Stewart Alsop III explores the life in Silicon Valley through a conversation between Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein - July 26, 2019July 26
Today's Smash Notes is brought to you by Stewart Alsop III. He is the host of Crazy Wisdom podcast where he explores creativity, stress and spirituality. Stewart grew up in Silicon Valley but found it too much of a bubble, so he left to explore the world outside. In this episode he explores the past, the present and the future of the Silicon Valley through a conversation between Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein, as well as a short segment from Stewart's own podcast.
Take a listen, see what you think, and if you'd like please continue the conversation with Stewart. All links below:
Crazy Wisdom on Smash Notes & Crazy Wisdom on iTunes
Eric Weinstein interview with Peter Thiel on Smash Notes
- Find Stewart Alsop III on Smash Notes to see what other podcasts he's contributed to, or follow him on Twitter @StewartalsopIII.
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Welcome to Smash Notes,
a podcast that brings you weekly summaries off the best podcasts on the Internet today in the podcast,
we're gonna try to do something different instead of me providing you with segments.
I have invited a guest contributor,
Stuart All sub.
The third is the founder of Podcast called Crazy Wisdom,
a podcast where he interviews successful creative people,
people who think different.
And he uses that to figure out how to improve his own life.
So said the stage a little bit.
Stewart actually grew up in Silicon on it,
and he didn't like it today and smashing us.
He's going to explore the past,
the present and the future of Silicon Valley.
Conversation between Derek Weinstein and Peter Theo.
If you'd like to explore this topic, further restored links to his profile, his podcast and so forth in the show notes. I encourage you to find him and start a conversation. All right, Stuart. Take it from here. I've been listening to the Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein podcast on Eric Weinstein's Portal podcast, and so Peter Thiel has been very influential in my life, and it was amazing to hear this podcast with Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein, where Eric is more on the left. Politically speaking, Peter Thiel's more on the Right. But they have this good nature investigation of the truth of scientific discovery and progress. And there, thought is is that it is solved in the world of Adams.
If you think about it from the 19 thirties to the 19 eighties, there is so much innovation. We had nuclear power plants, we had the car, we had refrigerators, electricity. Well, you know, electricity. That National Grid's us. And then in the last 50 years, all we've had is innovation in bits and software s so I'm going to include a few episodes are for you cuts from from this episode that I think highlight this point Really?
According to Peter Thiel, 1920s and 1930s was driven largely by a boom in technological and scientific progress. Even though the growth was badly mismanaged, the drivers for growth were solid. Meanwhile in today's world, we do a decent job at managing the economy, but technological growth is actually stagnating, while the big tech companies are still marketing themselves like the driver for the future.
Well, The 19 thirties was still a period that was very healthy in terms of background scientific, technological innovation. For just rattle off what was discovered in the 19 thirties that had real world practical things was the aviation industry
got off the ground. The talkies, movies got got going. You had you had the plastics industry. You had the ah, um you know, you had secondary oil recovery you have household appliances got developed, and by 1939 there were three
times as many people had cars in the U. S. As in 1929. And so it was. There was this crazy tailwind of scientific and technological progress that then somehow got. You're badly mismanaged financially by whoever you
blame the crash on. As I was editing that small clip that I just played of Peter Thiel's monologue on the technological innovation directly after the 19 thirties, I started to pay more attention to what they were really saying immediately before this clip. And they were talking about narratives and the narratives of institutions and how our institutions air, starting to market propaganda about the state and a really interesting point that Peter Thiel brought in and also Eric Weinstein brought in. That I hadn't previously thought of was propaganda from technology companies. So now we're in an era where we have had a company, Google on 90% of search traffic for a very long time on they're not this small startup anymore. They are very, very powerful organization that is transnational and that also it owns the channels of the Internet. How we channel information on, and they have narratives, and they propagate those narratives for financial goals that have. And I think the key important point here is that those goals don't necessarily contribute to technological innovation, which Eric and Peter are calling for, and not only in the sense of bits but in the sense of Adams as well. I've been talking about the text stagnation problem for for, you know, the better part of a decade.
And I think when I was talking about this in 89 6010 this was still a fringe Eve you.
It was very friendly with in Silicon Valley,
and I think even within Silicon Valley,
there's sort of a lot of people who have come around to it have partially come around to it.
There's a sense that tech has a bad conscience.
It feels like it's not delivering the promises.
Google had this propaganda about the future has now seen as the self driving cars or further away than people expected.
And I think I think there is sort of a sense that things have shifted a lot over the last decade.
But even like five years ago.
if it feels to me,
I moved out to work with you in 2013 and I had never seen a boom before me.
This was one of the things that was really important to me.
Is that being in academics?
the academy had been in a depression since this change around 1972 73 seeing a boom and seeing people with, like, flowers and dollar signs in their eyes, you know, talking about a world of abundance and how everything was gonna be great. It seemed like everybody was the CEO or CTO of some tiny company, Um and then very, very quickly, it all started to change. And I felt like a lot of people moved back into the behemoths from their little startup. Having failed, Ah, lot of the ideology felt poisonous. Like, don't be evil was not even something you could utter without somebody snickering behind your back. There's like a self hating component where the engineers have been recruited ideologically and are like not actually there to do business.
This last point that Eric Weinstein makes about the ideological conversion of engineers into a group.
Think of Silicon Valley is a very important one.
as human beings tend to put people other people into boxes of us versus them.
This is unavoidable.
It is not a thing that we can choose.
This is something that happens to us.
We do have influence.
we can change who we put into an US versus them.
And we'll always have that them,
those people that will transgress our morals regardless of what they do,
mostly having to do with our perception of them.
And this happens in technology.
And the key thing that I have seen over the years,
as I have lived and was born in this place and have seen 1997 happen have seen 2008 happen.
I've seen multiple bubbles rise and collapse,
and every time there's a rise people 10 to form groups about winning their winners. Now all those people that used to call us nerds are now calling us winners, and they felt good about that and that creates this ideology and growing up here I had to leave. I had to leave this place in order to get out of that and understand how the world really works because the rest of the world is not like Silicon Valley and so ended up living abroad for many years, learning different languages, really kind of finding out how people act and behave outside of this weird bubble. But they have their own bubbles. It zits. It is a unarguable fact of human nature that we create and feel comfortable inside of bubbles. And this comes into another point that I discover and I am investigating in my show, which is a sort of we have these winners now people. It's like now technology has come to the technology. Communities come to the conclusion that we are the winners from now on, that that whatever else happens to the economy in terms of other things, technology will be the one where we we continue to make money and continue to win Now. The point that I'm investigating in my show is that there's also this other component of spirituality,
meditation, techniques, yoga. These things, which had been silently used by these tech founders and all these other people for quite a long time, are now starting to come out more out into the open and what most people don't realize what I had to go through myself is realizing that there are traps when we start doing this, that when we start to take things that we learn in the spiritual world and try to attain material power with those things that we get warped, that our motives get warped on. So I'm actually investigating this, and I'm just going to share a little clip of my own show. Crazy wisdom that gets to this point. And then I'll wrap it back up with some points from Peter Thiel. So the following clip comes from my interview with Vinay Gupta, the CEO of Materia MME. A Blockchain initiative to bring some more transparency into how we prove ownership of assets and what's really I'll let you listen to this. It is something that I think anybody in San Francisco should listen to and at least argue with and at least take it in them and wrestle with it because you can't just ignore the homeless.
You you have to you have to understand what why is it happening? What are the things behind it? Instead of just putting them into a them situation, understand them, figure out what's going on. So hopefully you'll listen to this with an open mind.
The relationship between spirituality and technologies,
particularly what I think you would have a good insight into is the pitfalls,
the ritual materialism,
spiritual bypassing that happens very commonly once people start becoming aware of these techniques and just kind of what we can do about that.
So I was like,
The first thing here is the I mean,
there's just so there's only around right.
People are monsters and do way more helpful for us to start a spiritual question with people are monsters and then figure out what to do about the take over this kind of perspective on human nature that everything is kind of hunky dory,
except for a few exceptions to the exceptions are the rule.
Every single person that walks past,
some homeless person with your gangrene or wherever the hell the problem happens to be that doesn't take that person to a hospital is complicity in that person's death into our system that's been kept in place generation after generation after generation.
Right where health care is Russians is complicity in that person's death,
and we may say,
America carries something like 90% of the world's burden for doing medical research, right? The sacrifice that we make a society for that is lock of access to health care because the health care is super expensive. But when we figure out you're something everybody benefits, you could sit down and justify the cost benefit analysis that causes that, huh? Right. But at the end of the day, if you went to an alien society, you know, you went there through a wormhole or a spaceship, but something without on they had these enormous Crume gleaming towers on the whole bunch off filthy starving beggars in the street, addicted to drugs and psychiatric medication. You think, my God, these people are monsters because because we freak out about things like racism in America,
right? There is no ethnic group which is a substantially persecuted as poor people with mental health problems. Right? And when that's that's growing up here. I remember that that why I think it happened before I was born, But But in the 19 seventies, 19 sixties, people were in institutions when they had issues like that. And then if I think it was 19 eighties, 19 nineties deregulation. They were then let out, um, and kind of to fend for themselves. And it really hasn't changed for that. That hasn't been
If you're listening to this and you just listen tow this clip from bene and you kind of dabbled your feet in meditation techniques and are looking to get some more wellbeing.
Please understand that these techniques are not necessarily productivity techniques.
They get you in touch with deeper level levels of reality,
of nature that will upend a lot of what you think you know.
To be true doesn't mean stop,
but just go into them.
I'd eyes wide open knowing that that it is,
you are dealing with your own sense of uncertainty and peering into that uncertainty,
and you don't know what will come up s so it's really important just to understand that as well as we're going into it.
And it's really interesting where this goes,
because now we've got in San Francisco where I've grown up,
left for 10 years and now have come back and I'm living here again.
What I'm starting to see is this rise of the winning technology class that is pretty similar to the other urban classes all over the world that are the elite urban classes.
But there's something a little bit different about it,
and I see this rise of technology. Um, and this this essentially very, very powerful class that's growing. And, you know, look at Bitcoin. Think about how many millionaires were just made of from Bitcoin and think of those people who those people are. Ah, lot of them. People are programmers. A lot of them are part of this technology class, which is already gotten so much revenue from Amazon Facebook, Google Apple Trillion Dollar Company, the equity of which was owned by this class here in Silicon Valley, so huge wealth creation that's now getting tied to spiritually practice,
I believe, is getting tied to spiritual practice. You can see this for yourself if you're in San Francisco and you want to go to something called Ecstatic Dance. See a lot of tech founders there. There's this place in San Francisco called the Center, where most of the startup founders go, and also most the hippies go, and this is the interesting thing that I investigated. My my show Crazy wisdom, Which is this this weird thing that's happening where the hippies are merging with the tech founders and maybe they weren't even separate to begin with. You know, 19 sixties 19 seventies lot of the technology technical innovation was done by a lot of the people who were experimenting with psychedelics and creating this new Age thought New Age Thought also comes from San Francisco. Eso It's something really interesting, and it I want to tie it back to Peter Thiel's point in what I see. The future of technological innovation, at least in this bit's a bit sense in this. In the software sense,
If you want the diversity of thought and experience, don't go to university. To learn what other people are not learning, you have to put yourself in a place where you are not surrounded by people with the same groupthink. Leave the bubble and explore.
it feels to me that almost all of her institutions are carbon copies of each other at different levels of quality, and that there are only a tiny number of actually innovative institutions. It used to be that Reed College was sex, drugs and Greta and you had, you know, ST John's with the great books curriculum that didn't look like anything else or Deep Springs, and the University of Chicago was crazy about young people. But the diversity of institutions is unbelievably low.
I see this is a really important point because if you want diversity of thought and diversity of experience,
I would highly recommend that you don't go into a university.
You don't go into any sort of institution.
you can learn things in those places.
You can definitely learn things,
but to learn things that other people aren't learning,
you need to experience diversity.
And this gets into a really interesting trend that I see of this essentially distributed work where work is no longer being established to a certain place and time almost on that,
it's distributed across the globe.
It happens a synchronously.
It doesn't depend on your what you're wearing or what school you went to are all this bullshit but actually depends on whether you can do the work.
And that is really interesting,
because that allows me to go to Brazil.
I can go live in Brazil and get access to a totally different culture with a totally different language and understand these diverse ways of thinking.
Because we as human beings are plastic,
our whole neurology is set up to learn from our environments. And if you stick yourself in a bubble, whether that's in San Francisco or Kansas or even Brazil. If you're Brazilian and you say I'm going to stick in this bubble because that's where I feel comfortable it's a really bad way, too. Open yourself up to new ways of thought. New ways of experiencing life, also getting back into spiritually techniques. You don't need to go anywhere to do this. You can also unplug through finding liberation from your conditioned existence as a individual human being. You don't need to go anywhere. You can do it at home, also getting into remote work. It's like all of it's coming together in this way that might not be clear to you. And if it isn't clear, please find me on Twitter at Stewart Allsup II and let me know what you think.
If you disagreed with anything that I've said here, I want to hear it. I want my mental model to be better. I wanted to be anti fragile, Um, and if you do, if you do like what I've offered here, that little clip from Bene all that can be found by finding crazy wisdom on iTunes on subscribing there. Hopefully this was a value to Dio. I create a lot of content because I really enjoy providing value from all the varied experiences that I have. And I really like these people who think outside the box and make me question my own assumptions. And so if you're one of those people I want to hear from you, I want to understand your world view and adapt mind based on it. Um, I hope you guys have a great day and thank you, Carol,
for allowing me this opportunity to, uh, to make a few interesting insights from this wonderful discussion with Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein, which I highly recommend you listening to the full three hours. Oh, have a great day. Hey, kid, you're here again. So what do you think? This episode it was a little bit different from the usual smash notes. Would you like to see more guests? If so, which podcasts? Which topics? Let me know.
It's feedback at smash nose dot com, and I'd love to hear everything you have to say about this and lastly. And this ties perfectly into what Stuart said. If you'd like to get out of your bubble, then you need to find something that isn't the same weight not Not the way you're used to. So why don't any experiment? What are you into? You know, if you're Republican, why don't I find you something democratic? And if you're into science, why not find some religious podcast and so forth, I think might be actually pretty cool. So if you want to email me and let me know what topics you're deeply passionate about, I'll find you the anti topics and that will guarantee to get you out of that bubble and teach you something. You How about that?
I think about it anyways. Thank you for listening to this episode of MASH Notes. All the links on the show notes check out smash nice dot com slash Subscribe. You can not yet a subscriber and come back next week for more awesome notes. I'll talk to you, then. Goodbye.