The following is a rough transcript which has not been revised by The Jim Rutt Show or by Alexander Bard. Please check with us before using any quotations from this transcript. Thank you.
Jim: Today’s guest is Alexander Bard. Talk about a polymath, Alexander is an author, lecturer, artist, songwriter, music producer, TV personality, religious and political activist, and one of the founders of the Syntheist religious movement. Quite a list of accomplishments there, and I’m sure he’s not done. Hi, Alexander, welcome to the Jim Rutt Show.
Alexander: Thank you for having me.
Jim: I’m really looking forward to this discussion. Today we’re going to talk mostly, but those who listen to the show know that we get off on this and that whenever either of us feel like it, we’re going to talk mostly about Alexander’s book, Syntheism – Creating God in the Internet Age, which he co-wrote with Jan Söderqvist. Very interesting, very deep. In some ways, a very strange book. So Syntheism, it’s a new religion where the internet is God, is that sort of the 100,000-foot view?
Alexander: Well, it’s really a new take on theology. I think theology is really ignored at a very high cost in contemporary society, and we need to return to theology to understand what theos, or the belief in God, actually is. I think God is basically the most misunderstood concept ever, and that’s a good place to start for a philosopher. So we are obviously philosophers, but after having written three books originally, Jan and I together, where we dealt with the relationship between human beings and technology, which is of course where your interests merge with mine.
Alexander: Then we decided a few years ago to write a trilogy that we now called the exodology, where we’re actually dealing with human beings and our relationship towards religion and history and the future. And we think that technology is essentially the new religion in the sense that we used to have a religion of magic, and we replaced the religion of magic with the religion of technology, or at least we should. And I think this is the key to get us out of the current predicaments we’re stuck with.
Jim: Hmm, it’s a bold statement. Let’s see where we go with that. First, let me push back a little bit, why do we need God or religion at all? Didn’t humankind wake up in the Enlightenment and, at least for real thinkers, advance beyond the need for religion and God?
Alexander: Well, we just invented new religions. We call them individualism and nationalism and other things, and all of these isms we actually surround ourselves with are all religions. The first sentence in the book Syntheism states that everything is religion and actually what’s dangerous is whatever we human beings do that we claim is not religion, because it probably is and then it’s just bad religion.
Alexander: So I would say religare, the Old French/Latin word, it has Latin roots, is that what connects people to one another and what connects people basically to the outside world. And the way we view it, Söderqvist and I, is that just like children have a relationship towards adults, that there’s something they aspire to, then hopefully the adult population aspires to something other than what they’re currently stuck with. And this transcendence that they aspire to, which used to be called priesthood and eventually the priests talked to the gods, that means that religion is how we relate to the outside world.
Alexander: And the way it worked tribally, originally, was that you had a core matriarchy dominated by women, fantastic women, especially the older women who controlled it at the center of the tribe. You then had an outer circuit around that dominated by men, which we then later called patriarchy historically. In between them, we had quite a few great androgynous people who dared to walk in between men and women and sort things out in between them. I always say that hairdressers are essentially couples’ therapists. I love androgynous people, and I think their place on the tribal map that they should defend is actually as go-betweens between the matriarchy and the patriarchy in any society. And that’s why they’re needed.
Alexander: But we also need people on the border between the tribes. This is what historians have constantly missed is that the shamans of the community, there are about 4% of any given human population called shamanoic personalities. And these are people who walk in and out between tribes, if you study them in New Guinea or the jungles of Brazil, or if you study them in, say, New York or London today, the shamanistic personalities are androgynous, but they’re not androgynous between men and women. They’re androgynous between cultures, so they easily walk between cultures.
Alexander: And the shamanoids were, of course, the people who handled outside relations. They were the diplomats of the tribe, so to speak, so they handled relations to other tribes, but they also handled the vertical external relations, which were the relations to the gods. And the gods in this sense were always the urfathers or the urmothers, or possibly what was to come. Because religion is about history and religion is about the future, and when we talk about imminent reality, imminent reality is always the now, but you cannot have a history that is meaningful to you unless you have a religion that explains how that works, and you cannot have a meaningful future unless you have religion to do that.
Alexander: So what we claim in this book, Syntheism – Creating God in the Internet Age, is that maybe the internet now is a unique opportunity where we could actually just put the word God somewhere into the future, and this God’s God is something that we’re going to create. Because I think what we did wrong in the last 200 years was that we took the word communism as an ideal and put it against God, at least we did here in Europe, to some really horrible effects.
Alexander: But the thing is that communism is where we come from, communism was the original tribe, and we’ve ever since tried to organize our more and more complex society, which is a larger, larger population, to try to make that work. We tried to create nations and empires and structures that are bigger than tribes to make sense of them and to make them work. Right? So what we come from is communism, and where we’re going is God. God is the name of where we’re heading. So if you say that we must disqualify the word God and never use it again, that’s like saying we don’t have a future. We don’t have any goal to reach for.
Jim: You can say that, but that seems like kind of a stretch for the use of the word God. And just so we can clarify for our audience, when a typical Western person hears the word religion or God, they think of one of the theistic religions. They think about Thor or Zeus or Yahweh or Allah or Krishna, et cetera. And let’s make clear, you’re not talking about that.
Alexander: No, I’m not. I’m not talking about the contemporary sense, because the contemporary sense of these characters is wrong. When people talked about Thor in the past, like 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, they just meant that there was a force that suddenly entered reality that rained and stormed and thundered. And to see that force as a fertile force that could be fertile for the land through irrigation and other technologies, and be useful rather than just a threat, you had to think of it as some kind of a personal force, like a personality, and then you applied the personalities onto this.
Alexander: And people were aware of this 3,000 years ago. It is contemporary society with too many Hollywood stories, and too much individualism, and too much of an obsession with our own selves, that has made us rewrite history in this sort of disaligned caricature way. That is deeply unfair to what religion was, and it’s also deeply unfair to us because we have need to understand the world that surrounds us. And especially if you’re going to move from the religion of magic onto religion of technology, which is what we really need today, to understand the relationship between human beings and themselves and human beings and technology, these are the things we need to understand.
Alexander: And time is running short because we’re plundering and destroying the planet at the moment, and we’re going to spread nuclear weapons across the planet, and we’re killing people who we should be friends with because we think they’re strangers. We have some desperate needs we need to address over the next 50 to 100 years, or else we’re doomed. And this urgency makes it absolutely necessary for us to revisit history, and to do so humbly and realize, for example, that if you immediately tie the word religion to the word God, you haven’t even given the etymology of religion a fair chance. Religion is tied to something called theology. For example, there are many religions that do not believe in God at all, and they’re probably the best religions to research today to find a starting point for our work.
Jim: Hmm. Well, let me take another view on that. Take Thor and Zeus, two examples I like to use, isn’t it another way to interpret how the world has unfolded is that, particularly over the last 250 years, we have actually figured out some of these mysteries. We know that we don’t need Thor to pound a metal sheet with his hammer to create thunder, we have a fairly good idea how thunder works, and we have a fairly good idea of how lightning works. Not complete by any means, but we actually know some things finally, which we didn’t know. And if we think of the evolution of knowledge, or what we can loosely call knowledge, it has gradually squeezed out the need for this class of explanation called religion.
Alexander: But that was never the point of religion. Listen, the point of religion was to tame these forces inside ourselves, and that is where people fail miserably. Now, if you believe the sort of Richard Dawkins caricature religion, you haven’t even studied what religion was. You’re deeply unfair. You’re unscientific in your own historical research. That’s why Richard Dawkins failed so miserably in his project.
Alexander: You got to understand that, for example, you love Thor and Zeus, you said these characters. There’s Jupiter, Mars, and Zeus. We had Thor and Odin, for example, in paganism in Northern Europe. But these characters essentially were something we call the two-headed phallus, and we’re writing about it in our next book, which is the third, by the way, of this trilogy. Syntheism is the first book, Digital Libido is the second, and the third book, [inaudible 00:10:00], is going to come out in about two years’ time.
Alexander: But we’re working with the idea of something called the two-headed phallus, and this is how men organized themselves in between each other in the outer circuit of the tribe. It turns out that for men to successfully proceed, think of a nomadic tribe, it has to be on the move all the time. There are two main focuses of the patriarchy, and that is to win war against enemies, and that is to win during the hunt, to deliver food and provision for the tribe. We call these two aspects protection and provision, at least that’s what women call them and expect men to deliver on these two things.
Alexander: So this is the rain god and the son god in all the polytheistic faiths. The son god maintains the world. That means the son god is the god of history, so that’s religion, it’s history. If you split Nietzsche’s concept of the will to power into two, I’d say it’s a two-headed phallus, it’s not a single phallus, that was Nietzsche’s mistake. But if you think of it as a two-headed phallus where you’ve got the son god who maintains the world, maintains the sky, and the son god is that aspect of us that researches history properly, this is what science is supposed to do today. And then gets full knowledge, if possible, of the world as it works, this is called will to intelligence.
Alexander: So the urge towards science started in religion. It came from religion. It started with the Zoroastrians in Persia 4,000 years ago. They called this principle asha. It’s called tao if you come to China. Asha is the principle of how things work, that’s what it means in Asia and Persia. This was a religious innovation 4,000 years ago that to improve on the world as we know it, it’s also better to have more knowledge about the world. So to know how nature actually operates is the calling of the priest, is the calling of the son god, and this is the will to intelligence of human beings.
Alexander: But there’s also another force, which science ignores completely and will have nothing to do with, called will to transcendence. And the will to transcendence according to the Zoroastrians in Persia 4,000 years ago was that the son can actually improve on the father’s world, and the way the son can improve on the father’s world is based on the fact that he has more knowledge than the father has. And why this idea was developed some 4,000 years ago in response to the old nomadic, the eternal return of the same, the religion that paganism preaches, the religion that still exists today called Hinduism, this is the religion of the eternal return of the same. That was the basic religion among nomads for hundreds of thousands of years.
Alexander: But some 4,000 years ago, this is very Marshall McLuhan, by the way, even if he didn’t see it, but 4,000 years ago, people realized that through the accumulation of information that was a direct result of written language, it was possible for the son to not only dream about creating a different world than his father, but to actually do so. And this is exactly when we started to settle permanently, create permanent settlements some 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, and organize society accordingly in a whole new way. We left the concept of circular time and added the concept of linear time, and along linear time, society can progress and be improved on.
Alexander: This is science, but for science to be conducted, for somebody to want to become a scientist, there has to be will to transcend us, there has to be a will to improve on the world. And that will is not in itself scientific. That is what we call a pathic will, a deep will within us, and this takes on the other role in polytheistic religion, which is the rain god. So the rain god is the god who storms in and fertilizes the world so that things can grow on the plains, on the earth. And this, of course, is the dream of farming, of agriculture, that if you can control the rain decently through irrigation, for example, so we can control when the water falls, we can grow way more.
Alexander: This is why engineering, the history of engineering, starts with irrigation. It was the first fantastic thing. And after we built irrigation, we started building aqueducts, so this is what, of course, the empires did in ancient times. They build aqueducts and things. And we had drawings and we started writing, and we used written language to enhance the world and also to be able to permanently settle. And thereby, the population of the planet exploded from 3 million, which was the maximum during the nomadic era, until 8 billion today.
Alexander: This is a fantastic religious achievement within which science has played a fantastic role. I don’t see religion and science as opposites, and neither did the ancient Persians. I think the unfortunate thing in the West was that in the fifth century we separated church and state, and allowed church to be what we call a religious monopoly and allowed state to be some kind of a secular monopoly. But in the rest of the world, we talked to Easterners, when you go to India, China, and discuss other cultures, they’re like totally alien to this concept because everything should be within religion because religion is pro science. It originally was pro science. And this idea that religion and science should be totally opposed to one another is the big mistake of the West today that has brought us all the way to the brink of disaster.
Jim: Let me push back on that one a little bit. At the Santa Fe Institute, we have lots of anthropologists and archeologists who are either in residence, are part of our external faculty, or come through. Some people think of it as just a bunch of renegade physicists, but we also have people from lots of other disciplines, and I’ve pushed on exactly this question with probably 50 anthropologists and archeologists who study pre-modern people.
Jim: I would suggest that the idea of science was quite anti-selected for, and the question I ask, it’s always the same one, is in the group of people you study, has there ever been the equivalent of the smartass 17-year-old kid who says, “Instead of spending all this time on the rain dance, and all the ceremonies and dress and costs with it, why don’t we do an experiment for the next five years? Let’s do the rain dance in one place and not do it in the other, compare how much rain comes, and see if it makes any difference.”
Jim: Now, that’s a classic protoscientific perspective. And consider these are all hard-nosed scientists associated in some way with the Santa Fe Institute, so quite quantitative, quite sharp thinkers, 50 out of 50 said it would be literally unthinkable in a pre-modern culture to even pose that question. That kind of surprised me, having been a smartass 17-year-old myself who challenged every premise of every adult that I could find. But they seem quite convinced that there was something about the deeply religious world that made a truly scientific perspective literally unthinkable.
Alexander: Well, I know this story, this is the Mircea Eliade school of anthropology that dominated the 20th century. But also, you have to remember this one thing, I know Sanskrit, for example, I know Mandarin, I know [inaudible 00:17:13]. I don’t think any of the 50 guys you talk about at the Santa Fe Institute have really bothered to go that deep, that we do in our team. Because I’m a philosopher, I have to go deeper than they do.
Alexander: But all until now, we start history in Europe and North America with the Greeks. The Greeks would have been embarrassed with this assumption. The Greeks basically summarized thought that came from Babylon and Persia and India and Egypt, and tried to make sense of it. And basically, Greek philosophy is the division between the Egyptian and the Persian traditions. This has not even being understood. I mean, it’s only 20 years ago that we finally proved that Heraclitus, who was the precursor of Plato and Aristotle, wasn’t even a Greek. The reason why we only found fragments of Heraclitus in ancient Greece was that he was a popular Kurdish Iranian philosopher, he was a court philosopher for the Median empire.
Alexander: Now, these are just brand new things we’ve discovered in the last 20 years, and I’m sorry to say this, but I think the guys at the Santa Fe Institute are doing 20th century anthropology. We’re doing 21st century anthropology, my team, the people I work with now around the world, for example, in China and also in North America. And I’ll give you another example of this, the entire history of Asia as we know it is a completely made-up 19th century European fantasy. Like the idea that Buddhism and Zoroastrianism and Taoism were separate religions and separate schools that would have had some kind of Pope somewhere who dictated how you would believe things is completely alien to Asian thought.
Alexander: Asian thought is essentially trade routes, and along the trade routes, you had these oasis towns. And in the oasis towns, you had the hospices, you had the restaurants, you had the whorehouses, you had the bathhouses, and you had what was called [Kastag 00:18:55] in ancient Persian. A Kastag was a precursor for thousands of years before we started building monasteries in Europe, and monasteries are the origins of our academic institutions and science. You can’t deny that.
Alexander: But the Kastags where you went for spiritual enlightenment along the Silk Road, for example, and it wasn’t a [inaudible 00:19:13]. This is where you got your act together, you got your facts together, you got your credits and your debits together, right before you left the oasis town for the next oasis town along the trade routes. And the Silk Road is undeniably by far the most impressive construction humanity ever made. It lasted for thousands of years and was only killed by the plague and by the fact that Europeans finally could put large ships on the oceans in the 14th century. Before then, the Silk Road dominated everything.
Alexander: And if you look at the Silk Road now and reread and re-understand Asia a concept, when you discover these three huge cultural superpowers called China, India, and Persia, then we consider, embarrassingly, with our European American fantasies. Starting with the Greeks, who sort of brought civilization to us, and then the Enlightenment finally made us discover we didn’t have to do rain dances 400 years ago. This is ridiculous. The Zoroastrians stopped doing rain dances 4,000 years ago. They were embarrassed by any belief in the supernatural.
Alexander: When Zoroaster wrote the Gathas, one of the most radical texts ever, and this is the origin before Heraclitus’ fragments, Heraclitus’ fragments is basically a rewriting of Zoroaster’s Gathas 1,000 years before Heraclitus wrote the fragments. And Heraclitus in the fragments invented dialectics, and reintroduced dialectics to the West, and without the Heraclitean dialectics, there would never have been a Plato, an Aristotle, there would never been Islamic art and architecture, there would never have been the West to speak of. None of this would ever have happened.
Alexander: We haven’t gone deep into our own history. And this is also why I’m frustrated that we still don’t understand how damned fantastic Judaism is, because Judaism is way more a grown-up religion than Christianity, and Judaism never needed to separate science or religion the way we did childishly in the Christian world. This is where I base my work on. I worked in Asia in the 1980s, I’ve been working on this for the past 40 years, I’ve been publishing books for 20 years. Now, I’m sort of getting famous, finally, when people are realizing that to understand technology, you need to go to guys that are far more smart than Ray Kurtz ever was. I mean, he’s embarrassing.
Alexander: You’ve got to go much, much deeper to understand things like religion and science. Hey, I’m totally pro science, but I’m pro shifting science towards science 2.0, which I think starts with rewriting the entire history of science to fully understand what science is. And then we can’t have Mircea Eliade’s sort of hocus pocus, 20th century anthropology any longer to understand how we stopped doing the rain dance, because it’s just [inaudible 00:21:54] racism to me. There were people who stopped doing rain dances in China and Persia thousands of years ago, and the question is, why did they do that? And oh my god, that’s exactly how they achieved civilization.
Jim: Yeah, that’s interesting. I will say, being a Westerner, I’m not particularly knowledgeable certainly of the details of a lot of Asian history. I wish I knew more about it. I probably should dig into it. But you say Zoroaster’s 4,000 years ago, isn’t he more of an Axial Age guy, about 700 BCE, something like that?
Alexander: No, no. This is interesting, and a great question. No, I’m totally pro the Bronze Age, and I love kids these days who played computer games because the Bronze Age, it’s exciting when you play computer games because people built stuff and they went to war and things happened. Because then came the Axial Age, and it was full of what I call the boy pharaohs and the pillar saints of history.
Alexander: I think it’s precisely the overestimation of the Axial Age that has been problematic all along, because we associate the Axial Age with the Buddha and Confucius and Plato and Aristotle, and eventually Christ and things like that too. But when you look at Zoroastrianism and Judaism, their origins are before the Axial Age, and that’s why they’re so damned interesting, and I think the West started Zoroastrianism and Judaism. It starts with the Persian Jewish axis.
Alexander: The West historically is anything West of the Gobi Desert. That means both the Middle East and eventually Europe as part of that is the West. The East is China and India and Japan and whatever is East of the Gobi Desert. If you look at civilization over the last 4,000 years, that’s a map that makes a lot of sense, right? So what is it that the Persians came up with? Well, prior to the Persian Enlightenment, starting with Zoroaster, that was 1,700 before Christ. Seventeen hundred before Christ, that’s when Zoroaster occurred.
Alexander: Zoroaster realized that the phallus needed to be two headed, but he also knew realized that the phallus and the collaboration between the shah and the mobed, the shah is the Persian emperor eventually, and the mobed is eventually the supreme priest of the Persian Empire, of the Zoroastrian religion. They should have separate courts, they should be separated, and only the shah should claim heritage, so the first son of the shah would be the next shah, the second son of the shah became the next mobed.
Alexander: This is how the Persian Empire was run for 1,400 years. The most successful imperial order human history has even known, completely underrated by Western historians. It was fantastic. So you have a model now. We know this story very well from the Jews, the Persians then found a really funny and interesting Egyptian sect that ended up in Babylon, and this was essentially the people who tried to imitate the Persians later, about 300 years after Zoroaster.
Alexander: So this is Akhenaten, and Akhenaten tried to completely reform and obliterate polytheism, and go for a completely monotheistic religion. And the way he did that 1,300 before Christ in Egypt was that he made himself the first dictator in history, so he refused to have a two-headed phallus. And it’s interesting why. It actually has to do with the topology of the landscape itself. I always claim-
Alexander: … to do with the topology of the landscape itself. I always claim that the only place where you can have a democracy is where you have at least two rivers, and a land in between. Because then you can create a religion, allow the two rivers to have a shared ancestry, and a shared ancestry is how you construct religions like Zoroastrianism and Judaism. You can’t do that when you only have the Nile. It was historically bound to happen in Egypt. The first attempt to really solid Stalinist dictatorship was Akhenaten in Egypt 1300 before Christ. He only lasted for a few years. His son Tutankhamun took the throne after him and the priest just decided we’ve had enough, we’re going to murder the Pharaoh and they killed Tutankhamun. And according to Sigmund Freud, this is Freud’s unique genius. This was the last product Freud worked on before he died. Now Freud went all the way back in Jewish history the way we should go back in our history of the West today.
Alexander: And he did a radical break with Jewish history with all the way back to Egypt and said, what would we, if we came out of Egypt?We must have been Egyptians, but we were religious minority in Egypt. So what happened was that after to them, common fell polytheism was reintroduced in Egypt and Egypt never returned to its former glory after that. It became a pale copy of itself because Egypt, of course, bloomed during the Bronze Age. So Egypt was not part of the Accelerator. That’s exactly what we don’t have an Egyptian philosophers, or Egyptian artists, or Egyptian drama writers when we talk about the axial age. But what happened was that after two-toned common, you had an act in cult. And of course, one of the names of God in Jewish religious Adonai. And Adonai is originally like Moses, Moshe is also originally Egyptian name.
Alexander: So there was a story about a Moses led a cult out of Egypt. And they probably arrived in Babylon eventually and this was called the first Exodus in Jewish history. But it was later rewritten according to Persian standards, because according to Persian standards, a single man cannot lead people anywhere. He cannot lead an Exodus. You need at least two. So it was split into two brothers called Moses and Aaron. And also there was a sister added called Miriam and any Jew knows that the proper way of telling the Exodus out of Egypt is actually told through the Exodus out of Babylon. So it’s told as a story of the three siblings, Moses, Aaron, and eventually Miriam. And this of course replicated today, for example, the US Constitution, we know that any Imperial order has to be a triad. It has to have an executive power, that is Aaron.
Alexander: It has to have a legislative power, that’s Moses, he received the law from God. And it has to have a bet shut the back, who holds the two guys responsible for what they do, which is precisely with any match Arkadelphia and any tribe I’ve ever studied. So, because this got into Western history as one of canonical part is key to Jewish history. And of course, we then inherited Jewish history through Christianity, the West. This was the official version of the Exodus out of you told after the Exodus out of Babylon. So what was the exit as out of Babylon? Well, it was the Zoroastrians who ruled the Persian empire. They conquered Babylon, they introduced two different layers to religion. There was a mystical higher layer for the priests and for the military. So the rain got in the sun got replaced by military religion called Mithraism, which was also the military legend later of the Roman empire. Bull fighting and lots of things we do in our culture are inherited from this chain.
Alexander: And the other chain was Zurvanism, which is the really strict love of brutal truth, brutal reality. This is the origin of science. Zurvanism was a closet sort of Mr. religion within the Zoroastrians in the Persian empire. This was the religion of the priests themselves. And then you had to fall [inaudible 00:03:44] beneath that you could believe anything you liked. So the origin of universal human rights is known. It started with the persons conquered Babylon 600 before Christ, simply because they already implemented in Imperial religious order. We had to hire religions for the priest and for the military, but they were separated from the folk religion, which is basically today what we would call the mother and the child and Christianity and the saints and any God that any decent person could pray to and ask for, gifts or whatever, this sort of thing, where we’ll do call the rain dance earlier, that’s folk religion.
Alexander: The Zoroasists has left folk religion to itself. It had nothing to do with leadership and nothing to do with science. So they didn’t care about it. They allowed it to exist because it wouldn’t hurt that it was there. It helped regular human beings out there. This is the beginning of religious tolerance, but when they found the Hebrew sect that come out of Egypt, the Artonist in Babylon, they were thrilled because the Artonist had by the time to come to Babylon split, there Adonai into Adonai and [Java 00:04:54] . They picked up Java from Canaan and they kept Adonai from Egypt. And this was Freud’s great insight. And by having a split, they again replicated the old rain God and the sun, God, which is the world to intelligence in the world to transcendence. This is the enormity of the fantastic qualities of the Jewish religion.
Alexander: The person are thrilled, and we all know it’s a historical fact that the Persian empire paid for the Hebrews to go back to Jerusalem, to rebuild the temple. It was completely sponsored by Persian money. Because for the Persians that allowed them to create a nation, the first nation history within the empire. And this is the beginning of nationalism. And this is why Judaism is the first of the last nation. It’s the ultimate form of nationalism because it’s both nation and religion in one. Now this is the Persian Jewish heritage on which we eventually built the West, but we’ve lost track of that historically because of the tragedy of separation of church and state within the fifth century. And we need to go back to understanding, no, we need several religions that work in parallel. If you’re going to run a global order today.
Jim: Now, interestingly, about every 10 years, I Go back and read the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Jewish Bible and Joshua and people say, why do you add Joshua? I say, well, if I’m going to read a joke, I might as well get to the punchline.
Alexander: That’s a good one. Yes.
Jim: And interestingly, I just finished doing it about a month ago. Also I interestingly Freud discovered this. I didn’t know it, but I raised my eyebrow and I saw the Jews had actually been in Egypt for 400 years before the Exodus that does make me believe, 400 years is an awful long time and cultural time. I had the same thought. Maybe the Israeli, Israelites as they actually call them in the book were actually a Renegade group of Egyptians. It could certainly be.
Alexander: Jim. I think there are hundreds of people, possibly thousands of people out there who thought this, but because Freud right before he died, right when Hitler was started killing the Jews in Germany and he was lost, he liked England. Okay. He didn’t like America or much. And it was sitting there 1938 and he published his fantastic book called Moses and monotheism. And that’s what he focused on. The last thing, this amazing guy Freud spent his last energy on was precisely going back to just looking at the obvious. If the West started with the Jews and the Greeks, why do they go back and study the origin of the Jews and the Greeks to understand where we come from? And I think it’s fantastic you just read the old Testament and you asking exactly the pertinent question one should ask.
Alexander: If there’s a store, these people walk to Egypt and came to for 400 years, they probably came from Egypt. The Elvis question is where did the Egyptian Monotheism go after Tutankhamun wiped away? Well, they probably were enslaved, but they were great workers. And I think we should even reread Karl Marx in this sense. Karl Marx was a Jew. We talked about a proletariat that need to get out of where their stock and claim the power that they deserve. It’s so well, sack it’s incredibly Jewish, actually his idea of any he was a bit confused about in 1980, but when it comes to the passion of Karl Marx, it’s very Jewish. And I think today to reread this for me, it’s like, what is the real digital? We know that what we’ve done with the internet so far has been basically if I may say so a great.
Alexander: We didn’t know what we were doing because we didn’t understand the phenomenon. We didn’t even understand ourselves. Even Facebook is dying now, Instagram is dying now. All these things were just fakes and time pass stuff. And if you employ thousands of psychologists make people addicted to something that’s evil. Facebook has been evil all along. Now, this is not the real digital, there’s something way more promising to digital. And I think that’s precisely, we need to go back to these stories of the promised land. What does it mean to leave the industrial age behind? And who’s willing to commit themselves to be among the chosen ones when offered to go into this new world, to go into the world that did well and then come back and redefine what it means to live in the physical world when digital is around with us? This exactly what my philosophy has been about for the past 20 years.
Alexander: And now people are finally getting it. This is why we call it an Exodology. So it starts with precisely like you do rereading the Bible and ask yourself the question, what is an Exodus? There are many exoduses in history. We had one quite recently when guys like you and your ancestors got tired of my answers and left your up and moved to America, that was a massive Exodus. And boy, it did succeed. And it’s impressive. And it never talk about Biden and Trump and all that today. I mean, it is impressive what America has achieved. It is an Exodus and in these Exodus and what we need to study, because this time around, we need to make an Exodus from physical to digital and understand that fully what we’re up to.
Jim: Yeah, I like that. And then you may or may not know this, but I was actually involved from the very beginning in what we now call the internet. I worked for a company called the Source starting in 1980, which was the first consumer online service. We had much of what’s on the web today, email, chat, buying stuff, stock prices, newswires, bulletin boards, even the first Catholic confession that was ever done online was done on the Source with the approval of the Archbishop of Washington DC. We were located right outside of Washington, DC and keep in mind. Yes, we had all the functionality, not all the functions. We had a fair amount of functionality of the web today, but it was exceedingly expensive and very low tech. It was text only 30 characters, a second, which is really slow and $10 an hour, which is really expensive, especially in 19 $80.
Jim: So call it $25 or 20 euros an hour, that’s high. But quickly we had tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of users because it was the only way you could do this on earth. If you wanted to do a chat confession with a Catholic priest, the only place to do it was the Source at 1980. Then we assume that a competitor called copy serve. But one of the things you do talk about in the book is yes, those of us who were there at the beginning were pretty naive in some ways.
Alexander: Yeah. You were the early sect or the cult to what eventually becomes a religion. This is why I honor you Jim. I love you. I went online in 1988, but that’s about the time when it arrived in Scandinavia. But I knew the day that I connected my computer to thousands of computers out there, they were all becoming one huge computer and for good or bad, this needed to be understood that this had to be understood quickly because this machine itself would become so powerful. The people who would control it becomes so powerful. And that says that we needed to understand that. But of course I celebrate guys like you who are out there early on. And in the sense of some book, I knew the question would rise that when could we then date the internet age? When would it start?
Alexander: When would the internet at least become so obvious to some people that they understood that’s a new separate phenomenon or a new age. And all I could do then with your help, I could have dated earlier. Probably all I could do with John when I wrote the book was that we decided to go back to the film premiere of the coin is Scottsdale movie. According to Scotty by a God, for red Joe finance by Francis Ford Coppola, because it was fantastic. Californian’s sort of project, it was a big film. It used music by Phillip Glass and all that. And it debuted a premiered in 1982. So we just said, okay, we can have, the starting point could be the opening of the [Scottsdale 00:37:26] Movie, and we can start from there. But we could have picked any date there somewhere from the early 1970s to the late 1980s and say, here’s somewhere where the complexity has arrived at such a point that there’s a tipping point, that there’s a certain awareness that something really radically new is going on.
Alexander: And this is, to me, what’s so important here with Synthesis and with the title. This to me is the beginning of the internet age. We just, at the beginning of it.
Jim: Indeed, what we picked up on early by 1981, 80 and 81. And it started to accelerate in 82, was that the magic power of this pre-internet and it was not the internet because each one of these services was a walled garden where if you were on one service, you were not on the other. And that was the case until 1990 or so. We went through a whole series of generations or the source and CompuServe and AOL and Prodigy. And there were many other pre-internet online walled gardens.
Alexander: Yeah, I know because know I was among the first million who were on what we would probably call the internet today. There were only thousands and basically it was people at universities and military people that were online in 1988 when I got online. That’s how I remember it. But it became a million only about a year later.
Jim: Yep. Okay. Well, let me get back to what I saw in 1981. In fact, it was the reason I left the source was that the idiots who bought our company, the Reader’s Digest, this very stodgy, big multi-billion dollar publishing company did not understand or would not believe what I was communicating to them because I was the head of product at the Source in 1982, when they brought down some new CEO who was a big wig from this multi-billion dollar publishing company. And I had written this paper, which turned out it was absolutely correct in retrospect, which was that the power of this new medium was self-assembly. It was not publishing. These people were publishers and young man content is king, and I go, you. Communication and self-assembly into interest groups is king and by the way, it doesn’t cost us anything.
Jim: Your content plays. We were spending 80% of our costs and development time on this stuff. And they were more than a hundred percent of all of our profits that we had. Any profits we did would have been coming our communication services, our chat services, our bulletin boards, our forums, and even a very early precursor to social media called participate. And this is where people could use the substrate. And we actually called it a substrate. At least I did in this paper and that our products were capitalists that caused assembly of structure on a substrate. And I said, this is where we should be putting all of our investment. This was in the late spring of 1982. And they considered it for a short period of time. Then they rejected it. And then I quit and went and started a whole bunch of companies and became an entrepreneur. But to my mind, it was the fact that self-assembly was the superpower of these new networks.
Alexander: Yes. And this was so important here. When we talk about religion, you and I here, you always talk about in this way that you take on a rain guard mentality. And the raid governmentality is to take yesterday’s magic and turn it into tomorrow’s technology. So it was telepathic yesterday, becomes a smartphone today. And this is exactly how you should perceive new technologies when they start to develop. The problem is people take their old glasses with them, their old worldviews with them, and try to understand the new through the old, like if it’s always more of the old, and this is a chapter where they’re not imaginative enough to understand it, they should take on magic because magic is the way we look at something and say, what is this? This is something that I’ve dreamed about, but suddenly it’s hearing it works. And because it’s hearing it works, it will change history forever.
Alexander: There’s not even a word for this until we invented it. We call it paradigmatics. So you take, say Thomas Kuhn’s concept or the paradigm. And you know that people are always chasing up to now. They’re always chasing up to now to try to understand what technology does. Technology is like this new box. That’s open all the time on Christmas day and it’s got new gifts in it. And you try to understand what you’re going to do with these new gifts, using your old glasses. And it’s precisely when these old companies like Reader’s Digest. I remember it because my mum read it when I was a kid. And they’re probably gone by now finally. It was old paradigm trying to understand the new stuff you’re working with. And he said, precisely, this experience you were working, you saw that self assembly was key here.
Alexander: Self assembly had only existed as a magical concept before that in history. That’s why you could take it from out of nowhere and understand it. But you took the magical concept of self assembly, looked at the technology you were using and realized self-assembly it was happening right in front of your eyes. It was real now. This achievement is what I celebrate in all my work. I don’t celebrate these sort of pillars, saints of the axial age to have ideas. I celebrate the engineers and architects of the Bronze Age from then on forward, who builds it. And it build it and hardly even understand it and then knock themselves into people all the time who understand even less of so what’s going on. And this is the kind of confusion we’re living with the internet today because it’s not even only that we do not understand the technology enough today.
Alexander: We don’t understand ourselves enough today. We understand ourselves through old glasses that are actually incorrect. We’re not scientific enough about our own souls, about how we function to understand the interaction between us and between technology. And this is what we need to rework completely to understand it fully and to really embrace these fantastic capacities of these technologies that we’re surrounded with. And it’s the guy who gets the paradigmatic. It’s the guy who gets the new paradigm, who supplies the new paradigmatics, who takes the innovations to a far higher status. Speaking biblically here, this is the Moses, this is the Messias we’re looking for today. The messiahs are the people who guide us to, or actually innovate in such a level that they understand fully what it means to be human embrace humanity in a whole new technological environment.
Jim: Yeah. Well, I would also add, and this is the insight I had in 1994, at which point, ironically enough, I was a very senior executive at a multi-billion dollar publishing company. Talk about irony. Yes. I was the CTO of Thomson Reuters. And it was, by late nineties, I was actually one of five people considering on the list to potentially be the next CEO. Fortunately I left before that could have happened.
Alexander: You said you saw the two paradigms very directly didn’t you? Because I worked with television until last year, but finally I’m out.
Jim: Yeah. I saw that you were in like some American idol type thing. talk about the [inaudible 00:19:29] of game age. Jesus Christ! But it pays the bills. Yeah. So here’s the key. This is in 1994. I had the epiphany here. I am in the belly of the beast, a C-level executive at a multi-billion dollar, multi-national publishing company. And then the light came on that Jesus, all of our behaviors are driven by the institutional structure of our financial and monetary systems in a loop I call money on money you return. And I have been obsessed with this ever since. And that led to the so-called Game B movement with a bunch of my friends, including Jordan Hall and Bret Weinstein and Bruce Kunkle and another dozen or so.
Alexander: Yeah, this are Friends we share. These are my best friends in California. There you go.
Jim: Daniel [inaudible 00:45:15] Burgers now joined later. So it’s a very cool crew, but the original concept from my original paper in 2012, started with my work in 1994, which is institutional structures are really important. And then when you look at the evolution of Facebook and this is the perfect proof of my theory, which is it’s not just that we don’t understand our humanity. In fact, in some ways we understand the cognitive bugs, it was psychological bugs and cognitive hacks too well. And when you combine psychological bugs with machine learning, driven to optimize money on money return and you get the hell broth, which is Facebook.
Alexander: Yes, exactly.
Jim: The important point here is that institutionalism, at least to my mind, like maybe I’m missing something. I’d love you to educate me on what I’m missing here is not the same as religion. If we had a different monetary and financial structure, Facebook could not work. Facebook gets its power, its energy from driving and being driven by the inner loop of short-term money on money returned. Short term about three years.
Alexander: Yes, exactly my point. It’s an institution without a religion. There’s no religion there except possibly Mark Zuckerberg’s young, big ego and nothing else. What else was there? What’s the point?
Jim: Yeah. The scary thing about Zuckerberg is we had a guy on who wrote a very good book about Facebook and he got to know Zuckerberg over five years. Here’s something I don’t know if you know, but Zuckerberg’s hero is Augustus Caesar
Alexander: Of course, he’s such a boy. These are the characters I call the boy Pharaohs and my critique of Silicon Valley for all depressive stuff that has happened there is that Silicon Valley was taken over by what we started. They called the boy pharaohs. The boy PHARAOHS are related to the pillar saints. These are the boys who aspire to be sun gods and rain gods, but they’re not even grown up men yet, you can not become a god, unless you’re grownup man yet. You better be grownup man for at least 50 or a hundred years before we can qualify for a small small God. So this is what gods mean actually. So these guys, what they discovered something with their 25, got a couple of friends out of the way and declared these geniuses who were centered on Silicon Valley to make these technologies.
Alexander: And then some guys came through the door with some money and threw money at them and then wanted to own them. But of course this was institutionalized from day one. This is precisely what is the tragedy of the separation of church and state? There was never any church inside Google. And when they said don’t be evil, we knew they meant to be evil because they had no resistance against evil. That’s exactly why woke has taken over completely Google. There was no immunity to these idiocies that we’re seeing today. And that’s exactly what Google would also fall. All of these sort of institutions are very quickly built empires on no ground at all, no basement, no understanding of history, no understanding of how humanity works this is way Douglas Rouche coven and I becomes a great friends because we’re on the same battle here. It was idiotic from day one. Why would anybody assume that 24 year old boy would build what humanity would need for the future? It was bound to only build something that the oldest establishment would try to then colonize and control through the old ways.
Alexander: And that’s why they call Facebook, now a media company tries to behave a media company and my God, it’s the worst media company you’ve ever seen. It bounds. People bangs to mean the head, throws them out for 48 hours and expects them to come back and be greatful.
Alexander: No, you don’t torture your clients Mark Zuckerberg, this is what Facebook does today and they totally lost it. And they will be over no time at all because we need new, better technologies that are deeply ingrained in how we can serve humanity, because we’re not going to buy into anything else. When the kids asked me today if they should keep their Facebook accounts at all because they’re all on signal and telegram now, which are not Silicon Valley companies, by the way.
Jim: Their signal is great. I use signal for a lot [inaudible 00:49:25].
Alexander: Signals create, they’re all built on encryption and respect of users. And they’re also built to be an opposition to all these diffusion’s, which is the best way to build a new religion, the best way to build a new religion is to declare, the old religion, old and redundant, and then oppose it like the Hebrews did in Egypt and then conduct an Exodus and say, listen, we’re not going to be here. So in a way ironically, what I’m talking about here is an Exodus out of Silicon Valley as the kindergarten of the internet age that we now have to leave behind quickly because it’s become the old Egypt to us and we have to attend to some new promise land. Let me know Wikipedia.
Alexander: We have to enter some kind of new promised land. And I know Wikipedia is a communist product, but at least it works. So there are things out there that can inspire. But I would say this. When the kids ask me if they should even keep their Facebook accounts, all I tell them is that whoever stays at Facebook now is bound to become the new digital underclass. Because digital is nothing but echo chambers and addiction. If you’re going to be the upper-class, you better be much smarter than that.
Alexander: And the word for being smart, it’s an old Greek word, a beautiful world, [antagonia 00:00:31]. [Antagonie 00:00:33]. That is, you look for somebody who will challenge you. Always look for somebody who will challenge you, because that’s how you become smarter. That’s how you extend your will to intelligence. That’s how you extend intelligence itself as you become smarter.
Alexander: Science was always looking for new challenges, new problems to solve, right? So the way to do that in your own life is to look for people who challenge you, have a different opinion than you do, have a different background than you do, come from a different culture than you do. Because that’s how you expand your own world. And also help them expand theirs. And that’s exactly why staying with an echo chamber, where everybody just agrees with everybody.
Alexander: Facebook just designed pagan lynch mobs. It’s nothing. That’s what #metoo and this stuff came out of Facebook, too. I knew right away that this would be really damaging to people, and not at all what young women deserve. They didn’t know any better. So the female equivalent of Mark Zuckerberg running Facebook into the wall was essentially the young girls who thought that #metoo was a good idea. They didn’t even ask their grandmothers first, because the grandmothers would have told them, “If the guy makes a sexual pass on you, smack him in the face and scream. That’s what we did when we were young.”
Alexander: No, don’t, don’t go to a Facebook forum and sit and bitch and complain about it, where you cannot even tell the difference between the truth and a lie any longer. That was always the problem with #metoo. #metoo was young women trained to join a pagan lynch mob. And at the end of the day, it all miserably failed, and it’s more or less over by now. And it damaged, especially relations, but in young women in tech today who want to make a career, there’s no way for them to get a mentorship if the mentor is an older man. Because a man over 50 years old will not walk into an office with a 25 year old girl any longer because he’ll be terrified of the fact that she might go out and start a closed forum somewhere and then send a lynch mob after him, no matter what he does.
Jim: Yeah, that’s a very good point. I was able, successfully, to mentor several women who work for me, who went on to have great careers. And that’s a good point that, would I be able or willing to do that in the current #metoo/woke age? Perhaps not.
Jim: Let me jump back to something. Maybe this is where we’ll find our touchpoint between our stories. Again, one of the stories of the origins of Game B was, I would say it’s probably the origin event that actually led to Game B, was a meeting that Jordan Hall and I had at the Santa Fe Institute in about 2008. He was a brand new trustee, young, 34 years old. I think he’d been kicked out of his company after it went public and he made a shit load of money. And one of the things he did was became a trustee at the Santa Fe Institute and hang out there. I was like vice chairman or something at the time.
Alexander: Oh, I love Jordan, I love Vanessa, his wife. I think they’re fantastic people. And we should recommend it to my listeners. Just Google Jordan Hall, check out the stuff he does. He’s always an interesting character.
Jim: Yeah. By the way, he and Vanessa are showing up at my farm this afternoon in their RV. So that’s going to be fun.
Alexander: Oh, give them my greetings. I love them to bits. They’re wonderful. They’re wonderful. Yes.
Jim: So anyway, back to the story, which is critical, and it may be where we can finally touch and agree, or we’ll find that we’re going to see things just slightly differently. And we were just talking about our life’s experiences, and we ended up talking for about four hours after the board meeting. And I still recall the main through line of the conversation, which was, when I entered the business world in 1975, maybe I was lucky. The first two companies I worked for actually had virtue. There were things that were profitable and legal that they would not do because they were wrong, right? Quite explicitly. The companies had moral codes, or virtue ethics, if you want to get fancy and philosophical about it.
Alexander: I call it the long-term view.
Jim: Yeah, yeah. And then Jordan popped in and said, when he joined the business world in 1994, all he saw was, if it was profitable and at least arguably legal, then you must do it. And we both agreed, yep, that’s what the world kind of looked like by 1994. And then we said, by 2008, in this four hour conversation, we eventually got to the point that the ethos of the business world in 2008 was, the cost if you got caught, if it were smaller than the benefit of doing it, and it were profitable, then you must do it.
Jim: And so I wouldn’t call it religion, but maybe you would, or maybe this is a place where we can touch common ground. It strikes me that one of, there are a number of failure modes that lead us to something like Facebook, but one of them is the abandonment of virtue ethics as just a built in part of our social operating system, which probably started sometime after world war II and reached that critical tipping point sometime between 1975 and 1994. If one had virtue ethics, one would not build Facebook, right?
Alexander: Yes. Or one would build it very differently. It would have been nicer. It’s very important here. I think one of the mistakes Facebook made was that they were supposed to build a [sociogram 00:55:37], Which was a huge map of who knew whom on the planet. But because Facebook didn’t offer us the function to remove friends who we no longer knew or never had known in the first place, it became a terrible sociogram. It’s actually useless. Nobody can use Facebook sociograms. So it’s really about flattering the customer while being evil at the same time. But it’s not about having a straightforward, honest conversation. And having a straightforward, honest conversation, what I call [phallic 00:00:56:05], to be phallic. I mean, it is the phallic gaze, as opposed to the [matrical 00:56:09] gaze of unconditional love, the phallic gaze looks at reality first historically, and then looks at us.
Alexander: So it’s the phallic gaze we’re looking for to find orientation, this is science, right? To find orientation in a proper reality. So Facebook never even gave us that. It wasn’t like Facebook gave us the hard, brutal truth anywhere either. They just flattered us. Like advertising people do, they flatter us all the time. And then we know they’re really dirty and they want to sell us something that we really don’t need and don’t want. And that’s why we hate them. We hate advertising. And Facebook came exactly like that.
Alexander: So I think this to me is, it sounds a bit like Russia under Yeltsin the 1990s, even more so than Putin today. It’s game theory in a sense that sort of ate itself into at least American capitalism in this way. And the problem was because virtue ethics disappeared. It stayed in places like Germany and Japan. I worked there a lot. So I tell you that the technology companies coming out of Germany and Japan, you can not run them the way you do in America or in Russia. But what ate itself into the American psyche was this idea that, if you could get away with it, you would do it.
Alexander: And I think it’s an inheritance of game theory. That wasn’t the point with game theory. You can’t use game theory on yourself for your own honor, for your own self integrity. You can’t do that. But what then happened and was that over the last 10 years, this whole woke thing happened instead. So corporate social responsibility came through the door, but that’s even more deranged. It’s a response to the fact that virtue ethics disappeared. So it seemed we had a Wild West again. But in this wild West again, with game theory taking its place, instead we brought in woke, and woke is just another way of being insincere.
Alexander: It’s just virtue signaling. It’s just the old sort of petit bourgeois way of doing virtue signaling all the time. Which means you have a charity event for the poor, but you don’t invite the poor to the event. Obviously you’re a hypocrite. So the charity event is all about having a charity event to look great. To have another charity event the next year, and to have another charity event the next year, you need more poor people out there. So you’re actually, at the end of the day, going to embrace poor people by giving them handouts so they go home and foster their kids to be again. This is why I love Candace Owens, and I love the black Republicans right now in America, because they know that Lyndon B Johnson’s welfare program, no matter how well-intended 1964 was poison to the black American community.
Alexander: And that’s exactly the problem here that what woke does today in corporate culture, is that it instills this idea that this cheap route to looking great by posing with something that has nothing to do with what the company does. I would recommend anybody today to actually go back and read Milton Friedman again, and understand what a corporation is all about. And then get that evil idea out of their head, because it’s not that you’re supposed to be good rather than evil. It’s all about being long-term. And to be long-term means having a sincere, honest relationship to your clients and your customers. And that’s how you build companies that last for hundreds of years.
Alexander: And if you go to a Japanese inn that has been around for 1400 years, you learn how to run the company. Now that’s the way to do it. And there are no cheap routes. There are no quick fixes, shortcuts or anything, to run a good corporation. If you want to run a good corporation that your children will one day inherit and be proud of and can take to the next level, you better go to places like Persia and Japan, and learn from these ancient cultures, what they actually teach you about having a relationship to truth that is long-term. And it’s not about good and evil. It [inaudible 00:59:40] being cool about what you do and stay in the long run, what you do.
Jim: Yeah, exactly. And, well, from a basis of virtue, I would argue.
Alexander: Yes. That is what virtue is exactly what virtue is. It is dying an honorable death. It’s called [Hole Vol Tot 00:00:59:55] in the Russian. So it’s like Hole Vol Tot means having lived a full, complete life with a smile on your face when you die. So you have an [Amberitot 00:01:00:03], which is what the next generation would inherit from you that they can build on. This is what religion is about. And this is what a corporation should be about if a corporation has a religion.
Jim: Yeah, let’s talk a little bit about woke, and then we’ll move back to the subject. Which I think actually you underestimate the badness of woke. Superficially, it is indeed virtue signaling and the insincerity of the actions that actually will do harm to the groups they are trying to help. That’s bad enough. But I believe behind this, call this the flattened version. Are you familiar with the work of Hanzi Freinacht?
Alexander: Yeah. They’re my students, more or less, to be honest about it. They’re called Daniel and Emma, and they’re from Sweden. Yes, I am. Yes. Very much so. Yeah.
Jim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve had Daniel on under the name of Hanzi three times, actually. I’ve read both of his books very carefully, annotated them. And he and I continue to collaborate on various things. So anyway, he always talks about the flattened versions of ideologies. And so the wokes in corporate America in the HR department or the ones out on the street are what I call flattened versions of postmodernism, essentially. Particularly critical race theory and colonial theory, whatever the fuck they call it. But the bigger danger are the people behind them. A very interesting book by James Lindsey called cynical theories.
Alexander: Yes, it’s brilliant. It’s brilliant. It’s a really great book.
Jim: I had James on the show not too long ago. So if people are interested in hearing James in his own words talk about these cynical theories, he points out that in addition to these virtue signaling people out front, there are people behind essentially who are consciously plotting how to build power through the manipulation of these flattened woke people in front of them. And some people call them cultural Marxists. I don’t know if I would call them that or not.
Alexander: No, I think Marx deserves way better than that. They’re not Marxist at all. They’re Rousseaus. That’s where these ideas come from.
Jim: Ah, Rousseau. So it’s funny you mention. I hate Rousseau.
Alexander: A little parentheses. If you read Digital Libido, the follow-up to the Syntheism book, this is where we discuss the Rousseau lynch mob as the horrors of our time today. The Jacobins are back again. This is what woke people are. The Jacobins are back again. Yeah.
Jim: I should read that book.
Alexander: It is the follow-up to the Syntheism, then that leads into [inaudible 00:01:02:17]. The whole trilogy, we look at it, that’s exactly why you and I agree so completely on this one. Because it is the followup to Syntheism. Yeah, please continue.
Jim: Just as an aside, I often say that the enlightenment has two branches, two main branches, the Diderot-Voltaire branch and the Rousseau branch. And the Rousseau branch led us to Nazi-ism and communism, thank you very much.
Alexander: Yes, exactly. Hitler and Stalin were Rousseauans. And you know what? Pol Pot took his PhD on Rousseau, not Marx, in 1967 at the Sorbonne University in France, and then went home to Cambodia and killed 2 million of his own countrymen.
Jim: I did not know that. I’m going to add that to my rhetoric.
Alexander: I love this. We hate Rousseau together. We have an abject, we have something to hate together, you and I. Rousseau, yes.
Jim: And yet I’m still, I don’t know if you know about these spiral dynamics and color codes and all this horse shit, I proudly say, I am an orange man, God dammit. Modern to the bone and a fan of the enlightenment. And i.e. the Diderot-Voltaire branch of the enlightenment is what I mean when I say that. And I think our job, I wouldn’t call it religion. You still haven’t convinced me we should call it religion. Let’s have that discussion next, why we should call this religion. It strikes me is what we have to do is take the enlightenment on the Diderot-Voltaire branch, which then led to the Scottish enlightenment.
Alexander: Yeah, and it led onto my favorites, like Hegel and Nietzsche in Germany in the 19th century. This is where I based my philosophy. Absolutely. Yeah. I agree completely. And I always tell my students, I will always disapprove Plato and disapprove Descartes, and I will certainly disapprove of Rousseau. But they all wrote fantastically. They’re great animists to read. And students are not getting away from them. They have to understand them fully to deal with them. Yes.
Jim: It is one of the tragedies of history that Plato was such a better writer than Aristotle.
Alexander: Exactly. And Rousseau was a damn good writer, and Voltaire got away with too much. And I always say that I wish Nietzsche would have lived in parallel with Rousseau, because Nietzsche wouldn’t have allowed Rousseau to shine the way he did. That’s for sure.
Jim: Very, very interesting. So anyway, what does this have to do with calling a system, creating a culture? In the Game B world, we call it deep code or we call it a social operating system that incorporates virtue ethics from the very, very beginning, and is a way of living, and includes institutions like a better monetary system. Includes, what is status. For instance, we talk about status being through experience, not stacking up possessions, et cetera, of raising your children in a righteous fashion, that’s going to be status in the Game B world. Is that the same or different than your view of religion? And if so, why would you call it religion?
Alexander: That is what religion is. I’m a Zoroastrian, remember? They don’t believe in anything supernatural. So the Zoroastrian perspective on this is that this is precisely what religion is, and this is the origin of the word [religare 01:05:18] in Latin and French. That’s what it meant. What connects people and lasts? What has lasting qualities over time to connect people? So how do we domesticate ourselves and the forces within ourselves so that it pays off longterm? And that’s why we train our children. That’s what we send our children to school.
Alexander: I know you had Lynn Anderson on the other day. I think what Lynn and Zachary Stein are doing right now is fantastic work. Because we need to also redefine what [buildoon 01:05:44] is, or [inculturement 01:05:45] is, being cultured. And this is why we train our kids, to be grownups one day. And we domesticate ourselves in that way, too. Actually, to make it pay off in the long run.
Alexander: And it’s when you take the longterm perspective, you start to see what virtue really is. And I want to stress this precisely where religion is lacking, that’s when it gets dangerous. This first sentence from the Syntheism book. It is precisely when academia lost its virtue that it opened itself up to woke culture. It was precisely when academia started falling apart and would not embrace the internet, it would not embrace the new challenges that came from the internet, and tried to more or less kill the internet, which academia has tried to do for the last 40 years, by problematizing it and deconstructing it. All of these movements from academia have been about destroying the enemy that is coming, that is coming along. Because academia is dying, it’s dying.
Alexander: And that’s of course, where the mediocre talents run into academia. What did they do in academia? They declare that we’re going to save academia. They were going to be the heroes of academia. And what do they do? They invented woke.
Alexander: There’s no deeper reason. Dan is right to call it flattened. There is no deep reason. There’s no deep, sincere passion behind this at all, except ego. This is just completely ego-driven. It’s incredibly narcissistic. And it’s not even about getting the resource. At least the Marxists were fighting about resources in the past. And they were saying we should tax the rich and give money to the poor so the poor can one day become rich. Okay. One way or the other, that’s what social democracy tried to do. But these guys are only fighting for this one thing called attention. And they must have attention. You know this when you walk into an academic room, and the academic room is no longer obsessed with who has the best truth to tell, it’s no longer obsessed with producing the truth together in the room. It’s obsessed with who’s talking. Like if who is talking is more important than what is being said.
Alexander: But at the end of the day, it’s like Versailles is back again. It’s not the streets of Paris. It’s not the new forces out there, and trying to tame the new forces and the fantastic potential of the new. This is like Versailles. Woke culture does never discuss substance or essence. It’s obsessed with tonality and etiquette. And the way it’s obsessed with tonality and etiquette is that it confirms and keeps the categories we try to get rid of, like race. That is how distorted this is.
Jim: Exactly. And further, this is again being a nice orange enlightenment man, my other big objection to it, and I get into this with people regularly, and I beat them every time, is that the variety of postmodernism that turned into woke is specifically designed to reject empiricism. You can bring evidence to refute claims of the woke, and they’d say, “Well, the evidence is irrelevant.” Or they’ll first say the evidence is wrong. Then you demonstrate that it’s not, or you show how to make the evidence better. They’ll then tell you it’s irrelevant. I would call it woke a religion.
Alexander: I would add that Michel Foucault would have hated what woke became. It’s not Foucauldianism at all. It’s not understanding Foucault. Foucault is like a reverse Nietzsche. He was a fantastic thinker. And he thought about madness properly, but he’s constantly misunderstood because people think that he put reason and madness opposed to each other. He did not. He put understanding and madness opposed to each other so it could lead dialectically into reason. He was to enhance reason. That was Foucault’s product. He would have hated this because he hated Rousseau and he loved Nietzsche. There’s no way.
Alexander: This is why Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia, and I love those guys, but they’re wrong on their history of the 20th century. They’re dead wrong on criticizing Marx, and Foucault, when actually Marx and Foucault is what they should use against woke today to hold the responsible for claiming that they have anything to do with those guys.
Alexander: The problem here was rather a book that came out in 1985. Interestingly enough, when you and I realized that the internet was going to be this huge new thing, one of the biggest revolutions of history, Shanto [Move 00:19:48], a very clever Belgium professor, a woman, Rousseauian, of course, and Ernesto Laclau, an Argentinian philosopher, another Rousseauian, wrote a book called Hedge Money where they cynically gave up on Marx, because they basically hated the workers because the workers wouldn’t do the revolution they were looking for. And instead they were looking for some kind of permanent revolution, which would put them at the center of things. And this is called intersectionality. The term intersectionality was used only a few years later. It was probably in the US early 1990s, but they essentially wrote a manifesto for intersectionality, and it’s the Hedge Money book from 1985. Julius Butler and a few other guys in America followed up on it.
Alexander: And basically what they said was that, “Oh, it’s okay to have a pagan lynch mob, but we need an abject that we can all hate, that can then unify all these fantastic multitude of different cultures, they have a common shared goal.” It wasn’t about creating virtue or creating value. It was all about finding a common enemy. And the common enemy they decided to go for was the white, heterosexual man. It’s actually the worker. So the very guide that Marx and Foucault had celebrated was now turned into Jew for the Nazis to chase. That’s exactly what they designed. And this is what we ended up with woke culture today, being these constant pagan lynch mobs being run from the online world, being infused by academics, from an academic world that has lost touch with religion, lost touch with virtue, lost touch with all meaning and become nothing but careering for people that have no soul.
Alexander: And this is of course why they go after anybody they can find. And they basically now literally remove anything that looks like a white heterosexual man, or for that matter, a Jewish heterosexual man. They’re going after the Jews next, right? So this is of course just the history of the lynch mobs being repeated that I’m warning people that it probably will get a lot worse before it gets better. Because we haven’t re-read our history. We don’t understand what’s going on. We lost our sense of spirituality. We lost our sense of soul. And instead we have nothing but a struggle between different narcissists who are all fighting for attention. And that’s what woke is.
Jim: Yeah. It’s one of the factions fighting for power, essentially.
Alexander: Yeah, but it’s an empty power. It’s only, “I’m going to kill you so I get the limelight.” That’s how basic it is. It’s not the power that Foucault talks about that wants to establish itself and then create a better world. “Because I want the power because I’ve get a better idea that’s better for all and I want to be given a chance to implement it. So vote for me or support me because I want to do it.” That’s not the power we’re looking at here. This is an empty power devoid of soul and devoid of religion.
Jim: Indeed. Well, let’s steer back a little bit to the ideas that cynicism and how the internet can be used as a substrate to bring into being a better way of living. I’m going to reserve the right to question later whether that should be called religion, but let’s ignore my prejudice against that word, and talk more about what you actually have in mind that what this thing should be.
Alexander: Okay. My work as a philosopher is not to be the artist or the architect at the end of the day, it’s basically to lay the framework. So by putting communism at the beginning of human history, it was the original nomadic tribe. For good or bad, it was hard life. It wasn’t nice at all. Anything like that. Let’s not romanticize about it like Rousseau did, for example. It was hard life, but it was something we lived for hundreds of thousands of years, right? So we call this now the [sawseeant 01:13:15] these days. The sawseeant is the original nomadic tribe that shaped our genetic makeup and shaped the different archetypes and personality types that we find among human beings. So we’re all included in that model. We’re all winners in the sense evolutionarily that we’re still around. So we can work positively from that, but that’s where we came from.
Alexander: So the great community online today, for example, replicates that. God is then not a creator. The universe recreates itself. I mean, I’m not big fan of the big bang theory, and I’m glad Roger Penrose and other guys are finally arriving at what was my conviction all along, that before we even discuss physics, we have to discuss some physics. Why Ted worked a lot with this, and many philosophers discussed in the past, but okay.
Alexander: So the universe replicates itself over enormous eons of time. So it is nomadic in a sense. It is the return and return of the same. But it is the same that returns and stays for hundreds of millions of years. So a lot of shit can be done within the universe. So let’s be a little more human here in perspective, and just realize that for the next few thousand years we can probably make this planet work.
Alexander: We need to save it. That’s called [Ecotopianism 01:14:27] these days, if you need technological solutions, rather than just the dystopias to save the planet. There’s cosmopolitanism involved in this. Philosopher’s work with the idea that, “Okay, can we create encryption, for example, crypto, to make strangers actually deal with each other so they could even like each other and enjoy each other, rather than kill each other?” These are old questions we need to solve now urgently because they become urgent because we live in a globalized digitalized world. But they’re minor issues here. The question is, where is technology really heading? Because if you look at the development of technology for the past 10,000 years, it increasingly looks like human beings have become smaller in the process…
Alexander: It increasingly looks like human beings have become smaller in the process, we use our brains less than we used to. Because we’ve learned to cumulate and process information outside of our own brains. And this is obvious, now that we look at Information Technology. So we then have paradox. This is very Marshall McLuhan, but we obviously have written language. We then have printed language. We now have interactive language, and before, written language and spoken language made us distinctly different from animals. We have four major paradigms of information technology. And with each one, the amount of information we accumulate and process has exploded. That is why the internet society, the network society, is so radically different from the previous industrial age. There’s so much more data around to be processed.
Alexander: Now the question is, where is this revolution heading? Well, we certainly can’t go and ask anybody in Silicon Valley because they have no idea what they’re doing outside of their big young egos. So we need to construct a philosophy that gives us a phallic direction. This is like saying we need to leave Egypt, and we have a dream about the promised land. And philosophers like [inaudible 01:16:08] have talked about virtual spaces and things in the past, but we need to actually start defining what kind of dream are we actually talking about?
Alexander: This is where Jordan Hall and Dinesh McNamer, these guys come into the picture. That’s why they’re friends of mine, because we love to discuss and see if we can start mirroring where we’re going and where we need to go. Because I think we’re going to create God one day. I think the only name we have for the next possible paradigm shift in our history or the next emergence vector in natural history, say beyond mind, if there’s anything beyond mind, what would that be?
Alexander: The only name we have for that is God. We don’t have a better name for that. But it can be a really terrible God, or it can be a great God. It is the very design of this God that we can discuss and work with now before God exists. Because once God is here, we’re probably out of the picture, at least when it comes to the design. This cannot be viewed in any other way than theology.
Alexander: See why our philosophy’s limiting? Because philosophy can deal with history and the now, but it can’t really deal with these questions. So what kind of architecture are we going to build to make this work in a way that is both humane, that fits human beings, but also is just artistically fantastic in many ways. What would it be like to create the planet that is like a collective work of art? What would that be like?
Jim: That would be quite interesting. And that’s certainly a trajectory for humanity that’s within our grasp if we don’t fuck things up.
Jim: And I think that is what’s driving many of us who are… I could easily be retired in my affluent old age and just be enjoying life. But I feel the moral duty to help in my own little way to bring into being this good trajectory for humanity, which I can smell. I can, sort of, see, I can’t quite draw it yet. But we also have these horrible, bad attractors, like imagining Zuckerberg literally as Augustus Caesar. Holy shit, right? Or the Chinese taking over the world, or the Wokes overthrowing the west. These are all nightmarish scenarios.
Alexander: Oh, yeah. And this is why I work from India rather than from China in my work, because I work on a thing called senseocracy. I think sensocracy is unavoidable. We’ll have sensors everywhere tied to our senses. And people say they go offline and walk out through the door. I just tell them, “Well, the satellites are watching you wherever you go. So it’s not like you can walk offline anywhere any longer.”
Alexander: But we need to respond to the Chinese because this is why I go into Eastern philosophy. The Chinese have a lack here. And it’s a lack in Daoism, interestingly enough, because Daoism starts with the Yin and the Yang. But I firmly believe the Yin and the Yang is secondary. Only the primary, when it comes to looking into the future, is the two headed phallus. So the separation of priest and chief general, priest and King is primordial. That’s first because we need to walk first.
Alexander: We need to conduct the violence. First. We need to win the war we need to gain from the hunt before we go into the sexuality and the sexuality within going to the Yin and the Yang. So, I think this is the shift between the Persians and the Chinese 4,000 years ago. We are the children or the Persians because our religions had later came Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Leichman are all children of the Persian revolution where Persia is separated from the Chinese. And the fact that the dollar has never dealt with the [Phallus 01:19:34] meant that it was left completely to outside the church, which in the Chinese case is Confusionism. And Confucianism has only one idea, put an emperor at the top and then create the best damn bureaucracy you could ever have. Which means it’s supposed to be incredibly efficient. But we know today the bureaucracies have communications in both directions. And it’s not so much a moral issue of avoiding dictatorship and avoiding the Chinese model here.
Alexander: It’s more that the Chinese model will ultimately fail because the emperor will not hear the bad news. We saw it in Wuhan, China. And the reason why we have this curse called COVID-19 around the world today is to be blamed on the fact that China is a dictatorship. Because the news wasn’t reported to [Tim Pink 00:01:20:20] quickly enough, and they only acted six months later after the outbreak. Because everybody tried to cover their own analysis in case they dictator’s going to be mad at you. Right? And this is the problem of the dictatorship. It was a problem the Egyptians had, it was a problem Stalin had, it was a problem Hitler had, and it’s the very same problem Xi Jingping has today when he runs this mimic and copy of North Korea today called Communist China. That’s essentially what it is.
Alexander: When he took the dictatorial power in 2014. I think it was one of those tragical moves in history. Because China then turned away from a path where he could have entered a free and open world and collaborated massively to that. Whereas Taiwan did that, Communist China refused till Xi Jingping went for the dictatorship model, which is the old diction model of [inaudible 00:06:05], again. And the reason why that will fail is that nobody’s reporting up to the emperor. So there’s actually no creativity within the system anywhere. China, as it is today can only mimic the rest of the world employment rate. It cannot create genuine new value for humanity. But a free and open system can. And that’s why I think the US constitution, again, is so absolutely fundamental and so important, it must be protected. Because if the US constitution can be used as a filter for the next wave of technology coming out of North America, then the United States could play a really important role in the Exodus that I’m talking about.
Jim: Mm Hmm(affirmative). Let’s take your analogy and let’s bring it down to the actual case of this emergent internet world, where despite the badness, fundamental rottenness of Facebook, particularly the open Facebook, there are groups on Facebook where people are forming up. We have our GameBe groups, several thousand people. Those are interested search Gamebe, all one word, on Facebook and it’s happening everywhere. Because now, we’re probably soon going to do an Exodus from Facebook and from Twitter because of the fact that they are censoring our own people, both Jordan Hall and Bret Weinstein have both been censored by Facebook in the last 10 days.
Alexander: Yes. Get out. I completely agree with you. Get out of Facebook and Twitter. Yes. They’re ruining themselves. Yes.
Jim: They’re just evil. So anyway, let’s assume that we do an Exodus and the beauty of the internet protocols. So, there are some choke points. I was an internet infrastructure guy late in my career. I basically ran the domain name system for the world. My company did when I worked for it, I’ve CEO of… So there are some choke points we have to watch out for, the powers that we can grab. But if we do an Exodus, I love that term, Exodus. How do we replicate in a good fashion? The idea of the priest and the King, because we know that both priests and Kings often lead to bad ends, right? We know the horrors of bad monarchs. We know the horrors of bad priests. My favorite example of the Aztecs that kind of merged the two into a special kind of shit show almost unequaled and known history.
Jim: So what is your thought on the internet Exodus of the good people who want to bring on what comes next that could lead us to this glorious future and not one of these bad attractors that’s out there. What is the role that’s the equivalent of the priest and the King?
Alexander: I think what they represent and what they’re supposed to do is what’s important here. And then if it can construct something better than an individual priest, individual kingdom would be much better. So the priest represents a will to intelligence. But this has half of the will to power and nature. The will to intelligence is that I want to know my own history. I want to know everything that ever happened up until now. And all these kids right now, who talk about the big bounds rather than the big bang. And they studied physics and maybe even sub physics soon and chemistry and biology, and want to understand what it means to be human and biological sense compared to other animals. All of this is history, all of this. science deals with history all the time. So this is the love of science. This is the love of knowledge. There’s a lower knowing everything that ever happened, factually.
Alexander: So this in our philosophy is called truth as a fact. But there’s also the world to transcendence, and the world to transcendence is, be courageous, take risks. It creates environments where you can take risks and take them again and again. And if you fail, you can stand up and try again and use the knowledge you have, but also the guess into the future. From the knowledge you have about the past, guess into the future and make concerted attempts constantly to invent and reinvent. Now this urge to invent, is not in itself scientific. It’s the world to transcendent. And this is what the King or the Chief Tane or the rain God, if you like, historically represents in mythology. So this is the other aspect.
Alexander: A good thing is to keep them separate. And I don’t mean that the guy who innovate shouldn’t be knowledgeable, certainly he should. But the guy who is the expert or in charge of getting the knowledge in there is the priest and the other guys to go execute it.
Alexander: And the way we did it successfully during the last paradigm was, that we separated academics from capitalists. So we basically said, the capitalists are out there. They’re supposed to be entrepreneurs. They start companies, they read the Milton Friedman book and they get it right in the run, a great company. And they hopefully innovate rather than just mimicking. Therefore, they equate enormous value to the company and to humanity. And opposed to that you have academics, and in academics, you gather all of history and you also eventually try to gather information like basic research, the way you talk about it. You talk about research and development. Research is the priestly part, development is the royal part.
Alexander: And this is the split we constantly need to work with. And why this fails in China is because they don’t understand that research is a research about human beings, more than anything. And how are they going to interact with anything you then later develop? No, the Chinese thing research is just find something out there in the world and take it down to its smallest components and tried to copy it. Communist china has never reached beyond that point. They haven’t fully understood what research and development is. I work with European companies and work with American companies and yes, they’re manufacturing at China, but they’re frustrated with the Chinese. The Chinese cannot understand what reach out really is, because we should start as a priestly discipline.
Alexander: It starts with basic research. Go back to the basics. Don’t take anything for granted. It starts with the zeros on the oneself, and what is mass and what isn’t mass or whatever. Starts with the very basics of things and then it builds all the way up to get the proper building, the proper understanding, the proper knowledge to then be able to make the big jump. This is what [Phallus 01:26:58] is, [Phallus 01:26:58] is the division. This is the two headed [Phallus 00:01:27:00]. It is research and development essentially.
Jim: Interesting. There’s a third level. And this comes from our work and deep code. The like of Jordan Hall and Daniel Moncton Berger to a lesser degree myself, which we alluded to earlier, which is okay, you have those two, but they are incomplete without the institutional structures that produce the signaling within the society, which rewards virtuous behavior and punish is unvirtuous behavior. And essentially, as the orchestration level of both research and development,
Alexander: I know, but this is probably where I disagree with you because you’re too close to the Chinese. I think the urge to reward and punish is in itself [boyfarowish 00:12:46]. I would even say that it is. And I would say that this is [axial H heritage 00:01:27:52]. It’s this eagerness, it wouldn’t it be fun to create a better world by constant rewarding and then punishing. And I’ve seen it in the environmentalist moment. And that’s why I’m an Ecotopian, I’m not an environmentalist because I’m actually very critical of the, for example, the concept of nudging. I think it’s dishonest. I think it’s too much of a Pablo’s dog in it. And I think human beings are actually, will be very, very upset when they discovered that’s what you tried to do with them.
Alexander: I think there’s a deep human instinct, human instinct that opposes these ideas, but they are heritage. The Greeks love these ideas. This is very Platonist. Even Aristotle, I would say that why a side with Heraclitus against Aristotle, but likes that Aristotle critiques Plato. Is that Plato is the real bad guy to me, Aristotle is at least decent, but Heraclitus is a genius, but he wasn’t even Greek. But I think even with the Greeks, there was this urge. There’s always the urge that if somebody told you, you’re talented and you’re being really successful, and you’re a man, it’s probably very easy to urge yourself towards the [boy-farrow 01:28:56] or the pillars-Saint categories. I’m alerted to them because I think deeper down, if I’m honest about it, there’s a Gnostic thing here. There is Gnosticism at play here.
Alexander: And it’s the Gnostic who thinks the mind is better than the body. It’s the non embodied mind that come up with the idea that the world would be better. If I me would be the guy who would then reward and punish people for good or bad behavior, because you can’t tell what is good or bad behavior from your horizon. You can’t tell that. That is preposterous idea. It’s very tempting. But if you think it through thoroughly, like all the other Platonist ideas, perfection, immortality, infinity, they’re all ridiculous ideas. Nobody’s ever thought through perfection, infinity, mortality. And it’s the same thing. The idea that I could be crowned to be the little boy King, who then decides, who gets rewarded and punished for behavior than I approve of, because I know better than they do. I think that is preposterous.
Jim: I would agree with you that any one boy King because another one of my historical philosophical political heroes is James Madison, the guy who actually wrote the U S constitution. And he was very aware that any individual or small group is inevitably going to be corrupted sooner or later. But as a systems thinker, it strikes me that a society isn’t going to work very well. If it doesn’t have an architecture of signals that show a gradient of socially constructed, good behavior and bad behavior. And it does not have to be from an individual. It could be democratic and transparent and emergent. And I do believe that’s what we’re thinking about in the Gamebe world.
Alexander: I’m already responding to that because I know [Jordan Daniel 00:01:30:41], I know your work too [inaudible 01:30:42] and my proposal, and I’m working on the new book, is something that I call membranix . What is interesting here is in crime, for example occurs. And somebody breaks the rules and actually hurts society as a whole in the process is if you think of any life form or any town or any nation or any entity where human beings think of like ourselves, our own bodies, for example, or your family. We think of it as there’s a membrane around it, right? And within the membrane, we’re actually very comfortable because within the member and we do love each other, we have close connections. You don’t need rules, actually, how we are supposed to be. You don’t punish your kids, for example. You don’t punish your kid. You seduce your kids into behaviors that you think are good for them.
Alexander: But you also tell their kids that it’s your opinion, that this is good behavior. And they’re when they ask, they get older, allowed to have their own opinion about it. You don’t punish your kids. So why would you punish or reward people in the society if you don’t do within the family. Where, suddenly, does it become a nice thing to reward and punish people as society where you don’t even do to the people that you love within your own family. So if you scale membranes, I started thinking and it’s called membranix. It’s like you think of membranes, like you’re almost mechanically run them. How do you run a membrane successfully? But what is important for a life form is what comes in, which is hopefully nutrition, and what goes out, which is probably shit. So if you construct a membranix in, if you say certain things are allowed inside this membrane and the people who live within this membrane have decided that they have a certain set of rules within here that you have to accept if you’re going to go inside the membrane.
Alexander: Now you can then apply to be a member of this. And you got to go to the portal of the membrane and apply to be allowed in. This is how you run any medieval town. I saw it when I started these trade routes, because along the trade routes, this is what you did. To keep the Mongols out for as long as possible, and to keep the play gut for as long as possible, you had walls and these are of course membranes. And then you got the cleverest guy. The best guy you could possibly thought was the guy you put at the port of the membrane. And he would then know that out of the benefit of the membrane. He would allow certain people in certain risks, yes. But he would allow certain people inside the membrane because according to his experience, according to history, according to the will to intelligence within the membrane, because the first [thing in life formed us, as soon as that 01:32:59]has a Lip sett and external and in the eternal world, it creates a subjectivity and it’s tied to a memory.
Alexander: That’s where you have a library close to the port of a membrane. So you can check in with people. Have you been to before, have you paid your credit or do you have a debit you’ve over run or whatever. But always willing to allow somebody inside the membrane. And that’s why we do it. That is where law should exist. Laws should really exist at the inside and the outside. So the reward or the punishment is whether you are being allowed in and for how long or not. I’m fine with it and I think anybody’s fine with the fact that you got borders that work around the system. But if inside the system. You cannot in every miniature detail, microscopically within a system, install the reward and punishment systems. Because you create terror if you do that, and this is where I disagree.
Jim: I like this. This is good.
Alexander: Yeah. Letting them work on it. And by the way, I invite you and everybody else who enjoys our conversation to take part in this, because I think the term Membranix is out there and membranix is a great hashtag these days. And I want to collaborate not only with my co-writer John and our team, but I’d love to collaborate with you and Jordan and Daniel on these ideas. Because I think we started going down the route of thinking that reward and punishments in microscopically, within a society. That is what social credit does in China right now. And it’s creating terror within people is it’s a psychological horror to live within a social credit system. And I think it should be avoided because it ruins the capacity for love inside the membrane.
Jim: Very good. I would definitely like to talk to you more about it. I’m going to call out a book. If you haven’t read it, you probably haven’t, because it’s very obscure. It was the last book by John Holland and one of the great thinkers about evolutionary computation and complex adaptive systems who died a few years ago and the book is incomplete, but it was published, anyway. It’s called “Signals and Boundaries.”
Alexander: Oh, I love it already. That’s exactly what I work with. Top of my rating list. Thank you. Yes.
Jim: And again, I think you go one step further than we do in Gamebe, which in Gamebe, we do envision what comes next as a society of membranes that are contained within each other’s and have signaling modalities and different nexuses, et cetera, though. I have never gone as radically as you have. I want to think about this. What happens if you had no rules inside the membrane, but only at the membrane itself, that’s an interesting and radical concept and it might be right.
Alexander: Okay. So when a membrane gets so large that it starts to fall apart and it becomes criminal or whatever, then it’s just gone to large. Shrink it. That’s why I discuss here in Europe, I discuss a lot with guys that are just being all dried and nationalists and all that. Because I think they got a point that’s very important to stress. And this is why I say, I think nations should be run well within empires, because if we have different scales and different membranes. Then as long as you can behave in a certain way within the membrane, you don’t need law and order within a membrane. That automatically follows that within the membrane you operate properly. And this was the tragedy of marks and the idea of communism, it was that he didn’t understand scale. He didn’t understand that world communism was impossible. It would be horrible.
Alexander: And we saw it in Stalinist Russia and Mao’s China, because it was a scale problem. He had communism worked. It works in any family. It works in a small community. It even works [at Wikipedia 00:01:36:19] God saved the Nerds [on Wikipedia 00:21:21]. At least Atlanta has worked until now, right? So it may be it’s falling apart due to [Woke 01:36:26] or whatever, because, again, he was too naive and not immune enough to outside forces, but a membrane will fall apart when he’s naively operating gets too big, too quickly. So then we can talk about scalability. And then of course, as the membrane gets bigger, then we need law and order within the membrane, and court systems, and prisons, and things like that. Because if the membrane is that large for it to survive and to thrive, we need law and order.
Jim: Unfortunately, some of our world problems are of global scale. And this is a Daniel phrase, I believe Danish Mockingbird burger, that is. That what we need is global governance, but not global government.
Alexander: Yes. So we need somehow to make sure, again, we need to construct a proper God in advance. That’s why I talk about dark detector of God. So we need to construct a system that then only deals with the issues that are really global issues, because the problem is that as soon as you build a large system, large institutions, people make careers within those institutions. Lots of Boy-Farrows come into the system. They think the system was built for them to run these things as they wish. And then, you get all kinds of problems, with political corruption and things like that. And I think it has to be very clearly stated if there is global governance, that’s part of the mix, then make it as minimal as possible and make sure it can only deal with the problems that are being addressed. So for example, that is global warming. It should only be allowed to deal with global warming and nothing else.
Jim: James Madison would have agreed. I think on that note, we’re going to wrap it up. This has been a wonderful conversation. I think we discovered that we share a tremendous amount of perspective with each other and I look forward to engaging in further conversations
Alexander: I do too. And so do we with all the listeners we have today? So, yeah. I loved being on the show, Jim, and thank you for having me. From the bottom of my heart.
Jim: It’s been wonderful.
Production services and audio editing by Jared Janes Consulting, Music by Tom Muller at modernspacemusic.com.