Jordan Peterson And Sam Harris Debates: Complete Edition (4 Videos with Transcriptions)

Travis Pangburn:    00:00:02       Gather together for Bret Weinstein, Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson.

Brett Weinstein:    00:00:44       Alright, so we have an interesting situation here. Um, obviously this is part two and a few of you were here for what took place last night. We're going to find a way to catch you all up pretty quick on what took place, but before we do that, I thought it might make sense to talk to you about where we are in this discussion and why it matters and it matters not just for those of us on stage, but it matters very much for you all in the audience. The point is basically this, we've arrived at a place in history where the sensemaking apparatus, that usually helps us figure out what to think about. Things has obviously begun to come apart. The political parties, the, uh, the university's journalism. All of these things have stopped making sense and alternative sensemaking networks have begun to rise.

Brett Weinstein:    00:01:33       And the one that we ended up being a part of seems to be beating the odds with respect to staying alive and being a vibrant part of the conversation. But that depends on something. It depends on our ability to upgrade, what we can discuss and navigate, and Sam and Jordan have run afoul of each other in the past, as you all know. And so our ability to upgrade the conversation such that they're able to find common ground and for us to move forward together is potentially very important. A very important upgrade. Now that upgrade in the modern era includes you all because our conversation and your conversations are all now linked through the Internet. So the ground rules for tonight involve. You not filming what takes place on stage tonight. And the reason for that is because what takes place on stage tonight has consequences and the freer that Sam and Jordan feel to use new tools to try out positions that maybe they haven't explored before.

Brett Weinstein:    00:02:39       The more likely we are to succeed. So please don't film, but that does not mean that we don't want you talking about what was discussed here tonight. In fact, we're very excited to see what you all make of this conversation and where it heads. So in an effort to, uh, to get you up to speed on where we got yesterday, I think the evidence is strong, we all felt and the discussion online suggests that we actually accomplished quite a bit yesterday that we made headway in an effort to attempt to keep that momentum going. But we're going to do is we're going to have sam and Jordan Steel man each other's points from last night so that you can hear what that sounds like. Now, for those of you who have ever tried steel manning somebody point with whom you have a severe disagreement, you know, just how hard this is. So let's give them some leeway. A, Sam, would you be willing to start?

Sam Harris:         00:03:41       Sure, sure.

Sam Harris:         00:03:44       Thank you.

Sam Harris:         00:03:48       Well, first, let me just make the obvious point that that probably isn't so obvious once you take the time to put yourself in our shoes. But just imagine how surreal it is for us to be who we are. Simply having a conversation about ideas and to be able to put a date on the calendar and have all of you show up for this. I mean, it's just an amazing privilege. Okay, thank you for coming out.

Sam Harris:         00:04:17       So, so here is what I think Jordan, thinks I'm getting wrong. I think that was grammatically correct. Maybe there's another note in there, but clearly I don't understand how valuable stories are, how deep they go, how did the degree to which stories encode, not only the wisdom of our ancestors, but quite possibly the wisdom borne of the hard knocks of evolution of the species. Right? So there's no telling how deep the significance of the information encoded in stories goes. And there's a class of stories that are religious stories and their religious for a reason because they're dealing with the deepest questions in human life. There questions about what constitutes a good life, what's worth living for, what's worth dying for ; these are things that if each individual just thrust from onto the stage of his own life not knowing where he is and tasked with figuring out how to live all on his own, or even in a collection of others who are similarly unguided by ancient wisdom. This is not knowledge we can recapitulate for ourselves easily and so we we edit or ignore these ancient stories at our peril, at some, at minimum, at some considerable risk because we don't know how much we don't really know what baby is in the bath water and so we should have immense respect for these traditions and the this is what will this has yet to be discovered tonight. I'm still not quite clear about how this links up with with more metaphysical propositions about the origins of these, of certain, of these stories, but at minimum my criticism of religion because it tends to focus on the most obvious case of of a zero sum contest between religious dogmatism and scientific open ended discussion is doesn't address this core issue of the significance of religious thinking and religious narrative because I am, for the most part, just shooting fish in a barrel, criticizing fundamentalists and the kind of God that the fundamentalists believe in the God who's an invisible person who hates homosexuals. Obviously that's not the deep, the deepest version of these religious; This essentially is a narrative technology for orienting human life in the cosmos. So maybe I'll leave it there, but that's, I think what Jordan thinks, right?

Brett Weinstein:    00:07:28       Jordan before you steel man Sam's point. How did you feel about his encapsulation of yours?

Jordan Peterson:    00:07:35       I'm convinced man. [Laughter] I mean, well, I got a couple of things to say about it. It's like, first of all, I think it was accurate, concise, fair. Um, I also think that this isn't more technical note in some senses, that if, if you ever want to think about something that's exactly what you have to do, right? You want to take arguments that are against your perspective and you want to make them as strong as you possibly can so that you can fortify your arguments against them. You don't want to make them weak because that just makes you weak. And so, you know, Sam and I are both scientists and it really is the case that what scientists are trying to do. And I think what we're actually trying to do in this conversation genuinely is to try to find out if there's something that we're thinking that's stupid, you know, because when, when I'm laying out the arguments that Sam just summarize so well, I've tried to generate a bunch of opposition to them in my own imagination. And the arguments I put forward are ones I can't undermine. But that doesn't mean they're right. It doesn't mean that at all. And so if someone comes along, and this is certainly the case, if you're a scientist who's worth his or her salt, someone comes along and says, hey look, you made a mistake in this fundamental proposition. It's like, yes, great! That means I can make progress towards a more solid theory of being so. And that's what we're trying to do. And I do think it's working. And so I thought that was just fine. Exactly dead on. And I hope I can do justice to your position as well. So, Okay, so I'm going to summarize Sam's argument briefly and then I'm going to tell him and let you guys know why he thinks I'm not taking into account. So Sam believes that there are two fundamental dangers to psychological and social stability. Um, religious fundamentalism essentially on the right and moral relativism and nihilism on the left. And so the danger of the right wing position is that it enables people to arbitrarily established certain revealed axioms as indisputable truth and then to tyrannize themselves and other people with the claims that those are divine revelations. And he sees that as part of the danger of religious fundamentalism and maybe religious thinking in general, but also as something that characterizes as secular totalitarian states that also has a religious aspect. So that's on the right. And then on the left. Well, the problem with the, with the moral relativism nihilism position is that it leaves us with no orientation and it also flies in the face of common sense observations that there are ways to live that are bad and that there are ways to live that are good, that people can generally agree on, and that statements about those general agreements about how to live can be considered factual. Now so and then the next part of Sam's argument is that we require a value system that allows us to escape these twin dangers. One stultifies us and the other leaves us hopeless, let's say. And that value system has to be grounded in something real. And the only thing that he can see that actually constitutes real in any provable sense and there's a certain amount of historical and conceptual weight behind this claim, is the domain of empirical facts as as they be manifested in the sciences and technologies that have made us incredibly powerful and increasingly able to flourish in the world. And so we need to ground our value propositions in something that we've been able to determine, has genuine solidity to so that we can so that we can orient ourselves properly so that we can make moral claims and that we can avoid these twin dangers.

Jordan Peterson:    00:11:06       We can begin with some basic facts that we can identify, as I mentioned very briefly, what constitutes a bad life, endless pain, suffering, anxiety, tremendous amount of negative emotions, short term lifespan, all the things that no one would choose voluntarily for themselves, if, if we would all agree that they were thinking in a healthy manner and we can contrast that sort of domain of horror with the good life which might involve, well, certainly freedom from privation and want and undo threat and anxiety and hope for the future and all of that. And that we can agree that those are poles: bad and good. And that's a factual claim. So Sam also claims that we can define the good life. This is an extension of it with reference to flourishing and wellbeing and that that can actually be measured and that we should and can inform the idea of flourishing and wellbeing with empirical data. Having said all that, he also leaves what would a domain of inquiry open that would be centered on the possibility that some of the ideas that have been encapsulated in religious phenomenology, if not in religious dogma, might be worth pursuing as well. That there might be wisdom that can practically be applied in terms of perception too, to spiritual practices. Although those become increasingly dangerous as they become ensconced in dogma and so that's Sam's position and then his criticism of my ideas. He would say that it's fact not stories that constitute the ground for the proper science of wellbeing and that we don't need to be connected to stories, ancient stories in particular to thrive and the reason for that or did these ancient stories are pathological in certain details, especially in the specific claims they make up which which looks outrageous in some sense from a modern moral perspective. And he believes that it's hand waving to ignore those specific topics. And with, uh, with uh, what would you call it, an optimistic overview of the entire context that they're dangerously outdated now, if they ever were useful, um, that they're subject to too many potential interpretations for any modern usage to be reliably derived. And so he believes that attempts to interpret these stories, let's say, um, are rife with so many potential errors of bias and interpretation and subjectivity that all the interpretations in some sense are unreliable and perhaps equally unreliable that their day is that worse than that, not only are they unreliable, but they're dangerous in so far as the claims they lay out. They pose, a threat to scientific and enlightenment values, which are the true savers of humanity as evidenced by our progress, let's say over the last two or 300 years. And that they're also susceptible to the totalitarian interpretation, which I described earlier, which confer upon the interpreter a sense of and then a claim to reveal truth. And so I would say that Sam's argument in his hand, his criticisms of my position.

Sam Harris:         00:14:12       Okay, so you write my next book. I'll write yours. [Applause]

Brett Weinstein:    00:14:22       Sam, how do you feel about that characterization of your position?

Sam Harris:         00:14:27       Certainly close enough to get the conversation started. I mean, There's a few. The grounding stuff we have. We have yet to talk about and I'm not as. I'm not as much as stickler for materialistic scientific empiricism as I heard implied there, but we can, we can come to that.

Brett Weinstein:    00:14:44       So hold on. I think from the point of view of the audience, this is a, this is a good barometer of where we got to last and I think actually the gains are really impressive, which I have to say is spooking me because of something called regression to the mean. Now if I catch either one of you regressing to the mean tonight, I will hunt you down and I will ridicule you on twitter tomorrow. So you have been warned. All. Alright. So do either one of you want to now talk about what was missing from the other characterization or how do you want to move?

Sam Harris:         00:15:19       I think we should touch this issue of, of metaphorical truth because I think it still gets at the distance between us. Sure. And happily, this is your phrase that you have, you might want to do. Do you want to prop up this phrase?

Brett Weinstein:    00:15:36       Why not? Um, so the idea of metaphorical truth, which I think actually is the reconciliation between at least the points that you guys each started out with, is the idea that there are concepts which are literally false, that we can falsify in a scientific rational sense, but that if you behave as if they were true, you come out ahead of where you were. If you behave according to the fact that they are false. And so to call these things simply false is an error and affect the universe has left them true in some sense other than a purely literal one. And so religions would then, according to actually what you've heard from both Sam and Jordan, religions would fall into this class of things. These are encapsulations of, uh, stories and prescriptions that if you follow them, irrespective of whether they literally describe the universe, you end up with certain advantages that you may not know why they are there, but nonetheless, you are ahead of your, uh, your, your, your head of your position if you were to navigate just simply on your, your perceptions. So that's the concept.

Sam Harris:         00:16:46       Yeah. So I think there's a good analogy that you and I stumbled onto after we did a podcast together. You had a, an analogy about a porcupine that could shoot its quills which many people balked at, but a listener, he gave us a better one, which was the idea that anyone who's worked with guns at all must have heard this admonishment to treat every gun as if it is loaded. Right? And you actually last night when I alleged that you believed in God, you corrected me. He said, no, you live as if God exists. Right? And so this seems like a, there's a connection here. So if, if, if I had a gun here that I wanted to show Brett, if I know anything about guns, I'm going to make damn sure that is unloaded, right? I'm going to pull back the slide. I'm going to drop the magazine, pulled back the slide, check the chamber and do this in a redundant fashion that really looks like I'm suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder. Maybe if it is truly redundant and then I'll hand it to. And Brett knows anything about guns. He will do the same thing, having just seen me do it and if he hands it back to me again, I will do the same thing even though there may be no ammunition around. Right? So it really is crazy at the level of our explicit knowledge of the situation and yet absolutely necessary to do. And it's, it's not merely, it's, it runs very deep. I mean I would even add to that whole time you, you're careful not to point the barrel of the gun at anything. You would be afraid to shoot. And when people fail to live this way around guns, they with some unnerving frequency actually shoot themselves or people close to them by accident. Uh, so it is really the only proper hedge against just the, the, the odds of being in proximity to, to loaded weapons. And yet if someone in the middle of this operation came up to us and say, you know, actually there's a casino that just opened across the street that will take your bets about whether or not guns are loaded. Would you like to bet a million dollars as to whether or not this gun is loaded? Well, of course I would bet those million dollars every time that it's not loaded because I know it's not loaded. So there's, there's a, there's a literal truth and a metaphorical truth, you know, otherwise known as a very useful fiction, which in this case is actually more useful than the truth. Right? But the only way I can understand its utility is, and, and even utter the phrase metaphorical truth in a way that's comprehensible is in the context of distinguishing it from literal truth.

Brett Weinstein:    00:19:31       This is fascinating, Sam. Actually, this is, this is I think next phase.

Sam Harris:         00:19:36       I'm a little. I'm worried by how excited you are,

Jordan Peterson:    00:19:40       so I have a little story that might be helpful about that. And so you could, you could tell me what, what you think about. Okay. Think about this. Okay. So, so one of the things that I've been reconsidering since we talked last night is, is the nature of our dispute about the relationship between facts and values? Because I, I think I can make a case that what I've been trying to do, especially in my first book was to ground values in fact, but I'm not doing it the same way that you are. Exactly. So, so I, I don't want to make that a point of contention so I'll get to that in a moment. But with regards to this metaphorical truth, let me tell you something. You tell me what you think about this. So one of them, things that's been observed by anthropologists worldwide is that human beings tend to make sacrifices. So I'm going to spend two minutes, three minutes laying out a sacrificial story. And the reason I want to do it is because see what I think happened with regards to the origin of these profound stories is that people first started to behave in certain ways that had a survival significance and that was selected for and as a consequence of the the standard selection practices. And so that was instantiated in behavior and then because we can observe ourselves because we're self conscious creatures that we started to make representations of those patterns and dramatize them and then encapsulate them in stories. So it's a bottom up from, from the. So it would be sort of like chimpanzees or wolves become aware of their dominance hierarchy structures and the strategies that they use. So a wolf for example, if two wolves are having a dominance dispute, one the wolf that gives up first lays down and puts his neck open so the other wolf can tear it out. And then the other wolf doesn't. And you could say, well, it's as if a wolf is following a rule about not killing a weaker member of the pack. Of course wolves don't have rules. They have behavioral patterns, but a self conscious wolf would watch what the wolves were doing and then say, well, it's as if we're acting out the idea that each wolf in the pack has intrinsic value and then that starts to be, and maybe that wolves would have a little story about the, the, the heroic forbearing wolf doesn't tear out the neck of its opponents and that. That's good. Well, well, that's good wolf ethics and, and, and so, but it's grounded, but it's grounded in the actual behavior. Okay, so let's, we'll put that aside for a second. Now here, here's the sacrificial story. Human beings have made sacrifices. It seems to be a standard practice all around the world. And in the biblical narratives, they would often sacrifice something of value, like a, like a valuable animal or…

Sam Harris:         00:22:18       Like a child.

Jordan Peterson:    00:22:19       Well, well, no, no, no. Look, look, I'm not, I'm not making light of this. I know that human sacrifice was a part of this.

Sam Harris:         00:22:26       Yeah, but that again, to just to, just to give you a crib on where my mind goes there. You human human sacrifice is as old a religious precept as we know about as a cultural universal. The other sacrifices are derivations from it and circumcision is a surrogate for the far more barbaric act of human sacrifice and you know it answers every test you would put to it with respect to its archetypal significance and it's. It's compelling a presence in stories across all cultures, but the horror is that it actually has taken place in all these cultures and based on explicit beliefs in the presence of just just right scientific ignorance.

Jordan Peterson:    00:23:15       Arthur Kessley used that as the argument for the essential insanity of humanity,

Sam Harris:         00:23:18       No but it's not just the insanity of humanity. It's the misapprehension of the causal structure of the cosmos. You don't know what controls the weather. You don't know why people get sick. You think your neighbor is capable of casting magic spells on you. You're ignorant of everything and you're trying to force some order on things, and so when you don't in the absence of engineers and you don't know why certain buildings fall down, you actually can agree with your neighbor that maybe should bury your first born child into every post hole of this new building, which in fact has took place and it's the consequence of ignorance and so that the problem is if you're only going to talk about this notion of sacrifice…

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:01       It's very strange consequence of ignorance Sam..

Sam Harris:         00:24:04       it's the notion that we're in relationship to invisible others that can, that can mistreat us based on not having offered enough.

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:11       We're we are. We're in…

Sam Harris:         00:24:14       Not precisely those others.

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:15       Well, but we're in relationship to the invisible others who will judge us in the future.

Sam Harris:          00:24:20       Okay. Would that be. You're changing. You're changing the noun in important way..

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:23       I know but I'm also trying to understand. I'm not trying to argue against the horror of child sacrifice…

Sam Harris:         00:24:29       No that I would never imagine you would…

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:31       I know, but I'm also, I'm also trying to…

Sam Harris:         00:24:34       but my work would be much easier if you did that.

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:37       [Laughs] Yes, yes, yes. And, and the work of journalists as well. They've tried that. Pretty much anyways, [cheers] right? That would be, that would even be worse than enforced monogamy. Hypothetical. Okay. So see, I'm, let's say that I'm trying to give the devil his due and I'm trying to understand from an evolutionary perspective like cognitive behavioral evolutionary perspective, let's say why that particular set of ideas would emerge and in many, many, many places perhaps autonomy or once having emerged would spread like wildfire. It's like, because I'm not willing to only attribute it to ignorance, now we can attribute it to ignorance. No problem man, but, but there's more going on there because it is a human universal and like there's all sorts of things that happen in nature as a consequence of biological and evolutionary processes that don't work out well for our current state of moral intuition, let's say. Okay, so one of the things, because I've been thinking about this sacrificial motif for a very long time, trying to figure out what that, what, what the hell's the idea here exactly. And so, so here's, here's one way of thinking about it. If you give up something of value now, you can gain something of more value in the future. Okay, so let's think about that idea for a minute. So the first thing is that's a. that's a hell of an idea. That's delayed, delayed gratification, right? That's the discovery of the future as well. And so you might say, well, the notion of sacrifice is exactly the same thing as the discovery of the future. If we give up something we really value, now we can make a pact with the structure of existence itself such that better things will happen to us in the future. Now, okay, now what's weird about this, and it's hard to understand is that it works. So when I talked to my students, for example, and I say, what did your parents sacrifice to send you to university? Many of them are children are first generation immigrants and so like, man, they're on that story in a second, right? They know all sorts of things that their parents sacrificed and they're gratification in the present for radically delayed return in the future. Now you think animals, generally speaking, they might act out the idea of delayed gratification as a consequence of running out their instincts, but they don't conceptualize it. It's not obvious that animals give up something they valued right now in order to thrive in the future. There's an old story about how to catch a monkey, right, so you put a jar up with rocks in it. Then you put little candies and it's a narrow neck jar. You put little candies on top of the rocks, put a few candies in front of the of the jar. Then the monkey comes along and picks up the candies, puts his hand in the jar, grabs the candies, and can't get it out.

Sam Harris:         00:27:20       Yeah, I still don't know if this actually works on monkeys or if it's just a great story.

Jordan Peterson:    00:27:23       Well, I, I don't know. I don't know either and that I've heard, I've heard, I've heard various claims, but, but, but the point is you can go pick up the monkey. He won't let go of the candidates now perhaps he would. But the issue is that it's not obvious that animals will forgo and immediate gratification for a future gratification.

Brett Weinstein:    00:27:41       Now, I don't think. I don't think that's right actually. And I actually want…

Jordan Peterson:    00:27:44       The question is, will they do it consciously? They might act it out. They act it out, that's not the issue.

Brett Weinstein:    00:27:50       It's very hard to know if it's conscious because they don't respond to the questionnaires…

Jordan Peterson:        00:27:53       I know, I know and it and obviously the, the line between acting it out and becoming, starting to consciously represented is, is a tenuous one. But what looks to me like what happened is that after we observed that people who were capable of delaying gratification, sacrifice things that they valued in order to obtain a future goal. And it worked, that we started to codify that as a representation and then started to act it out. And so, so the story and, and you'd say, well that produced strange variance but, but there's a reason for that too, as far as I can say. So imagine this. Imagine that there's a rule of thumb sacrificing what you find valuable now will ensure certain benefits in the future. Well, then the question becomes how good could those future benefits be and so that might be heavenly, let's say in the archetypal extreme and what's the ultimate sacrifice that you have to perform, and then I would say, well, the child sacrifice fits into that category, and so it's. It's as if those ideas were pushed to the radical extreme and you could say, well, that's a pathological extreme. It's like, well, it is. It is a pathological extreme, but, but I think we also have to understand that some of the things that we've learned as we've evolved towards our current state of, of wisdom such as it is, is that they were learned in a very bloody and catastrophic way. They were learning with incredible difficulty and delay of gratification was certainly one of those because it's a hell of a thing to learn when you're in conditions of probation.

Sam Harris:         00:29:26       Okay. Yeah. I think that the issue here for me is that you don't need a conception of. You don't need any kind of positive gloss on human sacrifice as a meme or as an archetype in order to form a coherent picture of the future. That can motivate you, so delayed, delayed gratification is fully separable from a notion that it might ever be rational or good to sacrifice a child as an offering to an invisible other that doesn't exist.

Jordan Peterson:    00:30:02       But how do you know, it's separate will because that's the developmental history, as you said, so sacrifice…

Sam Harris:         00:30:08       I think, I think it is in fact historically separable, but let's just say it's not, let's just say as a matter of our origins, they're united, they're of a piece. It's just, it is the genetic fallacy to care about that origin. I mean to say that the, that is the only path forward toward an ocean of the future, given where we've come from or that it's somehow necessary to, to venerate now or that it's good that we took that right…

Jordan Peterson:    00:30:38       but we do venerate the idea of sacrifice now, but I would say…

Sam Harris:         00:30:42       I would say we do it to, to the detriment of our moral intuitions in the religious context. So for instance, I think that the notion that Christianity, Christianity is actually a cult of human sacrifice. It Christianity is not a religion that repudiates human sacrifice. Christianity is a religion that says, actually no human sacrifice is necessary and there was only one that in fact was necessary and effective and that's the sacrifice of Jesus and I think that is when you dig into the details, a not only a morally uninteresting vision of our circumstance and how we are, how we can be redeemed, it's morally abhorrent. Right? So I think there's a better version…

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:25       Okay. Let me ask you a question about that. So in, in the moral landscape, you lay out this pathway, there's the bad life and there's the good life, right? And you described what they were and the bad life is a variation of hellish circumstances. In the good life is a variant of hypothetically the life that we would like to lead. And your conception is that, and correct me if I'm wrong, your conception is that the proper pathway forward. So that would be the moral endeavor is to move away from the bad end towards the good.

Sam Harris:         00:31:56       Yeah. And so far as we understand which way is up, yes, yes we can. The basic claim is that we can be right or wrong with respect to our beliefs

Jordan Peterson:    00:32:05       True true, we don't necessarily know how to do that in an unerring manner and we could subject that to approximation correction along the way and we should, but we can outline the broad scheme which is progress away from hell towards something that's positive. Yes, yes. Okay, so I would say that there is an implicit claim in that, that you should sacrifice everything in you that isn't serving that to that. And I would say that that's essentially the same claim that's made in Christianity.

Sam Harris:         00:32:35       Well, again, that is a, I understand the impulse to uplevel these barbaric ignorance derived beliefs, right? To something that is morally that it's interesting and palatable in, in, in the current context. And I understand you can do that. My concern there is you can do that with everything. I mean you could do it with written witchcraft. Why not do the exact same thing you're doing with religion to the history of witchcraft. Witchcraft is aswell

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:09       Well modern witches would do that. So, so that's a perfectly valid yet…

Sam Harris:         00:33:13       But so it's, but it's a, that should be of concern me that there are reasons why we don't want to endorse modern witchcraft. Right?

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:20       Absolutely. And so, so you know…

Sam Harris:         00:33:22       I'm not talking and modern witchcraft currently exists. I mean, you go to Africa, they're there, you know, people are hunting albinos for their body parts because they believe in sympathetic magic and kids get killed as witches. So this belief endures in certain pockets of humanity and we're right to it. I just think at a certain point you have to acknowledge that some ideas are not only wrong, but they're, their effects are disastrous or have been disastrous or will likely be even if good in certain circumstances will likely be disasters in the future. And then we shouldn't be hostage to these, these ancient memes. We shouldn't have to figure out how to make the most of the worst idea that anyone's ever had, which is you should maybe You should sacrifice your first born child to a being you've never seen.

Brett Weinstein:    00:34:12       Hold on Sam, I want to hold your feet to the fire here. Okay. Two points. One interesting observation. When you presented the example, so on your podcast, I had argued that, uh, believing the porcupines can throw their quills might protect you from a porcupine that might, we'll around even though porcupines camp throw their quills, your listener sent the better example, which was all guns are loaded. When you presented it, you didn't say all guns are loaded. Well, you said treat all guns as if they are loaded, which is I think the same reflex that you have faced with any metaphorical truth, which is that it can always be unpacked…

Sam Harris:         00:34:53       but it's actually, that's the way Jordan talks about believing in God as well.

Brett Weinstein:    00:34:57       Right? And actually so, so this is. But then if we take something like a you, so you say, all right, sacrifice of children is abhorrent. Let's say it is. And then you say, well, Christianity hasn't a foregone the sacrifice of children. In fact it's described one child who is sacrificed for everybody else, but arguably that's an upgrade of some metaphorical truth that frees those who are adhering to this tradition from ever considering sacrificing a child. And what it does is it provides a motivational structure that may in fact have very positive outgrowths though not literal, the idea that someone would have sacrificed their own child, uh, for the benefit of everybody else not to have to. That idea might engender a, a large amount of good work that would result as Jordan's point…

Sam Harris:         00:35:55       Let me just concede that the hardest case for me, which I did up top just in defining when after you define metaphorical truth and I used the gun example, there's certainly cases where the useful fiction is more useful than the truth. I would, I would grant that. But I think those cases are few and far between. But handling guns is one of them. It's just not useful when the, when the casino opens across the street and you can place a million dollar bet, right? Then you want, you want to have some purchase on the literal truth. So you want to be able to. And again, this is psychologically interesting because, and I keep coming, coming back to the gun example because the one that that is viscerally real to me, like if I have a real gun that I know to be unloaded, I still emotionally can't treat it as a harmless object. I can't pointed at my child just for the fun of it, because you know that we're going to play cops and robbers now with a real gun, right? This, this, I have a, I have a superstitious attachment to always being safe with a gun and it's important. It's important that that get ingrained and yet it is not strictly not irrational because it has good effects, but it's not actually in register with what I know to be true factually in each moment.

Brett Weinstein:    00:37:17       Right? So, so it's very low cost, very low cost,

Sam Harris:         00:37:20       very low cost. It's not divided societies and causing people to go to war.

Brett Weinstein:    00:37:24       And if you were going to teach a child gun safety, you would want to encode this so that they would automatically know never to behave as if a gun is unloaded. Because that's what gets you into trouble as an adult. Every, every gun owner recognizes the distinction between the metaphorical truth in the literal truth here, but I guess what I suspect is going on here is that your mechanism for dealing with the world involves unpacking all of these things and I think it's highly productive, but it also means that you have a hard time understanding why anybody would do anything different. And that's the question is just because we can track fully the difference between guns actually all being loaded and behaving as if all guns are loaded, right? That one, there's no leftover, there's nothing, there's no mystery there, right? But there may be many of these things for which there is some difficulty lining up the metaphorical truth with the literal truth and operating according to the metaphorical truth might have advantages, which I think is what your getting at [points at jordan]

Jordan Peterson:    00:38:29       so well. So here's, here's another situation, because you know, we have to remember what type of catastrophic past we emerged from it. How much privation ruled the world prior to 1895 essentially. And certainly the farther back you go, the more bloody and horrible it was mean. How often do you think it was necessary, and this is not obviously something I'm in favor of, and this is also one of these situations where we get to play with ideas that we might not otherwise play with. How often do you think it was necessary for people in the past who had absolutely no access to birth control and who didn't have enough food to sacrifice a child for the survival of their family mean God only knows and that's it? Well, but that's worth thinking about. It's like you know that life is unbelievably cruel and difficult and one of the problems that comes when you discover the future is that you might have to make the most painful of sacrifices and lots of lots of archaic people do this sort of thing. They do that with their elderly people. They do that with sick people. They do that with infants that they deemed too fragile to survive. Like so part of child sacrifice, and I know the literature on child sacrifice reasonably well, part of child sacrifice seem to emerge out of the observable necessity to leave someone behind so that everyone else didn't die and we don't know how often that had to happen in the past. It might've had to happen a lot right…

Sam Harris:         00:39:54       now, just just in the interest of kind of conceptual clarity here, human sacrifice is a larger horror than that. So you have. It was very common. Is the sacrificing of captives, take, the Aztec sacrifices where you, you now have slaves, some of whom you're going to have.

Jordan Peterson:    00:40:10       Oh yes, The aztecs sacrificed about 25,000 people a year. Yeah. Look, I mean it's, it's clearly a bloody mess. There's no doubt about that. But you know, one of the things that you see happening in the biblical narrative, which is extraordinarily interesting, is that you see echoes of child sacrifice at the beginning, but what happens is the sacrificial notion gets increasingly psychologized as the story progresses. So you know, you see that transition with Abraham and Isaac were the were the where the child sacrifice is actually forbidden, although previously demanded by God and then you also see it as you already laid out in the substitution of the circumcision for the idea of sacrifice itself and then what seems to happen. See, I'm trying to figure out how these ideas developed psychologically from their behavioral underpinnings is that eventually it becomes psychologized completely so you can say, well, we can. We can conceptualize a sacrifice in the abstract so my parents can sacrifice to send me to university without anything or anyone having to die. It transforms itself from something that's enacted out as a dramatic ritual into something that's a psychological reality, but all that blood and catastrophe along the way as part of the process by which the idea comes to emerge.

Sam Harris:         00:41:18       So what is the connection of all of this? Because yes there is this history and I would argue we are busily trying to outgrow much of it, if not most of it, and whether its evolutionary history or just cultural…

Jordan Peterson:    00:41:33       We might be trying to transmute it so that it becomes we we can we can maintain as you suggested, we do. We can maintain what's useful in the tradition and throw out everything that's pathologic,

Sam Harris:         00:41:43       yes, but we're constantly discovering a lack of fit between both our, what we perceive ourselves as biological imperatives and the cultural legacies of just what Mommy and daddy taught me was true, right, which we have now. Every reason to believe might not be true and we're trying to optimize our thoughts and institutions and and relationships with one another for our current circumstance, and yet we have this legacy effect of certain books and certain ways of speaking have a completely different status and they have this status because they may in fact it imagined not be the product of merely previous human minds, but they may be the products of omniscience and that this is where the respect accorded to religious tradition is totally unlike the respect we would accord to anything else. Mythology, literature, past science, past philosophy. I mean people can read Plato and aristotle for their entire lives without ever, without ever being fully captured by the kind of dogmatism that, that every religion demands that you be captured by. If you're really going to be an adherence,

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:04       I say that's actually an archetypal truth. You know the idea that the pathological tradition stands in the way of update. That's an archetypal truth. I mean, one of the reasons why in creation myths, one of the variants of a creation myth is that the hero has to slay a tyrannical giant in order to make it make the world out of his pieces and it's a metaphorical restatement of the idea that a true tradition can become hidebound and when it becomes hidebound and too rigid that it interferes with current adaptation. But the problem is, and this is, I think this is something we really need to hash out. The problem is the problem that you're describing is the problem of a priori structure. Now, some of that's textual, but some of it isn't textual. Some of it resides in us as our psyche and so far say

Sam Harris:         00:43:47       no problem. I'm I'm describing here is that we have two categories of, of books in this case, right? We have those written by people like ourselves just endlessly open for criticism and and conjecture and though is written by invisible omniscient entities.

Jordan Peterson:    00:44:07       I would assume that if these religious systems weren't codified in books, if they were still just enacted or dramatized, you'd have the same objection. It's not the fact that they're in books that's relevant…

Sam Harris:         00:44:16       but it is the dogmatism is the fact that we can't. We can't jettison bad parts…

Jordan Peterson:    00:44:20       Okay. It's the dogmatism. Okay, so to me that's the same as the problem of structure. Now here, here's the. Here's the problem. I think with the way that your argument is laid out, and I'm not saying it's wrong, it seems to me that this is a place where it needs to be developed because I see that the attempt that you make to derive the value from the world of facts as as justifiable given what it is that you're attempting to do, which in principle is to make the world a better place, but there's a massive gap in there. It's like how do you do it? Because the objection that you place on my. My reasoning let's say which is. Well, the problem with these texts is that there's an infinite number of interpretations and which of them can you. How can you determine which of those is canonically correct? It's exactly and precisely the same criticism that can be levied against your attempt to extract a world of value from the domain of facts. It's the same problem!

Sam Harris:         00:45:09       It's not an infinite number of interpretations in either case, but I allow us…

Jordan Peterson:    00:45:14       It's close enough to infinite…

Sam Harris:         00:45:15       So that might be. I mean that's why the moral landscape for me is a landscape of peaks and valleys and so, you know, I, I'm totally open to the possibility in fact certainty that there are different ways for similar minds and certainly different ways for different minds to be constellated so that they have equivalent but irreconcilable peaks on the landscape. So know there's, there's a lot of wellbeing over here and there's a lot of wellbeing over here and there's a valley in between. And so it's, it's a kind of moral relativism. It's kind of like, you know, this is, this is great and this is great, but these are irreconcilable, right?

Jordan Peterson:    00:45:53       Well, I'd like to see that made more concrete and I need to know how that fits in with your conception because one of the claims that you make in the moral landscape is that the distinction between the bad life and the good life is not only, it's like it's a factual distinction. Yes, it's universally, universally apprehensible and true. It's your. I think it's your fundamental axiomatic claim and I don't see how that's commensurate with the position that you just put forward.

Sam Harris:         00:46:19       So here's the position and you can forget about morality as a concept for this. I think the starting point is deeper than morality. The starting point, and this is all, this is our starting point, all of us right now in the universe, the starting point is we are conscious, right? We have a, we have a circumstance that admits of qualitative experience, and again, this is true. Whatever, however we understand consciousness, whatever is actually happening, how we could be living in a simulation. This could be a dream. You could be a brain in a Vat. Consciousness could just be the product of neurochemistry or we could have eternal souls running on, on how is integrated with the brain. Whatever is true, something seems to be happening and these seemings can be really, really bad or really, really good. We know each one of us in our lives have experienced this range of possibility and yes, there are caveats here and there are hard and painful experiences that have a silver lining, right? hat gives you some other capacity where you can say, well, you know, that really sucked, but I'm a better person it. Right, and we can understand what it means to be a better person for it. In terms again of this range of experience, which I, you know, I'm calling subsuming all of this, the positive end of this as well being, which is to say that you now I'm a better person for it because now, you know, having endured that ordeal, I am capable of much greater compassion where I appreciate my life more. You know, the cancer made me a better person. Now that I've, I'm cured. I value each moment of life more than I ever did. All of these claims are intelligible within a context of an open ended context of exploring this space of possible experience. So what I'm saying is forget about morality. Forget about right and wrong and good and evil. What is undeniable is that what we have here is a navigation problem. We have a, a space of possible experience. And again, this is not just a human problem. This is a problem for any possible conscious mind. We have a space of possible experience in which we can navigate and we and things can get excruciating and pointlessly horrible where there are no silver linings. And we get this. This can happen individually in some episode of madness that never ends. If there really is a Christian hell to go to, well then it can. It's going to happen to me after I die, right? Given what I've said on the stage, uh, if, uh, so it matters who's right. Obviously, if I knew that a, uh, an eternity of fiery torment awaited somebody who didn't make the right noises about one or one faith or another will then it would only be rational to make those noises. Right? So it's, it's my bet. I'm placing a bet on certain pictures of reality being wrong. But the reality is, is we're navigating in this space and morality and ethics are the terms we use for how we think about our behavior affecting one another's experience. So if you're in a moral solitude, if you're on a desert island or if you're alone in the universe, morality is not the issue you need to worry about. But wellbeing is still is an ever present issue. It's possible to suffer and as possible to experience bliss and, and perhaps something beyond that. And we, the horizon in both directions is something we will, we'll never fully explored. Explore, very likely in the way we don't know how good things can get and we don't know how bad they can get, but, but that there's a spectrum here is undeniable. And I, I would say that, that my moral realism simply entails that we acknowledged that it's possible not to know what you're missing. It's possible to be living in a way where you are less happy than you could be and not to know why. Right? And to not have the wisdom to make the changes and that matters if anything matters that matters and it matters to us individually and it matters to us collectively. And that mattering is our, is that subsumes everything we can intelligibly want in this domain of value. And that's. And so again, it's, it's the, the, the cash value of any value claim is in the, the actual or potential change in consciousness for some contract system somewhere sometime. And that's, that's my claim. And that's I

Brett Weinstein:    00:50:50       can I try to get you each to clarify something. So it sounds to me, Sam, like you are hypothesizing that a rationalist approach will always beat a traditional metaphorical approach with respect to the generation of wellbeing.

Sam Harris:         00:51:12       Well, not always, but there's so many obvious downsides to the traditional sectarian dogmatic approach that we should want to get out of the religion business as fast as possible.

Brett Weinstein:    00:51:23       Okay. Okay. But as fast as possible. But do you mean that it has always been true that we should always have gotten away from it as fast as possible or do you mean now we should get away from it as fast as possible, but there is a point somewhere in the past where it might have been true that actually the best, the most, the richest path to wellbeing might have been encoded metaphorically.

Sam Harris:         00:51:45       Oh yeah. That's certainly possible. And in fact you might even say it was likely based on the fact that we have all of these systems still around.

Jordan Peterson:    00:51:54       We still have the systems around in part because our, we still, we still think in metaphor and we actually can't help it because half of our brain is oriented towards metaphor.

Brett Weinstein:    00:52:04       But can I get you to clarify something now? Yes. Okay. So you have argued, and you've actually quite surprised me by doing so. You've argued that the dogmatism is a bug and not a feature. You've argued…

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:19       it's a bug and a feature.

Brett Weinstein:    00:52:21       Okay. It's a bug and a feature. Good. So yes, but what I thought I heard you say was that the resistance to update, yes, was a problem that effectively it was an obstacle yet.

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:33       So his lack of resistance to update. Right. Okay. There's problems everywhere, man.

Brett Weinstein:    00:52:37       There's a tension. There is a tension, tension, tension, right?

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:43       Well, look at it this way. Most new ideas are stupid and dangerous…

Sam Harris:         00:52:49       But most old ones are as well.

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:50       Some of them are vital, right? And so we have. We're screwed both ways. It's like, well, if we stay locked in our current mode of apprehension, all hell's gonna break loose. If we generate a whole bunch of new solutions, most of them are going to be wrong and we're going to die. And so what we need to do is it's a Darwinian claim in some sense, is that despite the fact that most new ideas are stupid and dangerous, a subset of them are so vital that if we don't incorporate them, we're all going to perish. That's the bloody existential condition, and so now at part of the issue here and see, I think that this is the problem is, is that let's take that the dogma idea. Okay, so there's the dogma incorporated in the books, but I'm going to throw away the books because the dogma was there before the books and then the question is where it was the dogma and the answer was the dogma was in the cultural practices, but and in and in the agreement that people made with regards to those cultural practices, but it was also part and parcel of the Inter psychic structure that enables us to perceive the world as such. Now the problem is, and I think this is the central place where we need to flesh out these ideas, is that you cannot view the world without an a priori structure and that a prior structure has a dogmatic element, and so you can't just say, well, let's get rid of the dogma, because you can't perceive the world without the prior structure

Sam Harris:         00:54:04       Well it has an uninspected element. Because if you're talking about just perceiving the world, yes, we have a. We have perceptual structure that allows for us to perceive the world and we know that there are failures states, right? So we know, we know for instance, that we are, we are, we have evolved to perceive in visual space based on a literally neurological expectation that light sources will be from above. Right? And so we know that we can produce visual illusions based on gaming that expectation, right? But that's not the same thing as a, a dogma subscribed to by some, some subset of humanity that is antithetical to another dogma subscribed to by another set of humanity that has nothing to do with underlying biology that something that's changeable. It's changeable in real time based on just conversations like this. Like, you know, uh, we could, you know, I get emails from people who can point to these, the paragraph where they lost their faith, right? Where in reading somebody, somebody's reading, reading Richard Dawkins or or newborn hearing, a debate between between me and some theologian where it's just a collision against rationality, which is so useful in every other context suddenly proves its utility in this context where they think, well, okay, clearly I know the Muslims are wrong about the status of the Koran. Let me, let me take that. That that spirit of criticism in the internal space of my own culture and what moves. Well, a dogmatic attachment to Christianity has to move by that same standard and that's and and it's possible to do that and that's not a matter of getting into the brain and changing your perceptual apparatus that has.

Jordan Peterson:    00:55:50       Well, the distinction between different levels of what would you call it, structure related processing in the brain and the relationship to the underlying biology isn't clear like and it isn't clear when that's biological and when is it, when it isn't. So you know, your comments about our, a priori perceptual structures. Not withstanding, there's no clear line between what constitutes and instantiated accurate biological perception and something that shades more into a cultural, a presupposition. So it's a. it's a gray area. Now here me ask you a question. So this is one of the things I've been thinking about. So this is. This is designed to point out the difference. I'm not making the claim that the idea that we should ground values in fact is wrong. I'm not going to make that claim, although we think it's way more complicated than we've opened up so far, but I would say is I can I think relatively easily demonstrate a situation in which you cannot find the value from the fact. Let's say you want an antique, it is valuable and you think, I'm going to take this antique apart and I'm going to find out where the value is. Good luck.

Sam Harris:         00:56:58       It's not valuable in that sense…

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:00       Oh, wait a sec, wait a sec. So we need to know. So that's right. It's not valuable in that sense because the value of the antique is a social agreement about its position in a hierarchy. It has nothing to do with the material substrate at the end.

Sam Harris:         00:57:13       Sure

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:13       Yeah, but you can't. It's not just “sure.” You've made the claim already that you can derive value from facts. It's like then what are you willing to accept as facts?

Sam Harris:         00:57:23       These are facts about again, so there are facts about the facts exist in intersubjective space. Right? So if I, if I tell you, well, this glass, this isn't just an ordinary glass. I know it looks just like that one, but this is the glass that Elton John drank from in his last concept here. Right? Right. So what do you want to pay me for it? It could be that there's the biggest Elton John Fan ever and you, it's worth quite a lot to you now. That is, it's a kind of evidence is not value intrinsic to the glass, but it is, it is, it is a.

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:57       where's the value located?

Sam Harris:         00:57:58       Is a measure in the change. This provokes in your experience, right? There's the idea. I mean we value ideas as much as anything else and that's, you know, that's hence the mad work done by religion. Right? I mean, because it's not. These aren't facts on the ground. These are ideas that rural people's lives, people spend their whole life afraid of Hell.

Jordan Peterson:    00:58:18       okay. It seems to me that it's easier in some sense rather than to relate the value of that. I love the Elton John's glass example. I just going to use Elvis Presley is here. I will. I will tell you, it's like where in the guitar is the fact that it's Elvis Presley's and guitar while it's nowhere in the guitar. Well, what is it in? Where is it that. And the answer is it's in the dominance hierarchy of values that's been socially constructed around the guitar. It's located in interpersonal space and that that location, so value is located in interpersonal space and if you want to say, well, that's also a fact. It's like, okay, but we're starting to stretch out…

Sam Harris:         00:58:55       It's a fact about the beliefs and desires and conscious states of all the people involved. Okay, well that's the only place where it exists. That's the only person with the idea of Elvis' guitar can show up.

Jordan Peterson:    00:59:05       Fair enough, Okay. Well, I'm trying to figure out then you see, because what seems to me to be happening at least in part is that we can stretch the the domain of what constitutes facts so that the domain of fact starts to incorporate the domain of values, but we do that with some doing some to the domain of fact.

Sam Harris:         00:59:22       No no…

Jordan Peterson:    00:59:23       No, hang on, don't, don't say, don't just say no, this is really

Sam Harris:         00:59:27       Say more.

Jordan Peterson:    00:59:28       This is really complicated because you see, part of what the postmodernists have done is they've pushed away the domain of facts entirely and they say, well, the only thing is is that the only thing that actually exists is that this domain of inter subjective agreement and, and they,

Sam Harris:          00:59:42       no, yeah, you and I are on the same page with respect to postmodernism.

Jordan Peterson:          00:59:45       Right! But, but, but you have to give, but you have to give. You have to give the devil his due as well. They're, they, they pointed out something and what they pointed out is that it's not so easy to localize the structure that attributes to facts their value. It's not a simple thing that…

Brett Weinstein:    01:00:00       Wait wait wait. You would surely agree that if we had Elvis Presley's guitar, that that guitar would have a material impact on people. We could tell them, this is Elvis Presley's guitar. Some fraction of them would disbelieve it. Somebody might be able to establish it based on a picture or something like that, and the point is it would have a value that would alter the behavior of people with respect to that object in a material way. … We could figure out what the value of this guitar is based on some intersection.

Jordan Peterson:    01:00:38       Sure, we can take a behaviorist approach and we can see how much work people were willing to do to contact.

Sam Harris:         01:00:44       We can scan their brains and see what we can…

Jordan Peterson:    01:00:47       Well I am not so sure we can do that well.

Sam Harris:         01:00:48       Well, clearly the brain is involved.

Jordan Peterson:    01:00:50       Hypothetically, we can do it, but practically we're not so good out because the MRI data, generally speaking, is junk.

Sam Harris:         01:00:56       Well, the way we can table that, it's controversial statement in MRI circles …

Jordan Peterson:    01:01:03       fair enough.

Brett Weinstein:    01:01:04       I don't think we need it, we need it, but just go with that will establish the brain…

Sam Harris:         01:01:09       The brain as yet incompletely understood is surely involved in the valuing of this object. Right? And so if I take, if I tell you that this is, and again we can take it out of intersubjective space because you could be in a value solitude with respect to any given object, so it could just be, you could have a sentimental attachment to your watch that's worth exactly $25 because that's what you paid for it, but this is the watch that you know, this is your first watch or whatever it is and you wouldn't sell it for any amount of money. That's a measure of your but behavioral measure of how much you value it. And if I told you, oh well, you know, sorry, I brought your watch and lost it. What the cascade of negative effect that I see on your face as correlated with something that's happening in your head and the brain is involved, right? So.

Jordan Peterson:    01:01:53       Well, you get that picture. Basically state is the value. I can tell this that there'd be a socio cultural agreement as to the value of whatever this entity is and that would find it's mirroring the brain and that's that's a noncontroversial statement, all socio cultural phenomena that are experienced find the reflection of the brain. The fact that you can say that that's reflected in the brain. It's like, yes…

Sam Harris:         01:02:15       but the problem I continually run into with religion is that there you have a domain of so called sacred values where people who are otherwise rational cease to be rational actor, so this is the reason why Israel and the Israelis and the Palestinians can't negotiate as though their problems could be solved by a real estate transaction is because they have irrational and irreconcilable claims upon land building.

Jordan Peterson:        01:02:42       Do you think there are more irrational than the claim that that glass is worth something when no one knows.

Sam Harris:         01:02:48       It's like that. It's like that,

Jordan Peterson:        01:02:51       but that's not irrational by your own definition. You just said that that was actually constituted a fact.

Sam Harris:         01:02:56       It's a fact about people. Right? So there, there are. So just be a little careful here because it gets confusing. The the. There are, we can make objective claims about subjective experience, right? It's not as there are. We use this word objective and subjective in in different ways. We use it in an epistemological ways and ontological ways, and.

Jordan Peterson:    01:03:22       Wait, give me just one sec to make sure I'm on the same page

Sam Harris:         01:03:26       I can illustrate it by way of example. If I say that that's just your subjective opinion, right? I'm saying I'm denigrating. I'm saying that this is an expression of your bias. This is this, this is true for you, but it's not true out in the world, right? That's one way I can use the subject of objective distinction. Uh, and that's an epistomological way. Like you're, you're, you're ruled by bias. You're not thinking straight. You know, I don't have to take your opinion seriously. That's subjective. I'm worried about objective facts, but people get confused. They think that objective facts only means the material world. And what's the, what's really in this glass as a material object. No, we can be much more objective than that. We can, we can make objective claims about the subjective experience of, of people like ourselves. I can, I can, I can make an infinite number of objective claims about the experience. This is the example I always use, but I just happen to love it. Uh, what, what was JFK thinking the moment he got shot, right? That's it. We don't know. So we'll never get the data right. So the, the truth or falseness of, of what I'm about to say can't be predicated on actually getting access to the data because because he's not around and his brain is not around to scan. Uh, uh, so, but we, you and I both know an infinite number of things he wasn't thinking about. We can make a, an objective claim about his subjectivity. I know he wasn't thinking, well, I hope Jordan Peterson has Sam Harris' work it out on stage that night and an infinite number of things like that. He was thinking something. He was experiencing something but we don't know what it is that. So, so what I'm talking about this domain of value, I'm saying that it exists in this landscape of actual and possible, conscious experience for human beings and not any other system like us. They can experience this range of suffering and happiness.

Jordan Peterson:    01:05:22       Well, okay, so partly what I'm trying to do is to actually determine what that structure is.

Sam Harris:         01:05:27       So in our case, it's certainly connected to the evolve structure of our brain by everything else.

Jordan Peterson:    01:05:35       I want to go way deeper into the idea then it's connected with brain states because it's, yes, it's definitely connected with brain states. The question is at least in part how and what does that mean? And I think that the neuroscience has progressed far enough so that we can do quite a good job of this. And so, but I want to return to one thing, and maybe I'll outline a little bit of this and um, when you talked about the Israeli Palestinian conflict, you said that that was irrational. And so look, you know, fair enough, people have been locked with your hands around each other's necks there for 3000 years, but there's a problem there and the problem is that people are looking at the landscape from a contextualized perspective, right? It's not just a piece of land, it's their piece of land. It's like your house or maybe your favorite shirt. It's like, what? You say, well, I have a favorite shirt. It's like, well, there's nothing inherent in the shirt that makes it your favorite. No, it's a subjective judgment. It's like, well then is that a fact? Well, yes. It's a fact. It's a fact about subjective judgment. It's okay. While the Israeli claim on the land and the Palestinian claim on the land is a subjective judgment, that's a fact, how is that irrational?

Sam Harris:         01:06:38       Because it is the. The true analogy here. The complete analogy is rather like we're about to fight over Elton John's glass and Elton John was never here. Right?

Sam Harris:         01:07:04       Not saying it clearly still matters to us. In our misapprehension of our situation, we still really care and these are. These are objectively true claims about the level at which we value things and hence the impasse, but it matters…

Jordan Peterson:    01:07:19       I think that's counterproductive dismissive. Like you could say, well,

Sam Harris:         01:07:23       it's not. When you look at this specific claim, it's really not.

Jordan Peterson:    01:07:28       Look, you took, you took the contextual interpretation to its absolute extreme. You said, well, there's multiple reasons why different people who occupied the same piece of land are going to feel about it in different ways. Sure. Okay,

Sam Harris:         01:07:39       and most those reasons are amenable to some kind of rational compromise. There are studies on this. I mean there's studies done by people who…

Jordan Peterson:    01:07:47       When you say the word rational in that context, you're using it as a black box that contains the concept proper way of thinking about it. It's like it's not so obvious in most situations what the rational approach is.

Sam Harris:         01:07:59       I have an obvious one here and and and that's that whatever the Christians and the Muslims and the Jews think they're getting from their attachment to their dogmatic and irreconcilable religious worldviews can be gotten just as well by a deeper understanding of the of our universal and non culturally bound capacity for ethical experience, spiritual experience, community building, and we can.

Jordan Peterson:    01:08:32       What's that grounded in?

Sam Harris:         01:08:33       We can touch that space without. If it's almost like the status quo is, it's almost like your content to live in a world or your at least your content, not to judge too harshly a world where fans of rival soccer teams or baseball teams regularly kill one another over their fandom, right? Like, oh, like what if that were the status quo? So He's been this way for thousands of years. There must be a reason for it. People really liked sports.

Jordan Peterson:    01:08:57       I'm not trying to justify the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Sam Harris:         01:09:00       No, but I'm saying you shouldn't be too quick to judge the sanctity of their, of their differences of opinion,

Jordan Peterson:    01:09:06       but wait a minute, Sam, there you made a claim like you. Your claim was that if the Christians and the Jews and the Muslims would just stop their stupidity and adopt this universal ethic, then everything would be okay. It's like, okay, what's the basis for the universal ethic like that sets …

Sam Harris:         01:09:20       that's a nonprofit, the truth is mean. That's an interesting problem for philosophers and for scientists. That's not actually where the rubber meets the road for people living their lives well, I mean This is analogous to me really care about all of this and I and my job as a, as a philosophy, as a moral philosopher in that case is to make the best case I can for these ideas, but the truth is, I mean if it is analogous to when you get into a debate with a Christian fundamentalists in the states, very often this person will pretend to care about cosmology as or evolution as though it's the most important thing in the world as though you can't get out of bed in the morning and figuring out how to treat your, your friends and family. Well, unless you figure out what happened before the Big Bang, right? No one really lives their lives that way and yet we have convinced ourselves that this is a sensible way of talking about the conflict between religion and science.

Brett Weinstein:    01:10:25       I think. I think you have arrived at the core of your conflict right here and I, I actually hear you both loud and clear. Your point is that if the people faced with the question where to, you know, start with a fresh sheet of paper, look at the Middle East, they could arrive at a compromise that they as individuals might find, um, uh, put them way ahead and is more profitable than the situation that they are continually finding themselves. And that might be the case. On the other hand, the reason that they don't is that historically those who have been out competed by those who have it. So the point is the universe and the fact that it refuses to solve that conflict is telling us that there is some reason that people who take that prospect seriously are not actually correct in some, at least metaphorical way. So in other words, what is it to have a sentimental attachment to some piece of territory somewhere that sounds completely irrational. On the other hand, that sentimental attachment may result in you continuing for 500 or a thousand or 2000 years. Whereas if you surrendered it because it was irrational, you might go extinct. Now, should you care that your lineage is going to go extinct? Maybe arguably not. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that what you're saying is so thoroughly grounded that it can justify causing people to alter their perspective on value in such a way that it might actually drive them extinct. It's not clear.

Sam Harris:         01:11:56       Clearly. Secularism. You were talking about the fringe here. We're talking about that when you're talking about this case, the Israeli settlers and the Palestinian terrorists, right? Like that is that is it. We should all breathe a sigh of relief that that doesn't. That, that, that kind of passionate attachment to land doesn't characterize most of humanity.

Jordan Peterson:    01:12:22       It does if you're trying to defend your house.

Sam Harris:         01:12:23       So, but that's kind of a different topic…

Brett Weinstein:    01:12:28       I think this is. This is where. This is where the crux of it is. If we follow the idea that this is actually something that the seemingly sentimental and irrational attachment to the piece of land is some sort of Meta rationality, which sounds like your perspective [JP's] than we are now confronted with the question of, all right, if it is an evolved kind of meta rationality that is being manifested in stories that cause people to behave in ways that Sam sees as clearly irrational, then we are stuck with the naturalistic fallacy, which is to say so for those who don't know, the naturalistic fallacy says that just because something is doesn't mean it ought, right? The fact that selection favors something doesn't make it good and the aztecs sacrificed their enemies. It is good for continuing Aztenecs, but it may not be good in some absolute moral sense. So here's the question for you. You're arguing for an I think an evolutionarily very viable explanation for religious belief and dogma, but aren't you stuck with the downside of it? Where much of what is encoded in that way may actually be abhorrent?

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:39       Yes, Absolutely.

Brett Weinstein:    01:13:40       Okay, so what are we doing about it? What do we do about…

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:43       Well, this is, this is exactly that…

Brett Weinstein:    01:13:44       Do you have sorting algorithm. What is it?

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:47       Yes! I was trying to get to it. Okay. Okay. So this is actually why I asked Sam this question. It wasn't, it wasn't an attack. It's like, okay, so look, people have these belief systems, Christian Muslim, Jew will say for that, and you're saying abandoned. That was let's say two to add move towards this transcendent rationality. It's like, okay two problems. Um, it's not so easy to abandon the belief system because you ended up in the morally relativist nihilist pit problem.

Sam Harris:         01:14:14       One doesn't have to.

Jordan Peterson:    01:14:15       Well, People tend to, so it's not. They don't have to wait …

Sam Harris:         01:14:24       That's an empirical claim we would have to find out whether that is true. There's a lot of evidence against that.

Jordan Peterson:    01:14:28       Yeah. Well there's plenty of evidence for it too, but it's beside the point to some degree because that isn't, that isn't something that I want to quibble about. Perhaps there are trends, there are transitional paths and sometimes people find a collapse of their faith actually freeing. It's certainly the case that many of the people who are are are happy about what you're doing have found exactly that in what you've been saying and more power to you and so I'm not willing to dispute that, but what you said was, okay, here's these belief systems that are ancient and complex and we can step outside of them . There's this transcendent rationality that we could all aspire to that would solve the problems. It's like, okay, what is it? Well, what is it exactly?

Sam Harris:         01:15:07       It is at a minimum to value all of the variables that conspire to make the one life. We know we have value. All those variables. We were, we were doing it right. We do it every day and how we organize ourselves…

Jordan Peterson:    01:15:23       No we don't because we apply an priori framework to the variables to say, to reduce them to a tiny subset that we can manage and it's the nature of that priori framework that we haven't been able to have a discussion about. We have an priori framework that narrows our perception to almost nothing. It's built into us. It's partly socially constructed. It has a deep neurological substrate and we actually understand how it emerges to a large degree and the thing is is that…

Sam Harris:         01:15:47       but I don't think that's actually our differences. The a priori framework operates in many different spaces, which again, we can't necessarily analyze, but it makes it no less true. So if you, if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will immediately feel a good, a very good reason. In fact, in unarguably good reason to remove it. Right? And that's, it doesn't require a moral philosophy to get you there. You don't need a, you don't need to inspect your a priori framework. You just have to feel, Holy Shit, this is the worst thing I've ever felt. Right? And there are so many moments like that in life that we dimly under that we understand…

Jordan Peterson:    01:16:23       What if you're trying to rescue your child from a fire.

Sam Harris:         01:16:24       Well, exactly. Then you have, you have some other goal, right? That caused you to brave that, that suffering, right?

Jordan Peterson:    01:16:32       Yes but…

Sam Harris:         01:16:32       And, but again, trying to rescue your child from a fire is pretty close to as the hot stove in not needing to be analyzed. Right? The imperative to rescue your, it becomes harder when you have to rescue someone else's child from a fire and you're and you're. We're worried about orphan in your child who's standing next to you on the sidewalk, right? Then we get into the domain of moral philosophy and then you can say, well, you know what? Do what? How much do each of us owe the children of other people, right? How much should I risk my life and risk orphaning my child to rescue your child? That's when things get interesting in a philosophy seminar and that's where people begin to hesitate. People begin to. We are biased toward protecting ourselves, protecting our kin, protecting our friends, and only then do we begin to extend the circle and and again, moral, but it is not a mystery where we want to go here. We want to extend the circle more and more and build institutions and societies that, implement our best selves at our best moments more and more. It makes it more effortless to be good…

Jordan Peterson:    01:17:41       But the devil is in the details…

Brett Weinstein:    01:17:41       Can I Take your example seriously here for a second?

Sam Harris:         01:17:43       Yeah.

Brett Weinstein:    01:17:44       Alright, so you are built to be more likely to rescue your own child in someone else's child from a fire we in society, might like for the minimum number of children to die in fires as possible, which gets you to sideline that consideration in favor of is there a child, uh, who's faced with a fire, who I'm, who I might rescue religions, do exactly this restructuring of values because they say something like, actually your goodness in risking your own life to save that other child from a fire is observed and it is, it is calculated and you will be rewarded for it in some way.

Sam Harris:         01:18:23       That's one possible benefit of some religions. Right?

Brett Weinstein:    01:18:29       Good.

Sam Harris:         01:18:30       And okay, so put that on the balance. But I have a lot to put on the other side…

Brett Weinstein:    01:18:33       I know you do. A never ending list…

Jordan Peterson:    01:18:37       I wanna I wanna I wonder which…

Brett Weinstein:    01:18:39       That's what I'm trying to point out to Jordan here, which he actually acknowledges, which is that he's got a big stack of good things that come from this heuristic, but he's also acknowledged…

Sam Harris:         01:18:49       But this actually get this. This is our core or disagreement here, which is however you want to, however the balance is going to swing. The difference between us here is that I think we read the utility of, anything, but in this case, religious thinking as evidence of you. You read it as evidence of something, perhaps it literally true…

Jordan Peterson:    01:19:14       Inevitability and depends on what you mean by literally…

Sam Harris:         01:19:18       and I view that as a kind of version of the genetic or naturalistic fallacy that is just telling a bit whether it, whether that is useful. Now here for us, it doesn't, doesn't argue that it's the best way of getting those good things. I mean, my argument here is that religion gives people bad reasons to be good, were good reasons are available. So that's a problem, right? Because good real good reasons scale better than bad reasons, and I think we can under even if you take the case where religion is clearly useful in a life saving utterly benign way, uh, in virtually all of those cases, I think I can, I can get you there by some other way without the, the downside or if not, that's just one of those cases he has the fiction was more useful than any possible truth.

Jordan Peterson:    01:20:10       How do you distinguish a religious system from an a priori, perceptual structure.

Sam Harris:         01:20:15       Well, if you can convert to it or away from it in a single conversation, I would say if it doesn't go very deep,

Jordan Peterson:    01:20:22       you're, you're only. I would say that for much of that, you're only converting at a very superficial level. Well, not converting at the level of conscious apprehension and most of your cognition is done through unconscious process. So it's just…

Sam Harris:         01:20:33       It's just a fact about us that most of people's religious attachment is born of having a drummed into them by their parents. Right? If I made it…

Jordan Peterson:    01:20:42       No by their parents and their parents' parents and their parents.

Sam Harris:         01:20:44       Yes, exactly. But if we did the same thing with Batman and Spiderman, they would have the same effect, right? Like if, if, if you relentlessly told children, right? I mean, I've, I've got two little girls who were dressed up like batgirl girl right now. They love that girl. There's nothing. I don't have to do anything to make them more enthusiastic about superheroes. Apart from just showing them the pictures of Superheroes, right? If I told them, in addition to how, look how fun this is to dress up like batgirl. In addition, you're going to burn in hell for eternity. If you lose your emotional attachment to batgirl even for a minute, right? Well then it's going to be batgirl for the rest of their lives, especially if the entire culture is, is doing. Likewise. And I, you know…

Jordan Peterson:    01:21:32       again, as Eric, as Brett pointed out already, a bad tool is better than no tool at all. And if batgirl is the closest approximation to a divine sacred that you can conjure up at beats the hell out of none at all. And if batgirl didn't partake of certain archetypal structures, no one would give a damn about batgirl after, okay, spider man and Batman. Play a role play a role in the car.

Brett Weinstein:    01:21:54       Hold on.

Jordan Peterson:    01:21:55       It's not Accidental! It's not accidental that superhero stories have a structure. And to say that, well, Batman and Spiderman are obvious fictions and we could use them…

Sam Harris:         01:22:05       No, exactly. Taking the wrong end. You're taking the wrong into this. I'm not. I'm not minimizing the power of stories, right? I'm saying we can understand their power without recourse to believing things we shouldn't believe. Now in the 21st century,

Jordan Peterson:    01:22:20       I still need an answer to the question about what it is that's this transcendent, transcendental rational structure. Without an a priori dogma because I don't see it.

Sam Harris:         01:22:33       Again, we. We touched on this a little bit last night in that I freely admitted that in every domain of human inquiry, no matter how the most hard headed, so mathematics, logic, physics, at some point we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. At some point we make a move that is not self-justifying and is not justified by any other move that's more rudimentary, right?

Jordan Peterson:        01:22:58       That's a statement of faith…

Sam Harris:        01:23:00       no but that's a callow use of the term faith. It's not the…

Jordan Peterson:        01:23:04       No its the precise definition an axiom…

Sam Harris:        01:23:07       My faith, my faith that two plus two makes four.

Jordan Peterson:    01:23:09       That's not faith.

Sam Harris:         01:23:11       What? No, I didn't know. Is My intuition that this is a valid and replicable and generalizable principle.

Jordan Peterson:    01:23:18       No that's not faith either your statement that that's a useful claim is a statement of faith, but neither of those two statements of faith, their statements of fact,

Sam Harris:         01:23:28       They are statements of intuition none of these are. These are intuitions, these are because and their intuitions that can run a foul of other discoveries and other intuitions as you know. Which…

Jordan Peterson:    01:23:37       Well, if mathematical facts are intuitions then what are we doing with facts…

Sam Harris:         01:23:41       No take a…

Brett Weinstein:    01:23:42       So we've arrived…

Sam Harris:         01:23:43       No, no, no. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…

Brett Weinstein:    01:23:44       We have to decide…

Sam Harris:         01:23:45       ..This is super important that we don't lose this.

Jordan Peterson:    01:23:48       Okay.

Sam Harris:         01:23:49       So we, for what? Two thousand years people have been studying geometry and had a very well worked out set of mathematical intuitions with respect to Euclidean space, you know, flat geometry. And then some brilliant guy, Ramond might've been the first said, well they actually, you can curve space. I can bend this triangle and all of a sudden it has more than 180 degrees. Right? That's an intuition that people tuned up pretty quickly, but all of humanity was blind to it for the longest time. Right? These are what I mean by intuition is it's the thing you're using to understand something that you. You are not in a position to analyze, but that's not faith of the sort which is. Listen, I know the Bible was dictated by the creator of the universe. I know Jesus was his son. I know he rose from the dead. I know he'll be coming back, and a thousand other propositional claim highly valuable.

Jordan Peterson:    01:24:51       If it's a statement of faith and it's in a value domain, how is it derivable from facts?…

Brett Weinstein:    01:24:58       so, we've arrived at the point where we have to decide whether to go to QandA or to continue the discussion. While you all are thinking about that, I would like to level of challenge to each of you and then I will poll the audience and see what they think about Q and A. okay? Okay. So, um, Jordan is arguing to you that you cannot ground the values that would undergird the modality of increasing wellbeing in anything factual. And you are arguing in response that

Jordan Peterson:    01:25:31       not without an intermediary…

Sam Harris:         01:25:33       Let me just argue in response…

Brett Weinstein:    01:25:34       hold, hold on a second.

Jordan Peterson:    01:25:35       Not Without an intermediary structure…

Brett Weinstein:    01:25:36       What I've heard you argue [to Sam] is something that I, I agree with, which is that you can ground many things in a nearly, um, objective observation of the universe, but it doesn't say anything about the value part of the equation. And in fact, I think having thought about the question from an evolutionary point of view, that in order to do what you're talking about, to increase wellbeing, you are going to have to accept that. That is going to leave you an arbitrary grounding. There is no absolute grounding for it. And you're going to have to just simply accept that it's going to make you arbitrary, that you are in fact going to have to do inconsistent things like decide to honor the love of a mother for her child and dishonor the love of country that causes one population to gas another population that's inconsistent and the need to embrace that kind of inconsistency.

Sam Harris:         01:26:28       I mean, it's just a different. I don't think that we even have the grounding problem and think it's a pseudo problem. I think

Jordan Peterson:    01:26:34       But you just said, we have to put your stuff in somewhere.

Sam Harris:         01:26:37       We have a navigate my. The way it's grounded is the acknowledgement that what we have is, It's analogous to what people do with the notion of, of meaning in life. Like what's the meaning of life? How do you find meaning in life? It was the purpose of life. These are bad questions. These are questions that when you pose them, they seem to demand. They suggest a space in which an answer must be put, but it's…

Jordan Peterson:    01:27:04       but you put an answer, you said that people should work towards the good.

Sam Harris:         01:27:08       Yes. There's a different, there's a different way of framing it, which is what we have. Here is an opportunity. It's not about, it's not a matter of meaning. It's not a matter of purpose and it's not a matter of grounding. It's a matter of we are in a circumstance where that where we have consciousness and its contents in every moment and all of this is the light the lights are on and they're on for reasons that we dimly understand right there. These are the reasons that are biological in our case, but perhaps at bottom, they're just based on information processing and their platform independent and then we would build machines for whom the life of the light is actually on or not. Right? This is, it remains to be seen whether we could actually build in our computers, conscious minds that can thrive or suffer, right and that the difference matters, but we're in the circumstance where we are trying to understand how conscious consciousness ended states arises, but one thing that is undeniable is that the lights are on and being on. They reveal a spectrum of experience that which has one end that we, the worse it gets, the more compelling it is to move away from it.

Jordan Peterson:    01:28:30       That meaning that's meaning, right?

Sam Harris:         01:28:32       Yeah. Okay. So and all of our meaning talk and value talk relates to navigating in this space. So there's, there's one end of it where things get needlessly horrible without a silver lining and there's another end where it gets better and better and non zero sum that all boats are rising with the same tide and the Israelis in the Palestinian..

Jordan Peterson:    01:28:51       That's the landscape of evil and good.

Sam Harris:         01:28:52       So okay fine. So these are compelling ways to talk about this space of navigation.

Brett Weinstein:    01:29:00       What do you do when you accept your space of navigation and there's a conflict between wellbeing for the living population of earth versus wellbeing over the maximum populations that could possibly live into the future when there's a big conflict between how much well being we are going to feel now versus how much wellbeing future human beings will get to feel.

Sam Harris:         01:29:20       Yeah. Well that, that those are legitimate ethical problems, which I think we often live in the space where we know there's a right answer that we are too selfish to fulfill or too short sided to fulfill. Like so I know there are things I do every day that not only will other people as yet unborn, wish I hadn't done. I might wake up tomorrow wishing I hadn't done those things right, so like I'm a, I'm a bad friend to my future self in some respect to say nothing of the rest of humanity so we can be so we can have failures have, we can have weakness of will, we can have failures that we can just be wrong about certain things, but it's nowhere written. That is easy to be a good person. Right?

Brett Weinstein:    01:30:06       In that case, it's not even clear what good means…

Jordan Peterson:    01:30:09       I'm saying even when we know the answer. It might be hard to be motivated by that knowledge and that because we're not a unity, right? I mean, part of, part of what wisdom is morally is an ability to be, to live integrated enough with your own, you know, better self. We have the advice you would give to a friend, and this, this just falls right out of your work as well as live as the basically treat yourself the way you would treat. I think this is your line, so you know someone new you're, you're responsible for, or there's somebody, a friend of yours, right? If you can, if you can do that, you're already ahead of who most people are most of the time, but there's no. There's no reason to say that because it's difficult or because sometimes we're looking through a glass darkly and can't figure out what the answer is. The answer doesn't exist or there is no right one.

Sam Harris:         01:30:58       Okay. Now let me try with you. [To Jordan] Yeah, so Jordan, you have argued for a, an evolved framework of religious belief in which there are elements that are morally defensible, that will be carried through time. There are elements that are morally reprehensible that will be carried through time by virtue of the fact that they are effective and you have argued that these things, because they have withstood the test of time, have some kind of value, which is not necessarily something that we should honor, but some large fraction of it must be, but that would seem to suggest that the degree to which these belief structures has value is contingent on the degree to which the environment in which we attempt to deploy these structures matches the environment in which they evolved.

Jordan Peterson:    01:31:58       Absolutely.

Brett Weinstein:    01:31:59       Now, I would argue that no population of humans has lived farther from its ancestral environment than we do.

Jordan Peterson:    01:32:08       I think that's a fallacy.

Brett Weinstein:        01:32:09       You think so because…

Jordan Peterson:        01:32:10       Well, it is and It isn't. And, and look, I think that's an absolutely valid point. Okay, so, so this gets esoteric relatively rapidly, but the question is, let's say at the highest levels of adaptation, we're adapted to the things that lasts the longest periods of time. Okay. Those are the most permanent things. Now the question is what are those most permanent things? And you know, one answer would be the fundamental material substrate of the world, and that's true. I'm going to leave that be like we were evolved to deal with gravity. Okay? But there are other elements that are higher order abstractions in some sense that are also apparently hyper real. So for example, there, There's a problem that we have a bifurcated, right? The question is, well, why did we have a bifurcated brain? And the answer seemed to not just us animals too now the answer seems to be, well, there's two necessary ways of looking at the world and they have to be in conflict to some degree in order to work properly. The right hemisphere mode and the left hemisphere, the right hemisphere mode is a lot more metaphorical than the left hemisphere. The right hemisphere is the hemisphere that seems to deal with exceptions to the rule and it seems to deal with exceptions to the rule by by treating them, by aggregating them, and then trying to recognize patterns that unite them as a corrective to the totalitarian system in some sense that the left hemisphere imposes. You could say that the right and the left are adapted for something like explored territory for the left and unexplored territory for the right. I've characterized that is order versus chaos and I see. I think the religious landscape is good versus evil to Sam's point that we should strive for a good life on a landscape of chaos versus order, and I think that landscape is permanent. Now I know we've moved from our African ancestral homeland, but these, this underlying abstraction, this underlying, this underlying reality is so profound that it it, it maintains its validity across all sets of potential environmental transformations.

Brett Weinstein:    01:34:08       Well, okay, …

Sam Harris:         01:34:10       Can I just jump in here because here's why just to seize on one piece you put in play there. Here's why good and evil cannot be permanent in the usual sense. Certainly not in the Christian or Judeo Christian sense. One is the Judeo Christian notion of good and evil doesn't even map onto to eastern religion.

Jordan Peterson:    01:34:31       But Sam You made a good evil versus good claim in the moral landscape…

Sam Harris:         01:34:35       but it's also in an eastern context and a Buddhist or Hindu context. The evil isn't really evil. It's just ignorance now you might dispute that you might say, well that's not really that they haven't met a sufficiently evil person that you think would think that, but the reality is there are billions of people who have a different rubric under which they look at these things and…

Jordan Peterson:    01:34:55       But sam You can't make the case…

Sam Harris:         01:34:56       But let's let. Let me add another another piece here…

Brett Weinstein:    01:34:58       Wait wait wait we need to ask them, okay, do you guys [the audience]want this conversation to continue or do you want q and a to begin?

Brett Weinstein:    01:35:07       I don't know which one you're cheering for first group is the group that wants this conversation to continue. [Loud applause] Thank you. Now the group that would prefer Qa, [Slightly quieter applause] Ok that was the former,

Sam Harris:          01:35:34       What's disturbing is that many of the same people were clapping, that proves what Jordan was saying about the two hemispheres of the brain metaphor.

Jordan Peterson:    01:35:43       So look I mean it seems to me, and again, correct me if I'm wrong, is that you made an absolute world claim in the moral landscape and that's what grounds here argument …

Sam Harris:         01:35:56       Let's take the evil piece because it will be interesting if it's not totally on point. The reason why evil is susceptible to total deflation is if you agree with me, a evil is a category of human misbehavior, human intention that we don't understand significantly at the level of the brain, but if we did understand it totally at the level of the brain than every evil person we had in the doc at trial would be just like Charles Whitman with his brain tumor after he shot up everyone at the University of Texas. Right? So like he, he's at, he's the prototypically evil mass murder, but he's complaining about this change that overcame his personality and he thinks it would be good. Be a good idea that if after the cops kill me, you autopsy my brain because I don't know why I'm doing any of this. Right. And Lo and behold, he had a glioblastoma pressing on his amygdala and all of a sudden it made sense of his behavior in a way that a full understanding of psychopathy or every other variant of human evil would make sense of it in a way that wouldn't be deflationary ethically. And then you would look at. So then you look at someone like Saddam Hussein or the the, the worst evil person you could imagine, and you would say, well, he's actually unlucky know there, but for the grace of biology, go on. Because if I had that brain, if I had those genes, if I had those influences that gave me those synapses, I would be just like him. Now, if you think there's some other element that gives us free will and now then, then, then you and I are disagreeing that that's a factual claim. That's at variance with mind. But, but if we are just on some level now a malfunctioning biological systems when we're being evil than a complete understanding of evil would cancel that category.

Brett Weinstein:    01:37:48       Can you define evil. So we know what you're talking about.

Sam Harris:         01:37:50       Well, just take, take just the worst people who have sadistically victimized the most people and those are the evilest people we can name.

Brett Weinstein:    01:37:59       So when you say, so I think this is actually really important because I think actual evil of that kind is pretty darn rare. And there's a lot of badness that immediate…

Sam Harris:         01:38:07       Oh yeah, well the most troubling thing or all the good people doing evil because they, they're ruled by bad ideas and, but that I think is more consequential than we actually…

Jordan Peterson:    01:38:15       We introduced a whole set of other things here in the last little round with freewill and evil, but…

Sam Harris:         01:38:21       but, but just to, I want to make it clear why I went there. So you were saying this is, this is, this is, I forgot the word. You used inevitable or a permit. The applications that this category is permanent and I'm saying that I don't think but equal in that sense as a permanent category for us. They awaits more information and

Jordan Peterson:    01:38:43       okay, we're going to distinguish for a minute. Good versus evil and good versus bad. Just for the sake of conceptual clarity in the moral landscape, you make a fundamental axiomatic claim, looks like a moral claim, maybe its claim of fact, and the claim is there are bad lives and good lives. Sure. And the claim you make, is that Universally true?

Sam Harris:         01:39:07       It's true for the requisite lives…

Jordan Peterson:    01:39:10       Buddhist, Hindu doesn't matter…

Sam Harris:         01:39:12       Okay, but evil. So yes, I'm not, I'm not telling you that you should purge the evil from your your vocabulary. I use the word all the time and I think it's useful to motivating word. I'm just saying that it's there. We can understand this continuum of good and bad or positive and negative in ways that don't use the. Certainly don't use the Judeo Christian framework for value in these things because if you, if you take the Buddhist framework and map it onto this, this continuum, you don't get good and evil. You get essentially wisdom and ignorance in an evil is ignorance of all the wellbeing you would you and others would experience if you behaved another way, right? That's the Buddhist game and and or even within Hinduism and they get this connects to your, your, your love of stories. You take the Hindu text. The Ramayana, which has just a foundation is doing work that the Bible is doing for Jews and Christians in that. The worst guy in the Ramayana, the 10 headed Demon Rovena, the prototypically evil person is at bottom. Really not a bad guy. He's a great sage. Who is just, you know, in a bad mood essentially, right? Maybe he was. He was. He was obscured by ignorance and so it isn't the Buddhist cannon, the Buddhist Buddha made say a serial killer who knows where at a garland of human fingers around his neck named Anguli Mala, but he was just one conversation away from being fully enlightened. Right? I mean, he was like, this is a different picture of a possibility. I'm not saying one is right or wrong. Let's be agnostic about that. I'm just, I'm challenging your claim that there's something so precious and, and useful and durable about the Judeo Christian framework what we're stuck with it for all time.

Jordan Peterson:    01:40:59       I wasn't making that claim. I was making the claim that in the moral landscape you laid out a distinction between the bad life in the good life. Forget about good and evil, the bad life and the good life. Hell and heaven, the bad life and the good life, and that that distinction was not only factual but universal …

Sam Harris:         01:41:17       and so is it the right mind? So we could imagine a mind. I mean, this is an example. I think I think I can in a right mind, but we could. We could create circumstances that seemed perverse to us that we would recoil from. You could you could create a a universe of perfectly matched sadists to masochists say right, so you have the people who are real sadist, so in our world would be terrible actors, but in their world they're surrounded by people who want to be mistreated.

Jordan Peterson:    01:41:45       If you're a real sadist, you never mistreat a masochist when asked. [Laughter]

Sam Harris:         01:41:50       These are… Granted.. for the human categories even exists, but in some undoubtedly we could create something like an artificial intelligence that could be google. It could be paired this way and that would be weird, but on my in my framework, it is it conceivable space of equivalent wellbeing and if it's not matched at all to our space rights, but it's if in fact we could inspect the conscious minds of all parties participate in that. It is not obviously absurd by in my view to say that they are just as happy as we are in his conversation. In fact, some moments in this conversation I would say that they might be happier.

Jordan Peterson:    01:42:43       No, it's been good. It's been good. So let me, let me ask you a question here about wellbeing because this is something I've wanted to ask you about but we never seem to get to is so you think that we should maximize wellbeing and that's part of your proposition, which, which I don't entirely disagree with by the way that we should ground our value structures in fact, but, but, but there's a black box problem. They're like, I think the black box problem about the apriori structure that we use to extract the facts of the world out and the black box problem is if we could measure wellbeing, it's like, yeah, that's a big problem Sam. Like we have measures of wellbeing and they're terrible. Yeah. Like if you. Yes they are.

Sam Harris:         01:43:23       No, I'm agreeing. I don't think. I don't think it's, but it's not a problem for my thesis is we don't have measures for anything we care about.

Jordan Peterson:    01:43:31       But I mean, if, if your, if your thesis is that if we had the measures of wellbeing that were appropriate, we could use them in a positive way and the responses, but we don't have those measures. It's like, okay, well then what do we do?

Sam Harris:         01:43:43       Oh No, no, we have. But we have measures. I mean this conversation is a measure. I don't like that. That's a measure, or you step on my toe and I say ouch, that's a measure. Don't do that.

Jordan Peterson:    01:43:52       Again, that's not a measure of your wellbeing. It might be a measure of your trait neuroticism, which is a measure of noise, but technically if you look at the wellbeing measures that we have degenerated to measures of neuroticism.

Sam Harris:         01:44:09       But we don't, but we don't have measures of certainty, of belief, of compassion, of joy, of, of any, any of these conscious states we have. We have neural correlates of some of them, but we don't have. We got, there's no. I can put a helmet I can put on…

Brett Weinstein:    01:44:26       Hold on.

Jordan Peterson:    01:44:27       It's about them to orient ourselves in the world then?

Sam Harris:         01:44:29       because we're doing that. We're doing this all the time.

Brett Weinstein:    01:44:33       If you've got an instantaneous measure though, you've got an instantaneous measure of wellbeing, we can all check with ourselves, see how we feel…

Sam Harris:         01:44:39       but it's possible to be wrong about this later.

Brett Weinstein:    01:44:44       But, uh, it degrades as you get away from the individual's ability to check internally on the internal.

Jordan Peterson:    01:44:52       The internal thing isn't reliable. You're happy when you're doing things that'll take…

Brett Weinstein:    01:44:57       Sure you can take a drug that would make you feel very good and would cause you to take apart your own life because…

Jordan Peterson:    01:45:01       You mean like cocaine.

Brett Weinstein:    01:45:03       Exactly, It would destroy the motivational structure that gets you to do stuff of value that, uh, that your…

Jordan Peterson:    01:45:08       right so we can't use emotion. Well, that's a moment of emotion as an indicator of…

Brett Weinstein:    01:45:13       Instantaneous is not good, but you have a parallel problem. It looks to me like the exact mirror image, which is that you've got at an integrative longterm measure of wellbeing instantiated in an evolutionary belief system, but it's coming apart because we are living in circumstances that are less well mirrored. The present does not mirror the past and therefore these truths which you believe are timeless, are degrading rapidly.

Jordan Peterson:    01:45:41       That's part of their. That's exactly right.

Brett Weinstein:    01:45:43       Okay, so what Sam is arguing is that the tools to pivot in order to improve our way of interacting, those are not the tools of long standing tradition. Those are the tools of rational engagement…

Jordan Peterson:    01:45:57       respect for that process as part of the long standing tradition…

Brett Weinstein:    01:46:00       Yes, that's true.

Jordan Peterson:    01:46:01       Yeah, but that's a big truth, man. That's a major league truth. In fact, I would say the fundamental tradition, the most fundamental tradition of the West says that respect for the process that updates moral judgment is the highest of all possible values and that's also built into the tradition strangely enough.

Brett Weinstein:    01:46:19       I agree it's built into the, into the tradition, but I would argue that it is very likely to be compartmentalized. In other words. I was a little bit struck when you said that. Um, what did you say about scaling? You said that…

Sam Harris:         01:46:38       good reasons scale and bad reasons don't.

Brett Weinstein:    01:46:40       Isn't that the opposite of the truth? calling if you're calling these stories that give prescriptions for how to behave bad ideas, the point is those stories propagate very easily, was so. Whereas, so if we want to talk about the gun and whether it is loaded, the idea that the gun is definitely loaded that scales really easily, right? You can pass that along in one sentence.

Sam Harris:         01:47:05       Being wrong about a loaded gun. Also scale, right?

Brett Weinstein:    01:47:09       No, no no. You want to talk to people about very small possibilities of very dire things happening. They trip over it. It's hard thing to get. It's almost impossible for children to get it. So the point is the one thing does scale story that says yeah, every gun is loaded. It's a false story, but that one definitely scaled this statistical reality of guns and the fact that they may indeed beyond loaded, but you don't want to play around with the remote possibility that one day you'll get it wrong, right? That doesn't scale because it requires you to have experience with stuff that is not common.

Sam Harris:         01:47:44       Right? Well, so, so the two things there, one of you bring up an, an ancillary but very important point, which is that moral progress here is often the result of moving from our story-driven protagonists driven intuitions to something far more quantified. Right? So I mean this is a classic, you know, moral study done by Paul Slovako, I'm sure you are aware of where you tell people about one needy little girl in Africa and you give her a name and, and, and show her picture and what you elicit is the maximum altruistic, compassionate response from subjects. You go to another group of subjects. You tell them about the same little girl, give her the same name, but also tell them about her needy little brother, right? Who has the same need and their response diminishes, right? That just the addition of a single person diminishes the response. And this is just, this is a moral fallacy that we're all living out everyday because if you care about this one little girl, you should care at least as much about the fate of her and her brother. And when you add statistics,

Jordan Peterson:    01:48:53       no, no, you shouldn't because you'll exhaust yourself in the attempt.

Sam Harris:         01:48:59       No, because we need…

Jordan Peterson:    01:49:00       What do you want to care for 100 people, with the same intensity as for one?

Sam Harris:         01:49:04       This is what this. This is what this software flawed gets us. It gets us people who will watch for hours a day with, with, with effortless and and tear stained compassion. The saga of the little girl who fell down the well, but who will blindly turn the channel when they're hearing about a genocide that is raging, the hundreds of thousands have already died. [Applause]

Jordan Peterson:    01:49:32       Listen guys…

Sam Harris:         01:49:32       this is something we have to let …We have to correct for this no no No, I'm not talking about personnel, but you're misunderstood. You're misunderstanding me to great effect here. That if I'm not saying that you should personally be overwhelmed by the death toll everyday you. I'm not saying that it's functional for you and I to each personally get up each morning and just drink deep of the full horror of all the bad luck that has spread.

Jordan Peterson:    01:49:57       No, maybe it is, but maybe we can't have that…

Sam Harris:         01:49:59       But as societies we need a. When you're talking about how how we spend our money, how we get a portion foreign aid, the kinds of wars we fight or don't fight, it had to be… Then we have to correct for what is in fact a moral illusion, which is we know that if we tell one little, we tell one compelling story about a little girl, right? We could go to war over that, right? Whereas we won't be motivated by a genocide. That's the kind of thing that moves whole societies now and if if you add to it, the bogus religious sanctity is if you. If if you. If we burned a Koran on this stage tonight, the rest of the rest of our lives would be spent in hiding, right? Because of how motivated people would be to to address that pseudo problem. Right? That's the world we're living. And civilization in so far as we have a purchase on. It is a matter of correcting for those errors and religion for the most part, not across the board, but for the most part is standing in the way of those course corrections.

Jordan Peterson:    01:51:11       Well, okay, there. There was a tremendous amount to unpack in that. I mean and and like in some sense, a surprising amount. It's like, well, we have, we're, we're wired to feel intense empathy for individuals who are close to us and we can be told stories in a manner that, that makes that system manifest itself and everyone and their dog thinks that that's a wonderful thing and we call that empathy, right? And empathy has a narrow domain of utility as it turns out, because how. I mean maybe if you were all who you should be, you'd be weeping constantly for the catastrophic fate of sentient beings on the earth, but you can't handle it. You know what I mean? It's that you can barely handle your own suffering and maybe you can handle a bit of the suffering of your family and more power to you. If you could rectify that and if you were better human beings, maybe you could expand that outwards, but the fact that our empathy doesn't scale up to the level of genocide with the same intensity that we treat instances of individuals suffering isn't an indication that we're irrational. It's just an indication that we're limited.

Sam Harris:         01:51:11       That's not true.

Brett Weinstein:    01:52:21       I think this is an indication of exactly of our evolved structures. Not matching the present because the point…

Jordan Peterson:    01:52:26       But they do match because we take care of our families…

Brett Weinstein:    01:52:28       but they don't match. Because if you encountered the starving girl that's some sort of a. it's a crude measure of suffering in your local environment. Were you in the past now that you can encounter this girl on the television? It's not clear what it should mean to you. Right? Right. You can't calibrate

Jordan Peterson:    01:52:47       You might if get your act together…

Brett Weinstein:    01:52:48       Right, and so the. So the point is your indifference to a genocide, which is an abstraction, right, is altered. Should you see pictures of the bodies, for example, you shouldn't actually feel differently about the genocide in the abstract case versus the the case that you're looking at the bodies. And the fact that we have access to photo realistic,

Sam Harris:         01:53:14       it's worse than that this is why it's actually irrational because I can show you the case where you care at level 10 about the little girl named Lila and you care at level eight about the little girl named Lila and her brother named Giante, right? And you care at level four if I've added a few more kids, but the little girl named Lila who was ostensibly care about is there and each one of these rights…

Jordan Peterson:    01:53:44       Yeah but your resources diminished [unintelligeble] of the suffering…

Sam Harris:         01:53:46       You have $10 to give away every month to help start struggling and humanity and you tell me you'll give 10 to lila this month and, and, and then I catch you in another moment and I say, well, you know, it's Leila and her brother. So it's like if you only can give 10, I understand, but you know, the problem is actually worse than I suspected. And you say, well not actually I am just going to give eight, right? It, it's, it's not coherent with your how much you cared about Leila and the first place

Jordan Peterson:    01:54:14       we do know we do know quite well. The heuristics that we use to orient ourselves in the world can be placed into frameworks where they produce contradictory outcomes, but that doesn't mean that the heuristics themselves are deeply flawed. It's that it's a problem with the work of people like Kahneman and Tversky…

Sam Harris:         01:54:30       But we need to correct for them because they're producing reliable results that we recognize…

Jordan Peterson:    01:54:35       yeah you can put them in a situation where they produce a counterproductive response, but that doesn't mean that generally speaking, in most situations they don't produce a useful outcome because the question is why in the hell, what did they evolved? If most of the time…

Sam Harris:         01:54:47       They evolved to live with 150 people with whom we're related and to be terrified of the people in the next valley who may want to kill and eat us. Yes, and that's, I mean, that's our ancient circumstance which doesn't map onto a common humanity of 7 billion people trying to figure out how to get to Mars without killing each other.

Jordan Peterson:    01:55:06       Well, it, it does map onto it sometimes, unfortunately, because there are many times when we still face the same kind of hence look at maps. Look it maps onto your concern Sam. You wouldn't be concerned about the fundamentalists, terror of Islam if you weren't driven by those. Essentially tribal considerations, not suggesting…

Sam Harris:         01:55:25       It doesn't require if my a mere identification with humanity, it can ground not wanting to be murdered by people who identified with a subset of humanity. Right? Like I don't need to be part of a smaller tribe to care that people will murder me over burning the Koran. Right? It's, it's, it's clearly counterproductive that we live in a society where some objects are held with such totemic attachment for irrational reasons, by many, many millions of people were, you know, you should be sympathetic with this. Our free speech is actually canceled on this point, right? You literally can't produce cartoons. I have scholarly works about the cartoon price if we don't show the cartoon,

Jordan Peterson:    01:56:12       We have no argument whatsoever between us about the lack of utility of…

Sam Harris:         01:56:16       you don't have to be identified as a, as a Christian or a Jew to push back against that, you just have to be a human being that sees the dysfunction of a smaller kind of provincialism

Jordan Peterson:    01:56:29       well, the thing that I'm struggling with is that I still can't understand in what your ethos is, is is grounded because you. You claim like a transcendental rationalism, but you won't identify the structures that produce it. It's a black box and when I tried to push you on the absolute nature of your ethical claim, which is that the bad life is worse than the good life and that we should in fact universally work towards the good life. It doesn't seem to me that you'll accept the proposition that that's a universal claim.

Sam Harris:         01:56:56       It. No, it is. It is. Well, I should is irrelevant here. It's just the fact that there is the possibility of moving in this space. If you move in the wrong direction, if you move far enough, you'll like it less and less. Given the minds you have…

Brett Weinstein:    01:57:17       what if you had to accept moving in the wrong direction and experiencing less and less wellbeing in order to get to a better place in? Well, and maybe even just to survive supposedly. Suppose the population has to endure a generation and a half of misery in order to persist for another say…

Sam Harris:         01:57:35       Ethically that's a perfectly intelligible circumstance that people have had to face. And it's in my, on my moral landscape, it's analogous to what we were were we might be at one local maximum or your or the some high point, but we're moving in a down a slope to get to yet some higher place. Right? So certain things, some things may only be possible if we made some painful and net unpleasant sacrifice. Yes. And so that, but that's, that can be rationally apprehended. There can be an argument for that. It could be a way or you know, we all have to go on a diet, otherwise we're gonna, you know, we're going to die of this problem, right? We all have to stop eating whatever it is, wheat, right? It's a hard sacrifice for people who have to stop it as, you know, if that were true well and there'd be an argument for it, there'd be evidence that would convince us we would stop, we would feel the pain and we would, we would get whatever benefit with that was on the other side of that sacrifice. But again, you don't have to. If the utility again to come bring it back to stories at which, as you know, not my emphasis, but it is yours. The, the utility of stories is not something I'm arguing against. I mean there's no question that certain stories are incredibly compelling and in our conversation with one another, the moment you begin to frame something in terms of a story, people become much more interested right now. Like if, uh, 90 percent of what we said together tonight, were framed each, each point we were making as a matter of philosophy or, or, or science were framed in …Well, Actually, you know, yesterday I was walking on the street and I met this guy is a terrifying looking guy and all of a sudden people become much more interested. Right? And then that's not an accident and that says something deep about us that we could understand that in evolutionary terms and we might in fact one to creatively leverage to be better people, to have better conversations.

Jordan Peterson:    01:59:36       Definitely. Yes. So, so that's what I think.

Sam Harris:         01:59:38       There's nothing, there's nothing that I say in opposition to religious dogmatism and religious sectarianism, that discounts, that reality and that's a psychological reality is a cultural reality and I'm not against making the most of it. My, my basic claim, however, is that we never need to believe that one of our books may not have a human origin. In order to do that effectively, you can. You can be just as compelled by the example of somebody like Jesus or some more modern person who strikes you as a moral hero and a deeply wise without believing anything on insufficient evidence. And if and and as I, as you alluded to purely fictional stories about superheros can have immense effect on us and that's something we could understand and also leverage. But again, that takes us out of the religion business and that's, that's all I've been arguing for.

Brett Weinstein:    02:00:37       So do you really believe that's the belief in the supernatural aspect of these stories never alters the calculus of what people should do, that the divine nature of a story about Jesus doesn't motivate people to do something that they might not have the courage to do otherwise. The belief that they might end up in heaven because their good work is going to be observed. It doesn't alter their behavior.

Sam Harris:         02:01:03       Well, yeah, I know it alters their behavior, but rather offen for the bad. Well, I mean this is why this is what worries me about. And I think there's something there. There's a profound net negative that we are paying the price for every day by believing in paradise, right? A belief, a belief that this life, it probably doesn't matter very much at all because we get. What we really want after we die is forget about the evidentiary basis for that belief, It's ruinous for prioritizing what we should be prioritizing in this life.

Jordan Peterson:    02:01:42       I agree with that, by the way.

Sam Harris:         02:01:44       Yeah. Well that's interesting.

Brett Weinstein:    02:01:49       So, um, let me ask you this, I hear from you what might be a kind of confirmation bias where I hear that, you know, we've got a mixed bag. You've got supernatural claims, these supernatural claims, we all agree have effects on the way people actually behave and you're quite focused on the negative and you tend to discount the positive which might be an artifact of the fact that we're talking about the present and therefore maybe something that's not well matched to these stories or it might be from the idea that you have the sense that there is actually a bias that these belief structures do and have always produced more harm than good.

Sam Harris:         02:02:31       And also my sense that the positive can be had without those structures. So they, if you're talking about the, the, the, the contemplative experience, like is it possible to have to feed the wake up tomorrow morning feeling like my surette cart, right? Feeling like you're just inseparable from the pure capital b Being that is consciousness, right and the. And there's no separate self there, right though the self transcending union with everything you can perceive, right? I think that can be had without any kind of religious dogmatism it's just a matter of paying close enough attention to the nature of consciousness. So the contemplative life is one baby in the bathwater, we can save the ethical life is another baby. We can say you don't have to presuppose anything on insufficient evidence to argue about what is right and wrong and good and evil in the 21st century.

Brett Weinstein:    02:03:23       Is it fair to call that a hypothesis that not just for some people but for everyone, the level of wellbeing can be enhanced through rational interaction with the questions that dictate what we do. Is that a hypothesis float?

Sam Harris:         02:03:40       That's a hypothesis that the one additional fact that we that makes that more or less moot is that on certain points, even if we felt that really believing the fiction were what was it was advantageous to people, depending on which fiction you're talking about, there's simply just there's too much evidence against it that you can't. You can't decide to believe something for which you have no evidence simply because of the good effects, the good experience it will give you or you imagine it will give you. I mean, that's so. That's why Pascal's wager never made any sense, but you can't say, and the only way you can believe something to be true, really true, not just metaphorically true, is to believe that if it weren't true, you wouldn't believe it. They stand at some relationship to its truth, such that that is the reason why you believe it. Now, you can't say, you can't be telling yourself, you know, I have no evidence for this thing, but I know life would be better if I believed it to be true, and so therefore I really believe it's true.

Brett Weinstein:    02:04:45       You don't think people do that all the time?

Sam Harris:         02:04:47       I don't think they do. I think they do things much more like we're talking the metaphorical truth we're talking about you. We act as if things are true without forming any strong propositional claim. And that's fine. That's fine. That, that has its own utility.

Brett Weinstein:    02:05:03       You don't think this is basically, I mean, we all suspended disbelief when we go and watch a movie and we sort of entitled the movie maker to um, to set the ground rules of the space and if it's Harry Potter, than there are magic magical things that can happen. And if it's some other story, maybe there aren't. So we all have a mechanism whereby we know we can suspend disbelief. And it's interesting to me that you seem not to imagine that people are doing that with respect to metaphysical beliefs that have implications for what the right actions that they should take our why. Why wouldn't it be the case that that same sort of mechanism would apply?

Sam Harris:         02:05:40       Well, it does apply, but there are people who are clearly doing much more than that. So I'm not. If, if that's all people were doing under the ages of religion, I wouldn't spend much time worrying about religion, but that to some degree that's what people do, you know, as you say, go into caring about things that at bottom we really shouldn't care about. So the World Cup is on right now and we're literally billions of people care care down to their toes. What happens to this little ball as it traverses a lawn? Right? And if it goes into the net, it really matters. If it fails to…

Jordan Peterson:    02:06:19       It always matters if we hit the target Sam.

Sam Harris:         02:06:22       But this is, this is something we have manufactured to care about it Right?

Jordan Peterson:    02:06:27       No its something that speaks to us unbelievably…

Sam Harris:         02:06:28       it's quite literally a game, a game that people are playing. but some people take it in, taking it further than you, than, than seems truly rational is part of the fun. That's but, but the, but the people who can't turn that off…

Jordan Peterson:    02:06:45       It's metaphor. Soccer is a metaphor…

Sam Harris:         02:06:46       but there. But there are people who are there, you know, there are people you know, the, the fullback who kicks an own goal and then goes back to his South American village and gets murdered. Right. He's surrounded by people who were taking the game too seriously.

Jordan Peterson:    02:06:59       Yeah. Okay. I agree. Yeah.

Sam Harris:         02:07:01       And so my problem with religion is that so much of a time we're meeting those people and we're at work and we're not criticizing those people. We have no place to stand to criticize those people because we're so attached to the game.

Jordan Peterson:    02:07:14       Fair enough. Why don't we do this? Why don't we each take three minutes to sum up.

Brett Weinstein:    02:07:20       I think. Yeah, we are there. We're at the end of time. So why don't you each take three minutes, some up and then we'll call it good. Yup. I'm sure Sam went last. Do you want to go first here?

Jordan Peterson:    02:07:31       Okay. So there's lots of things about which Sam and I agree, but the devil's in the details. Of course. Now I, I'm very sympathetic to his claim that we need to ground our ethical systems in something solid and demonstrable. My problem is I'm not sure how to do that, I don't believe that you can derive a value structure from your experience of the observable facts. There's too many facts you need to structure to interpret them and there isn't very much of you. And so part of the reason, part of the way that that's addressed neurologically is that you have an inbuilt structure. It's deep. It's partly biological. It's partly an emergent consequence of, of your socialization and you view the world of facts through that structure and it's a structure of value. Now that structure value may be derived from the world of facts over the evolutionary timeframe, but it's not derived from the world of facts over the timeframe that you inhabit and it can't be. So. The problem I have with our discussion so far isn't really any of Sam's fundamental ethical claims because I do believe there's a distinction between the hellish life and the heavenly life. Say the life that everyone would agree with absolutely not worth living and the life we could imagine as good. And I do believe that we should be moving from one to the other. The question is exactly how is it that we make the decisions that will guide us along that way. And I don't believe we can make them without that a priori structure. In fact, I think the evidence is absolutely overwhelming that we can't. And I mean also the scientific evidence and I would like to go further into the devil that's in those details. And so that's my situation at the moment. Thank you.

Sam Harris:         02:09:49       Well part of these conversations. And now if you, and I've had I think four concrete, we've done two podcasts in this, our second live event. And thank you for doing this, By the way, this is

Jordan Peterson:    02:10:02       Hey, it's my pleasure

Sam Harris:         02:10:09       Honored to do this. And it's, uh, it comes with risks for both of us to do this minute. I think you can sense we don't have precisely the same audiences. All of you are sort of rooting for one or the other of us to some degree…

Jordan Peterson:    02:10:25       or for the spirit of truth.

Sam Harris:         02:10:34       And clearly the conversation is the point, right? Though this conversation had the character at many moments of a debate. I don't think either of us view it as a debate in in the trivial sense is not about point scoring. It's about making sense in a way that's consequential because we're talking about issues of great consequence and you obviously care about these things and it matters whether we converge on the most important questions in human life and as you know, I'm worried that religion doesn't give us the tools we need to converge. What does give us the tools is a truly open ended conversation and what then you simply have to look honestly at the obstacles toward any conversation being open ended, and religion presents those first and most readily. It's. It is a the idea that certain things have been decided for all time and there's no future evidence or argument that is admissible on those points. Now. That is clearly bad. Everywhere in science. It's bad everywhere in in how we renegotiate our proximity to one another in society, in new laws and new ideas are born all the time about how to structure institutions and social relationships. Because new things happen, I mean we didn't have an internet and then we did, so our old laws and our old expectations of human communication simply don't work in the presence of this new thing. Right? So we have to figure out. We, again, it's a navigation problem and what I'm perpetually in contest with a even in conversations like this is the sense that the rules need to change just a little bit for this class of books that literally this side of the bookstore, right? That's like any other part of the bookstore will then there's no barrier to honest conversation, but you move over here. They got this shelf of books there. You have to hold your tongue right there. We can't pick and choose. We can't say that. While we can say that Shakespeare wrote some fantastic players, the best players ever written and some are actually not that good, right? We can't say that about God, right? We have to find some tortured way to make the most of his diabolical utterances. Right. That's the thing we have to outgrow and so what I'm continually intention with you is the degree to which your style of talking about religion and narrative, the power of narrative and and the meaning derived from it aligns that point and seems to let people off the hook on that very point and that's the, That's where we need to hold the line. In my view, we need to. We need to… that, that it has to be clear to us at this moment in history that no one has the right to their religious sectarianism. Really. I mean it up to the point. Clearly there's a, there's a soccer, there's a World Cup version of it that has benign, but once it gets taken past that point, we we have to figure out how to pull the brakes and that becomes a real problem. If your, if you were going to dignify the foundational claims of these faiths claims like revelation and paradise and blasphemy and apostasy. I mean, these are things that you come up against and I think conversations like this are incredibly important because we need to convince the better part of humanity that is possible to live the best life possible without recourse to divisive nonsense and where we draw the line between devices of nonsense and reasoned, unnecessary discourse is what we're bickering over and I think, I think it's important that we continue.

Brett Weinstein:    02:15:06       In closing, let me say, first of all, I'm tremendously honored that you asked me to moderate these debates.

Sam Harris:         02:15:15       Fantastic.

Brett Weinstein:    02:15:23       It was a truly remarkable experience. As for what was accomplished, I think it was a tremendous amount. I saw both of you move. I saw both of you exhibit tremendous generosity of spirit towards the other and I think this has exceeded my expectations of what might've been possible in these discussions by quite a bit. Um, and that also I will say has a lot to do with the fact that for reasons I think none of us can explain a huge amount of people, a huge population seems to care about these issues because they matter a great deal. So anyway, I think this has been a very successful exercise and I think you can both be quite proud of what you've done.

Travis Pangburn:    02:16:06       Alright, let's give a huge round of applause for our speakers tonight!

Jordan Peterson:    02:16:23       Thank you very much.

Source

Travis Pangburn:    00:00:00       All Right, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Douglas Murray, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.

Sam Harris:         00:00:38       Thank you all for coming out.

Douglas Murray:     00:00:40       Well, good evening Dublin. As you've just heard, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris met the first time in person two weeks ago now in Vancouver. They covered an enormous amount of ground and there is, I think, an enormous amount of ground still to cover, but I've asked them if they would start this evening in the following way. You're all familiar with a straw manning. Anyone who follows politics, knows straw manning, but I've asked them to do the opposite tonight. Just start by steel manning the arguments of each other to present in the best possible, most fair, most rigorous light, what they understand to be the other's argument on all of the major issues we're about to discuss. Thank you. I'm going to ask Sam Harris to go first and we're going to go from there.

Sam Harris:         00:01:57       Thank you. So first, thank you all for coming. It's really, it's an immense privilege for us to do this. Thank you. And, uh, I've, uh, I should say many of you have sacrificed a lot to come here. People who have come from other countries, I'm told you all dealt with a ticketing system that seems like it was run from a cave in Afghanistan. Uh, it's, um, so again, thank you all because it's, you know, it's, it's one thing for us to put this date on the calendar and say we're going to speak here is another for all of you to show up. And this is a privilege we certainly don't take for granted. So. And it's an immense one. So Jordan and, and I, I should say that though  much of our conversation together, we'll often sound like we're debating it, We will definitely be there, None of us are in the habit of pulling our punches. There's an immense amount of goodwill here and it's onstage as true offstage and we're all trying to refine our beliefs together in conversation. So there's this, none of us view this as a debate though. We might stridently disagree about one thing or another. Um, what's so what Jordan, I think, disagrees with me about it. I think he is worried that I, though we we clearly have a common project; We're both concerned to understand how to live lives worth living, how can we do this individually and how can we build societies that safeguard this project for millions of people attempting to do this. and the diverse ways and so so many questions immediately come online when you try to do that, but what is the relationship between facts and values, for instance, where science and spiritual experience or our ethical lives and we have as for the moment different answers to those questions. Jordan is concerned that I in my allergy to religion insufficiently value the power of stories in general and religious stories in particular that that there's, there's something more than just nakedly engaging with facts as the as they are, but we do. We don't simply come into contact with reality. We have to interpret reality. We interpreted through our senses and with our brains obviously, but you need frameworks and as Jordan would say, stories with which to do that. You don't get facts in the raw and Jordan believes that I, because my purpose so often is to counter what I view as the dangerous dogmas within religion. I ignore the, the power and even the necessity of certain kinds of stories and certain ways of thinking about the world and our situation in the world that, uh, that not only bring many, many millions and even billions of people, immense value are in fact necessary for anyone. However rational to build a society where all of our, our, a wellbeing, uh, can, can be conserved. So I think in brief, that's Jordan's concerned about me.

Jordan Peterson:    00:05:24       Okay. So Sam is concerned. Um, I would say above all, with the minimization of unnecessary suffering, which seems to me to be a pretty good place to start and he's concerned that he's concerned that in order to do that we need to develop an ethic. And ethics should be grounded in that realization that unnecessary suffering is worth contending with and dealing with. And that and that. If we make too much of the divide between facts and values, then we end up in a situation where our value structure has no super subordinate foundational grounding and this is a big problem. So generally in the philosophical community, it's accepted, although not universally that it's difficult if not impossible to derive values from facts. But the problem with that proposition is that you end up in a situation where either you lose all your values because they're just arbitrary or you or you have to ground them in something that isn't. That that's revelatory and Sam is concerned that one of the negative consequences of grounding your fundamental ethic and something that's revealed is the emergent consequence of irrational fundamentalism. And so obviously that's worth contending with. And so he's taking issue with the philosophical idea that facts and values have to be separate and formulating the proposition that we can in fact ground a universal system of values in the facts and that we can mediate between the facts and the system of values using using our facility for truth. But even more specifically. Our facility for rationality and rationality can be the mediator between the world of facts in the world and the world of values, and so the. The problem I have with that, I guess if, if we can skip briefly to problems is that it isn't obvious to me how to produce an ethos with sufficient motivating power to to ground that conception of the minimization of suffering, say in the promotion of wellbeing in a way that's that grips people and unites our society and so I think that's. That's part of what we're discussing and trying to sort out with regards to the potential role of narrative and religious belief. As an underpinning to this ethos. We seem to agree on the necessity for the universal ethos. We even seem to agree. I would say on what that is because certainly the minimization of suffering seems to me to be a very good place to start. We share our concern with and a belief that the pathway to that ethos is in some manner related to our ability to speak the truth, but we disagree on what that has to be grounded in and how it has to be grounded. My sense, especially after thinking about our discussion is that Sam makes what rationality is do too much work and I'm hoping that not that rationality is irrelevant or unimportant because it clearly is neither of those, but maybe the devil's in the details and hopefully we can get down to the details tonight and we, we brought Douglas into the conversation. He's here to serve as much more than a mere moderator and partly we've determined that as Sam alluded to, that what we're actually trying to figure out is what are the minimum necessary preconditions for the construction of engaged productive individuals with meaningful, responsible lives in a society that's stable enough to sustain itself and dynamic enough to change? What are the minimal preconditions for that? What are the and and how do we ground those presuppositions, those preconditions, and what price do we pay for? For having them because you never get something without a cost. And we thought that Douglas would be very interesting addition to this conversation because of course he's concentrated on such things as borders and when you set up preconditions for social order, you also automatically produced such things as hierarchies and borders and they don't come without a cost. And so we hope to expand the conversation to include a discussion of those issues as well.

Sam Harris:         00:10:00       Yeah. Right, before Douglas Chimes in. And I just want to reiterate the fact that he has not been cast here as our moderator though. If Jordan and I run off the rails, I expect Douglas to put us back on. And the king's English.

Douglas Murray:     00:10:12       I'm not moderate enough to be a moderator…

Sam Harris:         00:10:16       but, uh, you're your more moderate than either of us are. But so I want, I want you to reset the part of your brain that is poised to begrudge the moderator taken up too much time because every moderator has felt that. And Bret Weinstein was brilliantly aloof and uninvolved in much of our exchange together. But, but Doug was really as a third participant here. And uh, and he, he stands between Jordan and I on some issues. Interesting way so that the, there's a, we have a three way conversation here where none of us is really sitting in the same spot. So

Douglas Murray:     00:10:54       can I make a quick observation about some of the, some of the progress that you've already made in Vancouver? Some of the Progress I hope we can make tonight seems to be. I see one thing that hampers it, um, uh, let me go straight to it with Sam which is. Um, I discovered a terrific phrase the other day that our mutual friend, Eric Weinstein came up with, we were talking about the manner in which you can discuss within the sciences certain scientific problems. And he said, look, if you've got a scientist who you know is also basically a very literalist Christian, you will listen to their argument a whole long part of the way and there's somewhere at the end of it, you know, you're going to be worried about it. And he came up with this phrase, I love this face. He says, Jesus smuggling, right? Jesus smuggling is, you're going to follow all the way. Yes, yes, and then the worry is that when you get to the bit that you're not so good on, that's when they're going to smuggle in Jesus. My suspicion is that you have a reservation about some of what Jordan is saying on substructures on stories are much more because you're worried that at some point either on stage or off it at some point when you are not looking. [Laughter]

Sam Harris:         00:12:13       No, no I am looking…

Douglas Murray:     00:12:16       He's going to Jesus smuggle you.

Sam Harris:         00:12:18       Yeah, that's it. Well uh…

Jordan Peterson:    00:12:25       Well, I was thinking maybe I just carry them in on a cross. [Laughter]

Sam Harris:         00:12:31       Well that is an all too apt analogy because it's a. It is what worries me and it's. But it's. It's more subtle than that because it's not. Just to think that you're consciously doing it is is a different claim. Like there's A. I don't think there's anything insincere about your argument for the, for the importance of religion, but it's, it's also possible we've all met the people who we believe are making insincere arguments and are really; They're consciously putting the rabbit in the hat and then it pretending to be surprised when it pops out. Right. And the analogy to magic is actually interesting here because we we had over dinner, we're talking about the the difference between real and fake art and we were talking about this pair at this paradox that if the art seems to be incredibly valuable and yet the value isn't located in the object itself or can't be obviously located there because a forgery that is a materially the exact copy of some masterpiece is essentially worthless and the real masterpiece, even if it suffered some damage would be incredibly valuable. And so where is the value to be located? But it worries me about your enterprise Jordan and the way in which you were you were, you seem to be linking our rational project and our scientific project with religion is, is right here. There's a, there's a difference between and magic as a decent analogy. There's a difference between like paradoxically real magic is fake magic and fake magic is real magic. The only, the only real magic in the world produced by magicians is the fake magic where the magician and like someone like Darren Brown will tell you. Actually no, I can't read minds. And I, I did put the rabbit in the hat and if this is fake, but, but the, the surprise is that even knowing it's fake, you can't understand how this affect is being achieved, whereas the fake magicians are the ones who are pretending to be real, who are, who are hiding, who are not acknowledging the mechanics, the real mechanics behind what is in fact effective, you know, the, the, the illusion that the rabbit pops out of the hat. And what I worry with, with some of your ways in which you discuss the power of story, the power of metaphor and the religious anchoring there is that the, the leverage and the utility can be had even while acknowledging the real mechanics of it. You know, the fake, the fakeness of the magic. Right? And you seem to suspect that it can't, that it takes all of the wind out of the sails.

Jordan Peterson:    00:15:17       I'm not so sure. I'm not so sure what of it's fake. And what if it isn't. Well, let, let. So I would say that I do consciously participate in the process that you described and, but, but you see, I would also make the case, and this is certainly one of the things that we've been, we've been discussing that you do it unconsciously and let, let me make the case for that because I'd really, I'd been thinking about it a lot and I'd like to see your response. So here's what I really read the moral landscape a lot and I thought about it a lot, you know, and so this is what it looks like to me. So you, you, you make the proposition that we have to breach the gap between facts and values because otherwise our values are left hanging unmoored and that certainly brings about the danger of nihilism but also a potential danger of swing to totalitarianism.

Jordan Peterson:    00:16:06       Something we agree about. I truly do believe that. And then you perform an operation, a conceptual operation and you say, surely we can all agree that. And then you outline a story about this woman who lives in this horrible country and who's basically just being starved in disease ridden and tortured her whole life and having just a hell of a time of it to put it in a phrase and then you say, well surely we can all agree that that's not good. And then you contrast that with, at least in principle, the sort of life that we would all like to have, if we could choose the life that we have. And then you say, well, we could start with the proposition that we should move away from this terrible hellish circumstance and we should move towards this more ideal perspective. And you say, if we could only agree on that then and so and so like so far so good. But this is, this is. There's, there's a couple of things that go along with that that are quite interesting. And so the first is that actually what you're claiming is that the highest moral good isn't existing in that better space. The highest moral good is acting in the manner that moves us from the hellish domain to the desirable domain. It seems to me to be implicit in your argument. So there's a pattern of behavior that constitutes the ethic…

Sam Harris:         00:17:23       Well, I wouldn't say that it existing in that, in that better space is good enough as well as that there's the, there's the question of what it takes to move from where you are to some place better and then there's just the someplace that's better…

Jordan Peterson:    00:17:37       Yes! There was both of them but. But we perhaps we could say, look, what's the ultimate hell? It might be existing in the hell that you described, but it also might be this is something worse. I think. I think participating in the process that brings about that hell is actually a hell that's even deeper than the hell. So it's, it's an analogous argument. There's this state of being in a good state, but there's also the state of being that brings you to that good state. And then there's the state of being that's in a that's a terrible state and the process that brings you to that terrible state. And one of the things that I've learned from the architectural and religious texts that I've studied as well as the philosophical text, is that the process that transforms society into something approximating hell is a lower hell. Now the reason…

Sam Harris:         00:18:25       Let me just close. Yeah, on that because I'm pretty sure I disagree. You can imagine two counter examples. One, as you can imagine, a sadistic being a, you might even call him God, who would create a circumstance of hell and populate it with innocent souls right? now, that's presumably that action be not be attended by a lot of suffering. Or You could imagine…

Jordan Peterson:    00:18:50       no, but it's still. It's still wrong…

Sam Harris:         00:18:52       totally wrong…

Jordan Peterson:    00:18:53       You Know you could even imagine someone who enjoys generating that hell. That would be even more wrong than not enjoying it. Okay, so we want to separate out two things. We want to separate out these states of being and the process that brings them into being. And I do believe you do that in your work because basically what you suggest is that the appropriate way to act ethically is to act in a manner that moves us away from hell and moves us towards a desirable state. Now, the thing is is that as far as I'm concerned, there's a couple of things about that. The first thing is that I wouldn't say that that mode of acting is a fact. I would say it's a personality and that what you're suggesting is that people embodied the personality that Moves Society Way from hell towards heaven for lack of a better term. And the reason terms and the reason I make that argument is because I think that you recapitulate the essential Christian message precisely by doing that because symbolically speaking, at least as far as I can understand, stripped of its religious of it's metaphysical context. Let's say that the purpose of positing the, the, the vision of the ideal human being, which independent of the metaphysical context, it certainly what the symbol of Christ represents is the mode of being that moves us most effectively from something approximating hell to something approximating heaven and then part of that part of that message is, and this is also something that's dead along the lines of what you're arguing, is that the best way to embody that is actually to live in truth. I mean so because I would say that the fundamental Christian ethic, metaphysics excepted once again is to act in love, which is to assume that being is acceptable and can be perfected and to pursue that with truth and that you should embody that.

Jordan Peterson:    00:20:37       And then I would say that the purpose of the representation we could call the meta-fictions or archetypal representations, is to show that in embodied format so that it can be imitated rather than to transform it into something that's diluted in some sense to to an abstract rationality. Because I don't think the abstract rationality in itself has enough flesh on it so to speak. Which is partly why in the Christian ethic, there is an emphasis that the word which is something roughly akin to rationality, has to make, has to be made flash. It has to be enacted,

Sam Harris:         00:21:11       but is the, is the flesh made of dogmatism and superstition and other worldliness? Is that part of what gives it its shape and necessity? I think, uh, traditionally historically it has been. And that's been the problem with religion. If you, if you denude it, of everything that is unjustifiable and the light of 21st century science and rationality, I think you, what you have to get down to is something quite a bit more universal and less provincial than any specific religion. Christianity per se.

Jordan Peterson:    00:21:47       Well, it's interesting too though, you know, one of the, one of the things, one of the points that you do make is that you do appeal to or assume the existence of a transcendental internal ethics. Something like that. Which I would say, by the way, since we're going down this direction, seems to me to be something very akin to the idea of the Holy Spirit, which is something like the internal representation of a transcendent universal ethic. Now remember, I'm trying to strip these concepts of their metaphysical substrate. I'm not making a case at the moment for the existence of the great man in the sky. We can. We can get to that later. I'm saying that what seems to be the case is that we have underneath our cognitive architecture and our social architecture a layer of symbolic and dramatic and narrative representation that instantiates the same concepts but but in a, in a multidimensional context.

Jordan Peterson:    00:22:43       One of the things we talked about in Vancouver for example, is that the religious enterprise doesn't only emphasize rationality it. It brings music into the play and it brings art into the play and it brings drama and it brings literature and it brings architecture and it brings the, the organizing of of of cities around a central space. Like it's. It's pushing itself. It's manifesting itself across multiple dimensions of human existence simultaneously. And to me that gives it a richness that cannot be diluted without loss and and, and also a motive power that, that appear appeal to rationality I don't think can manage, and this is see, one of the things. This is maybe a good place for Douglas to leap in and see one, one of the things that Douglas who's claimed upon multiple locations to be an atheist and I don't know how he's feeling about that and at the present time, but it doesn't matter. It's one of the things. One of the things Doug Douglas has has pointed out was that there are things that we've done in free countries, let's say broadly speaking in the West that are worth protecting and that in order to protect them in the longest sense, it's conceivable that we need a, a cognitive structure, something like that that can act as a bulwark against those forces that would seek to undermine and destroy it. And Douglas has been driven, I would say, to some degree, to hypothesize that for Christianity, for all its faults or we could say Judeo Christianity to broaden it for all its faults might provide something approximating that bulwark if we could only figure out how to utilize it properly. So..

Douglas Murray:     00:24:28       yes, I mean, one of my problems on this is that it seems that we are where we are with belief in whether we wish it to be or not. We cannot believe as our predecessors believed, even if we wanted to, we know too much more now and it puts us in this very difficult position. Um, but to denude also as if the entire story seems to me to be a fool's errand for the set of reasons. One of which is that from a lot of travel, a lot of speaking to people from all around the, well, it doesn't seem at all obvious to me that what we have in companies like this one is the default position of human beings. In fact, it strikes me as being very rare, order, even political order, political liberalism, political freedom, very, very unusual things. And if you like the things that helped to get through that with all of the caveats, with all the caveats we can, we could throw in in all evening and it's not the only thing that got us there obviously. But if you'd like, broadly speaking, where we are, you've got to be very suspicious at the very least of saying the whole story is no good. We don't need the story. We can move on. I quote quite often the radical theologian Don Cupitt, who was often described as an atheist priest and uh Cupitt said somewhere in a recent book he said, you know, we can't help it. He said, for instance, the dreams we dream are still Christian dreams. Whether we like that fact or not.
 And without being able to believe myself. Does that mean not being able to be a literal believer? Um, I worry! Yeah. I worry about what happens when the square is denuded completely. And that's why this discussion tonight and You two in particular, are right on the cusp of this, because this is, this is where I think a lot of us are, even if we really wanted to believe, we basically Can't. And by the way very quickly. That's why I think there's an additional, just to refine my previous point to use them. That's why there's this additional thing. I think there is a fear which you may have, which I also have, which is if there's a risk that even what I've just said, nevermind what Jordan has also said, there's a risk. I think some people feel that you're going to soften up the land somehow and that even if neither Jordan nor I are going to suddenly start Jesus smuggling, we might create the conditions that make it easier for someone else to do that. Is that a fair?

Sam Harris:         00:27:21       Yeah, and it, it is…

Douglas Murray:     00:27:27       No photos!! [Jordan fixes Douglas's microphone]

Sam Harris:         00:27:27       That's very Christian of you! [Jordan Laughs]

Douglas Murray:         00:27:36       Thank you.

Sam Harris:         00:27:38       Let me see if I can sharpen up what my concern actually is here. Because it's not even true to say that I think you need to get rid of the Jesus story or even, or even not, hey, I don't even think there is something problematic with orienting your life around the Jesus Story. I think that that can be reclaimed. But so for instance, I was walking yesterday in this fine city of yours and saw someone on the sidewalk giving Taro readings to people. He had a tarot deck spread out. He had a few cards spread out and he was soliciting people in. And, and, uh, I'm sorry to say I didn't sit for a reading, but you know, to Tarot cards, if you're familiar with them, are the the quintessential artifact of new age woo, right? Um, these are not thought of as legitimate tools that divination except by people who think that they're legitimate tools of divination. And yet a tarot reading can be truly powerful, right? I mean, this is built on something, right? This is not just a massive, uh, example of self deception on the part of people reading and people getting their cards read. These cards can seem precious. I could give you all a reading right now and 95 percent of you would find what I would, what the cards would say to be relevant to your lives. I mean, I could do it with an imaginary deck. I don't even an invisible imaginary deck. I don't know anything about Tarot cards, but I'm going to turn two cards. Now. One is the sun and the other is the fallen man. Now I know so little about Tarot than I'm not even sure the fallen man is a tarot card . I think it was the hanged man is a tarot card. Okay, so I've got these two cards and you know the sun is clearly the representation of wisdom, right? And the and the, the hanged man is the is the representation of, of lost opportunity. And I can tell you with some degree of certainty that all of you are at a crossroads in your life where you have, you have good reason to believe that you're not making the most of your opportunities right now. I could go on like this for an hour, right? And pretend all the while that it has something to do with the cards actually been working in concert with the dynamics of the cosmos, such that these cards that I turn over, were they real, would be the ones that of necessity were revealing something about your mind in this moment and obviously people think in these terms about astrology and sympathetic magic and all the rest and religion is built upon this kind of superstition.

Sam Harris:         00:30:26       There's a way of understanding the utility of using a device like this and the real effect it has on you. I mean, if I turn over the cards and and ask you to look at your life in this moment as though for the first time through this lens, considering in this case lost opportunities, right? Of course it's going to be valid. That doesn't make a. It can be an incredibly useful thing to do. The… My main concern is that at no point you have to lie to yourself about your state of knowledge about the mechanism, right? You don't have to believe Tarot cards…

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:03       Even then There's deeper, deeper mechanisms at work with someone who's actually good at that, and so I agree with what you've said..

Sam Harris:         00:31:11       but they need not be supernatural…

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:12       No, I don't think they are supernatural and in fact, I think what happens when you use a projective technique like that because that's essentially what it is. If I'm good at interpersonal attunement and I'm quite intuitive what I'm going to do this and everyone does this in the course of a dialogue that's actually working well, I'm going to flip over the cards and I'm going to start with generic archetypal statements that are that are true in some sense for everyone, but then I'm going to watch you both consciously and implicitly, unconsciously with all of my social intelligence and I'm going to see through very, very subtle signs on your part when you respond positively to what I'm saying and when you respond negatively, and I'm going to continue down the lines that you established by your positive responses…

Sam Harris:         00:31:56       Yeah but that's Derren Brown does. He's a mentalist…

Jordan Peterson:    00:31:58       Yeah! Well, it's exactly what happens when children are interviewed, for example, by people who lead them as witnesses, right? But children need infer from the emotional expressions of the person who's interrogating them what it is that they actually want to hear, and so…

Sam Harris:         00:32:12       That even worked with that horse. Clever Hans…

Jordan Peterson:    00:32:13       Exactly right! That's right. Exactly. Even horses can do this, so Tarot card readers can definitely do this, So the, the mechanisms behind something like that, even if it appears entirely superstitious on the surface, are often deeper than it is revealed at first approximation. So, and I wanted to talk a little bit, if you don't mind, for a minute about rationality because the, the. We've already agreed, I think definitely stop me if I'm wrong, that there has to be an intermediary mechanism between the world of facts in the world of values and. Well since we've talked, I've been reading have a variety of commentaries on Immanuel Kant. Mostly these have been written by Roger Scruton, by the way, and this is actually the issue that the Kant obsessed about for most of his philosophical life and what he concluded was that empiricism can't be right in rationality, can't be right as philosophical disciplines because you need an intermediary structure and that we have an inbuilt intermediary structure and that structure is what mediates between the thing in itself, the world of facts, let's say, and the outputs, the values. So then I was thinking…

Sam Harris:         00:33:25       Well, the truth is we don't quite agree on this in my summary of your view of me. I would have agreed with that, but for me it's just facts all the way down.

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:34       Okay, Great! Great glad to hear it, man. Why do you need a brain then?

Sam Harris:         00:33:40       Well, a brain is yet another part of reality. And it was not what I mean by a fact.

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:46       Yeah but what does it do, facts are just there. What does the brain do? It has to do something because otherwise you don't need it…

Sam Harris:         00:33:54       It does a lot. But the, the uh, I mean, so your concern to, to jump to the, where I think we're going in this conversation is how is it that values can be another order of fact that seems problematic to you? It seems problematic to you. It's problematic that David Hume…

Jordan Peterson:    00:34:14       Well, that's problematic for me for a technical reason, which is that in order to act; and let's see if we agree on this in order to perceive and to act, which I believe are both, uh, acts of value to perceive as an active value because you have to look at something instead of a bunch of other things. So you have, you elevate the thing that you're perceiving to the position of highest value by perceiving it, by deciding to perceive it.

Sam Harris:         00:34:43       Okay but that gets translated in my brain into just more facts. You're just giving me the facts of human perception…

Jordan Peterson:    00:34:52       Okay that's fine, That's no problem. I'm perfectly happy about that. And then in order to act, you have to select the target of action from among an infinite number near infinite number, close enough of possible mechanisms of action. And so what a biological organism does is take the facts and translate them into perception and action, and the only organisms that do that with one to one mapping are organisms that are composed of sensory motor cells, like sponges, marine sponges, which are composed of sensory motor cells. They don't have an intermediary nervous system, so what they do is they sit in the water and they make a sponge. They're so simple that if you grind a sponge through a sieve and in salt water, it'll reorganize itself into the sponge. So that's quite cool. The sponge sits in the water and what it does and what it does is there's waves on it and so it, those are patterns and then the sponge opens and closes pores on its surface in response to those patterns. So it maps the pattern of the waves right onto its behavior with no intermediary of a nervous system, but it's. It can only map waves. That's all it can do, and it can only open and closed pores. That's it. So it does one to one factor value mapping. Now what happens is that as the, as the complexity of a biological organism increases, two things happen. The first thing that happens is that the sensory and motor cells differentiate. So now the organism has sensory cells and motor cells, so since senses to detect and senses and sorry cells to detect and cells to act. Okay, so then it can do. It can detect more patterns because it's more sophisticated at the sensory perspective and it can do more things because it has specialized motor systems, but then what happens is that as it gets even more complex than it puts an intermediary structure of nervous tissue in there and that structure increases in the number of layers of neurons. And what that means is that as. As that happens and as the sensory cells become more specialized and as the motor output cells become more specialized, many more patterns can be detected. Those are roughly equivalent to facts and many more motor outputs can be manifested, but a tremendous number of calculations have to has to occur in that intermediary nervous tissue. And that's the structure that I'm talking about. That structure exists and it translates the patterns into motor output and it doesn't do it on a one to one basis because there are more patterns, more facts. Then there are motor outputs, so what has to happen is this tremendous plethora of facts that surrounds us has to be filtered to the point where you pick a single action because you can't act, act otherwise, and so the mechanism that reduces the number of facts to the selected action is the mechanism that mediates between facts and values, and it's not simply in and of itself. It's a fact that that exists, but it isn't as simple as that. What it does isn't the simple fact you can't do. You can't explain it. You can't understand it…

Sam Harris:         00:37:55       Why not?

Jordan Peterson:    00:37:56       For the same reason that you can't look for the same reason, for the same reason that you don't know what a neural network is doing, like you can train a neural network…

Sam Harris:         00:38:07       There's a distinction between facts and facts that we know right there. There is whatever it is the case, right? And then there's our understanding of it and our misunderstanding of it. So there are many things that we think we know that we're wrong about. There are many things that we are aware we're ignorant of, and there's this, there's this larger always this larger space of reality that we're struggling to engage with, and it may in fact be the case that in evolutionary terms, but we know it's the case that we're. We have not evolved to understand reality and large perfectly. That's not the sort of monkeys we are. Right? And you could even argue over that one. One cognitive scientist who some of you may have heard of Donald Hoffman is arguing now you know, very colorfully that human consciousness or the human mind is, is actually evolved to get things wrong in a fairly specific ways so that so as to maximize survival. And that…

Jordan Peterson:    00:39:07       That was the argument I made in our first discussion…

Sam Harris:         00:39:09       No, but, but, but was not quite because there's still. This still preserves the difference between getting things right and getting things wrong. He, his argument is that getting things truly right, having a nervous system and a cognitive architecture that could really understand reality, quote reality as it is, would be maladaptive and he has some, he has some mathematical demonstration of this, that, that, that, that the, the true, the true representations of reality are categorically maladaptive and uh, you had certain kinds of error that is, and I'm not, I'm not sure I buy this argument, but the fact that you can make this argument, the fact that you can differentiate the adaptively useful misunderstandings versus a true understanding that's maladaptive. The fact that we can even talk about that demonstrates to me that we have this larger picture of what is in fact true whether we know it or not and this is what this is what religion get so catastrophically wrong religion gives you some other mechanism whereby, whereby to Orient Yourself well, in this case, revelation…

Jordan Peterson:    00:40:24       religious, does religion does provide those, those functional simplifications…

Sam Harris:         00:40:30       Yeah but they are simplifications appropriate to the Iron Age? if that.

Jordan Peterson:    00:40:35       Well some of them are for sure, and that's why we have to have this discussion because, because merer revelation and mere tradition is insufficient and I, I truly believe that we can agree on that. But back to the back to the biological argument. So, um, because I thought that tonight I would make a very strictly biological argument is that so now the question is now. So now you've got your sensory systems that are detecting the world of facts and you have your motor output system, which is a very narrow channel because you can only do one thing at a time. And that's one of the things about consciousness that's quite strange. It's a very, very narrow channel. So you have to take this unbelievably complex world and you have to channel it into this very narrow channel and you, you don't do that by being wrong about the world, but you do do that by ignoring a lot of the world and by using representations that are no more complicated than they have to be in order to attain the task at hand.

Jordan Peterson:    00:41:26       It's like you're losing using low resolution representations of the world. They're not inaccurate because a low resolution representation the world isn't inaccurate any more than a low resolution photo is, but there are no higher resolution than they need to be in order for you to undertake the task at hand, and if you undertake the task at hand and that goes successfully, then what you've done, and this is basically the essence of American pragmatism. What you've done is validated the validated the validity of your simplifications. So if the tool you have in hand is good, if the ax you have in hand is sharp enough to chop down the tree, then it's a good enough axe and that's part of the way that we define truth pragmatically in the absence of infinite knowledge about everything. Okay? So now you build up this nervous system between the world of facts and the world of values and it, and it narrows the world of facts. And the question then is how do you generate the mechanism that does that narrowing? And this is useful…

Sam Harris:         00:42:19       That's not quite how the cake is layered. Because the facts are up here too right? for me and for me to even notice that you're a person, right, or to attribute beliefs to you or to have a sense of being in relationship at all. This is one of those higher order interpretive acts based on a many layered nervous system. It's not only bottom up yet yet, but yeah, it's bottom up and top down. Yes and and But facts are also on the top, right? It's not that we have facts here and values here. It's, it's. …

Jordan Peterson:    00:42:52       Well, I think what I'm trying to do I think what I am trying to do. I think maybe one way of thinking about it is that you, you are using your positing that we can use rationality as a mechanism for mediating between facts and values, I believe because otherwise there's no use for rationality. We can just have the facts. Its a process…

Sam Harris:         00:43:10       It's even simpler than that. It's just that for me and I think for everyone, if they will only agree to use language in this way. For me, values are simply facts about the experience of conscious creatures. Good and bad experiences. Give us our values.

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:29       Yeah, but they're not simple. Neither are the goods and the bad.

Sam Harris:         00:43:32       But some are very simple you have in your hand. Put It on a hot stove is incredibly simple and…

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:38       Not if it'll save your child if you do…

Sam Harris:         00:43:39       well, but again, the unpleasantness of it. Right now it's. That's an orthogonal point.

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:47       No, it's not. No, it's not. If you look at the way the reward and punishment systems work in the brain, you can easily train an animal using reward to wag its tail. If it's being shocked electrically, you can do that and you can wire it very loaded…

Sam Harris:         00:43:59       that there's a range of unpleasant experiences we can have where we can construe them as pleasant or necessary. Right? And that's a kind of a higher level of theater. But I'm talking about the worst possible sensory experience that all of us will agree. We'll agree is unpleasant, right? That doesn't require a story to. For us to feel aversion to and there's. There are many things like that in life that are just just rudimentary. Whereas we are, we are organized in such a way that if you put us into fire…

Jordan Peterson:    00:44:33       so are you Are you claiming then like this is another problem. This is where I think that the argument that you make, although accurate in it's rudiments, let's say, is insufficiently high resolution because now it sounds to me like you're including the domain of qualia unquestioningly in the domain of facts. Now you can do that, but we need to know if that's what you're doing. Like what are these facts you're talking about? Are they mere manifestations of the objective world or do they shade into this subjective?

Sam Harris:         00:45:01       There are, there are objective facts about subjective experience. So I can make, I can make true or false claims about your subjectivity and that, and you can make, you can make those about your, your own subjectivity, right? You can be wrong about your own subjectivity here. We're not subjectively incorrigible. Uh, and I, I might've said this last time in Vancouver. I mean, the example I often use here is to speculate about what jfk was thinking. The moment he got shot right is not a, a completely vacuous exercise there. They're literally an infinite number of things we know he wasn't thinking right. So we can make claims about his conscious mind at, at that moment in history, which are scientific a, even though the data are unavailable, right? So many people get confused between having an answer is in practice and there being an answers in principle.

Sam Harris:         00:45:59       I mean there, there are many trivial fact based claims we could make about reality where we can't get the data, but we know the data are there. So, you know, do you have an even or odd number of hairs on your body at this moment? You know, we, you know, we don't want to think about what it would take to ascertain that fact, right? But there is a fact of the matter, right? And uh, and so it is with anything. But. So what is somebody, what does a person weigh? There's many, many facts are blurry because you are going to weigh him down to the, the 100th decimal plate place. No. So it's like at a certain point you are going to be rounding and someone's weight at that point is changing every microsecond because they're exchanging atoms with the air. So there's. So there, there are facts that can be loosely defined. Uh, this is still, this is true of all of our subject of lives too. So if it is a fact about you that when you, when you were praying to Jesus, you felt an upwelling of rapture, right? Subjectively, that can be an absolutely true thing to say about you. We can, we can pair that subjective experience with an understanding of, of the neurophysiological basis for it. Uh, you can think about it in terms of a larger story about your life, but all of this can be translated into a fact based discussion about what's happening for you and, and, and my only claim is that, that the value part. And hence the ethics part relates to the, the extremes of positive and negative experience that people have not.

Jordan Peterson:    00:47:36       First of all, I wouldn't dispute. I don't want to dispute the fact that there are stable qualia of pain and pleasure, for example. And also that there are fundamental motivational systems that structure our perception. So as the nervous system increases in complexity, these underlying a nervous system, subsections that produce these rather stable quality, uh, evolve, hunger, thirst, defensive aggression, sexuality, all these subsystems that, that, that label experience with certain somewhat inviolable labels. I understand that happens. But the point that I'm trying to make here is I think to try to increase the, what would you call the breadth of the conversation about how facts get translated into, into values? Because it seems to me the other thing that your account doesn't take proper. And this is what surprised me so much about your thinking when I first encountered it. See, I think the manner in which facts are translated into values is something that actually evolved. And it evolved over three and a half billion years. The three and a half billion years of life. And it built the nervous system from the bottom up and it built this reducing mechanism that takes the infinite number of facts and translates them into a single value per action. And it does that in layers. And so there is a relationship between the world of facts in the world of values and there has to be, but it isn't derival one to one in the confines of your single existence through pure rationality. It's way more complicated than that..

Sam Harris:         00:49:03       there's more to it than rationality, yes. Again, it's not rationality that causes you to remove your hand from a hot stove and it's not rationality that causes you to like the experience of love and bliss and rapture and creativity over or more than pointless misery and despair. Right? So like things other than rationality are clearly necessary, which is absolutely. The question is, do we ever have to be irrational to get the good things in life? And I would argue that that the answer is clearly no. There's nothing irrational about loving your wife or your best friend or yourself or even a stranger, if, if, if what you mean by love, there is genuinely wanting happiness for that person, genuinely taking pleasure in their company, genuinely wanting to to find a way of being where you're. You're no longer in a zero sum condition with a stranger or with a partner, but you're, you're, uh, collaborating together to, to have better lives. Rationality moves through that situation continuously because rationality is the only way that you and I can get our representations of the world to cohere. It's, it's when I say, okay, there's, there's a lion behind that rock. Don't go over there that only that only makes sense to you. If you're playing this rationality, game it the way I'm playing it. If I mean something else by lion or I mean something else by don't go over there. You know, you're confused and, and very likely dead or not.

Jordan Peterson:    00:50:40       So if we're, if we're trying to establish the proposition that rationality is the mechanism by which we make our worldviews cohere, I would agree with that in part, we also will make them cohere because we're actually biologically structured the same way. And so there's a proclivity for them to go here to begin with, but we iron out our differences through the exercise. I wouldn't call it rationality. I would call it logos because I think it's a more, it's a, it's a broader…

Sam Harris:         00:51:04       That's where he is smuggling in Jesus.

Jordan Peterson:    00:51:06       Haha, I'm not unconscious of that, Let's say.

Sam Harris:         00:51:11       There's a point of order here. I want to, uh, I'm a, I'm a disconcerted by Douglas's silence. I want to pivot because I know, I know how good he is when he actually speaks. Uh, so I want to pivot to another subject because we can return to this at some point we need to…

Douglas Murray:     00:51:27       Can I just say before you pivot. I mean, having said to you what I think your concern is with Jordan and Jordan's concern, and I share this just as I share some of your concerns expressed at the outset, uh, Jordan's fundamental concern. It seems to me as a one I fundamentally share, which is rationalism isn't enough and it's, let me put it another way or that…

Sam Harris:         00:51:57       Can you both show me where it, where it's obviously insufficient like…

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:03       Music!

Sam Harris:         00:52:03       but, but there's nothing but, but again, so to say that it's not to say that there's more to life than being rational is not to say. And perhaps never to say you need to run against rationality, you need to be irrational in order to get something good.

Douglas Murray:     00:52:18       Let me, let me express it a different way. Um, we haven't tried the purely rational approach yet. We haven't tried it for very long.

Sam Harris:         00:52:28       Well, but many, many of us have been trying for a couple of centuries at least.

Douglas Murray:     00:52:32       Which is a blip. Yeah, I mean the tiniest dot at the end of human evolution. So I think that a concern which Jordan has certainly a concern that I have is if we try this, we can think of all sorts of ways in which you can go wrong. If you take away all the supporting structure can think of any number of ways in which it can go wrong. And that I suppose that that's at the root of the concern about where you might be taking us or to put it another way, if we enter the world that you would suggest not everyone may necessarily come out as Sam Harris.

Sam Harris:         00:53:12       Maybe give me one way where you think it can go wrong. And again, we can't forget your caveat which you started with…

Jordan Peterson:    00:53:20       What if you're not very smart, right?

Sam Harris:         00:53:25       So then you're basically saying that the stupid people need their myths. You know, we smart people on stage don't need them.

Jordan Peterson:    00:53:32       Well, I am. I actually look, I actually am saying that to some degree. Look, if you're, if you're not exceptionally cognitively astute, you should be traditional and conservative because if you are, if you can't think, well, you're going to think badly and if you think badly, you're going to fall into trouble. And so it is definitely the case, and this has been an what would you call a cliche of political belief for a long time. If you're not very smart, it's better to be conservative because then you do what everyone else does and generally speaking, doing what everyone else does is the path of least error moving forward. Now, that doesn't mean that rationality is unnecessary…

Douglas Murray:     00:54:14       Nor does it mean that all conservatives are stupid…

Jordan Peterson:    00:54:17       It doesn't mean that either, right? Precisely. It doesn't mean that…

Sam Harris:         00:54:21       but all, all conservatives structures are not the same either. And that we have many warring and and incompatible versions of being conservative.

Jordan Peterson:    00:54:30       True, true. And this is exactly. This is where rationality actually does play a role. Although I don't think it's best conceptualized as rationality, precisely. It's definitely the case that we take Douglas's point that we need to be bound by our traditions, but we need to be judicious in their representation and update. And we have to do both.

Douglas Murray:     00:54:52       This is what the dialogue on religion. This is what Schopper says. He says he describes the tragedy of the clergy. He pretty much, he pretty much says, look, if they don't believe it, they recognize it's a very useful metaphor, but they don't need to believe it. It's they tell it and he says the tragedy of the clergy is they can never admit that what they're saying is just a metaphor.

Sam Harris:         00:55:14       Right? So is before or after he threw his housekeeper down the stairs…

Douglas Murray:     00:55:18       Look, we can all find flaws. We all have skeletons in our closet. Yeah. Um, but the, but the, the, the, there is a way in which religion is what he describes his philosophy for the masses. And that if you recognize that most people are not going to spend their lives studying philosophy, they're not going to be reading about the differences between Leibniz and Kant that religion has to do. Now, I'm not saying that I agree with that particularly, but there's a heck of an argument within the, which a lot of people will be living their lives in.

Sam Harris:         00:55:49       I don't think it's a good argument if you recall, or I just am, just imagine what it's like to be a child, but especially from the perspective of being a parent. I have two young girls, uh, and they, you know, they're very smart young girl. They're smart, but you know, one of them is four and a half years old and knows almost nothing, right? So she knows what I and my wife and our society tell her at some level. I mean, at what point is she going to think for herself about these fundamental questions? And I mean, she, again, she's, she's currently spending half the day dressed up like batgirl or catwoman, right? So if I told her that these superheroes were real, she would believe that for the longest time, uh, and if she, if we lived in a cult that thought they were real or a whole society that by dint of its geographic or linguistic isolation managed to maintain a conversation about, in this case batgirl and catwoman, that they were real and that it was absolutely important to honor them and you'd burn in Hell if you failed to do this, but this would be, we would be meeting fully grown adults who believed this sort of thing.

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:03       But it seems to me, Sam, that you bring up the superhero thing quite a bit. So I think I'll go to that directly. So…

Sam Harris:         00:57:10       I love superheroes…

Jordan Peterson:    00:57:11       So, you make the case in the “Moral Landscape” that they're, they're an ideal, is real. Because the ideal that you define an ideal is real and the ideal is whatever maximizes well being and gets us away from hell. You said not only is that real, you also say that's the fundamental axiom. That's the claim in the moral landscape. So you do make a claim that there is a real ideal and I would..

Sam Harris:         00:57:35       well I, I wouldn't necessarily put it that way, but there's a real. We are in a circumstance where things can matter, right? We consciousness is the key is the condition in which things can matter where there can be a range of experiences, some of which are very, very bad. If the word bad means anything, they're bad and some of which are very, very good. If the, if the word good means anything and we are navigating in that space, we can't help it navigate it or seek to navigate in that space. And religion is one. Okay, well look more of a conversation and that's that navigation problem. And I would argue an often deluded one… [Jordan removes his Jacket and tie and rolls up his sleeves]

Douglas Murray:     00:58:12       Jordan rolls his sleeves now, he means Business now.

Jordan Peterson:    00:58:22       Batgirl and catwoman are approximations to a higher ideal…

Douglas Murray:     00:58:23       and to attend. This is a biblical idea. I'm, I'm fairly sure that there are a lot of parents are perfectly content with bringing their children up vaguely within the story they've inherited and at some point the children realize that the fairy doesn't bring them money when their teeth fall out at some point, maybe around the same time or a bit later, they discovered the Santa Claus doesn't really come down the chimney and at some point they realized that actually the whole religious thing is a kind of metaphor, but he's got them through the formative years in some way, often with terrible damage along the way. I can see that, but also with something else, and I'm. I'm struck by the number of people, and this is why I shared with some of what I think is Jordan's concerned about the possibility of the world. You're envisaging, which is I can think of a lot of parents now, my country and other countries as well who I'm just very struck. They themselves a kind of baby boomer or sixties atheists, humanists, whatever, and I start to notice, for instance, that they're enrolling their children in Christian school and I say to them. Why aren't you doing this? And they have fairly coherent arguments along the lines. That one I just had, look, I don't particularly believe this myself, but I think it's a pretty good way to bring up the kids. It's the structure of a kind and I'm not sure I can find all sorts of flaws in that, but enough people are doing it that it's something that needs to be addressed,

Sam Harris:         00:59:45       what I would. It's I would say yes, it speaks to a real failure of imagination and an effort in the secular community to produce truly non embarrassing alternative.

Douglas Murray:     00:59:59       Exactly.

Sam Harris:         01:00:00       Yeah, and this is, this is across the board. This is not just school, this is how do you conduct a funeral? How do you get married, you know, all of the it. What rites of passage can you offer a 13 year old?

Douglas Murray:     01:00:13       What are you doing here, what are we doing here? and how to have the first people in history to have absolutely no explanation for what we're doing at all. Yeah. It is a big moment!

Sam Harris:         01:00:28       Yeah. Yes, and that's, that sharpens up my concern perfectly because to to shrink back from that moment and resort to one of the, the pseudo stories of the past, I consider to be a failure of nerve, both both intellectually and morally.

Jordan Peterson:    01:00:52       Okay, so let, let's go back to the the super hero idea. One of the, one of the things you might notice about superheroes is that some of them are actually deities right, so in the Marvel Pantheon you have Thor for example, and so there's a, there's a very thin line between the idea of the superhero in the idea of a god, especially if you think about it in a polytheistic manner. So the modern superheroes and the Greek gods, for example, share a tremendous number of features in common, and so here's, here's, here's something to think about. So there's a reason that people admire superheroes and it's because they act out parts of the hero archetype. That's the technical reason there obviously acting something out because that's how you can tell they're superheroes. They share some set of characteristics across the set of superheroes that makes them super heroes. Now the question might be, what is the essential element of being a superhero that makes you a superhero and the answer, the way that that was solved historically is that as a polytheistic societies developed and that was usually a consequence of isolated tribes coming into contact with one another. They each had their separate deities and then over the course of time those deities, warred in actual wars with people, but also conceptually and out of that polytheistic framework was extracted, something that was vaguely monotheistic as all of those cultures came together to try to determine what their highest ideals should be, so that's the god of gods. That's a way of thinking about it or the of kings. That's another way of thinking about it and that's an implicit ideal, but it could make a case…

Sam Harris:         01:02:25       You tell that to the Hindus and the Hipaa. We've got one point 2 billion people, or maybe it's one point four now who are operating in a in a religiously saturated system that does not conform to that ideal. There is no one on top.

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:39       Well, there's. There's still. They're still associated…

Sam Harris:         01:02:41       Arguably there's three on top of it all..

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:43       But there's still a. there's still an attempt to generate that, that polytheistic and to integrate that polytheistic reality underneath the single rubric or you have nothing but continually dissociation of the culture, and I'm not saying this is necessarily good…

Sam Harris:         01:02:58       It's description of what's going on in India at the moment.

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:59       Well, I'm not. I'm not saying that this is inevitable either and there is a tension. The problem, the problem this is Nietzsche's, observation and Mirchi Elliot (?) as well. The problem with extracting out the highest God from the panoply of Gods is the ideal becomes so abstract that it disappears. That's the death of God and Elliot has tracked that phenomena over multiple cultures, not it's not something that's unique to the west, so, so the danger of that abstraction is that it gets too abstract and disappears and leaves us in this situation that Douglas just pointed out.

Douglas Murray:     01:03:27       Can I throw this back to the key, the key issue of Elton John's glass, which you came up with the other night. because that's something I wanted to do. Add to that that you've explained why I said Elton's on this glass just now.

Sam Harris:         01:03:40       Oh, well, we came back to this question of what makes something valuable, and I used as an example in Vancouver on one of those nights, if I had a glass here, which I, which I said was actually it was the glass that Elton John used the last time he played in this theater. Suddenly it seems to be a more valuable glass and that Jordan and I argued about what the status of that value was. That I don't know where you want…

Douglas Murray:     01:04:10       Well, it's just one thing in particular, which is the whole issue of what it is you give value to and let's let's say that that glass was demonstrated for the time to having been drunk from by Elton John, that his final concert at work, no latest farewell tour, whatever. So that's already a glass with something. Let's say that over the years the whole attribution of that glass becomes debatable over a long period of time. A lot of things are going to have happened around it and to stretch this breaking point, possibly. Let's say at some point people lose their lives over whether that is Elton John's glass or not. Let's say the people that want to lose blood..

Sam Harris:         01:04:55       let's, let's not just say that. Let's recognize that is the world we're living at with respect to the religions…

Douglas Murray:     01:05:01       Exactly, so the problem is that we end up, when we're talking about religion, when we're talking to the same thing, when you're talking about land, you're not just talking about any inherent worth, you're talking also about the worth of things people have given up for this and so we end up giving the layers of things. It knows, it's more than that. We inherit more and more layers if the meaning, because other people before us have given that meaning to it so that by the time you have this object, it's an object of worth even if it's no of no worth in itself at all because of the amount of work that people before you have given to it. And that seems to some extent what we're doing with the religion discussion.

Jordan Peterson:    01:05:43       Yes, yes. Well, so, so. Okay, so, so that's, that's extraordinarily productive. I think so. See, when you start with a hypothesis of fact, then you kind of have to define what a fact is and so I think the simplest way of doing that to begin with is that there's a set of objective facts. That's the facts about objective reality. You can think about that from the scientific perspective and we're going to. We're going to agree that that exists. Although it's very complicated and difficult to understand that exists as one set of constraints on what we can do and what we can't do. That's the objective world. And then on top of that, and this is where things get very, very complicated. You have this layered system of meaning which is partly a manifestation of these layers of the nervous system that I described, but also partly a manifestation of those layers of the nervous system operating in social space over vast periods of time. So that would be the social sociological agreement. That's all layered on top of the objective world and had actually constitutes part of the. The Lens through which you view the world to the degree where you actually see the layering in the thing. So like when you go to a museum and you look at Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley's guitar, you don't look at the guitar and think that's Elvis Presley's guitar. That's not how your brain works. You actually see Elvis Presley's guitar. It's an active perception. So it becomes built right into your nervous system even though the fact that that is Elvis Presley's guitar and the reason that that's valuable is because of a sociological agreement about what position Elvis Presley occupied in the dominance hierarchy that we're all part of. And so what you see when you look at an artifact like that is you see a layer of dominance hierarchy overlaid on top of an objective reality, and that's actually your phenomenal reality. Now the thing that's so interesting is that layer of perception that's mediating between the facts and you has a structure, and that's the structure that I've been insisting is a narrative. And I think Sam thinks it's a narrative too, because his fundamental ethic is that you should act in a way which means to embody a mode of being. Which means to be a personality that moves us from hell to something approximating heaven.

Sam Harris:         01:07:56       Jordan. What I'm struggling to understand what I don't understand this, how any of that is a counterpoint to my concern about religion. So for it, because I agree with all that, I mean there, there are some caveats. I would issue, for instance, it's quite possible to walk into a museum, be shown a guitar, not no, it's Elvis Presley's guitar and then be told it's Elvis Presley's guitar and you can see in real time the change and significant so that you can see the layers of the perceptual, the meaning a crew. You might actually not even care. You might know who else Elvis Presley is and not care. Right? So there are many different things on on, on the menu here as opposed to just beholding awestruck, Elvis Presley's guitar. And the same is true of the Jesus story or anything else that that people. You can find layers of engagement with it that be maybe more and less useful. My fundamental concern is that the way you are tending to dignify the religious subset of stories as being fun, foundational, necessary, We criticize at our peril is giving people license to believe things that they clearly shouldn't believe. Things that are intrinsically divisive in intrinsically less than optimal as far as organizing an individual human life. We can do better than Christianity on almost every question with the possible exception of building churches.

Jordan Peterson:    01:09:31       Okay, so the first thing is the first thing is that I deeply agree with you that that mechanism can go wrong. Okay, so you have the objective world and it's one set of constraints and then you have this interpretive structure, and I'm not saying that that interpretive structure is infallible. It clearly isn't and neither is the process that gives rise to it. You see this, for example, in conditions like manic depressive disorder with religious delusions or schizophrenia, you see what you see in those situations is a pathologization of that overlay of meaning that can clearly happening. Okay? Now the question is what do we do about that? How do we keep those perceptual structures which are somewhat arbitrary? How do we keep them functional, and this is I think where your discussion of rationality is so important, particularly when you say rationality is what enables us to establish what will you agree on in our shared reality. Okay, so, so imagine this. So part of the way you orient yourself in the world of facts, objective facts is through your senses. So you basically have five dimensions of triangulation, so to speak, to help you determine what's there in the objective world, and then you have this multilayer structure that's partly biological and partly socio culture, that cultural that enables you to distill that, but it can go astray part because it ages and becomes archaic, which is and demented for that matter, which is partly your objection to the fundamentalist types. This has been known for a very long time that this sort of thing happens. So what we do, the way we solved that, we have a solution to that. So partly the way we solve that is through articulated discourse, right? Because you have a way of looking at the world and I have a way of looking at the world and we have to occupy the same space, so you're probably wrong about some things and I'm probably wrong about some things and hopefully if we talk we can sort out the differences and make things more stable

Sam Harris:         01:11:22       and I would put rationality right in that place. That's by rationality…

Jordan Peterson:    01:11:27       problem. Fair enough. But. But there's a problem with that too and I think see the. All the times we've talked so far, you've been, I would say the Avatar of a scientific viewpoint and I'd been cast, let's say as the Avatar of a religious viewpoint, but I've actually thought this through scientifically a lot and I can make a biological argument for all of this and a developmental argument. So it isn't only rationality that does this. So this is what. The thing that was so cool about studying, for example, John Piaget, because one of the things piaget pointed out is that children engage in negotiation and they negotiate their reality just like adults do, but they don't do it only through articulated speech and neither do adults with children do is they get together and play and this is why play is so important for children that starts to happen when there were about three years of all because they can look outside their own idiosyncratic perspective at three and they can start to take someone else's view point into consideration, which is what you have to do if you're going to play, and then what children do is they invent little fictional realities. That's what they do when they're pretending and so they assigned each other roles and they assigned a plot and a drama to the, to the pretend play and then they act it out and in that action they bring themselves into harmonious union. Right? Which is the act of generating a game that everyone wants to play. And Piaget's observation was, and this is Nietzschean observation as well, that the morality that characterize the society isn't rationality top down. Although it's partly that it's also interactions that are, say, play based and bought them up, and that's actually how it evolved to begin with because animals generates societies that are functional but they don't do it through rationality. They can't because they don't have rationality. They don't have articulated speech. They have something like an embodied game. Now what happens, and this is a Nietzschean observation, he's the first person I learned this from, is our morality emerged from the bottom up through through thousands, hundreds of thousands of years have shared games, let's say at the end, the interweaving of those shared games into something approximating a morality that we could all live within peacefully. That happened bottom up and then what happened was because we didn't know the mechanism behind that because it's instantiated in our nervous system invisibly. We watched ourselves act, which is what we do, and then we told stories about that because that's what we do when we watch yourself act and then we encapsulated the morality that evolved in the stories and that's the religious essence of the story.

Sam Harris:         01:14:06       Ten seconds. So we have to pivot to Douglas for an important question, but I would just say in response to that, Jordan, I don't disagree with much of consequence in that. My concern however is that there is, there's a, there's a reason why we differentiate childhood from adulthood and all of us are stunted to some degree or another in a fairly perverse childhood. And the reason, I mean what, what we, what we confront now is a world largely populated by dangerous children, right? Who are in their fifth and sixth decade of life. I mean run by, populated in, run by yes. And, and it's so real. And if anything typifies the childhood of our species, in my view, it is this religious orthodoxy and in so far as we're breaking free of the orthodoxy part and getting something that's more scalable and, and, and, and, and can survive a more pluralistic and cosmopolitan world. It is because it is being winnowed at every point by rationality. And I think that that at some point we could have a fully defensible, rational honoring of, of many of the things you think are, are essential. Like the power of story or the power of ritual or the power of, of, of art that is focused on some sacred purpose. Uh, and the question is how to get there. We have a point of order here.

Douglas Murray:     01:15:33       That's one question, but I want to hand over to the audience for q and a and a for a couple of minutes. I've had a sign being waved at me saying q and a and really should obey the sigh. So I think what's gonna happen is we're going to use your computer…

Jordan Peterson:    01:15:53       We're going to, we're going to ask the audience first. I think that was what we decided. And you guys, I guess you guys get to vote by noise. There's an inflection point here. We can do one of two things and I'll let, I'll let the first people yell and then the second people yell. But the question is we can either continue the discussion or we can stop and go to q and a. So the first thing we'll do is say, okay, how many of you would like us to stop and go to q and a? [soft cheering] Okay. Second, second question. How many of you would like us to continue with the discussion?[Louder cheering]

Sam Harris:         01:16:34       That's, that's a successful vote I want to go. I'm going to seize the floor. I want to ask you a question to both of you. Okay. It's about the three of us, but I think it's more about the two of you. Each of us to one or another degree has been described as a gateway drug to the alt right. We've been attacked by, by people left of center as somehow inspiring or pandering to right of center and in many far right of center ideas and, and, and, uh, ethical and pseudo ethical commitments. Uh, uh, I'm wondering. Yeah, I'm wondering, I'm wondering if we can steal man, the concerns that people have with us for a few minutes before addressing that. How do you, how do you view this, this reaction to your, to your work?

Douglas Murray:     01:17:34       Well, I'm happy to do that first. Can I just say before I do that was going to say, if we were going to go to audience Qa, I understand it was reminded today that there's still a blasphemy law in Ireland. Am I right on that? I'm right aren't I?. In which case can I just say that I'm not going to be happy if we leave the stage tonight if we both have not committed blasphemy. And if Jordan would like to join in? [laughs]

Jordan Peterson:    01:18:08       I prefer that to do that in private

Douglas Murray:     01:18:10       We could make it a full house. I really do think we should be blasphemous.

Sam Harris:         01:18:16       I think I must have done that already, but I'll have to go to the tape on that.

Douglas Murray:     01:18:20       Um, so. Well, here's the thing, we've all had similar rich experiences on that and there are a number of people among our friends and colleagues. Perhaps you might say you've had it as well. Um, and I think what's happening at the moment is that there's a set of trip wires that have been put across the culture and for a long time, if you went across these trip wires, you died reputationally speaking because of the nature of the media, new media, among other things that sudden death isn't possible anymore. All these is not always possible. Right? So for instance, if the New York Times says Jordan is a, you know, sort of leading member of the Klu Klux Klan, it's not just that people don't believe the New York Times anymore, it's that they can go and find out for themselves that this is a lie and that's the fundamental difference and it means that people are surviving the trip wire experience. But there's a whole set of these trip wires and I think they've been, they've been planted very strangely among other things. I mean, the one I tripped on was Islam one think to an extent it was the one you tripped on Jordan. It was more to do with nouns and pronouns was the first one. The Great. The great thing about this by the way, is that once you survived the first trip wire, you know, in my case, they sort of merrily jump along in no man's land landing on ied after ied. Right? And strangely, I'm still here. [Applause] You said I should steel man it. Here's what I think is probably happening. There is a fear that in this realm of uncertain values, which we might concede at any rate, that we're in a. There is only one thing we all agree on. The one thing we all agree on is we mustn't become Nazis. Okay? Broadly speaking, that's the basis of our ethics. It's the only bit of history anyone knows and they don't even know it, so they think they're all over the Hitler thing. Haven't got a clue. Most of them all they know is Hitler was a bad person. This is why, by the way, anyone, anyone doesn't like your politics is Hitler like George W, Bush, Hitler. If you had any sense of historical reference, you might say Henry the fifth? domineering father who shattered and he had to step out of, for instance by Henry the fifth myth. Who knows about that? So it's everything's here. So if we agree that the one thing we're all meant to do is not become Nazis. You build these incredibly deep, big trenches around anything you think could be as it were, something that would lead us back to that. The problem is is that people who have done that trench building include people who are doing it for their own personal political game, so they build a set of trenches around their political views and they say, if you come near this and you've gotten into the trench, then you're a Nazi, some of it is for short term convenience and I've no doubt that some of it is sincere, but the amount of the amount of lying about it makes me doubt that last bit, and let me add one other thing to that.

Douglas Murray:     01:21:52       One of the books I recommend people read most to do with politics. There's a brilliant book by Paul Berman who I think you know as well, Called “Power and the Idealists.” It has, by the way, the worst subtitle of any book. It's called “Power and the Idealists: Or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath” Distinguished left wing German politician, though he is, It doesn't, It doesn't leap off the shelf. Anyhow. The strange passion of Joschka Fischer is an amazing book, which I wish was taught in schools because he describes in this book how this group of Germans who grew up in the 1950's had one aim: We're not going to become like our parents. Okay. It, they think it's enough to orient their politics around that. What happens. Uh, the Green Movement melds with the part of the German left, a whole set of things happen. They ended up agreeing with the PLO and the hijackings in the late sixties and early seventies. And before you know it, one of Joschka Fischer's housemates is on the plane as it's on the tarmac and he's separating the Jews and the non Jews. We've done it again! The one thing we are meant not to become was the people standing on the ramp saying that way that way. And we did it. We went all the way around. So there's something about this that I just wish was better known, but he's not as damn easy as all that. Like your enemies don't come with Jack boots and swastikas like this. It's just not that easy.

Jordan Peterson:    01:23:33       No, they live inside you. That's really the case. So let me try this steel man approach. So the first thing that people assume about me is that I'm no fan of the radical left and that's absolutely and that's absolutely true. I am no fan. The radical left, and that's primarily because, there's a variety of reasons, but it's primarily because I believe that the radical left errs in insisting had every possible opportunity that the proper defining characteristic of each individual is their group membership. I think that that's you and you do have a group membership. In fact, you have a whole plethora of them which makes things quite complicated as the intersectionalists have already figured out, but whenever someone brings a primary orientation to the world that is group centered rather than individual centered, I think they've already made a catastrophic mistake. And so I don't approve of the collectiveness. Now I don't approve of left wing collectivist and I don't approve of right wing collectivists, but the right wing collectivist haven't overrun the universities and the left wing collectivists have. So. So that's a distinct difference. Now the left wing collectivists enjoy acquiring a certain linguistic hegemony because they know that that's part of the way they can win the battle and that's what they were trying to do when they passed compelled speech legislation in Canada, as far as I was concerned. So I made a video saying I'm not going to abide by that because I'm not using the reprehensible linguistic maneuvers of collectivists who I detest. So now when I did that, you see it was a very strange thing for a Canadian to do because Canadians don't do that partly because Canada works just fine and so nobody comes up and says waves the flag saying, look, we're, we're wandering off a dangerous cliff here. And so then if someone does stand up and say that, then the first thing that all the other Canadians think and should think is that there's something wrong with that person and that would be me. So then the question would be, well, what variety of things could be wrong with Dr Peterson? That's a very long list, but the ones that

Sam Harris:         01:25:59       that's actually a better subtitle…

Jordan Peterson:    01:26:06       Ha ha, Yes. So what happened was I objected to the radical left, that was my perspective, but the people who objected to me or who were even critical of mere curious about me thought, okay, well if Peterson isn't part of the left than where the hell is he? And the answer could be anywhere on the political spectrum including Nazi. And of course that's hypothetically true. And if I was a Nazi then that would be really useful for all the radical leftists because if you're a Nazi, as Douglas has already pointed out, we've already decided that you're a bad person and if I was a bad person then no one would have to listen to me. And so it was in the interests of the radicals who I was just whose positions I was disputing to cast me as a Nazi. But it was also a reasonable cognitive maneuver because there was some possibility. Although it's infinitesimal, given the tiny proportion of actual Nazis in our society than I would in fact be one and have gotten away with hiding that at two major universities for 25 years. And also [Applause]. At that point, I had 250 hours of my lectures on youtube, which was basically every word in essence that I ever uttered to a student since 1993, and a huge part of that actually consisted of very trenchant criticisms of Nazis. So it was difficult to pin that on me. So, so, so. But to give my critics credit, they had their reason for vilifying me. And the reason was if you object, you might be a villain. Okay, so, so that's, that's steel man. Number one. I'm not at least the kind of villain they think I am, although I might be some other kind of villain altogether. So then the next steel man issue is the left has a place. Okay, so why? Well, here's why. In order to act properly in the world, you have to do things. Everyone agrees on that and to do things, you have to do them. In the social world, you have to cooperate and compete with other people. And when you cooperate and compete with other people in the service of valid goals, valuable goals, productive goals, you produce hierarchies, you produce hierarchies of competence and hierarchies of power. Those aren't exactly the same thing, but either way, you produce hierarchies, hierarchies, dispossessed people. They dispossessed people because the spoils go to a few. That's the problem of the unequal distribution of wealth. And because in any hierarchy of competence, a disproportionate number of a small number of people do most of the creative work. And these are iron clad laws. Okay, so the problem with higher hierarchies are necessary, but the problem with hierarchies as they produce disposition and the left in principal speaks for the dispossessed and someone has to speak for the dispossessed. And so when the lefties looked at me and they say, well, Dr Peterson is always speaking about the necessity of hierarchies and how can we be sure that he's not trying to justify them in their current position and obscure the fact that they tend towards tyranny and deception, which they clearly do. How do we know that he's just not reifying the present power structure for his own aims and why should we trust them and that's a perfectly valid objection. Now I believe it happens to be wrong because I understand the downside of hierarchies and, and I also think I understand how to go about rectifying that, but that's why they're objecting in so far as they don't as the, insofar as they're playing a straight political game and not some ideological game of grandiose, grandiose behavior that.

Douglas Murray:     01:29:48       So there's one other thing in this which is worth mentioning, which is the perception is that the, as it were, aside from let's say this is the center of the political access and going to have to do this for you, but okay, that's the right. The presumption is that it's just a cliff. Like if you start by saying, I don't know, I think people should pay smaller taxes or whatever, you're there. And you just go like that [moves finger slightly] and its just Nazism. Here's the really weird thing that is discussed because all of this look at all of this is just the footnote still the 20th century and we're still trying to work out what happened and why and we don't know. And in the history books, the period we're living in will be the post Holocaust Post World War Two, Post Gulag world when they were still trying to sort out what happened behind the crime scene tape. Okay. So on the left there's a very interesting thing which is that you can go pretty much all the way like this [extends arm to the left]. And first of all there's not a very wide recognition that you had the gulag not. There's not very much known about that. People don't read Solzhenitsyn. So you can get pretty far left.

Sam Harris:         01:31:06       You just hit the vegans…

Douglas Murray:     01:31:10       You might be like radical in your fairness. Okay. So the problem here is not just, they don't know what happened on that side, but it's worse than that. There was a, there was a young girl, a commentator on the TV and the London a couple of mornings ago arguing about Trump. And so on as a usual, not very enlightening discussion. She's arguing with Piers Morgan and she says, you, you keep on saying, I'm a supporter of Barack Obama. I mean, I'm a communist. She said, I'm literally a communist, thought if this girl had said you knew you should be more careful. I'm, I literally a fascist, you know? By the way, edit that one carefully on that. No, I'm, I'm alive to Youtube.

Jordan Peterson:    01:32:00       That would be The New York Times headline…

Douglas Murray:     01:32:03       Right, Exactly. Literal Fascist admits, but, but if everyone is busy searching around, like in Canada, the, one of the big discussion forums, uh, the human rights commission, it's found that there were like 11 people on this Neo Nazi forum and it turned out half of them were working for the Canadian government trying to find NeoNazis. Canadian government constituted 50 percent of the Neo Nazis in Canada. So they're scurrying around looking for the Nazis like this. And on the other side, it's like mainstream or the television. Yeah, I'm a communist. I'd love to go through that again.

Jordan Peterson:    01:32:38       Well, okay. So, so here, here's another problem. This is a really interesting problem. Okay. So you brought up two things and one is no one knows about what happened in Mao's China or what happened in the Soviet Union, which is absolutely appalling because we should all know that. And so there's obviously a cliff on the left side. Now I would say actually there is the possibility that as you move farther out on each end of the political spectrum, the rate at which you deteriorate accelerate. So it's not linear. I think that's possible. But having said that, that's also the case on the left. Now one of the things we could say is, well those idiot leftists should get their house in order because they won't differentiate themselves from their radical brethren. Okay, so now we might ask, well why? We might ask two things. Why and whose problem is that exactly. Okay. So the first issue of why is. Well people who are left leaning have a hard time drawing boundaries. That's what makes them left leaning. And I mean this technically because left leaning people are high in openness to experience which is a creativity trait. So they like information flow and they don't like borders between things. And they tend to be low and orderliness, so disorder doesn't disgust and upset them. Okay. So they can't draw boundaries and that's why they're on the left. But boundaries have their problems. So there's some utility in people who don't like them. Okay. But the second problem is, and this isn't a problem that's only Germane to the left, it's the problem of the dam 20th century. It's like, okay, when does the left go too far? And the answer is nobody knows! Like with the right wingers, you can tell man, it's like they make a claim of ethnic or racial superiority. It's like box, Nazi, right? And then you can see that this happens because even back in the seventies when William f Buckley was sort of a leading conservative, he put a box around the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch types. And he said, I'm not you, but none of that's happening on the left. Okay, why? Well, they say, well, we stand for diversity. It's like, well everyone likes diversity and well, what about inclusivity? Damn right, man. Let's include some people. Well, what about, what about equality? That'd be good. That'd be good. Let's have some equality. It's like, okay, well how much equality. Exactly. Well then it's gradations, right? Well, equality of opportunity. Damn straight. Equality of outcome. Sounds good. How about no! under no circumstances whatsoever, but you know what? I can't but here's the problem You get somebody. You get somebody saying race or ethnicity group member x is detestable because of their group identity and you think evil Nazi; but then you see someone saying, well, I just wish that everybody could have an equal outcome. What are you going to do? Are you going to punch them? It's what you're supposed to do with Nazis. No, you're not. You're going think “oh that's pretty nice person” and it's like, just because you're nice doesn't mean you're good and just because you stand for equality of outcome doesn't mean right, but it's. But the thing is it's complex technical problem, right? Because it looks like you need a multivariate equation to define pathology on the left, it's like, well, if you believe this and this and this in and too disproportionately, then we have to put a box around you, but it's not like someone wears a symbol on their damn shirt or tattooed onto their face that enables you to identify them. So we have a real structural problem here. We don't know how to box in pathology on the left. No one knows, including the moderate leftist, but none of us know.

Sam Harris:         01:36:30       An additional problem is that many of these issues may not have a solution that we can happily live with. Right? So it'd be takes it. Let's sharpen this up, and this was more in the interest of steel manning our critics. You take a problem like immigration right now, the, the, the, the intuition that's driving the left. I did. Let's take the extreme case of it and open borders ethic, but borders are illegitimate. Borders are just in principle, a sign of, of selfishness and xenophobia and and unearned privilege, right? You, none of us can take credit for the fact that we were born into the societies were born into a and yet we have all of the advantages of having been born there. Uh, and so it is with, with all of you, the weird. None of us are currently living through the civil war in Syria now. And that's a good thing for all of us. And so the concern here is that the moment you say, well, immigration is potentially a problem, right? Immigrate. We can't just throw open the borders to all of humanity. Because what would happen, what would happen is people would continue to cross those borders until the, the level of, of, of wellbeing in the developed diminished so much that there was no reason to cross the borders anymore. Right? It would be like some principle of Osmosis, right? So it's even, it's even worse than that. But the concern is that this is totally ethically speaking, this is a totally illegitimate situation. And to shine a bright enough light on any particular story in Syria, say, I mean you just give me the right family with children. And I learned enough about them and their plight and I recognize within 30 seconds that if I were them, I would be desperate to get to Dublin or New York or San Francisco or anywhere but Syria. Right? And it seems like a completely, uh, it seems evil to in any way perpetuate this lottery where you pulled a bad ticket and sorry, that's this is, this defines the rest of your life and the lives of your children. And we, and, and it, there is no bright line where any of us, you know, well meaning people wherever we are on the political spectrum or wherever we are in any other question, there's no bright line where we can say, Aha, that's exactly the, as the solution that we know is ethical, that we know we can defend against all comers and it can survive every test of narrative. I mean this goes straight to the power of stories. You tell it, you tell people a compelling enough story about one little girl and it changes policy and it's not what happened to Angola Merkel. I mean, she just was faced with one, one denied refugee and all of a sudden the policy for Europe changed. Uh, and so this is, again, this is a, I'm not saying there's a solution to this, but this is the fear, the fear that there's, there's an, there's an imputation of callousness on the part of. I'm speaking specifically to you Douglas, because it's been your issue more than ours. How callous must you be to be worrying about immigration? And that's, that's obviously there's a counter argument from the right side, but there is a, there's an ethical core to it that is, it's difficult to dismiss.

Douglas Murray:     01:40:10       And this is something which, I mean, it's not just that issues almost every issue we were talking about this during dinner. We seem not to be. Well, we just aren't ready for the communications age we're in and we're just not ready for. Our brains are not yet able to cope. Let me give you an example. Uh, the notion of private and public speech that's just basically evaporated so that if you, this is the problem, try out an idea with your friends. Just throw around an idea, we've all done it for around ideas with your friends. If even one person is videoing it and might post it, this is the world we're in. It's too dangerous to try things out for most people.

Jordan Peterson:    01:40:56       That's a problem of have no borders…

Douglas Murray:     01:40:58       And so this is it. So we are always vulnerable that our, for instance, most people in Europe for instance, want borders. I mean the overwhelming majority in every country want there to be borders, but if you show them footage of somebody being turned away at the border that morning like we don't know what to do with it. We have abstract principles we need to abide by. We want to abide my. Everybody wants to abide by, but we don't know what to do in this precisely this era and I think we've just got to, among other things, work and all sorts of ways to find ways to think about this sort a deeper than the ones we've managed so far. One of them, yes, is to cope with the idea of the unbelievable luck, but we've all got unbelievable luck and then the questions from that, if I'm lucky, what am I, what are my priorities, what are my obligations, what am I, what are my obligations? And some people say, my obligation is to share my home with the rest of the world. If it's not that, it's worse than that because it's because I know lots of people who've taken in a refugee and things like that. Okay. And I have unbelievable admiration for them. That's really working the walk..

Sam Harris:         01:42:11       Is that just people who called your bluff when you said, I don't see you taking in refugees into your home. And they said, oh actually there's one of the living room right now.

Douglas Murray:     01:42:17       I always wanted to turn up to the houses with some refugees. “Here I got yours”

Jordan Peterson:    01:42:24       Also there aren't 50 in the living room. Okay. So, so, so let's, let's, let's elaborate on this a bit more. Okay. So the issue is borders exclude, right? That's a postmodern proposition. Or maybe you can take that even further. That borders exclude and privilege those within the borders. It's like, yes. Okay. So let's take that seriously now. Part of this seriousness is poor. Innocent children are hurt at borders. That happens all the time. Okay? The question is, are you willing to give up the borders? Now let's think about what borders are. Your skin is a border, okay? And your prejudice in protection of your skin. For example, you won't just sleep with anyone. You reserve the right to keep that border intact, right? And to be choosy about the manner in which it's broached, you're, you likely have a bedroom. It probably has walls. You have clothing, you have a house, you have a town, you have a state, you have a country, and those are all borders. It's borders within borders, within borders, and you need those borders because otherwise you will die. So we could not be too hypocritical about the damn borders is like we don't know how to organize fragile things without putting boundaries around them. And you see that in Genesis, right? As soon as people realize that, I'm sneaking in little religion here case you didn't notice, as soon as people realize they become self conscious, they wake up and realize their vulnerability. The first thing they do is manufacturer border between them and the world and we need borders between us in the world and we pay a bloody price for borders and I and I say those words very carefully. We pay a BLOODY price for those borders and it's often in the price of other people's blood, well, how should you conduct yourself ethically in a world where other people are paying in blood for your borders? And the answer that I'd been trying to communicate to people is get your damn house in order! Bear as much responsibility as you can, act as effectively as you can as an individual in the world because then you can justify your privilege. You can justify your luck and your good fortune and maybe within the confines of your border you can be more productive and useful than you would be in the absolute absence of borders altogether. And it seems to me that that's the case and then we have to have a discussion. Okay. The left doesn't like borders and the right is more fond of them and they're both right and so because we don't know how strict the borders should be, all her permeable it should be. It shouldn't be absolute, so nothing moves between borders at everything dies them, but if the borders disappeared then we can't survive. So we have to have a discussion about borders all the time and that's partly, that's partly what we're doing here. We have to be more sophisticated about These sorts of things.

Douglas Murray:     01:45:18       Very few people end up getting held accountable for their own use in this matter as amongst so many others. There's an enormous amount to gain by saying something that's wrong and there's very little to gain by saying something that's right on this. I mean you just. It's just a world of suffering Whereas and look problem with this. I mean this is, this is your, this is your area of politics more than it is mine, but these lines that have been put down on the left at the moment of which this is one, these other ones that are now coming up. I mean, you see today's one, you can't act a role that you're not

Sam Harris:         01:46:03       Scarlett Johansson yeah…

Douglas Murray:     01:46:03       Yeah. You can't pretend to be someone else. Like this is a brand new rule. The I'm talking about Scarlett Johansson who was cast in the film as a trans

Sam Harris:         01:46:13       for transgender woman. I think

Douglas Murray:     01:46:17       A man become a woman.

Sam Harris:         01:46:20       It might've been the other way around, but it's scarcely matters. Yeah.

Douglas Murray:     01:46:22       Oh, it matters. That's your fascist talking…[laughter]

Sam Harris:         01:46:27       Yeah That's my privilege talking.

Jordan Peterson:    01:46:29       Interesting. Because that's actually a boundary too. That's actually a border too. So it's another case where these things reverse in a perverse manner.

Douglas Murray:     01:46:37       Like where did that one come from?

Sam Harris:         01:46:39       Yeah, it's A. Well, it probably came from the west coast. [Laughter] It, it seems to me that we need to somehow get comfortable with the increasingly public moments of uncertainty on topics like this because so much of so much of safety and reputational safety as you were just alluding, is predicated yet in the public sphere in either pretending to be certain or, or fall asleep in certain on a safe answer. A safe and wrong answer to a complicated…

Jordan Peterson:    01:47:27       part of this is, is, is, um, the pathology of basal instinct. And so because the rule now is if I feel sorry for you, I'm good. Right? And so, so let's say there's a complex situation that requires a tremendous amount of adult cognitive computation to solve, like what do we do about the borders? Because tearing them down is not the answer. Well, the person who stands up and says, well, I see someone who's hurt by a border and I feel empathy for them. Then immediately says, therefore I'm good, which isn't so bad, but therefore I'm also morally superior to you. And this is. This is one of the true pathologies of the empathic collectivists, is that they presume that they are reflexive empathy marks them out as morally superior. And that's appalling because part of it is a, it's too easy. Just because I feel sorry for you doesn't mean I'm good, partly because I can feel so sorry for you that I'm actually harmful to you. And that's what happens in the case of overprotective parents, for example. So we know perfectly well that empathy is not an untrammeled moral virtue, it has to be tempered by other virtues and carefully tempered by other virtues and so we have to stop allowing in our public discourse the unquestioned assumption that just because I manifest more pity in the moment than you do that I'm somehow a morally superior individuals. In fact, not only do we have to question that, we in fact have to, we have to deeply questioned it and say, what makes you think that you're, that you're just not taking things too far right there because there's just as much error on the side of too much empathy as the resort and the side of too little empathy. And that's a hard thing for everyone to learn because empathy feels so good. Like if you feel mercy towards us suffering child, it's like that is kind of an indication that you're an ethical person, but that's not the basis for complex and sophisticated foreign policy.

Sam Harris:         01:49:32       Well we know it isn't because we, we know our empathy diminishes it almost linear way with the numbers of people empathize with. Right? So we spoke about this one night in Vancouver, but this has been tested where you tell someone about the plight of one little girl, you will elicit the maximum empathic response and the the maximum of an altruistic response, though they'll give the most amount of money they're going to give to any cause to one compelling story to save one little boy or girl. But if you start adding boys and girls to the, to the one keeping the one the same, people's empathy degrades and they're actually at their altruism degrades. So. So empathy is non quantitative almost by definition.

Jordan Peterson:    01:50:21       It's also partly because in your life, if you see a person in trouble, yes, do something. But if you see a million people in trouble, what you should probably do at least to begin with is run. And then what are you going to do? Maybe you could give a thousand dollars to one person, but, but if you divided that up among a million, all of that would happen, would you? You wouldn't be. You would have no money and they wouldn't be any better off.

Sam Harris:         01:50:48       But, but, but this is just say that so much of of moral progress today entails unhooking from the highly salient empathy driving story and connecting with the, the actual quantitative reality to learn that it's 500,000 people dying every year from heart disease or whatever it is. Or there's, there's this was 500,000 people dying in this famine. The fact that that that can't be made sexy for our news cycle, right? The fact that we lose attention is something we have to figure out how to correct

Jordan Peterson:    01:51:25       Well, that's also akin, It's very interestingly akin to your objection that you raised before is that there are, there are adult forms of solving problems that aren't akin to children's play, which is something by the way, I agree with because I don't think that the manner in which children organize the world is the end of the way that things should be organized. It's the basis for some of the organization, but this is akin to the same issue, is that the basal motivational responses, the emotional response is no matter how well meaning aren't sufficient conceptual sophistication to deal with Incredibly elaborate and complex systems and then we have another problem too, is that, well, that's really troublesome for people because they want to do the right thing globally and then you tell them, look, you don't know anything. You don't know how to take this insanely complicated system that we have and improve it and just because you're feeling pity doesn't mean that you're an expert in the retooling of hydroelectric systems, for example,

Douglas Murray:     01:52:24       and this one, this one's straightforward way to do that. I mean, give you an example. There's a Kurdish demographer who lives, who's a Swedish citizen now who cited this fact that it costs the same amount to bring one refugee and keep them in Sweden as it does to look after 100 refugees in Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon. Okay, so the obvious thing from that is you say, look, it's madness then to be, for instance, bringing in thousands of refugees to Sweden. You could be looking after hundreds of thousands of people in the region. Why is that still a tainted argument is because people aren't sure you're not going to smuggle in racism. That's what I think. Are you sure you're not just coming up with this democracy in order terms like you're smuggling and Hitler type smuggling. Jesus is going to start with NGO figures and before we know it, it's Auschwitz. That's what they. Right, but here's the thing. This is the shortcut solution to answering almost every single one of these problems is assume that your interlocutor has good motives, that they are being honest in the way that they're looking at it. And that's why I say…

Jordan Peterson:    01:53:34       I have a comments about that. Okay, so this is something I deal with in my clinical practice all the time. Okay. So imagine that you're naive and then what you are when you're naive as someone who thinks you trust people because you think everybody has good motivations, which is some sense with douglass is a recommended it and I'd say, well that's just naive. It's like just wait a second though because here's the developmental pathway. First you're naive and you trust everyone and then someone cuts you off at the knees or multiple people do. Or maybe you cut yourself off at the knees because you trusted yourself too much and you didn't take into account the malevolence that lurks in your heart and the hearts of others and so that you get traumatized by betrayal and then you become cynical and you think, Jesus, I'm a lot smarter now that I'm cynical and you are because cynical is actually a move up on naive, but it's not the last move. The last move is to transcend cynicism and to say that even though I know that there are just as many snakes in your heart as there are in my heart, I'm going to hold out my hand in trust because that's the best way to elevate both of us and that is the prerequisite for a sensible discussion.

Douglas Murray:     01:54:48       To concede that this is where I am always going about Aristotle, to concede that it's not between good and evil but between competing virtues. But when it comes to something like the borders discussion, you're dealing with justice and mercy. You can not only be driven by one of those virtues. Mercy itself will lead you to hell. Justice on its own. Blind and unseeing can lead you to Hell.

Jordan Peterson:    01:55:12       Yes, exactly. Well and so this also, and we're running very short on time here, so we should. I think this is also why your emphasis on truth and that emphasis on truth is so absolutely important because you and I obviously differ in on a variety of different things and as Douglas does with both of us, but you know that doesn't mean. That doesn't mean that I think that you're a bad person. I don't think that actually what I. What I think and what I fervently hope is that some of the things that you think are wrong actually turn out to be right in a way that would be extremely helpful to me at everyone I know. If I incorporated them, I really hope that because I'd rather not be stupid and wrong if I could help it because then I don't have to wander into a pit and so I'm hoping that if, if we can have a genuine dialogue and we can tell each other the truth, which is the crucial issue here, then I can find out what you know that I don't know and that'll make me stronger and it'll fortify everyone around me and that's the basis for the right and responsibility of free speech. Right? You have the right of free speech, but that's so that you can be a responsible bearer of free speech so that you can say the truth so that you can set the world right and adjust the hierarchies and make sure the borders are properly functional and so that we can keep this thing going property and that is all dependent, at least in part. Well in large part on the truth, but also to some degree on this faculty that you described is rational because we're engaged, I know rationality isn't enough that that's my sense, you know, but it's certainly an adult form of communication and definitely the prerequisite to a discussion like this, which seems to me highly useful and which I'm so happy that you're all willing to participate in how strangely, how strange that is not withstanding.

Sam Harris:         01:57:07       Yes. Well we've been shown various cards that had diminishing increments of time and now they have just stopped showing us cards because we're totally incorregable. Uh, but, uh, yeah, I just want to reiterate what Jordan's just said there, that you all really are the occasion for this conversation even though you are, are in the audience and we're on stage. We very much feel that this conversation is with all of you and we know the conversation continues in your lives and it, again, it's just a tremendous honor to show up and, and, and meet all of you in this space. And so thank you for that. And I want to thank, I want to thank both of these men. We have, we've never gotten together before like this. And, uh, it's really, it's a, it's a great pleasure to be confronted and cajoled and in your company.

Douglas Murray:     01:58:06       Likewise . [Applause] Thank you.

Sam Harris:         01:58:17       Thank you.

Jordan Peterson:    01:58:18       Thank you all very much. It's been a great pleasure to be here…

Travis Pangburn:    01:58:19       Please give it up for Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Douglas Murray!

Source

Travis Pangburn:    00:00:00       All Right, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Douglas Murray, Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.

Douglas Murray:     00:00:26       Well, good evening, London. Two weeks ago, Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson met in person for the first time on stage in Vancouver two nights ago. The three of us got together for the first time in Dublin and it's a huge thrill for all of us to now be here with you in here too. As I said to Travis when these events were planned, I'm not moderate enough to be a moderator, but I'm going to do a little bit of a fielding to begin with, so let me start by saying a little of some of the ground we are going to be trying to cover here tonight. We're going to be dealing with the conflict between science and reason. We're going to be addressing the legitimacy. Did I say science and reason science and reason? [Yes.] We're not addressing that. We're going to be looking at the legitimacy of holding onto religion in any form and we are also going to be addressing the fact that we need to hide in a sports stadium to address serious issues, but I think to begin with, I'm going to hand over to Sam and he's going to kick us off.

Sam Harris:         00:02:13       Well thank you and first of all thank you all for coming out. I you really can't imagine how humbling this is really just take a moment to appreciate this from our side because Justin Bieber is not coming out to sing in the middle of this as amusing as that would be. And you know though we put the date like this on the calendar with apparent confidence. There's really no guarantee that you guys are going to show up and we will never take this for granted. So it, it's really an immense privilege to be here with you.

Sam Harris:         00:02:57       So I thought I could start by first acknowledging how fun this has been to, to have this, these series of dialogues with Jordan. Now this is the fourth event we've done and the second with Douglas and we clearly share a common project. We are, we are trying to figure out how to live the best lives possible both individually and collectively and we're trying to figure out how to build societies that safeguard that opportunity for as many people as possible. And I think we, we each have a sense that ideas are really the prime movers here, that it's not that the world is filled with bad people doing bad things because that's what bad people do. Though there, there's some of that. It is mostly that so much of humanity is living under the sway of bad ideas and it's bad ideas that can cause good people or at least totally normal people like ourselves to do bad things all the while trying to, to live the best possible lives.

Sam Harris:         00:04:04       And that really is the tragedy of our circumstance that we can be that confused. Uh, so this is where the difference between Jordan and me in particular opens up, which is how do you view religion in this, in this contest between good ideas and bad ideas. And for me, religion emphatically gets placed on the side of bad and old and, and, uh, worth retiring ideas or ideas worth retiring. And I guess I'd say, but by analogy I would ask you to consider Astrology and maybe I can just get a sense of what I'm talking to. What percentage of you I want to know, believe in astrology, which is to say who among you. And you can signal this by, by applause or a house of enthusiasm. What, what percentage of you, Let me just spell it out so you know what you're committing to and you know how crazy your neighbor is. In fact, what percentage of you believe that human personalities and human events and the difference between good and bad luck and a human life is the result of what the planets are doing against the background of stars? Let's hear it, somebody out there. Okay. So now you should know that something like 25 percent of your neighbors believe that. [Some random person screams something inaudible] Uh, oh, there you go. I'm, I'm hearing. Wait, wait, wait. I'm hearing, I'm hearing a heckler among the astrologers, is that possible? It's the first astrological heckler I've heard you must be an Aries sir. [Laughter] It won't surprise you. I have a related question which is, what percentage of you I want to know are religious, which is say, well, who among you believe in God, a personal God, a God that can hear prayers, a God that can take an interest in the lives of human beings and occasionally enforce good outcomes versus bad outcomes. What? Who among you? And now again, I want to hear applause or, or silence for belief in that sort of God. [Some clapping]

Sam Harris:         00:06:35       Okay, so this is my concern with what Jordan has been saying and writing Lo these many months. I feel that you are in danger of misleading these, the second group of people, that the way you talk about God has convinced and will continue to convince some percentage of humanity that it's fine to hold on to this old sort of God, this God that can hear prayers and they can intervene or not in the lives of human beings. Uh, and you know, as we've begun to explore that, and I think there are a lot of problems with that kind of belief, if nothing else, there are many such God's on offer and their devotion to them becomes irreconcilable among the true believers. And my concern is that you could do exactly what you do with religion, with Astrology, right? It would be, it would be no more legitimate to, to, uh, obfuscate the boundary between clear thinking and superstition there because the traditional God and the doctrines that support him are in no firmer ground than astrology is now today, and astrology, you almost everything you say about religion, it's the fact that has organized human thinking for thousands of years, that it's a cultural universal that every, every group of people has, has given rise to some form of it. That it has archetypal significance that has powerful stories. All of that can be said about Astrology and in fact some additional things can be said about astrology that or we would argue in its favor. For instance, astrology is profoundly egalitarian. You know, there's, there's no bad Zodiac sign every whoever you are, everyone's got a great Zodiac sign and uh, you know, It's just a inconvenient fact of the discipline that if I read you Charles Manson's Horoscope, you'd have 95 percent of the audience would find it relevant and, and that's just, that's how easily falsifiable astrology is. But that my concern is that we could live in a world where societies are shattered over things like, you know, different Zodiac interpretations and we don't live in that world for good reason because we have beaten Astrology into submission and I would say that religion in terms of revealed religion and belief in a personal God is over the centuries getting the same treatment by science and rationality. And it should be. And it is a perverse circumstance that we live in a world that is that a shattered by religion.

Jordan Peterson:    00:09:25       So I think what I'll do first is adopt the exceptionally difficult and likely counterproductive position of saying something not so much in defense of religion, but in defense of astrology, knowing, knowing full well that that's fundamentally a fool's errand. But there's something I want to point out is that first of all, Astrology was Astronomy in it's nascent form and Astrology was also Science in its nascent form, just like Alchemy was Chemistry and it's nascent form, and so sometimes you have to dream a crazy dream with all of the error that that crazy dream entails because you have an intuition that there's something there to motivate you to develop the intuition to the point where it actually becomes a genuine practical utility. Now, when we look back on the Astrologers and we view their contributions to the history of the world with contempt, we should also remember that the people who built Stonehenge, for example, and the first people who decided determined that our fates were in part written in the stars, were people whose Astrological beliefs were indistinguishable from their Astronomical beliefs. And you might think, well, in what sense is your fate written in the stars? And I would say it's certainly the case insofar as there are such things as cosmic regularities.

Jordan Peterson:    00:11:11       So it was the dream of Astrology that there was some relationship between the movement of the planetary bodies. And the fixed stars and human destiny, and that's what drove us to build the first Astronomical observatories and to also determine that there was a proper time for planting and a proper time for harvesting and a way of orienting yourself in the world. For example, by using the north star. It's also the poetic ground that enabled us to identify the notion that you could look up and Orient Yourself towards the heavens and if there was a metaphorical relationship between that and positioning yourself properly in life. And at a deeper level, the cosmos was the place that the human imaginative drama was externalized and draped itself out into the world as something that was essentially observable so that we could derive great orienting fictions from the observation of our imagination. And so part of the problem that that Sam is pointing to is the difficulty of distinguishing valid poetic impulse from invalid political impulse. And that really is a tremendous problem. You see that arise also in people who have religious delusions attendant upon manic depressive disorder or schizophrenia. But so much of what eventually manifests itself as hardcore pragmatic, scientific belief has its origin in wild flights of poetic fantasy, and it's also the case by the way, that that's actually how your brain is organized as far as I can tell that when you, and it isn't just me, I actually it, it's, it's there. There's a very large, what would you call it? Research Literature, outlining the relative functions of the right and left hemisphere, and it certainly appears to be the case that when we encounter something absolutely unknowable or unknown, what we do is drape that unknown thing in fantasy as a first pass approximation to the truth and then refine that fantasy as a consequence of iterative, critical analysis. And so Sam believes that what should happen is that the, the poetic and fictional domain should be supplanted by the rational domain.

Sam Harris:         00:13:27       Let me just close the loop there, not quite. I think we need poetry and fiction and then there's more to engage in with reality than than being a scientist in a white lab coat. But we need to be able to clearly distinguish back from fantasy or fact from mere, merely fertile flights of imagination, and we want to be rigorous there and rational there and it's not that. It's not that there is no place for mere creativity that's not…

Jordan Peterson:    00:13:58       well, Fair enough then, but then partly what we are disputing what the relative import and of those two domains, let's say the poetic and the fictional and …

Sam Harris:         00:14:15       status of religion now in that …

Jordan Peterson:    00:14:17       well, I have a hard time reconciling that to some degree. With your, with your more, what would you say? Formal statements about the problem because your mechanism, the mechanism that you put forth above all outside of truth is rationality and it isn't clear to me if you're willing to allow the utility of spiritual experience, which you do and and if you're willing to make, what would you say? Allowances for the necessity of the poetic imagination. Exactly how it is that that is also encapsulated under the rubric of pure rationality. See, let's see. Here's something you can tell me what you think about this, and I've been thinking a lot about what Sam and I have been talking about by the way, you know, so I'm making the case in my writing that democratic institutions not only grew out of the Judeo Christian substrate, but that they're, that they're properly ensconced within that sub, but I'm also perfectly aware that not every religious or political system gives rise to democratic institutions first and also that there are Christian substructures, maybe the most obviously in the case of the Russian Orthodox Church were the same metaphysical principles apply, but out of which a democracy did not emerge. And so it does seem to me that what we have in the West is the consequence of the interplay between the fantasy predicated poetic, Judeo Christian tradition and the rational critique that was aimed at that by the enlightenment figures.

Jordan Peterson:    00:15:55       And that seems to meet a mirror something like the proper balance between the right hemisphere and it's poetic imagination and the left hemisphere and it's critical capacity. And then I would say that part of the way. So one of the questions you brought up was how do we decide which let's say religious intuitions are valid and I think we do that in part through negotiated agreement, you know, because people have look, even even among the Catholics, say in the medieval time there was an absolute horror of heresy. So if you were some mendicant monk and you had a profound religious vision, the probability that you were going to be tried as a heretic and burnt at the stake was extremely high because even the gatekeepers of the religious tradition realized that religious revelation untrammeled by something like community dialogue, something like that was something extraordinary, of extraordinary danger, and so I would agree with you that the poetic imagination and the ground of religious revelation is something that can lead people dangerously astray. But I would say at the same time that it constitutes the grounds of our initial exploration and that it's actually ineradicably necessary.

Sam Harris:         00:17:04       Very briefly address that and then I want to ask a question that brings Douglas directly in here. I think this is an instance of what's called the genetic fallacy. The idea that because something emerged the way it did historically as a matter of historical contingency, it is the origin is in fact good and worth maintaining or that it was in fact necessary that we couldn't get these good things like democracy any other way or we're unlikely to; And I would say that, that there's no abrahamic religion that is the best conceivable womb of democracy or anything else we like. Like Science…

Jordan Peterson:    00:17:43       That is a great place to get Douglass Involved…

Sam Harris:         00:17:45       But I would just add one other category of thinking here we have what we think is factual and methods by which we derived facts. I would put a rationality there and an empirical engagement with reality. Then we have other good things in life like fiction and flights of fancy that are pleasing for one reason or another and could be generative toward the first category, but then we also have a, you know, I would acknowledge we've spoken about this before, useful fictions and cases. I would, you know, hope rare cases where were fiction is more adaptive or more useful than the truth, right? That there's sometimes the truth can, can be not worth knowing. And I would argue that that, you know, there are those cases where they're not, but they're few and far between…

Jordan Peterson:    00:18:39       but we should focus on that but at some degree…

Sam Harris:         00:18:41       Yes, So I wanted to just point to Douglas here and focus on that because I think your fear, Douglas, is that my style or you know, Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, his style of antitheism, you know, just let's, let's just throw the vickers from the rooftops now because it is time to end this thing, literally get off twitter now. But …

Douglas Murray:     00:19:04       that's a Hashtag if ever heard one.

Sam Harris:         00:19:07       your concern has been that, uh, and I think Jordan shares this so much of what is good in our Western developed societies is at the very least maintained by maintaining so-called Judeo Christian values or the remnants of our past religiosity. And that know there is a baby in the bathwater that can be difficult to discern. And we can't empty the tub all at once. Because, and this is very much a because there's a zero sum contest with the religious enthusiasm we see coming from the Muslim world, and of course the Muslim world is all over the world at the moment. So in that contest between a very, an older style of religiosity and be a theocracy really, in Modernity. You are not as eager as I have been to, to pull up a western religiosity by the roots

Douglas Murray:     00:20:07       Or chuck the vickers. Yes. I think that's fair. I mean, I think I sit metaphorically as well as literally between the two of you. Um, I realized from our conversations in Dublin some of what your concerns are about what Jordan has been saying and what he's saying. And I share some of the concern I said to you then that I used the analogy of what our friend Eric Weinstein recently described to me as Jesus smuggling. That it was a consequence of a discussion about biologists. What do you do if you're discussing design intelligent design. You can be okay as long as your own bandwidth on the issue, as long as you in depth of knowledge on the issue is very considerable. You can be okay discussing that biology with somebody, even a fundamentalist Christian, so long as you can follow every step of the way. The fear will always be at the moment you're not looking, they're going to smuggle Jesus in or they'll wait until the moment that you're not comfortable anymore with the argument bit when you're at the very end of your cognitive ability and then they'll trust me. There's Jesus. And one of the things I realized from Dublin was, although I think you may not think that Jordan himself is going to try Jesus smuggling on you, you fear that somewhere down the line from what he's saying, somebody else will do that trick.

Sam Harris:         00:21:46       Yeah. It's worse than that. I actually know the people, the people who were clapping are doing that. I hear from those people on a daily basis. Right? So that the segment of Jordan's audience, that is very happy to be told they can stay on the riverbank of their traditional Christianity for the most part, and they don't have to get into the stream of totally modern, rigorous, rational thinking about everything from first principles. Right? That there's something that the Iron Age scribes got right and it's right for all time. Those are the applause I'm hearing. And I, however, consciously or not, Jordan is telling them it's okay to stay. Stick right there with a Shard of the cross…

Jordan Peterson:    00:22:32       Okay, well, in Dublin, I actually tried a little conscious Jesus smuggling on Sam to see how that would go into discussion we had about the central archetype of superheroes. But I'm going to try something a little different tonight. I'm going to try a little direct God smuggling. We won't bother with Jesus. Let's go right to God. Why not? So One of the things I've really tried to do when I've been analyzing religious texts is to take them as to take them seriously in the sense that I don't presume that I understand them and I presume that they're a mystery of sorts and at least the Bible, for example, is a mystery because we don't really understand the processes by which it was constructed and we don't understand the processes by which we all agreed collectively over several thousand years to organize the book the way it is organized or to edit it the way that it's edited or and to keep what's in it and to and to discard what's not in it and why it's lasted and why it's had such a huge impact.

Sam Harris:         00:23:35       I don't want to derail you, but we do understand that the first part of the process all too well. We know that the. There was a political and all too human process of voting certain texts in for inclusion and some were in for centuries and then got jettisoned and revelation came in far later. I mean, there were whole generations of Christians who lived and died under the banner of the Bible and it was a different Bible at the time. They had the wrong Bible so well…

Jordan Peterson:    00:24:03       but it's the same. It's the same issue that we really don't. We really don't understand. Fair enough. Salmon, I'm not saying that political etc. Considerations didn't enter into it. I'm sure all human Considerations entered into it, but there was some collective process of winnowing and you can attempt to reduce that to economic or political causes, which is generally what secular assessors like Freud and Marx, both good and with a fair degree of success. I my add, but there's still some mysterious assessment of what it is that will be remembered that entered into it, but it's a separate point to some degree. I'm just saying that my point of departure when looking at these texts is one of an essential radical ignorance. I don't assume that I understand the mechanisms by which they were generated or edited or collected or kept or remembered or why they had the impact they had. Now I've been thinking a lot about the idea of let's say God the father because that's a very common archetypal representation of God the father. So I'm going to tell you an experience that I had that I've never really told any audience about. I had a vision at one point that and the vision had to do with a dialogue that I was having with my father. And you know you have a father, right? And when you were a little kid, you act out your father. When you pretend to be a father and what you're doing when you're acting out, your father isn't imitating your father because you don't duplicate precisely the actions that your father ever took in his life. What you do is you watch your father across multiple contexts and you abstract out something like a spirit of the father and then when you're a child, you implement that spirit of the father in your pretend play and you come to embody that deeply. So the notion is that people can abstract out something like a spirit of the father and that that's part of our memetic tendency, which is a very powerful human cognitive tendency. And in this vision I first started to talk with my father and I would say more with the spirit of my father because he wasn't actually there and I would say it was the wisest part of him. And then now it sort of transformed into a discussion that I had with a series of ancestral spirits. And then that transformed itself into a vision of God himself with whom I have a conversation and this was a visionary experience. And then that all went away and I spent months and months thinking about it and I thought so you guys can tell me what you think about this. And this sort of stretches my cognitive ability to, to its utmost limit to contemplate such things. But here's a biological argument. I already made the case that a child can extract out the spirit of the father and embody it and that's necessary in so far as you're going to be a father. and the wise one, but we can also extract out the spirit of the father over much longer periods of time because my father was a father because he imitated his father who imitated his father, who imitated his father as far back in time as you can go, and there's a cumulative development of the spirit of the father across time. Now then the question might be, does this spirit of the father have any reality other than the metaphorical? And I would say, damn right, it has a reality and I can describe a biological reality. And I don't know what this says about any background metaphysics, but here's a hypothesis. We know that human beings separated from chimpanzees over the course of the last 7 million years, at least in large part because of human female sexual selectivity.

Jordan Peterson:    00:27:40       So it was the spirit of femininity collectively that helped elevate us to the degree that we have been elevated above our chimpanzee co-ancestor. But here's something interesting to contemplate. What is it precisely that makes men what makes men desirable to women? And so I have a bit of a hypothesis about that. So here's what men do, they get together in productive groups and the orient themselves toward a certain task and they produce a hierarchy around that task because whenever you implement a task, you produce a hierarchy and they vote up the most competent men to the top of the hierarchy and then the women select the competent men from the top of the hierarchy, but the vote that determines who the competent men are that are more likely to reproduce as a consequence of male evaluation of men. And that's occurred over millennia. And so there's a spirit of the father that's embedded in the patriarchal hierarchy that acts as the primary selection mechanism that offers men up to women and plays a cardinal role in human evolution. And it looks like we've. We've personified that spirit of the father in our religious imagery and and that's, that's how it looks to Me. But then there's something that's even more mysterious and deep about that that's worth considering, is that apparently the entire course of evolutionary history has conspired to produce human beings. And we could argue that it could have been different, but it certainly hasn't been different and that means that that selective spirit of the father has been part of the process that's generated our very being, and it's certainly possible that that collective spirit of the father reflects something metaphysically fundamental about the structure of reality itself.

Sam Harris:         00:29:26       Well insofar as I agree with, with virtually all of that, I should say that none of that should give comfort to people who want to hold onto this notion that certain of our books might've been revealed the creator of the universe. Right?

Jordan Peterson:    00:29:43       Well, it depends on what you mean by the creator…

Sam Harris:         00:29:45       Like, well, I'm just saying that the world we're living in now is one in which we have whole societies shattered over this notion that some books weren't written by human beings. Right? There's a different class of book, right? There's a different shelf in the library where the, the products of a almost certainly, merely human brains are venerated for all time and, and considered uneditable and uninsurable by the majority of human beings.

Jordan Peterson:    00:30:17       Well, it's clear, clear that revelation can devolve into fundamentalism, but any…

Douglas Murray:     00:30:24       But there is a risk always in all of this often made critique, but when you're talking about religion, you're talking about the inquisition. You're talking about the Jihadists. You're not talking about somebody who wants to go to their local anglican church once a year, maybe get the children to school. It may be when they were at some desolate moment of their lives, returns to this as a place that stores meaning. I mean, the thing that I think Jordan and I are in agreement on this is, is that thing a quote from Schopenhauer and the dialogue on religion when he says, “You know, the truth may be like water. It needs vessels to carry it.” And when we were talking about this the other night, you admitted that one of the consequences perhaps of the, you know, the parents sort of going through the belief structures, they may not believe in anymore, but they keep doing it as a demonstration of what you said was the you know, the non embarrassing options that atheists have come up with. But it may also be that that since we don't have very many vessels that cracked and damaged and sometimes transparent as they are, what vessels you have might be worth holding onto?

Sam Harris:         00:31:35       Well, no, I think. I think the challenge here is, I mean it feels that, well first of all we should first notice that these comments very often take the form of you and I don't need this stuff, but most other people do. Right. And that is…

Douglas Murray:     00:31:54       It can do that.

Sam Harris:         00:31:55       Yeah. I mean that's inevitably. And it sort of took that form at one moment the other night. Whereas where you [At Jordan] acknowledged that, that people have low intelligence are best placed in a conservative paradigm, a traditionally conservative paradigm because there's less to think through right now. Obviously you don't want your, your view on religion summarized by it's good for stupid people.

Jordan Peterson:    00:32:20       Well I do. I do want to summarize to some degree that way because…

Sam Harris:         00:32:24       We given you the opportunity again to put his foot in your mouth…

Jordan Peterson:    00:32:27       But I would say not, not only. I mean, the thing is is that we're all stupid and some of us are far superior than others…

Sam Harris:         00:32:35       but we're not, but we're not that stupid…

Jordan Peterson:    00:32:37       Well, there's another problem, sam. I think, and this is obviously a contentious one, one of the things I don't go to church, but there is one thing I admire about the church and that is that it's managed to serve as a repository for these fundamental underlying fictions for two millennia and that's really something bloody unbelievable. I mean the great, what would you say?

Sam Harris:         00:33:04       It is bloody unbelievable.

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:05       Well, look, Sam everything's. Everything's soaked in blood. We have no disagreement about that, but the secular alternatives that we produced in the 20th century were certainly no less blood soaked and they'd produced nothing of any productivity whatsoever…

Sam Harris:         00:33:19       We need not do it now, but we have to put to bed that secular canard. It's just not so that Stalinism was the product of secularism or atheism and nor was…

Jordan Peterson:    00:33:32       No, it was A product, it was an inevitable product…

Sam Harris:         00:33:37       No no, It wasn't. And please anyone who has this meme in your head, please just allow the next sentences I speak to just push it out because I'm so sick of hearing this, this idea that the greatest crimes of the 20th century where somehow the product of atheism, right? This, when you look at what actually engineered these atrocities, it was something that looked very much like a religion. It was a religion in every way apart from an explicit commitment to other worldliness.

Jordan Peterson:    00:34:09       That's a big difference…

Sam Harris:         00:34:09       It was based on dogmatism through and through. It was based on a personality cults that, that grew up around figures like Stalin and Hitler and Mao. These were the, it was not the ideas of Bertrand Russell and David Hume that brought us to the Gulag or to Auschwitz…

Douglas Murray:     00:34:27       but then you can't say it was thought of Jesus Christ either…

Sam Harris:         00:34:30       Well, no, it's true. No, I can say that, I can say it was a thought of St Augustine and I can say it was the thought of St Thomas Aquinas explicitly that gave us the inquisition. The fact…

Douglas Murray:     00:34:42       Can I make a suggestion? Yeah. I mean this is a general one as well as one for tonight, but the whole discussion. I mean, I said the other night in dublin, but to a great extent in the history books are written about the period we're living in. They'll probably be described as the post holocaust period in history, the post world war two era in Europe. It's still going on, so we're still. We're still going through this, trying to work out what happened and I have to say one thing that I, at any rate, am equally tired of is the claim that this has got to be a tennis game between the religious and nonreligious, but people say that the 20th century's crimes are committed by atheists, sometimes true, often wrong, or that the 20th century, his crimes were committed by people who were religious. Sometimes true, often wrong. One thing nobody…

Sam Harris:         00:35:30       You're not observing a crucial distinction here because I would never be tempted to hold religion accountable for the bad things that religious people do that have no connection to religion. Right? So if a Muslim robs the liquor store, I'm not going to blame Islam for that or there's, There's no doctrine…

Douglas Murray:     00:35:50       You can't, specially not that…

Jordan Peterson:    00:35:50       [Laughs] Definitely not that…

Sam Harris:         00:35:53       there's no doctrine that makes sense of that behavior. What I blame religion for and and likewise, there's no doctrine in the mere loss of religion. IE Atheism that gets you The gulag…

Douglas Murray:     00:36:03       Hang on But there is…

Sam Harris:         00:36:05       There's not, there's not, but let me just. Let me just flush out this point for one more second. The only thing I blame religion for are the things that it becomes rational to do by the light of these beliefs. If you accept these doctrines, a rational and good person can be tempted to join ISIS. That's my concern. A rational and good person can be tempted to support the inquisition,

Douglas Murray:     00:36:32       but of the many things they had in common, and this is the point in that David Berlinski made in his book, what did the end kvd have in common with everyone who oversaw the gulag, the ss, people who guarded the camps, people who put people on trains. What did they all have in common? What do they have in common with Mao, among other things they had in common? The fact that none of them thought that god was watching them, none of them thought that they were being observed and would be held accountable…

Sam Harris:         00:37:03       It doesn't help when you think God is on your side, but we have just as many examples where people do it because they think God is on their side, right? God is watching and clapping.

Douglas Murray:     00:37:13       I'm not denying that. I'm saying that the attempt to make this a tennis match over the 20th century was a mistake. We were still trying to work out what caused it. Religion had a role. Atheism had a role, but the perpetual tennis match of it. I think …

Jordan Peterson:    00:37:28       Well there, there is something to be said at a more sophisticated level, I would say for the idea that you have an obligation to a transcendent ethic. Now you make that claim in the moral landscape. You lay out a transcendent ethic in my estimation. That's one that puts the onus of responsibility on the individual to act in a way that at at minimum minimizes suffering and so and you think of that as a statement of fact that that's the proper way of being. And I think about it as an axiomatic statement of faith and that's one of our differences, but I have been very careful in my analysis of the relationship between the idea of sovereignty and the idea of religious belief; and one of the things that I have worked out, I think partly from reading such people as Eliatta(?) and Jung was the there is an emergent idea of sovereignty that does involve being accountable to a God and here's how I would justify that, and I would think about this essentially from a practical and biological perspective, independent of any metaphysical reality that it might have.

Jordan Peterson:    00:38:41       So the ancient mesopotamians, for example, believed that their emperor was the incarnation or the representative of a god named Marduk and that actually be stowed certain ethical responsibilities on the ruler. And so the ruler had to be a good Marduk in order to be a sovereign, to be regarded as sovereign. He had to be the embodiment of these divine principles. And it took the mesopotamians a very, very long period of time, perhaps several tens of thousands of years. They weren't mesopotamian during that whole time, obviously, to work out what those principles of sovereignty should be and the mesopotamians encoded this in their fictions in their religious fictions, making essentially the proposition that the proper ruler had to have eyes all the way around his head because that was one of the attributes of Marduk. So he was someone who was genuinely paying attention, who is capable of coming into voluntary contact with the great chaotic substructure of being and cutting it into pieces and making the habitable world and also speaking words that were truthful, that that had the power, the magic power of truth, and the the ruler had to act that out. If he was going to be the sort of ruler that his people weren't entitled to slay and sacrifice. And then once a year at the new year's festival, he would go outside the city, the walled city, and he would act out his role of Marduk and the priest would humiliate him and ask him to confess all the ways that he hadn't been a good Marduk so that he could remember that he had a responsibility to undertake this; To embody this relationship with these divine principles, and the thing that's so important about this so absolutely crucially important is that it established the principle that even if you were at the top of a hierarchy, you weren't absolute. There was something above you that you were subordinate to, and one of the extraordinary useful ideas about the abstraction of, of even God as a personified spirit, let's say, is that it allows every leader to be subordinate to something that's beyond him. Now, that doesn't mean it can't be misused, but it's a very, very, very important idea.

Sam Harris:         00:40:54       Yeah, except you can also. You can get there. The other way around. You can realize that you, even if you're at the top of the hierarchy, you are radically dependent on everyone else. That the tip of the pyramid

Jordan Peterson:    00:41:07       Yeah but everybody the tip of a hierarchy doesn't believe that sometimes they believe that they can do whatever the hell they want…

Sam Harris:         00:41:12       But I'm saying if you. If you're going to believe something that's compatible with, with rationality globally and has the least conceivable downside, I would put in that place, not a superstitious attachment to a notion of an invisible friend, uh, or punisher who's, who's above you, I would put in its place, they totally defensible and, and palpably true fact that we, that you can be king of the world and you are dependent on everyone around you to eat, to not be murdered by them. I mean like you are, I mean, it's amazing. It's amazing how precarious even a totalitarian regime is. I mean, the amazing thing is that, that these last at all, because in many cases it would just take a 50 people to act in unison to kill the tyrant, right? But it never happens because we either have a first mover problem. Everyone is afraid to be the first person shot, but it is, it is a genuine mystery that these systems even perpetuate themselves. And when they unravel, when you see, you know, Gaddafi being murdered in a crowd, you realize, wow, it really is just a matter of, of the restraint and fear of human beings keeping any of these things together. A benign, if you, if you wanted a hierarchy where you had a kind of benign philosopher king pulling the reigns of a society, I'm not saying we do, but even there you could have an ethical one. You could have one where and a non superstitious one was one where someone recognize, hey, this is, this is how we're doing it, but we are radically. I at the top of this hierarchy, am radically dependent on having been surrounded by as many happy people as possible.

Jordan Peterson:    00:43:04       Well, look, I mean I don't, I don't in some profound sense, I won't disagree with that.

Sam Harris:         00:43:10       We're actually let you know we're living mean. This sounds like a a fiction, but we're living with this problem and we encounter this more and more when you talk even in Silicon Valley is as you and I occasionally do and I'm sure you do as well, where you meet people who are fantastically wealthy, who seem uncannily detached at the fact that the, there's this growing chasm between them and those they know and the rest of humanity and one begins to wonder what level of wealth inequality will everyone find alarming. And some people are acting as though there is no level that is alarming that there is kind of a law of nature that this thing can grow. Just impossibly to the point where we have trillionaires walking around, uh, and you know, in, in drive into their motorcades and it's kind of a, I mean, it's sort of the libertarian religion one occasionally runs into. And clearly there's some level of inequality that's untenable or at least would be undesirable.

Jordan Peterson:    00:44:15       Well, it's a funny thing because that's a place where our thought loops and then agrees to some degree again, because I do believe that you can in some sense, rationally derive an ethic. So let's take the argument that you put forward and say that well. This is an extension of your wellbeing argument to some degree, which with which I've thought about a fair bit. It's like, well, okay, what's the optimal solution for you? Well, okay, well first of all, there isn't just you now there's you now and new tomorrow and you next week and you in a year, you in five years. So there's you and the you that propagates across time. So one of the implications of that is that you can't do anything that's really good for the You now, That isn't very good for you a week from now. Right? So that means you have to imagine yourself as multiple individuals across multiple timeframes, and then you have to figure out what's good for all those individuals across all those timeframes. Although you discount the future to some degree because of its unpredictability. But then so, so that's a very tight set of constraints and you might say, well, a rational person would calculate what was optimal across all those, all those, uh, multiple timeframes. Then you do the same thIng with other people, which is the point you just made. Well, it isn't just you because who's you, there's you and your family. Most people are in a situation where they would regard damage to their family as perhaps even worse than damage to them. So whatever they are obviously encapsulates their family and then to some degree that flows off Into the community. And so there is no isolated you and that sort of point with regards to the ethic. But then so, so I agree with all that. But then one of the things that I would suggest is that because that's an incredibly difficult, rational calculation and perhaps an impossible one technically speaking, but certainly very difficult. That's what that, what has happened in part as our, as our great narratives have emerged across time, is that we have observed ourselves attempting to solve that multiple identity, multiple timeframe problem. And we've told stories about people who do that exceptionally well, and then we've winnowed out those stories and we've produced these powerful narratives that encapsulate the ethic, that does in fact reflect that wisdom and so and I think you actually accept some of that in your, in your moral propositions, which is something that we've talked about before. So for example, although never really agreed on, you certainly believe, for example, that the embodiment of truth is one of the means whereby you solve the problem of ethics. And I would say that that's a deeply rooted, Judeo Christian concept that …

Sam Harris:         00:47:05       well deeply rooted that it precedes any notion of religious provincialism. It's deeper than Judeo Christian. It's deeper than our humanity on some level. At one point we've talked about the golden rule and I said that the precursor to the golden rule can be found even among monkeys. right? It's the golden rule is a good rule even for monkeys.

Jordan Peterson:    00:47:27       Right, right Yes, exactly. Exactly and…

Sam Harris:         00:47:29       Let me just add to the picture you sketched out. I completely agree with. We have an ethical obligation even to our future selves, right? I mean we are in relationship to…the person who is drinking his fourth scotch tonight has some ethical relationship to the person who's going to wake up with a hangover tomorrow morning and one thing we know for sure in which we have begun to dimly understand that described scientifically as we are bad at all of these calculations. The hyperbolic discounting of future rewards…

Jordan Peterson:    00:48:03       That's also why I think we have these stringent limitations on rationality. Sam, is that we can't solve the problem through calculation.

Sam Harris:         00:48:10       Well, I don't know, but we we increasingly can and and even where it's best summarized not by calc… One thing I'll grant you is that it's not always best conveyed or rendered Indelible and actionable by being being given a nature paper or an abstract from a paper in the literature and being told, this is the way you want to behave, to maximize your wellbeing. It may best be conveyed by certain stories, right? Or certain books that are that are in the philosophy section of the bookstore, not the science section. You and I were at the book signing the other night and someone came up with with a copy of “The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius”, a fantastic book. There's so much wisdom in that book, right? And there's nothing about stoning a girl to death if she's not a virgin on her wedding day.

Sam Harris:         00:49:00       Now we all recognize that Marcus Aurelius was a human being who wrote this book and that provenance is no barrier to take in the book deadly seriously. It's an incredibly useful book. And stoicism, stoicism could be the quote religion or the guiding philosophy of the west. It could, it would be a much better one than Judaism or Christianity and have virtually none of the downside. So that's my point, that we're in this perverse circumstance of being held hostage by certain products of literature. And we need to break the spell and if we're finding it this hard to break, what do we think is gonna happen in the Middle East or in sub saharan Africa? I mean, the moral progress we need to engineer is a common humanity coming together through our shared values..

Jordan Peterson:    00:50:03       Those are are those are perfectly credible arguments. But, but the weakness in the argument I think is the one that we started to talk about earlier, which is that when you talked with Dave Rubin awhile back and Michael Shermer said the same thing recently, he basically said that Atheism is a doctrine of negation. That's what, that's what you said with Rubin is that there isn't a positive ethos in Atheism. All it says is that there's no, there's nothing personify, there's nothing personified. transcendent. It's something like that. There is no God. And so and so the problem with the Atheist…

Sam Harris:         00:50:37       it's not even the assertion that there is no god, it's just that it's a failure to be convinced by any of the Gods on offer. It's just like not believing in Zeus…

Jordan Peterson:    00:50:46       fine. And it's not like it's a weak, it's not like it's a weak argument. I mean I'm perfectly aware that making a deistic case or a case for religion in the face of the claims of the rationalist atheists is perhaps well, it's a very, very difficult thing to manage. But it is also the case that, and this is where I think we differ with regards to what happened say in the Soviet Union and perhaps also in Nazi Germany, is that when your doctrine demolishes the, let's call it the literary or fictional substructure and leaves, nothing behind an ethos needs to be provided because something will rush in to fill the void. And it's certainly the case. And this is what Nietzsche warned about. Even though he was a strident anti christian and it's also what Dostoevsky first saw. He said, if we knock out the logos from the substructure of western society and Nietzsche believe that it was Christianity's emphasis on truth that destroyed Christianity, which was an extremely interesting criticism. You know, the christianity of the elevated to truth to such a degree that it would, it actually resulted in the demolition of its own dogmatic substructure, but be that as it may Nietzsche's prognostication, was that if we allowed God to die and perhaps there were reasons for that, that the consequence would be that would be we would be awash in both nihilism and totalitarian bloodshed and that is what happened in the 20th century. And so, so…

Douglas Murray:     00:52:17       And there's another, there's another aspect to that which is that you made you may try to knock out the whole thing, take out some of the substructure but not the whole thing. That's what Nietzsche also showed that his prediction, and I think it's blindingly obviously true that you might in this post Christian era, have a remnant of Christianity such as guilt, overbearing, guilt and no means of alleviation or redemption.

Jordan Peterson:    00:52:44       Which is actually part of the problem of protestantism by the way. Because it's, you know, and there are other things too that seemed to be to be fundamental religious issues that secularists I think have a difficult time accounting for. It's like, so you actually have to grapple seriously with the problem that a doctrine that's essentially one of negation doesn't offer a positive ethos and now and you are doing now to be perfectly fair, you said that reading a nature paper about the necessity of calculating your ethic across multiple, multiple timeframes and multiple persons doesn't have the motive force that's going to drive you to act ethically in life. And I do believe that's true, but I think the fact that the rationalist ethos doesn't have motivational push is actually a fatal flaw.

Douglas Murray:     00:53:34       They don't meet every week to read Marcus Aurelius…

Jordan Peterson:    00:53:36       There's no music that goes along with it. There's no art that goes along with it. There's no architecture that goes along with it. Like, well, and I don't know why exactly…

Sam Harris:         00:53:48       But to be fair to the present, most music and most art and most architecture is no longer religious. That has flown the perch provided by religion traditionally and most of what we care about, In increasingly cosmopolitan and secular societies is not tied to religion in any direct way and they're even whole religions like Judaism where you have to look long and hard to find anyone who believes much of anythIng that is religious, right? I have literally sat on stage debating what I thought was a religious rabbi who was a conservative rabbi and when I said something that assumed that he believed in a god who could hear our prayers, he threw up his hands and he said, “what makes you think I believe in a god who can hear prayers?” And I was just, you know, I practically lost the debate just in, in my astonishment, you know? What does it mean to be a conservative rabbi in this case? There are religions that have made that transition to an increasingly attenuated commitment to the truth of the doctrine. And there are religions who haven't moved an inch right? And we have. But I think we have to acknowledge that this movement in this direction is progress. Because what it, what it actually is at bottom is increasing sensitivity to the difference between having good reasons and bad reasons for what you believe. Right? And, and the fact that, that this book has been around forever is not a good reason. The fact that mommie told me so…

Jordan Peterson:    00:55:29       So it's actually, it's not a terrible reason though, because the fact that something has lasted for that length of time at least makes the fact that it's lasted a mystery and you can't just attribute that to casual politicking or economic circumstances. There's somethIng at look the least you can say about many of the biblical stories is that they're incredibly memorable. And that means that in some sense they're adapted to the memory structures our lives

Sam Harris:         00:55:58       So is mythology of ancient Greece. It's incredibly memorable.

Jordan Peterson:    00:56:01       But, um, but I don't disagree with that…

Sam Harris:         00:56:03       All those gods are dead. The stories still can be useful.

Jordan Peterson:    00:56:07       But their spirit lives on, let's say…

Sam Harris:         00:56:10       it lives on in a way that is benign. It lives on in a way where you learn about them in mythology class, in school, right? You don't have, You don't have a fear of Hades drummed you as a child by your parents.

Jordan Peterson:    00:56:25       The other thing that is lacking as far as I can tell in the rationalist doctrine, and this is something that I've observed in my clinical practice and so one of the things that's happened over the last year is that I've had many people, especially ex soldiers, come to my lecturers who have posttraumatic stress disorder and they say that listening to my lectures, especially the ones on good evil and tragedy, there's a particular lecture that I suppose you might be. You might think about as devoted to people who have posttraumatic stress disorder and that the language of good and evil that I lay out in those lectures is actually what allows them to recover from the posttraumatic stress disorder and dealing with people like that in my clinical practice, The same thing has being the case. If we can't transcend the language of the merely ratIonal and move into an intense conversation about good and evil, in some senses, metaphysical realities. We can't enter a realm of seriousness. Conceptual seriousness, that's of sufficient depth to help heal someone who's been touched by malevolence because that actually is what happens to people with posttraumatic stress disorder, is that inevitably the reason that there are so shattered isn't because something tragic has happened to them. Although that does happen upon occasion. It's because someone malevolent has made contact with them and sometimes that malevolent being let's say, or malevolent force or spirit for lack of a better word, is something that resides within them. And so there we have these limits on rational and the reason I'm making this cases because we've already identified another limit of rational discourse. It's like it doesn't have the motivating power of great fiction and great literature and great poetry, but it also doesn't have the healing power of language that takes the ethical realm to its extreme in some sense. And then the next problem with that, and this is something that Douglass has been, has been contemplating, I would say, is that what? What evidence do we have that a merely secular representation, a rational representation of our ethic is going to provide us with a motive force that would be sufficient for us to do such things as identify what's valuable about our culture and be motivated to sufficiently protect it assuming that we, There's something worthy of protection.

Sam Harris:         00:58:44       But we know what a few of those things are and they have. They have nothing to do with what's on the inside of a church or a synagogue or a mosque. They have to do with things like free speech, right? Like the trench we are all fighting in is, at least one of them, is defense of the free exchange of ideas and that has put in peril by many kinds of orthodoxies, but some are the old orthodoxy is the blasphemy laws and the people who want apostates to be killed for leaving in this case Islam. So It's, those are some of the sacred and if we were going to list the, the sacred artifacts of that that keeps. That keeps our society worth living in, I think the list is going to be very long before we start getting to the actual sacred objects of any one faith, but we will be things like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and, and the, the, uh, the free exchange of ideas across boundaries, the fact that we are no longer, uh, religiously or linguistically or geographically partitioned in the ideas we can entertain.

Jordan Peterson:    01:00:01       Well, it seems to me though, and this may be my own, my own idiosyncratic reading of the domain but when I look at something like, like I've often considered the cathedral dome, let's say, and there are very old cathedral domes that have an image of Christ put up against the dome, right? So as, as creator of the cosmos. Okay. I'm trying to look at that from a psychological and even a biological perspective. And what I see is the elevation of a particular image that represents an ideal. And so the Christ that's represented on the dome of the Cathedral is something that's projected up into celestial space. So it's an ideal to which you were supposed to be subordinate or that you're supposed to embody, and now the ideal is the ideal of the logos, technically speaking, the logos, the word made flesh, which is not only the word free speech for lack of a better term, but also the body meant have that elevated to the highest principle and and that is given status as the creator of the universe and the reason for that in part, and this is written into the Judeo Christian doctrine, right from line one, is the idea that it's through the discourse that you value so much that we actually engender the world as such. And that is a divine principle and it's also in my reading, the divine image of God that Men and Women are made in. And so what I see in the underlying metaphysic where where you see superstition and fundamentalism and look fair enough and it's not like. I would ever argue that that's not a danger. I see the imagistic and dramatized representation of exactly the idea that you hold to be paramount above all else. Which is your commitment to truth expressed in speech.

Sam Harris:         01:01:48       Okay. What's my concern, and this is where I started with you, is that you could give the same charitable reading of Astrology and you'd even be tempted to do it. As we talked about astrology as you showed at the outset now, but …

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:05       Why is it a charitable reading, Sam! Like how else would you explain the existence of something like a cathedral with that image! What the hell were people doing when they built it?

Sam Harris:         01:02:15       I'm saying we could. It's by dent of mere historical contingency and questionable luck that we're not living in a world where the cathedrals have stained glass windows with signs of the zodiac on them. Right? We could be in that world.

Jordan Peterson:    01:02:31       Well, we are world to some degree because the astrological endeavor in the Judaeo Christian landscape expanded to incorporate christianity and there's an entire astrology of christianity, including representation of the Sun now…

Sam Harris:         01:02:48       Yeah but my point is that we recognize that the literal claims of Astrology, the mechanism by which Astrologers think it works is intellectually bankrupt. Right? And if any significant mayhem were being caused by people's commitment to Astrology, if we had presidents of the United States who couldn't get elected unless, unless they paid lip service to a literal belief in Astrology, if we had presidents who were consulting their Astrologers to figure out when to meet with other world leaders, right? This, this will be a problem that rational people would recognize. Astrology can be disproven in a single hour. You just simply have to go to a one hospital in one city sometime and find, find two unrelated children born in the say within 20 feet of each other and follow their lives. And if they have different lives then the signs of the zodiac mean nothing.

Jordan Peterson:    01:03:45       Part of your argument is, and validly so is how in the world do we determine which revelatory axioms are worthy of respect and of maintenance and fair enough Sam,

Sam Harris:         01:03:57       maybe none, maybe, maybe not, but maybe just it is just a matter of conscious agents like ourselves to having better and better conversation.

Jordan Peterson:    01:04:04       While that, while it is certainly partly that, it is certainly partly that, but let me explain…

Sam Harris:         01:04:08       because again, revelation in my book is nothing other than a record of past conversations, so you've either got iron age conversations shaping your worldview or you have conversations like these shaping your world view.

Jordan Peterson:    01:04:21       Or you have both. You can have both, but you can have a dialogue with the past…

Sam Harris:         01:04:27       Which brings me to Marcus Aurelius, I read him with great pleasure and great and, and, and astonishment frankly. I mean it is such a modern and edifying take on ethics and, and one's own personal wellbeing and its just not being encumbered by the, by thoughts and, and, and vanities that, that are, that are so easy to cut through once you notice them, but so captivating and deranging of your life when you don't. And he, I mean there's wisdom in that book then than, than almost any book I can name and you don't have to believe any bullshit to honor it or use it.

Jordan Peterson:    01:05:02       Okay, let me offer you a continued explication here. So. And you didn't answer my question about what all these crazy medieval people were doing, spending almost all of their excess capital, building a representation of the sky and putting an image on that. So just hang on a sec. So, so let's talk about what it would mean to embody the truth. So there's a deep idea in Christianity that this is what it would mean. It would mean to confront the suffering of life voluntarily to its fullest, which would mean to accept the necessity of death and betrayal at the hands of your fellow men without undue bitterness; To accept that voluntarily and still understand that your fundamental ethical task is to work towards the redemption of the world and that's associated with that image that's cast upon the heavenly dome. And that isn't a charitable reading, Sam. That's an essential analysis of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

Sam Harris:         01:05:56       Yes. But I could do the same thing with buddhism and give you a slightly different story, but nonetheless inspiring and edifying. And I could do the same thing with…

Jordan Peterson:    01:06:05       but you can't do it with rationality…

Sam Harris:         01:06:07       But I can do it. I can do it with Greek… No, no, no. That's not true. I you. I can do it with greek mythology. I can do it with any of these domains, but the the crucial bit for me is that in order to make use of those stories, I don't have to believe in revelation. I don't have to believe that you get everything you want to after you die, [inaudible comment from Douglas] no, but I'm talking about the applause of conventionally religious people who think that their conventional religion isn't some way cashed out or redeemed or supported by the reading you are giving now of the of Christ in the starry heavens, it's not unless you're adding this other piece, which is some probabilistic claim that yes, this book probably was dictated by an omniscient being unlike any other book. Or maybe the muslims are right. The archangel Gabriel did show up to Mohammed in his cave and give him the one final revelation never to be superseded and it just on the merits of the text, We know that's not true. For all It gets wrong and all it fails to get right about the nature of our circumstance. We know that book is not the best book ever written on any topic, and here I'm speaking of the Koran, but it's true of the Bible is true. It's true of the meditations of Marcus Aurelius, but no one's claiming that about the meditations and that's a crucial difference. It's a difference that that explained so much unnecessary suffering in our world and again, what I fear about the way you talk about religion is that it'd be a at the end of all these conversations, I'm still not sure what you believe on that point, frankly, and if I'm not sure then no one out there is…[applause]

Jordan Peterson:    01:07:57       [To the audience] I don't know why, I don't know why you would expect to be sure about what someone believes. How do you think that any one of you are capable of fully articulating what you believe? You certainly aren't. You are not! No, that's completely ridiculous. You're not transparent to yourself by any stretch of the imagination. You act out all sorts of things that you can't articulate that…

Sam Harris:         01:08:18       How about a best guess?[Cheering from crowd]

Jordan Peterson:    01:08:22       No. If you look, let's go all cognitive neuroscience on this, shall we? Ninety nine percent of your processing is unconscious. You're not capable of articulating yourselves. If you were, you'd be omniscient. Okay. so don't give me any nonsense about that. [More cheering]

Sam Harris:         01:08:35       That that is a. I've never heard so many people applaud an evasion of a simple question.

Jordan Peterson:    01:08:46       [Laughs]

Douglas Murray:     01:08:48       It was a good one. It was very good.

Sam Harris:         01:08:52       Honestly. Yes. Everything you just said about not being fully transparent to yourself is true and you are ruled by committee in there all the time. No doubt, but I'm asking what you actually believe. I mean, there's several things I can ask. Almost any one of these threads can, can pull the whole tapestry, but to take christianity as an example, what do you believe about the origin of this sacred book, the Bible, Old and New Testament. Do you believe that just maybe it has a status unlike any other book or is it simply old writing of human beings just like ourselves?

Jordan Peterson:    01:09:36       I think it's both.

Sam Harris:         01:09:37       Okay, so, but, but, but so what does that mean? That you're. So you're saying it, you're saying that there's somebody who's taking dictation that is unlike any other dictation. so. So homer though creative or shakespeare…

Jordan Peterson:    01:09:49       Well Sam, Its not like we understand our sources inspiration. If you talk to creative people, you know, they basically, they often describe themselves as something approximating a conduit through which higher wisdom is pouring.

Sam Harris:         01:10:02       Again, you're dodging, Shakespeare could say that any writer can say that. Right?

Jordan Peterson:    01:10:09       Right. And it's also the case that we would, or we would rank organize. We would rank order those writers, which is why you pointed to shakespeare in terms of the generalizable validity of their revelations. Sure. So, well look, so, so you run into the same issue. You know, you criticize the bible and look fair enough, you know but man, but you're, you're also evading a very important issue, which is how do you, how do you quantitatively rank the contributions of literature without assuming that there's a hierarchy of revelation…

Sam Harris:         01:10:37       There's a hierarchy of wisdom. Sure. There's a hierarchy of human wisdom. I will grant you that everyday of the week. It is, but we're talking about primates like ourselves having conversations and this is the most important game we can play; This is the best game in town and it has always been so, but people are imagining and and it includes, as you said at the outset, what I would call spiritual experience and spiritual experience. Is it admits of a fact based discussion about the nature of human consciousness and…

Jordan Peterson:    01:11:10       Why do you allow that as an exception because…

Sam Harris:         01:11:13       it's not an exception, is part of the dataset, so it's possible to have…

Jordan Peterson:    01:11:18       So this spiritual experience without the possible of possibility of concretized revelation. So it's a formless spirituality that you're advocating…

Sam Harris:         01:11:27       No no you, you can have. I'm not even. I'm not even discounting the possibility that there are invisible entities out there in the universe far smarter than ourselves who we could possibly be in dialogue with. I mean there are many strange ideas that we could defend one or another degree, but there are people walking around speculating that we might be living in a computer simulation, that all of this is being run on some hard drive of the future or, or some. you know, alien, supercomputer, now that you can actually, I mean Nick Bostrom at Oxford gives a very cogent argument in defense of that thesis. Right now, You can deal with that on its merits. I'm not saying the universe isn't stranger than we suppose or even can suppose, but one thing we know is that when you read the Bible, you can turn every page of that book and you will not find evidence of omniscience. You will not find anything in there that someone as smart as Shakespeare or actually a little bit dumber could've written.

Jordan Peterson:    01:12:30       No, I don't think that's true, Sam. They're incredibly. Whatever else you might say about the biblical writings are incredibly potent it's impossible to write something virtually impossible to write something like Cain and Abel, its a paragraph saying..

Sam Harris:         01:12:46       You're saying that shakespeare of 3000 years ago couldn't have written genesis?

Jordan Peterson:    01:12:51       He couldn't have written Cain and Abel not in 10 sentences. Cain and Abel is 10 sentences long and contains more wisdom than you can than you can dig out in a lifetime.

Sam Harris:         01:13:00       Okay, But now we're getting to the nub of it. Then you think that that was not the product of a human mind.

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:06       I think it was the product of a vast collection of human minds working over millennia.

Sam Harris:         01:13:10       Okay, so many Shakespeare's so,

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:13       Well sure sure…

Sam Harris:         01:13:13       But still we're just dealing with people. We've just got people. And This concession, if indeed you're making it, and I'm still not sure, is the eradication of traditional Christianity.

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:25       Look if something is deeply wise, it's reflective of a deeper reality. Otherwise it wouldn't be wise.

Sam Harris:         01:13:31       I'm in love with deeper reality…

Jordan Peterson:    01:13:33       So what's a deeper reality that something as wise as the story of Cain and Abel reflect? What's the reality?

Sam Harris:         01:13:40       The landscape of mind that we are that either takes great training, great luck or pharmacological bombardment of the human brain to explore right? There are ways to get there. There are ways to have the vision right and we understand this to some degree, but experientially and we can understand it to some degree by third person methods of science and It's not like, I don't know… I've had many experiences that if I had them in a religious context would have counted for me as evidence of the truth of my religion. Right. But because I was not brought up in a religious context and because I spend a lot of time seeing the downside of that form of credulity, I have never been tempted to interpret these experiences that way.

Jordan Peterson:    01:14:39       Try a higher dose.

Sam Harris:         01:14:40       Got it. Yeah, believe me. Yes. I'll play that game of poker with you all day long. [Cheers]

Jordan Peterson:    01:14:48       [Laughs] You'd be surprised my friend.

Sam Harris:         01:14:54       Well maybe there is, There's our next podcast.

Jordan Peterson:    01:14:58       [Laughs] I've got to ask all of you a question now, so we're an hour and 15 minutes into this discussion and hypothetically what we will do is stop and go and go to QandA, but our experience so far has been that when we asked the audience, because we have done that each time, whether we've asked the audience whether we should continue or whether we should go to QandA. So the first thing I'm going to do, and you can vote on this by making a certain amount of noise, if you're inclined to do so, how many of you would like us to stop talking and go to QandA? [Like 1 dude claps]

Jordan Peterson:    01:15:41       How many of you would like us to continue this discussion for 45 more minutes? [Loud Cheering] It seems to me that it's an objective fact is the latter people have the floor.

Sam Harris:         01:16:01       It really is going to be a rude awakening when those applause or reversed however…”Just get off the stage!”

Jordan Peterson:    01:16:06       We know it's time to stop when that happens…

Sam Harris:         01:16:10       What was that?

Douglas Murray:     01:16:18       What was I to ask something? Yeah. Yeah. um,

Sam Harris:         01:16:22       I forgot what…

Jordan Peterson:    01:16:22       I was going to ask you to do something. Let's go back to, let's go back to the one of the core problems that we've been trying to address, which is the, the apparent failure perhaps of the rationalist atheist types to develop an active ethos that has sufficient beauty and motivational power to serve as a credible replacement for the religious rituals. So there must be a reason why that's that failure has occurred, right?

Sam Harris:         01:17:01       I can give you a short list of reasons. One is that traditionally the impulse to do that in a religious context has been fatal right? To declare your apostasy has been the almost as reliable a way of committing suicide as jumping off a building in most cultures and most societies for the longest time and still is in many places as you know, in the muslim world. So there has been a barrier to entry to thinking creatively about alternatives to religion and so much of Atheism and Secularism is just a pitched battle against the eroding power of religion. And when religion really has its power, right? We know what it's like. I mean, again, I think what we spoke about this at one point, you know, the moment that it makes this most salient is you know, Galileo being shown the instruments of torture by men who wouldn't look through his telescope. Right? I mean, that's, that was the point of contact between untrammeled human rationality and the womb that bore it, right? The religious awe at the beauty of the heavens. Right? So the moment was a person like Galileo stepped a little too far and to connect us to astrology. Again, Galileo was a court astrologer, right? Mean they were, there was a point of contact between Astronomy and Astrology at that point. So, uh, we're still under the shadow of that kind of dogmatism and oppression in much of the world. I mean, for the longest time, I mean, it's still in the United States. You cannot run for the presidency without pretending to believe in God. It's amazing. It's amazing fact, right? When will that change it? Someday it will, but we have, we have just had almost no time to experiment in this space and innovate.

Douglas Murray:     01:18:58       We have been some decades. I suppose the thing that unites unites Jordan and me on this is: If we face some of the problems, some of the enemies you might even say that you identify as well. And the question is whether you should face them in the midst of an experiment that may or may not work, IE a leap into pure rationality or whether you might decide it's worth among other things, taking some of the versions of things that you've had that have been of worth in your past and using them where they're useful.

Sam Harris:         01:19:34       But what are you picturing there? Because there really is no leap. there's no global leap too pure rationality. There's just. There's this incremental or erosion of religious answers to terrestrial questions. So there's the moment you have a science of neurology, you begin to look at epilepsy, not as demonic possession, but as a neurological problem before there's a science of neurology. You don't know what the hell's happening. Right? So, so into that…

Jordan Peterson:    01:20:07       Something obviously drove Douglas, I would say in some sense, surprisingly to make the assumption that one of the things that we need to do to defend whatever it is that we have a value in the west, assuming that we have anything of value, was something like the reincorporation of this religious substructure. So it's not something that I would have expected you to conclude, but what did you conclude it?

Douglas Murray:     01:20:37       well, partly for the reason I suggested the leap into pure rationality, there's no evidence yet that it's going to work or there's going to be enough or enough people are going to be able to partake…

Sam Harris:         01:20:49       Give me the precise place where you're worried that it's going to fail and what can you. What are you imagining now?

Douglas Murray:     01:20:55       Yeah. Let me give you one example. And we, we may be in the midst of the discovery that the only thing worse than religion is its absence…

Sam Harris:         01:21:05       And where, where are we discovering that?

Douglas Murray:     01:21:07       Look at the religions that people are making up as we speak. I mean, everyday there's a new dogma and you and I and Jordan have repeatedly trips over those Dogmas. They are usually survived It has to be said. But um, they're the stampeding to create new religion all the time at the moment. Every new heresy that's invented and they're not as well thought through as past heresies. They don't always have the bloody repercussions yet, but you can easily foresee a situation in which they do. A new religion is being created as we speak, by a new generation of people who think they are non ideological, who think they are very rational, who think they're past the myth, who think that past story, who think they're better than any of their ancestors, and they have never bothered to even study their ancestors. Right?

Sam Harris:         01:22:00       Can't you say that dogmatism is the problem, but that generic problem here is dogmatism firm belief in the absence of good argument and good evidence…

Douglas Murray:     01:22:11       and absolutely we can agree that dogmatism of any kind has that danger, will always have that danger, but the void also has a danger. The void that you can create if you throw out all the stories that helped get you to where you are also has this danger because people come up with these new stories and every there's news about this now. it's about this. Every, our politics is now basically about this. I mean…

Jordan Peterson:    01:22:39       yeah, and what's flown in to fill the gap seems to be something like a new tribalism, which is exactly what you'd expect in some sense, right? If you, if you demolish the superordinate system, you know, religion divides people no doubt, but it also unites people and so one of the things that arguably unites people above their mere tribalism is their union in an abstract religious superstructure, and then if you demolish that, then one of the things that does seem to happen is the emergence of a reflexive tribalism because people need; They need a group identity of sorts and the easiest thing to do seems to be to revert to ethnicity and race and gender and sex, et cetera, et cetera. And then we do end up and have ended up in this situation that Douglas outlines. And you know, one of the things I think that distinguishes us temperamentally, possibly maybe because you're a little more on the liberal side, and I'm a little more on the conservative side. Even temperamentally speaking, is that your fundamental terror is that of fundamentalism. Although you also state in the “Moral Landscape” that you understand the perils of nihilism, and I would say my fundamental terror is that of nihilism, even though I'm sensitive to the catastrophes of fundamentalism; but I don't think you do address the problem of the void sufficiently because I don't think that you have anything to offer except and, and I'm not trying to minimize your offering. You make a case that people should work to alleviate suffering and that we should live in truth, but jesus, Sam, you can summarize that in two sentences. It doesn't have the potency of, of the, of the fictional literary, artistic substructure that seems necessary to make that into something that's, that's a compelling story.

Sam Harris:         01:24:24       Well, so this is where we might disagree. this could be a fundamental disagreement because I actually, I don't see the problem of nihilism the way you do or the way it's advertised. Once you rip out the false certainties and the bad evidence in the bad arguments and the and the mere dog was imposed on us by prior generations. That hole never closes faithfully with anything else. You have to put something in its place that's shaped just like that. Some other false certainty or some other story. I simply don't think that's the case. I think there's so many things we outgrow both individually in our own childhoods and culturally that where there is no, there is no void left. There's no santa claus shaped void that we have to fill with the same thing,

Jordan Peterson:    01:25:15       But people certainly experienced that void…

Sam Harris:         01:25:17       I'm not discounting the fact that it is hard to be happy in this world. We are living in a world that seems designed perfectly designed to frustrate our efforts to find permanent happiness…

Jordan Peterson:    01:25:30       You asked me, you put me on the spot a while back…

Sam Harris:         01:25:33       Let. Let me just add to what my answer to that is. I just think that there's the recipe for a good life or at least a minimal recipe for a good life. Its not that this is all that's entailed, but this is. This is. This is certainly necessary if not sufficient, is to live a life that is increasingly motivated by love and guided by reason, right? You can't go very far wrong. if you are motivated by love, guided by reason, right, and, and the problem is, is that,

Jordan Peterson:    01:26:07       well, the first thing I would say about that is to me that's a recapitulation of the Judaeo Christian ethic, which is you should be guided by love and use logos to serve you that.

Sam Harris:         01:26:20       You gotta read the fine print on reason.

Jordan Peterson:    01:26:22       I didn't say Reason I said logos because that's the. That's something that's deeper…

Sam Harris:         01:26:27       There's the Jesus smuggling…

Douglas Murray:     01:26:28       I said it would happen…

Jordan Peterson:    01:26:29       Well, yes, yes, definitely. It would have been. I've been. I've been trying to part of the reason that I'm doing what I'm doing is to try to address the void. Let's say, and I suspect that many of you are actually here because you would like to have the void addressed and so the way it looks to me is something like this, and this is what I've derived in part from my studies of religious tradition, so I could say that at the beginning of genesis for example, there's a proposition that it's truthful speech that generates habitable order from chaotic potential. That seems to me to be the fundamental narrative and I do believe there's something dead, accurate and real about that because we do generate the world as a consequence of our communicative effort and then there's a second proposition which is that the world that we generate from the chaos of potential is habitable to the degree that the communication that we engage in is truthful and that's why God who uses the logo set the beginning of time to generate the world is able to say that his creation is good. The proposition is the world you bring into being through truthful speech is good and that's the image of god that's implanted in man and woman and there's a grandeur about that idea and you think, well, you don't need the grandeur cuz it's just a fiction. It's like, just wait a second here! It's not just a fiction unless you don't believe that in some manner you partake in the creation of the world and that you have an ultimate responsibility that might well be described as divine. To participate in that process properly, truthfully and with love, and there's every reason to think that that's an elevated ideal so high that it's worthy of conceptualizing as divine and also to presume that it represents some fundamental metaphysical reality and that's a lot more powerful than “you need to good.”

Sam Harris:         01:28:26       Yes, but the problem here Jordan, I could do exactly what you just did with buddhism or hinduism and it is just as grand and just as deep and just as anchored to the first person experience of contemplatives who have taken that as far as they could take it, you know?

Jordan Peterson:    01:28:49       Well then I say Sam, you should do that and see how people respond to It. Seriously!

Sam Harris:         01:28:53       Well, no, no, no, because I see the end of the end of the game. It doesn't arrive where I want to get to where we need to get to because it is. It's. It would be to different effect. It's there. There are different claims ultimately about the status of truth and good and evil and about the beginning of the world and the fate of human consciousness after death. it is completely, completely irreconcilable worldviews. There are hindus in the audience. They believe something that is totally irreconcilable to what christians believe.

Jordan Peterson:    01:29:30       I don't think that you can offer, pardon me, a watered down version of Buddhism as a consequence of psychedelic experience as an acceptable and credible alternative to the power of the fundamental founding myths of the western culture. If you think you can then you should try it.

Sam Harris:         01:29:48       Well, no, no. I'm trying. I'm not trying that, but that's, that's not, uh, that's not what I. Well, first of all, just to, just to get my biography straight, it's not just the psychedelic experience…

Jordan Peterson:    01:30:00       I know I know, and I'm also not making light of the psychedelic experience.

Sam Harris:         01:30:04       Listen, to take this. We were having most of this conversation on the side of where it seems reasonable to worry about the fate of civilization. Right? We could have started at a very different point with just the nature of consciousness, right? Just for our first person encounter with being itself, right. You wake, we, all of us wake up each morning. We are thrust from a condition of deep sleep, which we seem to know nothing about and we're just to push through a veil of dreams into this apparently solid reality that we call the world and we're engagIng one another in this space of, of just consciousness and its contents and we're trying to make sense of it. And science is the best language game we play. I would argue in trying to make truly rigorous sense of it, but it's not. It doesn't exhaust all the language games we play, we play others that are, are also fact based. We talk about what happened historically before we arrived here. We talk about facts as we can understand them that we just didn't witness but others did. And we call that journalism, right? So we were trying to…

Jordan Peterson:    01:31:18       We used to call that journalism…

Sam Harris:         01:31:20       Yeah It's, it's getting harder and harder to discern what's actually going on now, but we are, we are thrust into this condition of being our apparent selves, moment by moment. And we notice the difference between happiness and suffering. Right? And this is not merely sensory is not merely that you know, I don't, I don't like the feeling of a hot stove and I do like a warm bath. It's ideas, ways of thinking about ourselves and the world can can open the door or close the door to various states of happiness and sufferIng and religion comes into and Leverages that. People that the difference between believing that your dead child is in heaven with jesus and not being able to believe that is enormous.

Douglas Murray:     01:32:13       Right. I wanted to ask you some specific though. You've expended a certain amount of reputational energy and much more on the Jihadists in your battles, Shall we say there. How much allyship to use a very voguish term have you found from fellow secular, rational people who want to love and reason like you?

Sam Harris:         01:32:41       Well that is a leading question, isn't it? [laughs]

Douglas Murray:     01:32:44       I've got fingers. If you need more.

Sam Harris:         01:32:49       Your, your fingers are safe. No, unfortunately, but it's. But this is a problem of. I wouldn't ascribe this to. Well, the allies you can easily find among deeply religious christians say, are there for the wrong reasons, right? I mean, I. So I can find, you know

Jordan Peterson:    01:33:10       Surely not all of them…

Douglas Murray:     01:33:10       What reasons are there? All Wrong reasons?

Sam Harris:         01:33:14       They're there for the, that they see the problem clearly for the wrong reasons. So for instance, so I'm meet secular scientists types, you know, anthropologists say who are so far from knowing what it's like to believe in revelation that they don't believe anyone else does, right? So when you tell them that members of ISIS really believe that if you die in the right circumstances, you get 72 Virgins and you're surrounded by rivers of milk and honey and all the rest. If you go into the ivory tower, you meet people whose, who don't believe that anyone believes that stuff, but if you go into a mega church, they know people believe that's stuff because they believed their own dogmas, right? That's, that's what it's like to be, to be effortlessly right for not especially good reasons. The fact that you believe a book, the fact that you believe a book was written by god and therefore it's trivially easy for you to understand that someone else believes that, but they just have the wrong book. That's not a rational basis for understanding our circumstance that we're looking at.

Douglas Murray:     01:34:18       I'm not saying whether one is right and one is wrong, but one seems to have more commitment in that and in one vessel you're fighting. commitment may be important and indeed it may be many reasons why the people who deeply wants to love and be rational, are absolutely no damn use in that fight because they want to preserve their happiness a bit longer, preserve their comfort a bit longer, cannot understand people who genuinely comes from a fundamental standpoint.

Sam Harris:         01:34:48       And then there's also other to steelman their case for a moment. It is understandable to be sensitive to and guilty about the history of colonialism and the reality of racism and to be so committed to tolerance as your master virtue that you are attempted to tolerate intolerance and not recognize it to be cowardice, which in fact it is…

Jordan Peterson:    01:35:15       making tolerance. Your core value is much different than making truth, your core value, which is an interesting thing because, and perhaps this is one of the places where you and the fundamentalist radical leftist let's say, differ, is that the core value that's emerging there is definitely one of tolerance. Whereas the core value that you espouse is one of truth and truth and tolerance are not the same thing so it might…

Sam Harris:         01:35:40       Amen. [Jordan Laughs]

Douglas Murray:     01:35:40       knowing that the pursuit of truth and the belief that as a result, truth can be found, that he's not a single thing on its own. You just pursue it as a hobby. It's just something you do, but that you believe that at the end of it there is a truth to be found.

Sam Harris:         01:35:55       Yeah. but Douglas What? What do you fear is the case here? If, if there were more people like me in the west, right? Well, maybe I'm that. Maybe I'm the. I'm the outlier here. I'm, I, I've somehow infected by this overwhelming commitment to truth and rationality and science, and yet I'm still motivated to worry about Jihad. Uh, you're worried that there are many people like me who are oblivious to the problem…

Jordan Peterson:    01:36:23       Well why are you worried about it when so many other people who are hypothetically, the question you asked, why are you so worried about when there's so many people who are hypothetically like you that don't seem to be worried about it? I mean, maybe you're wrong. You shouldn't be worried about it. Well Douglas is obviously worried about…

Douglas Murray:     01:36:38       One on soon as possible, my worry at any rate, that we may be living in an era when we are discovering that the enlightenment and the enlightenment values never went very wide and didn't go terribly deep and this is a very painful realization to make. Not only do we go all around the world and discover that we find that at home, the roots turn out not to have gone very deep in even this society and that's a problem.

Sam Harris:         01:37:09       It is a problem, but hence my, my commitment to making them deeper …

Douglas Murray:     01:37:14       and to reiterate the point I'm, I'd be very happy if it was entirely Sam Harrises is all the way down. I'd have no problem with that is just the underneath Sam Harris it is Hell.

Jordan Peterson:    01:37:31       I'm also curious to…

Sam Harris:         01:37:31       You know me too well…

Douglas Murray:     01:37:32       That has to be very carefully edited on YouTube

Jordan Peterson:    01:37:39       [Laughs] In the metaphysical that you outlined rationality in the service of love, like this is an interesting. I'm not sure you get to get away with that because rationality or is it love because I don't understand the place in your conceptual system for love given your emphasis on rationality as the ethic of the mechanism of ethics. So I would say to the degree that I smuggle in Jesus, which by the way isn't accidental in some sense and I'm fully conscious when I'm doing it. You smuggle in love and it essentially plays the same role.

Sam Harris:         01:38:12       Well, no, no, the love, but love is a, an experienced reality. I mean love is a state of consciousness. It's a state of and I wouldn't ultimately.

Jordan Peterson:    01:38:22       It's a fact?

Sam Harris:         01:38:23       It's a fact that one can experience it or not to a degree…

Jordan Peterson:    01:38:27       [Laughs] Yeah, but that's not the same thing…

Sam Harris:         01:38:29       No, it is. No…

Jordan Peterson:    01:38:29       it is the fact that you experienced something, but the thing that you're experiencing is there's also the thing that you're experiencing as a fact.

Sam Harris:         01:38:37       Well there are facts about the range of human experiences, I mean and not even just human, just conscious experiences that'd if we can build computers that can feel love and that's not inconceivable and will either succeed in doing that or not, but consciousness admits of a range of experiences and love is one of the best on offer. It's not the only one we care about, but it's the one that anchors us to a positive commitment to the wellbeing of other conscious systems and, but the…

Jordan Peterson:    01:39:15       But it's not a fact, I agree with …

Sam Harris:         01:39:18       it is it is a fact that loving someone entails a really… There is counterfeits right there that people can confuse, you know, romantic, you know, attachment or lust with love. Right? So I've been in, the buddhists are especially good at differentiating these various states of consciousness and, and uh, it's this is true pleasure, mental pleasure in the company of another that is colored by a commitment to their wellbeing. I wanted them to be happy and wanting them, wanting to have their hopes, realize a nonzero sum commitment, or sense of your entanglement with them. And you can see your failures to love them; You can be with people who you think you love, you know I'm, I'm with my best friend say and I just find out something fantastic has happened for him and let's say in his career, and I feel a moment of envy. Say, well Then you see, well, okay, well how much do you love this person? If your first reaction to this, something good happening to them is you feel poorer for it, right?

Jordan Peterson:    01:40:27       That's the Cain and Abel story.

Sam Harris:         01:40:28       Exactly. So, so this is, these are all kinds of facts you can witness in your own mind and yes, you pay enough attention to the, to what it's like to be you. The full horror show of, of yeah. And almost biblical unwinding of all possibility is available, you know, and it's. And you add psychedelics to that cocktail and it, it gets even more vivid.

Jordan Peterson:    01:40:51       So, so are you seeing that…

Sam Harris:         01:40:55       these are facts about the human mind and it is also factual to say that it is possible to navigate in this space. It is possible to design institutions and social systems and ethical commitments that help us navigate in this space, and it's not that we all have to get up every morning naked and try to rebuild civilization in all of human wisdom for ourselves. Each day, we inherit, we inherit the most useful tools. You don't have to figure this all out for yourself and my my appeal to you is that we should want to use all the best tools available without hamstringing ourselves by this notion that certain tools must be the best for all time or certain books must be read it on every page with equals due diligence because this book came from the creator of the universe. When we're reading Marcus Aurelius, if he gets something catastrophic wrong on page 17, we say, well what the hell? He lived 2000 years ago. There's no way he knew everything right and we turn the page we can't do that with the Bible and the Koran

Jordan Peterson:    01:42:12       Ok here's a mythological representation of that. So there an ancient idea, very ancient idea that when you face the void, what you do is confront it and leap into it, and what you discover at the bottom is a beast, and inside that beast you discover your father lying dead, and then you re animate your father and you bring them back to the surface. And that's the means of dealing with the void, right? And so in, in essence, in some sense, that's just what you said. You said that …

Sam Harris:         01:42:44       Except that again, this is something confabulatory about that because you can do. I could change the valence of virtually every word you used there and it would also sound profound and true. I could, I could swap father for mother and I got swapped void for mountaintop and I and I could. It could be the same seemingly archetypal journey…

Jordan Peterson:    01:43:09       It's not that easy, Sam. Like that's…

Sam Harris:         01:43:13       It's damn easy I've done it with a cookbook…

Jordan Peterson:    01:43:15       But look, if it's that easy, then you can write great novels. [inaudible] It's not that easy write a great story so these things can't be swapped out with ease and there is a reason that it's your father that you rescue from the belly of the beast and not your mother in those sorts of situations….

Sam Harris:         01:43:33       But again I give you a buddhism and hinduism that have completely different iconography is and mythologies.

Jordan Peterson:    01:43:41       Well, they're different levels, but not at all. It's like languages different at some levels but not at all…

Sam Harris:         01:43:47       But they're crucially opposite in many of these cases. I'm just saying that this, this kind of of of reading meaning into story is there's a reason why it's not science because it's because it is in some basic sense unfalsifiable there's no. There's nothing you and I can do for the rest of our lives to be sure that the mother isn't at the bottom of that void and it's really the father

Jordan Peterson:    01:44:09       Is it possible develop a factual approach to the analysis of literature…

Sam Harris:         01:44:12       Sure. Well, yes, on its own terms you can say, well, but that that extends to things like it is a fact that Hamlet was the prince of Denmark and not the King

Jordan Peterson:    01:44:22       and no I meant terms of the meaning of literature.

Sam Harris:         01:44:24       Well, yeah, you can make true and false claims or more and less plausible claims about literature…

Jordan Peterson:    01:44:31       But that's what I'm trying to do to…

Sam Harris:         01:44:32       …Or its effects on you, but again, but this is a very different game than what most religious people think is on offer.

Jordan Peterson:    01:44:39       Well, look, if you look at the domain of science, most scientists aren't very good at what they do and if you look at the domain of religious thinking, most religious thinking people aren't very good at what they do, but that doesn't mean that the whole damn thing should be thrown out. There's gradations religious revelation and, and, and, and wisdom.

Sam Harris:         01:44:56       No, but there's that word revelation. If Revelation is something that we can all do. You, me and Marcus Aurelius, right? That is a very different world than the world that Muslims think they are living in.

Jordan Peterson:    01:45:11       But you just said, Sam, that we have to go and this is why I used the going down into the void to rescue your father metaphor. You just said that we have to, and you've said this before and I know you believe it as well, that we have to go back into the past and find the wisdom that can help guide us because we don't have to do this as if we're encountering everything for the first time and that's exactly the idea of going into the void to rescue your father. That's how that is the eternal age old medication for the confrontation of the void and you said it yourself and so I don't know which it is. It's like, do we have to go into the past to rescue what's best given the understanding that there is something there worth rescuing or not? Is it pure rationality and nothing else moving forward? Are they unconstrained by convention.

Sam Harris:         01:45:58       It's just again, it's, it's I want our certainties and I think we all in every other area of our lives, we agree about this effortlessly, right? If I'm pretending to be certain of something that you can sense, I have no good reason to be certain about you begin to miss. Trust me in every area. If it's in business or if it's in sports or if I told you I knew that France was going to win the world cup and I was absolutely sure, and, and, and yet I magically didn't bet any money on it. These are, these are conversations we can have about everything else. And yet on this topic of religion, people changed the rules, right? And I'm, I'm just arguing that the rules should never. The rules by which we dole out our, our credence shouldn't change. And if they don't change, and again, it's, it's we, we couldn't be misled by the, the duration of the past. Maybe this is what this is the comparison of something like Scientology to Christianity is so invidious because we can practically meet L Ron Hubbard, right? We've got film of him confabulating about galaxies, ruled by overlords, whose names he magically knew, right? We see the man behind the curtain. we don't see that with the apostle Paul or, or anyone else who brought us the quote, real religions. And yet it's always just been human beings doing this, right, and, and, and if you go back far enough, they were doing it in a, in a situation that was completely uncontaminated by the kinds of concerns we have as scientists and secular rational people for evidence and consistency and a knowledge of the past. I mean they had nothing to even record. There's no mechanism by which to record their observations…

Douglas Murray:     01:47:59       I'm gonna interrupt you. Yes, because first of all I saw a sign saying five minutes, and I'm very conscious of a number of things apart from my own silence. We had a long session on love just then and I refuse to finish this evening on such a positive note and I'd like to turn that round. We're all in agreement on certain aspects of free speech, civilized discourse on the most important matters and much more. But there's also, I'm sure a lot we have in common of what we just can't bear. And I just wanted to hand over to both of you at some point to give an idea not of your loves of your present hates. Perhaps Jordan,

Jordan Peterson:    01:49:13       Hate. Well I would say that I spent a lot of time over the last 30 years trying to understand the part of me that can be deeply satisfied as an Auschwitz prison guard and I would say that that part is something that's worthy of hate and I think the best way to overcome it is to recognize it in yourself and to do everything possible to constrain it; And that's what's given me an overwhelming horror both of the nihilistic void and the catastrophes of totalitarianism. And the reason that I've turned to the degree that I have to the analysis of religious traditions, not losing my scientific perspective in the meantime, is because I've done everything I could to to extract out the wisdom necessary to understand how to deal with that bit of unredeemed evil that every bit of us possess. [Applause]

Sam Harris:         01:50:47       Well, I would say that I hate unnecessary suffering, especially my capacity for it, and I see so much of my time conscious time, moment to moment devoted to this experience that should be familiar to all of you, to be captured by thoughts of the past or the future, which are, uh, which almost by definition have a mediocrity so transcendent that it's just a, it is what makes human life just pure monotony and pettiness and everything that religion advertises itself as a corrective to. Right. So what I'm sensitive to is that someone like say Sayyid Qutb, when he came to, this is Osama Bin Laden's favorite philosopher, when he came to America in the, in the fifties, he saw his hosts and their neighbors spending all their time bragging about how well mowed their lawns were and what just what new Chevrolets they had purchased. And he looked at all of as just the quintessence of desecration and lost opportunity and the lack of profundity and for which for him, the, the corrective obviously was Islam. And half of that is right, it's possible to be totally captivated by the wrong things in this life and to make yourself not have. So obviously being a guard at auschwitz with a clear conscience is the extreme. It is the extreme case of… What was that?

Jordan Peterson:    01:52:41       Or being a guard at Auschwitz with happiness.

Sam Harris:         01:52:43       Yes. Okay. Yeah, even worse still. Right? So that's the extreme case. To realize that that is that, that job was not only filled by psychopaths, right? That it's psychologically normal. People could, could be brought to that point. That's yeah, I recognize that. That's the situation we're in, but most of us live our lives in a different place where it's just mediocrity and pettiness and needless anxiety and very dimly we recognize the possibility of overcoming that on a day to day basis. And um, you know, honestly, I think the atheism, the lack of belief, the lack of faith in an afterlife, for instance, the lack of belief in the notion that you get everything you want or may get everything you want to after you die. Helps, leads to greater depth rather than to superficiality. Here, it's like when I kiss my daughters good night, right? It is with the understanding that I may never see them again. Right? It's not with the assumption that if the roof caves in, then we will all be reunited and heaven along with our pets. Right? Which is what many people find consoling about faith. But that, and so what I would say, what I hate in myself and what I hate in our culture is everything that conspires to make the preciousness and sacredness of the present moment difficult to realize. And that's the tide against which I keep Pushing.

Douglas Murray:     01:54:34       I'm not gonna answer my own question primarily because of the length of the list and the knowledge of the time. But I would say that if there was one thing. It is the fact that a conversations like, this civil discussion, on the most important matters between people who have enormous amounts in common and have important disagreements which engaged with the past and which are going to be facilitated for a long time by the knowledge of all the extraordinary progress we're about to hit; Can take place in an arena like this with an audience like you who have all come out and now sat here for two hours. Um, and I think it's at any rate from my point of view, one of the most positive things I can imagine in the world at the moment that an evening like this is happening with an audience like you. And unless either of you to say anything, I think on behalf of all of us, I'd just like to say what a thrill this is for us. And thank you to you. And I hope that this is an example of a constructive discussion of a kind that might even at some point catch on. So thank you.

Travis Pangburn:    01:56:04       Please put your hands together for Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, and Douglas Murray!

Source

>