EP 232 Matthew David Segall on Process Philosophy and the Origin of Life



Jim talks with Matthew David Segall about the ideas in his and Bruce Damer‘s new essay, “The Cosmological Context of the Origin of Life: Process Philosophy and the Hot Spring Hypothesis.” They discuss the “philosophy as footnotes to Plato” idea, the hot springs origin of life hypothesis, closing the gap between chemistry & life, Whitehead’s idea of concrescence, metaphysics in philosophy, minimum viable metaphysics, why physical law doesn’t imply biological organisms, process-relational philosophy, deep-seated cosmic habits, the hero’s answer, the type 1a supernova, rigorous speculation, the incalculability of the adjacent possible, the nature of matter, autocatalysis, the tension between the actual & possible, the rate of evolution, getting past the error catastrophe, Prigogine’s ideas about dissipative systems, teleology & the second law of thermodynamics, why DNA is not a blueprint, the Fermi paradox, bringing the universe to life, social implications of the origin of life, panpsychism & panexperientialism, integrated information theory, why matter & energy must have an endogenous telos, prehension, life wanting to live better, necessity & openness, questioning falsifiability, and much more.

Matthew David Segall, Phd, is a transdisciplinary researcher, writer, teacher, and philosopher applying process-relational thought across the natural and social sciences, as well as to the study of consciousness. He is Associate Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Department at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, and the Chair of the Science Advisory Committee for the Cobb Institute.

EP 231 Vance Crowe Interviews Jim Rutt on AI Risk



Vance Crowe interviews Jim about how he maps the problem-space of current and future AI risk. They discuss the beginnings of AI, the era of broad AI, artificial general intelligence, the Wozniak test, artificial superintelligence, the paperclip maximizer problem, the timeline of AGI, FOOM, limitations of current governance structure, bad uses of narrow AI, personalized political propaganda, nanny rails, the multipolar trap, the spark of human ingenuity, Daniel Dennett’s proposal to make human impersonation illegal, taking moral ownership of LLM outputs, loss of human cognitive capacity, Idiocracy, economic inequality & unemployment, David Graeber’s bullshit jobs idea, Marx’s concept of alienation, the flood of sludge, the idea of an AI information agent, epistemological decay, techno-hygiene tactics, GameA’s self-terminating & accelerating curve, GameB, the importance of governance capacity, changing our political operating system, and much more.

Vance Crowe is a communications strategist who has worked for corporations and international organizations around the world, including the World Bank, Monsanto, and the US Peace Corps. He hosts The Vance Crowe Podcast and is the founder of Legacy Interviews, where he privately records video interviews with individuals and couples to give future generations the opportunity to know their family history.


EP 230 James Lindsay on a National Divorce



Jim talks with James Lindsay about the ideas in his recent essay “National Divorce Is National Suicide.” They discuss the meaning of a national divorce (where the United States would split into two countries), different shapes it could take, the possibility of parallel experiments in civilization design, statistics on support for the idea, the proposed Belgian split, steelmanning the opposition, reducing the chances of a Civil War, the divide over gun rights & abortion, the Big Sort, why national divorce would be a disaster, how the media would frame a national divorce, bifurcation of constitutional evolution, whether we’re in a historically precedented moment, the idea of an attempted silent takeover of the West, fast & slow options for red state development, malice vs incompetence, amount of immigration between the U.S. and Canada, consequences & origins of intersectionality, competence of a blue state, wokery as a religion, what we should do instead of a divorce, fighting for a more constitutionally centered society, a civic revival, the passing of peak woke, and much more.

Dr. James Lindsey is an American-born author, mathematician, and political commentator. He has written six books spanning a range of subjects including religion, the philosophy of science and postmodern theory. He is the co-founder of New Discourses.


EP 229 Jonathan Rowson on the Antidebate



Jim talks with Jonathan Rowson of Perspectiva about a new social practice they’re creating, the antidebate. They discuss the nature of debate, the spectacle of endemic polarization, why debate may be irredeemable, multiple ways of knowing, the Oxford Union debates, the debate apocalypse of 2020, the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debate, the elitist aspect of debates, longtermism, the dialectic fallacy, presencing confusion, anti-debate as a practice, developing the form & facilitation skills, anti-debate trials to date, the current state of the art, setting a positive tone, choosing the question, the question bomb process, tableauing, why answering the question isn’t necessary, swarming, epistemic seduction, drawing on Quaker Speaking, recruiting the enigmatics, prefiguring the culture you want to live in, scalability, disaffection with the ambient internet, and much more.

Jonathan Rowson is co-founder and director of the research institute Perspectiva based in London. He is also the former director of the Social Brain Centre at the Royal Society of Arts and is a chess grandmaster and three-time British Chess Champion. His books include The Seven Deadly Chess SinsChess for ZebrasSpiritualize: Cultivating Spiritual Sensibility to Address 21st Century Challenges, and, The Moves That Matter: A Chess Grandmaster on the Game of Life.

EP 228 Jeremy Sherman on the Emergence and Nature of Selves



Jim talks with Jeremy Sherman about the ideas in his book Neither Ghost nor Machine: The Emergence and Nature of Selves. They discuss how Jim found Jeremy’s work, Jeremy’s relationship with Terrence Deacon, the mystery of purpose, teleology, Aristotle’s four causes, the natural history of trying, crypto-Cartesianism, aims, emergent constraints, hylomorphism, regularity, Kolmogorov complexity, the second law of thermodynamics, the struggle for existence, autocatalytic networks, leading theories of the origin of life, the autogen model, the missing link blind spot, selectively permeable membranes, the conditions for evolution, responsiveness, selective interaction, dire irony, templated autogen, the hologenic constraint, testability of the theory, inverse Darwinism, FOMO sapiens, humbly humbling people, and much more.

Jeremy Sherman, PhD, describes his work as “cradle to grave”: from the chemical origins of life to humankind’s grave situation. For nearly thirty years, Sherman has been a lead collaborator with Harvard/Berkeley neuroscientist/biological anthropologist Terrence Deacon. Together with other collaborators they have been developing a gap-free explanation for the emergence of telos and semiotics –selves struggling for their own existence (i.e. self-regenerating) from within nothing but physical entropic degeneration.


EP 227 Stuart Kauffman on the Emergence of Life



Jim talks with Stuart Kauffman about the ideas in the recent paper he co-authored with Andrea Roli, “Is the Emergence of Life an Expected Phase Transition in the Evolving Universe?” They discuss the fragmentation of the origins of life field, Pasteur’s test of spontaneous generation, primitive soup, Watson & Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA, mutually catalyzing molecules, molecules as combinatorial objects, random catalysis, collectively autocatalytic sets, the origin of metabolism, composability elements, the earliest form of life, Darwin’s warm little pond hypothesis, the theory of the adjacent possible, the TAP equation, why small molecule reproduction will be abundant in the universe, the Drake equation, Kantian wholes, the function of a part, autocatalytic closure, constraint closure, cycles of work, downward causation, information conservation vs the error catastrophe, exaptation, the new adjacent possible, why evolution is unendingly creative & mathematically unpredictable, what this implies about economics, Arrow-Debreu competitive general equilibrium, the impossibility of well-founded expectations, why we can’t have dominion over the ongoing biosphere, an open-ended experiment to mix fungi with bacteria on sterilized sand, and much more.
Stuart Alan Kauffman is an American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher who studies the origin of life on Earth. Kauffman graduated from Dartmouth in 1960, was awarded the BA (Hons) by Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) in 1963, and completed a medical degree (MD) at the University of California, San Francisco in 1968. After completing his residency in Emergency Medicine, he moved into developmental genetics of the fruit fly, holding appointments first at the University of Chicago, then at the University of Pennsylvania, where he rose to Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Kauffman held a MacArthur Fellowship from 1987–1992.

EP 226 Hannah Rosenberg on An Answer to Red Pilldom



Jim talks with Hannah Rosenberg about the ideas in her essay “An Answer to Red Pilldom.” They discuss the meaning & origins of red pilldom, how Hannah encountered red pilldom in close friendships, the idea that women are submissive, differences between men & women, pair-bonding instincts, balancing mixed instincts, the idea of hypergamy, adulting, how dating apps may skew human interactions, nostalgia for the 1950s trad wife, the actual lives of 1950s housewives, the idea that motherhood is the highest fulfillment for a woman, the idea of a war on masculinity, outlets for aggression, the idea of a “wall” where male attention ends, humanity as a mesh network not a hierarchy, dominance & submission as signals, the idea that men are leaders, women in the Marine Corps, MAGA and wokery as mirror images, why communities of red pilldom exist, not getting caught in history’s pendulum swings, and much more.
Hannah Rosenberg, a tech entrepreneur and educator, holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her journey in the tech industry began as a web developer, leading to the establishment of her own development business in 2014. In 2017, she expanded her career by embracing the role of an educator, imparting her technical expertise to various organizations, including non-profits and her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to her professional achievements, Hannah‘s life experiences also play a crucial role. With 40 years of rich personal experience, she is a dedicated mother and has been in a committed marriage for 14 years. Her diverse perspective is further enhanced by extensive travel and having lived in three distinct regions of our beautiful world.

EP 225 Bruce Damer on a New Path for Psychedelics



Jim talks with Bruce Damer about the new Center for MINDS and the ideas in his essay “Downloads from the Modern Dawn of Psychedelics.” They discuss alternate ways psychedelics could have been introduced, Aldous Huxley & Humphry Osmond’s speculative Outsight project, convergent vs divergent thinking, Bruce’s mushroom trip with Terrence McKenna, concrescence into novelty, the stoned ape theory, the unreported influence of psychedelics on breakthroughs, Bruce’s coming-out as a psychedelics user, psychedelic-assisted innovation, Bruce’s naturally trippy brain, endogenous tripping, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the late Bronze Age collapse, the possibility that hallucinogens powered civilization, alcohol & the poison path, the decline in breakthrough research, the disincentivization of grand thinking, how the Center for Minds is beginning research via surveys, Jim’s use of occasional heavy doses of THC, Bruce’s set, setting & setup approach, finding the others, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, the state of ketamine research, and much more.

Dr. Bruce Damer is Canadian-American multidisciplinary scientist, designer, and author. In his role as a world-renowned Astrobiologist at the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering, Dr. Damer collaborates with colleagues developing and testing a new scenario for the origin of life on Earth and where it might arise in the universe. As a designer he has provided innovative spacecraft architectures to NASA and others which could provide a viable path for the expansion of life and human civilization beyond the Earth.


EP 224 Samo Burja on Geothermal Energy



Jim talks with Samo Burja about the ideas in his recent article “Geothermal Energy Turns Planets Into Power Sources.” They discuss the heat beneath the earth’s surface, contributors to the heat, technological dependency between fracking & geothermal, the math of electricity, earthquake risk, the limits of current geology, the value of better drilling tech, new approaches to drilling, gyrotrons, plasma torches, whether our civilization actually needs more energy, the local optimum of fossil fuels, bureaucratic incentives in energy, investment of social surplus, scientific welfare, metascience, giving academic tenure to brilliant 25-year-olds, a defense-favoring military epoch, the math of geothermal vs other combinations of energy sources, visions of a clean-energy future, and much more.
Samo Burja is the founder and President of Bismarck Analysis, a consulting firm that specializes in institutional analysis for clients in North America and Europe. Bismarck uses the foundational sociological research that Samo and his team have conducted over the past decade to deliver unique insights to clients about institutional design and strategy. Samo’s studies focus on the social and material technologies that provide the foundation for healthy human societies, with an eye to engineering and restoring the structures that produce functional institutions. He has authored articles and papers on his findings. His manuscript, Great Founder Theory, is available online. He is also a Research Fellow at the Long Now Foundation and Senior Research Fellow in Political Science at the Foresight Institute. Samo has spoken about his findings at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Y Combinator’s YC 120 conference, the Reboot American Innovation conference in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. He spends most of his time in California and his native Slovenia.

EP 223 Jordan Hall on Cities, Civiums, and Becoming Christian



Jim talks with Jordan Hall about the ideas in his essay “From City to Civium” and about his recent conversion to Christianity. They discuss scaling laws, superlinear scaling in cities & Metcalf’s law, technologies of density, virtualization of space, ephemeralizing of communication, a tipping point in the virtualization of relationality, cities as killers, reaching the limits of the institutional forms that got us out of the 20th century, decoupling of body & mind, returning to the mesoscale, tech hygiene, reciprocal opening, what makes GameB hard, Jordan’s experience with civiums, hierarchies of values & their inevitability, regaining functional cultural toolkits, pouring water on plants vs creating from scratch, how civium led to Christianity, distinguishing good & bad in religion, Jordan’s lifelong agnosticism, the virtual, becoming an integrated self, ensoulment, egregores, whether egregores have agency, the origin of liturgy & liturgical practices, the challenge of bringing already-embedded individuals into embodied community, visiting & moving to Black Mountain, North Carolina, the ease of meaningfulness in the right context, being invited to church, Jordan’s transition to believing in a personal God, a crisis of conscience, the Orthodox sensibility of “beauty-first,” a relationship with goodness, understanding the Trinity, relationality as the essence of the triune God, a dimensional opening, faith as a faculty, the idea of being created by God in His image, adopting traditional gender values, the idea of abortion as murder, the hermeneutics of presence, Biblical inerrancy, why the kingdom of God is not theocracy, soul sovereignty, orienting toward a universal Good vs coherent pluralism, post-tragedy, growing community organically, the question of vocation, and much more.

Jordan Hall is the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Neurohacker Collective. He is now in his 17th year of building disruptive technology companies. Jordan’s interests in comics, science fiction, computers, and way too much TV led to a deep dive into contemporary philosophy (particularly the works of Gilles Deleuze and Manuel DeLanda), artificial intelligence and complex systems science, and then, as the Internet was exploding into the world, a few years at Harvard Law School where he spent time with Larry Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain and Cornel West examining the coevolution of human civilization and technology.