to be cats and i'd be a guy who was going to come and cook the cats and you know they had to run and fight and help each other and and so on then we played dragon games where she'd be a baby dragon i'd i'd find her and she'd i'd turn turn out to be mean and she'd have to escape me.
And, you know, I mean, they were fun things. But we never said it was real.

[26:46] Never said it was real. We've played this sort of Dungeons & Dragons type game for years. But we don't sit there and say this is really happening.

[26:55] We don't sit there and say this is really happening. Nobody watches Toy Story and says that's a documentary.
Like, your kids, your toys really do come alive.
The danger of blurring the line between fantasy and reality

[27:05] That's just weird. That's bizarre. So the Elf on the Shelf stuff, yeah, go and hide something and the kids can find it and whatever. That's fun.
I mean, I don't mean that cynically. That genuinely can be fun if it's imaginative and all of that.
And you've got to have the right level of, like, it's not, you didn't put it in the ductwork in the attic or something, right?
So, and there's nothing wrong with that. I think it's great, can be enjoyable.
It's when the parents completely frack with the children's minds by saying, he's real, he moves around.
That's just, to me, that's sadism. I mean, I know that sounds harsh, but it's really sadistic because you're actually completely messing with the kid's ability to process reality, right? It's like Santa is real.
Hey, Santa is a fun story, man.
Santa is a great, fun, and enjoyable story. There's nothing wrong with that as a story. Beautiful.

[27:56] And as imagination goes, yeah, you want to train your kids in imagination because progress and imagination go hand in hand.
We want the world to progress. We want society to progress, which means rejecting what is for the sake of what's possible, imagining things that don't exist yet.
But imagination within the bounds of reality is creativity. creativity.
Imagination outside the bounds of reality is psychosis, schizophrenia, mental illness, and madness.
Creativity outside the bounds of reality is madness. Creativity within the bounds of reality is progress.
So yeah, it's fun to imagine an elf moving around.
It's courting mental illness to tell your children the elf is actually moving around. Do you see what I mean?
It's one thing to read a story that says, you know, that the fox said this, and the wolf said that, and the bunny said that, right?
It's one thing to have, but it's another thing to say, animals can genuinely talk, let's go into the woods and have a conversation with a squirrel.
Right? One is fun creativity.

[28:55] Other is inviting a mental breakdown, like seriously damaging children's sense of reality and their trust in themselves and in their parents.
You must tell the truth to your children.
And that doesn't mean don't be creative, but you must tell the truth to your children.
Otherwise, you're saying there's great virtue in lying.
Hey, Steph, why do you think it is so common for grandparents to treat their grandkids so well when they didn't do the same with respect back to their own kids. I notice this a lot in public.
Gaslighting and undermining parental authority

[29:26] Yeah, I mean, there's a couple of reasons for that, in my humble opinion.
One, it's just gaslighting their own kids. See how nice we can be, see how gentle we are, see the empirical evidence of our own benevolence, and that just gaslights the kids, their own children, as to how nice they are, right?
Oh gosh, did I, was it really as bad as I thought? Maybe I've got things wrong, maybe I mixed my parents' parenting up with some Some kind of horror movie, maybe, whatever.
So there's this gaslighting and so on.
It does also create an alliance between the grandparents and the grandchildren against the parents, which is another form of asserting dominance as grandparents over the parents, right?
So it's the old thing that there's a sort of meme. It's kind of a funny meme where, you know, when everyone's mad at me at Christmas, you know, and my grandmother slips me, you know.

[30:19] 20 bucks or something like that. And so, and sort of like a drug deal, that kind of stuff, right?

[30:27] So for that stuff, it's an alliance against the parents with the kids, with the grandkids.
And it's really, it's desperately unhealthy. I mean, it's desperately, desperately, desperately unhealthy.
You can't be undermining parents. If you want to be a decent person, you just can't be undermining parents.
Like it's just really a terrible thing to be doing. You just can't do it.

[30:51] So, there's the aspect of gaslighting the parents, there's the aspect of creating alliance with the grandkids against the parents, which undermines parental authority, and it's bribing the kids with, you know, fun time, play time, sugar, you know, the old thing that grandparents say is like, well, we just get them for an hour or two, we fill them full of fun and sugar, and then we toss them back to their parents, right? So, again, that's just a form of sabotaging.
I mean I remember I had a babysitter when I was little maybe maybe five years old I had a babysitter and this girl would give me a curly whirly candy bar and let me stay up late I mean she tried to arrange she would let me sleep with two armchairs pushed together I was that little, and I remember staying up late watching the news and and she was and I just I just loved going over I just loved going over to where she was it was just great I remember one time I was supposed to to be going to her and unfortunately it was really tragic because I was supposed to go to her place for some reason it was cancelled and either she cancelled for some reason or my mom who I would always go over when my mom had dates and maybe her date cancelled or something so she didn't need to pay the babysitter and I just I just bought I just bought because there was a place where I was sort of happy and and all of that so that's a little bit different from the grandparents parents but if you are treating the kids super well and the parents have to provide this sort of restrictions then that's not good at all so the last thing of course that happens is.

[32:17] It's to do with the the grandparents don't have the same high stakes they don't have the same high stakes as they did with their own kids.
So the grandparents are older, their tension and energy has dissipated, a lot of personality disorders fade out to some degree over the years, like borderline personalities and so on. They, they.

[32:41] They mellow a little bit over the years, and the stakes are not as high, and so they just have a certain amount of relaxation.
Their major life decisions are in the rear view, and so there is a certain mellowing out so that grandparents can be nicer to grandkids.
But I think most fundamentally, it's this. This is all important stuff, and I don't mean to just save the best for last, but fundamentally, I think the answer is that grandparents don't have any direct power, right?
So, I've always said, if you have coercive power, quality tends to diminish hugely if you have coercive power.
So, with grandparents, they don't have direct coercive power over the grandchildren.
And they are, to some degree, reliant upon their own children to bring the grandchildren over or to give them access to the grandchildren. They just don't have direct control over them.
So, it's a more voluntary relationship. So, I've always sort of said, voluntarism and quality are the same thing, right? You can't have quality without voluntarism.
And the grandparents are in a much more voluntary relationship with their grandkids than with their own kids, who they have direct coercive control over and legal custody of and like all this.
So they just, it's more of a free market situation and less of a political or coercive situation, if that makes sense.
So I think that would probably have a lot to do with it. All right.

[34:02] Let's see here. Review of the shift, sure.
Would you mind sharing some insight into your decision-making process when you ultimately decided to become a stay-at-home father?
What were some frequent challenges you faced in that role, any unexpected or unusual ones? Thanks, Steph.
Balancing Philosophy and Fatherhood

[34:18] Yeah, I mean, the stay-at-home father thing was a shadow cast by the becoming a philosopher full-time thing.
So I didn't say, I'm going to quit my job to be a stay-at-home dad.
What I did was I said, I want to quit my career in order to to do philosophy, and one of the side effects of that was being a stay-at-home dad, if that makes sense.

[34:38] Some of the challenges, I would say that I try not to veer between, you know, fun dad and stern dad, because that's a bit of a roller coaster.
But every now and then, it's funny. It's a funny thing. And I have this.
This is not particular to my family. This is sort of my life in a whole.
Like everybody who's listened to the show knows that I have a very sort of silly and goofy and fun side.
And I love that silly and goofy and fun side. And I think it's a great part of life. But one of the things that happens is that because I have the silly, goofy fun side, people underestimate my will, strength, and resolution.
Because they think, well, you know, Conan doesn't do valley girl accents and silly dances and all that.
I guess he probably tears his shirt off and all that. But he doesn't do goofy songs and like he doesn't, you know, have exaggerated facial expressions to make people laugh.
Conan is is a stern masculine testosterone based man muscle of doom and destruction so the fact and this used to happen all the time in the business it's like you know be funny and and all of that and goofy and then people would just think they could take advantage of me and then I you know I guess like a lot of people maybe from England or but I have a switch right I have a switch where I can go from like it's like that it's a Hispanic guy it's like he's smiling and then something dark, right?
The Serious Side Behind the Fun and Goofiness

[35:54] So, and I've sort of told people for many years about the maybe it's a different Anglo-Saxon thing, this kind of switch, right?
You're really, really nice and fun until you're not.

[36:04] And so I think that sometimes the fun stuff invites people, like if you're kind of playing the fool or playing goofy or whatever, then people think you are a fool and a goof, as opposed to, yeah, I have a side of me that's really fun and goofy, and I really enjoy and appreciate that side of me.

[36:22] But, you know, don't think I won't hound enemies into the ground if necessary, so to speak, right?
I mean, just allegorically speaking, right? I will make my moves when needed and will have no, I won't stop, right?
I remember many years ago, many years ago before the show, I got into a legal thing with someone and I tried to give them every chance to make it right and they didn't. And so I just pursued and pursued and pursued.
And I remember the guy, he's like, oh, my father just died. I'm really having a tough time. And it's like, it moved me not at all.
I wasn't happy with it. I mean, I didn't want the guy's father to die or anything, but it's just like, no, I'm sorry.
Like you've, you're absolutely off the list of people I care about or that would move me. Right. Right.
So that aspect of real nice, real fun, real goofy, real funny.
And then if if a certain line gets crossed in me, then I just I become implacable and I become without forgiveness, without remorse and with no quarter given.
Right. Like I don't give an inch when when that has happened.

[37:34] So I would just say, and this is very, very mild, but it's something to do with just just reminding everyone.
One and if you have sort of fun goofy side just reminding everyone that it's important also to remember that you do have a stern side which is important and and works well so all right i hope these are great and useful answers to just absolutely fabulous questions i know i missed a few free domain.locals.com i hope to talk to you soon and thank you so much for your continued support our philosophy lots of love from up here I'll talk to you soon bye.

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