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1/ This is kind of a mega thread to get a glimpse into @EricRWeinstein’s insights on a wide variety of subjects.

The thing about Eric is, he balances a sparkling intellect with an openness to carry out enquiries, into spaces where rational thinking alone isn’t enough.
2/ His ability to explore and articulate complex subjects with nuance & depth, makes it extremely tough to put him into any kind of box.

Sure, he's the MD of Thiel Capital, but there's so much more driving him. And these are the very things for which he doesn't get his due.
3/ Personally speaking, his views on Self-teaching / High-agency really do strike a chord.

The multiverse of topics he can traverse is quite something. As his brother @BretWeinstein says: ‘He's good at evolutionary thinking in a way I'll never be good at mathematical thinking'
4/ Let's see if this thread works as intended. It's tricky to condense these topics into 3-4 tweets each, but I feel it’s worth a shot.

If there’s lack of context in the topics below, the expanded themes (& more) are linked up at the end of the thread.

Right, here we go:
5/ On Embracing Contradictory Ideas:

We must embrace the inconsistency of our own minds, not as a bug, but as a feature. We are in essence brought here by forces of selection: Products of systems of selective pressures. What they seem to do is create the ability to run many
6/ different programs, often contradictory programs, within the same mind.

Imagine running another mind in emulation, maybe not as well as its original owner, but we can run it well enough to understand, empathize, to argue / spar with it, to achieve some kind of better outcome
7/ There are limits of course; we need to have certain kind of consistency of mind. But why can't we be capable of running a diehard rationalist materialist atheist program, as well as one saying I'll open myself to transcendental states? We choose to deny ourselves at our peril.
8/ On Excellence:

People wish to be part of the consensus. They wish to be excellent in their behavior and in their hope for excellent outcomes. The problem is theres a tradeoff.. that excellence is really about quality control.
9/ We want this kind of excellence in our surgeons, often, but do we want it everywhere?

For example in Jazz, if an improviser takes few risks, the music may be pleasant enough as background music, but it's scarcely the sort of thing that would've animated the bebop generation.
10/ Now we know about things like 'practice makes perfect', and we also know how to teach 'this kind’ of excellence.

But we've blinded ourselves to the role, that a different thought process is also involved, which I would associate with genius.
11/ On Genius:

The key question is who are these high variance individuals? Why are our schools filled with dyslexics? Why so many kids diagnosed with ADHD? My claim is that these are giant, under-served populations, not meant for the 'excellence' model.
12/ They are meant to be the Innovators. They bring us new forms of music (that others then seek to perfect), new scientific vistas, they explore new terrain.

We've created a system which effectively demonizes these different patterns, and makes these people feel less than.
13/ We even call these things learning disabilities, when, in fact, if you look at the learning disabled population, they very often are the most intellectually accomplished members of society. But we put them through a torture chamber of K through 12 education
14/ Genius & Excellence are both worthwhile, but distinct modalities. Not recognizing is a serious problem. To take someone in the Genius idiom & push them into a different idiom, reducing their variance, will keep us from founding industries that'll allow us to change paradigms
15/ If u have been told u r learning disabled or not good at math or terrible at music or anything like this, seek out unconventional ways of proving it wrong. Believe in urself. There are structures powerful enough to make things that look very difficult easier than u imagined
16/ On Self Teaching:

Most of us who wind up using these sort of strange high-agency hacks to negotiate the world, have some kind of a traumatic birth. We may flatter ourselves that were in touch with reality, but in fact, reality is a second best strategy.
17/ If you're lucky your family works pretty well and you never leave social reality. It's only when something goes wrong that you discover, okay, the world doesn't work in any way the way I was told.
18/ What we need to do is to create a completely secondary parallel educational structure, for people who are going to be in the high agency creativity discovery idiom, and realize, we know how to impart expertise, but we don't know how to impart creativity in genius.
19/ High-agency explanation:
When you're told that something is impossible, is that the end of the conversation? Or does that start a second dialogue in ur mind, how to get around whoever it is that's just told you that you can't do something?
20/ So how am I getting past this bouncer who told me I can't come into the nightclub? How am I going to start a business when my credit's terrible & I got no experience? U r constantly looking for whats possible in a 'MacGyver' sort of a way & thats ur approach to the world
21/ On KungFu Panda:

The issue that I felt almost defines my my quest is : Why can't a self teacher leave pupils?

My claim is that the original innovator in the film is a Turtle which is an even more inappropriate KungFu archetype than a Panda, bcos they r obviously slow-moving
22/ But when the kingdom is threatened, all they can muster is the usual collection of over-trained students: Perfect SAT kids. They r rendered incomplete by the over-teaching. So Turtle recognizes the Panda is the only one who can save the day.

But all the turtle has to go on,
23/ in choosing a successor is, the Panda has innovated one silly thing: To turn a fireworks cart into a makeshift rocket to jump a wall

From this humble beginning the magic unfolds, & its really about the magic of how one self-teacher leaves a successor, & solves the problem.
24/ On Umbrellas & Innovation

Theres nothing I like about umbrellas. They blow up in wind, so they're easily wrecked under conditions in which they're supposed to be used. They have long metal spikes at about eye level, so they're clearly a safety hazard.
25/ Everything about it strikes me as wrong. I’ve seen people try to innovate in with air blowers to blow the water away from u, funky folding designs, etc. But I'm almost positive there exists some very simple mechanical design to improve the umbrella
26/ At the 1952 World Championships In table tennis the worst player on the Japanese team was Hiroji Satoh. He glued two foam expanses to both sides of a sandpaper bat & nobody could cue off of the sounds. It changed the sound of the ball like u put a suppressor on ur paddle.
27/ The fact he won simply through an innovation that was that profound, shows you what the power of one of these ideas. The power laws are just so unbelievably in your favor if you win, that it makes it worthwhile.
28/ On spotting breakthrough ideas:

it’s situation by situation. So for example in science I try to use various intellectual arbitrage techniques where if you have a bunch of smart people who have been focused on a problem, I try to look at what as a group their weaknesses are.
29/ How is their bread buttered? What is it they can't afford to say or think? For eg: In theoretical physics theres all sorts of shibboleths where, if u can't say u believe quantum mechanics is intrinsically probabilistic, u r not a member of the club, bcos it's assumed u sort
30/ of can't accept a difficult reality. Or if u can't signup for one of the major schools u have no way to get funding bcos no one who will support ur grant applications.

So u start to look at what causes, what should be a diverse portfolio of ideas, to collapse in terms of
31/ the diversity where everybody starts representing same POV with tiny variations. If u r looking at a problem thats never been attempted u don't want to use intellectual arbitrage - its just blue sky. Theres no reason 1st attempts to think through the problem won't yield fruit
32/ On Canonical Design:

Let's look at nature. There's a great virus called T4 bacteriophage. If u look it up it looks like a lunar lander - it’s really cool. The genetic material is held in a capsule, called the capsid, that has the form of an icosahedron.
33/ So its a little crazy to think that before Plato ever existed, nature had figured out this complicated 20-sided object. But because it was so natural at a mathematical level, even if it was complex, nature found the canonical design even though there was no canonical designer
34/ Bcos it was a god-given form, it didn't need to be thunk up, by any individual

Or recent discovery of grasshoppers using gear mechanisms for jumping. You'd think we'd invented gears but in fact gears are such a natural idea that natural selection founded long before we did
35/ On Deeply Focussed Work:

When I'm going to do deep work, very often it has this kind of very powerful aggressive energy to it. It's not easy to be around. It's very exacting. I think I would probably look very autistic, to people who know me to be social, if they were to
36/ see me in work mode. U have to decamp from normal reality, where u start thinking about everything in positive terms. Well how am I negatively going to impact my neighbor? No, this is your time. U r stealing your time. The act of creation is itself a violent action.
37/ On trying Psychedelics:

Relatively recently, & it was bcos I had been propagandized so thoroughly, that even to this day I don't like the association. There were all sorts of confusions, that the power of one of these substances must come from killing brain cells,
38/ like pouring acid on your brain and leaving it as Swiss cheese.

It wasn't until I started meeting some of the most intellectually gifted people in the sciences & beyond, & I realized that this was sort of the open secret of what I call the hallucinogenic elite.
39/ Whether it's billionaires or Nobel laureates or inventors or coders, that a lot of these people were using these agents, either for creativity or to gain access to the things that are so difficult to get access to through therapy and other conventional means.
40/ Silicon Valley

In essence u are zagging when others zigging. U r not even thinking outside the box; u haven't seen the box in years. If thats who u are, my feeling is u shud get here. I can't promise the 1st wk/month will b the greatest of ur life, but u will fall in w/ ppl
41/ Theres enough open hearted assistance given, enough money. Theres a different culture of abundance -- now that may not last more than this particular cycle.

But even if this is a bubble, I think it'll re-inflate in the same place, because fundamentally we've run out of all
42/ other options except innovation. If we don't create & don't think our way out of this, I don't think we have a great plan for steady state.

So it's grow or die, & that means we'll have another bubble. These aren't terrible things. Lots of wonderful things happen during them
43/ On the book Zero to One:

It's disturbing is to watch people reading it, not realizing the whole thing is predicated on the idea that you must have a secret.

Imagine somebody building a car with no engine. Doesn't matter how nice u get the upholstery it's not going to work
44/ I think the problem is the avg person has never had a really powerful personal idea. So most people don't have a single secret.

The real reason most people shouldn't start a company is they don't know or believe anything the rest of the world knows/ thinks as being nonsense
45/ Theory of Everything by an Outsider (like him)

In a sense, if u choose the path of the dissident / heterodox / crank, u will find the only hope or chance u got is having a really novel idea about how this game goes, so u have some time & some breathing room for everyone else
46/ Of course nobody's optimistic about that prospect - its very difficult to do work alone like Einstein did at the Patent Office. We haven't seen a 2nd version of this story since his famous emergence from there.

The fact is, the traditional community is also stalled out.
47/ So u got 2 horses - neither seems capable of finishing the race, & the question is shud we look more to the heterodox - running risk of craziness - or look to the traditional community, which seems to have gotten itself in a cul-de-sac: String theory, M-theory, super symmetry
48/ Jury's out, but I think its become much more interesting. Traditionally we'd bet on experts, but they've taken more time researching this than any group has probably taken with a theory. The fact they've been unable to find anything means perhaps odds have changed in the race
49/ On the idea of a Creator

I paid close attention to how Einstein talked about the Creator.

Now if I couldn't posit some version of the Creator, I can't solve the question of why theres something rather than nothing?

Assuming theres calculus & linear algebra & nothing else
50/ how close can I get to 4-dimen. space-time w/ 3 gens of fermions & observed forces. Is there a way to get that out of emergence?

It was certainly an insane thing for me to start a project like this. So I'd go into a closet in my mind & attempt to speak to this thing that cud
51/ not speak. Einstein asked a ques. that moved me: ‘I don't care about spectrum of this/that element. My concern is if the Creator had any choice?’

That was my research problem: Is the Creator NOT all-powerful/knowing but in fact all constrained: A custodian whose only job is
52/ to switch on the light of reality?

I view us in a sense as emergent AI that'll animate the Creator when we turn in the source code, where the universe for the 1st time uses us as AI to contemplate its own reality, which its never been able to do at least in our li'l nbrhood
53/ Atheism, Religion:

Theres 4 things I care about: Truth, fitness, meaning, grace. They all trade off among each other.

I find if u think ur way more accurately through a problem, it should increase ur fitness. Maybe grace is something that’s independent and u have to figure
54/ out if its important to u, but its a choice: An elected objective.

And my belief is a that lot of these things are preset. There’s actually more antagonism between them.

A lot of the agnostics and atheists have more religious leanings than they open up to, & a lot more of
55/ the reiigious folks are able to run the atheist agnostic program almost perfectly between their ears too.

After the Sam Harris podcast many wrote in: 'Oh it shows he doesn’t care about truth'

Now Sam's argument is, more better/rational our thinking, more it can do what
56/ religion once did.

Theres also this atheist critique, which is theres no bearded dude in the cloud granting wishes..

But none of this is the point. The point is deep archetype is its own thing. The mind seeks deep archetype.
57/ I think of myself as atheist only bcos theres a room in my mind I try to keep clean & analytical. But if I'm really honest I have lots of dialectical tensions I can't resolve; needs for meaning I can't easily meet within rational systems. There ought to be a good distinction.
58/ On Archetypes, Jordan Peterson:

@jordanbpeterson's really deep point is: Only archetype of the kind found in religion is sufficiently rich & deep to explain why humans behave the way they do. Theres no scientific theory, no purely logical or philosophical tradition.
59/ His claim is, perhaps theres something about our brains  -  maybe we were parented so we need to give the parented apparatuses over to something else - that fundamentally finds way to religion. Even if the computer thats our brain, knows its making leaps that don’t make sense
60/ On Capitalism 2.0

For those members of society of a certain age, we think of capitalism as being locked in an ideological battle with socialism perhaps or even communism. But we never really saw it might be defeated by its own child: Technology.
61/ Traditionally tech has moved us from low value occupations into higher value occupations.

I talked about in an essay: ‘Anthropic Capitalism' that software has some very peculiar features. The problem with software is that software spends most of its time in loops. Almost
62/ all code can be broken into two kinds: Code that runs once & never repeats. Code that loops over & over. Unfortunately jobs are just some form of a loop, where somebody goes to work doing some version of whatever they've been trained to do. The danger we didn't realize is
63/ that our technical training for occupations maneuvers the entire population into the crosshairs of software (even in medicine, accounting, law).

Its not just a question of being moved from lower value repetitive behaviors into higher ones. The problem is that all repetitive
64/ behaviors are in the cross hairs of software.

So its really important to understand where we are is, we may need a hybrid model in the future thats paradoxically more capitalistic than our capitalism of today & perhaps even more socialistic than our communism of yesteryear.
65/ On Universal Basic Income

Many souls will require respect, hope, freedom and choice. They may not be able to defend themselves in the market as our machines & software gets better and better.

Whether or not we leaven our capitalism w/ some communism or start from some sort
66/ of socialist ideal, and realize that if we don't find a way to grow our pie very aggressively, with tiny number of individuals who are capable of taking over operations of great complexity, I think we are going to have some kind of a hybrid system.
67/ I wish I could tell what it was going to look like but fact is nobody knows. UBI is interesting but clearly a 1st step & I'd say a 1st draft of a part of a theory we just don't have yet. Im rather confused whether to be optimistic or pessimistic
68/ On Artificial Intelligence v Out-telligence:

We worry plenty about AI but turns out lot of species use the intelligence of target species they're parasitizing: Make the victim do the thinking in service of the predator

We haven’t worried about evolving through artificial
69/ life bcos computer programs are about the only thing humans can manufacture, where we can build the reproductive system

Artificial Out-telligence is where instead of actually having an artificially intelligent species, u can imagine a dumb computer program
70/ using the reward through, lets say, genetic algorithms & selection within a computer framework, to increasingly parasitize fully intelligent humans, using better & better lures

With AI I don't think we r there yet. But with AO I can't find anything missing from the equation
71/ Riffing on Math & Music with @tferriss

So much of our musical system is in math & physics of a vibrating string. Theres one crazy innovation 'even temperament' which has to do with a strange math fact. If u raise the no. 2 for twice the frequency, giving us the octave to
72/ the 19th power, & then take the twelfth root thereof thats almost exactly equal to three. That weird numerical accident is what makes it possible to both have extremely beautiful intervals, but have them also so regular that you can do harmony and make chords.
73/ I think bcos the math behind the music is so powerful it allows you to improvise, it allows you to compose, and to understand that there are canonical songs.

I wrote a tiny computer program in Python and put it in a tweet and it's only purpose was to reproduce the chord
74/ progression for Pachelbel's Canon as an algorithm. If u want people to cry at a wedding thats the core progression to play. But that its an algorithm which breaks your heart, is very frightening.

I do think that there’s a very close relationship between algorithms & emotions
75/ Math in Economics:

We have to be honest: A lot of math has crept in for the purposes of intimidation. To make cryptic which is otherwise simple. To create a kind of interference comp - restrict the field to a smaller no of players. Theres tremendous amount of abuse of math.
76/ People have been brutalized by an instrument that in fact isn't biased good or bad. One of the things that bothers me most is, economists have all sorts of data typing problems: We call things by scalars, that are actually fields. No one would accept the idea that temperature
77/ in America yesterday was 70 degrees bcos we know Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, etc, are all of different temperatures. But too often we’ll say rate of inflation is X or growth was y in some quarter.

One problem is that you are feeding the wrong data types back into the models.
78/ Why have we accepted, that these models are prejudiced from inception, to deliver certain kinds of conclusions? Single Scalar for inflation or growth means the gauge is susceptible to fiddling. We need more autonomous math not amenable 2 special pleading from pwrful interests
79/ When @RubinReport asked him if he weeps for the state of Math in America?

I have a different impression of this. What we are in is a multi decade conspiracy effectively to deny just how good our educational system can be - just how good some of our people are. This has to do
80/ with the economics of staffing the STEM work for science and engineering. So in order to get the money, get the labor, we've had to continually pretend as if Americans are terrible at math.

We pretend that we are somehow lagging we are incapable and incompetent.
81/ But it really has to do with the labor market issues. Scientific employers are always looking to get lower cost labor. They prefer to import talent from relatively less well-off countries to staff our science and engineering workforce. We've learned how to play the science
82/ and engineering shortage card. Theres no such thing as long term labor shortage in a market economy.

Its like saying I have a Steinway shortage in my apartment. Its not bcos theres no Steinways to be had; its bcos I don't feel like shelling out 25k for a grand piano.
83/ On Anti-expert:

At some point @nntaleb was the best person to get in front of the house committee on finance, but was blocked.

So I tried to get him onto the House Science/Tech Committee to tell us why the world had blown up during the 2008 crisis. But they launched every
84/ objection saying he’s not an academic.

Anti-expert is somebody who has all the right credentials as an expert but has reached radically different conclusions than their community, & still wants to remain in that kind of dialogue to find out if they're right / wrong. Usually
85/ they're shoved off to the side bcos nobody in the field wants to have arguments live w/ scorekeepers

It'll show them the conclusions aren't nearly as strongly ground as they think

Its like someone saying I’m a climate scientist & I have completely different models than u.
86/ Russell (Emotive) Conjugation

Its a presently obscure construction from linguistics, psychology & rhetoric demonstrating how our rational minds r shielded from understanding the junior role factual information generally plays relative to empathy in our formation of opinions.
87/ So I was searching for what word to use that sounds like synonym where two words are content synonyms but maybe emotionally antonym.
Bertrand Russell had said this on the BBC: 'Let's look at the construction: I am firm. You are obstinate. He, she or it is a pig headed fool.’
88/ I don't realize I’ve been given no extra information about the 3 conjugations he's gone through, & yet I feel differently. I like the fact somebody is firm & steadfast, but dislike the fact somebody is pigheaded.
Theres a video of Frank Luntz asking people what they think
89/ about 'undocumented workers'? The responses are they're doing a great job & we have to recognize the contribution. Then he asks will they support 'illegal aliens'? The answer is no, they should be deported. In an instant u notice the mind doesn't see itself having 2 reactions
90/ Media vs #IDW

If u r trying to silence a small no. of people the thing to do is proximate them to a lot of really terrible stuff. So for people who don’t have time to say I neither condemn or condone, it'll create enough fear & doubt in their minds.

Tag that which u wish to
91/ neutralize, in a context that suits a given narrative.

What u r seeing is the institutions treating us almost like an infection, but their immune system is weakened. The media doesn't like competition & sense making.

And the #IDW is 'an alternative sense making collective'
92/ I'm trying to get the power tools into hands of people who've not been trusted with them. I don't want to kill the N'York Times. I want the N' York Times to learn how to respect people, who are smart(er) than editors who drive the narratives, or reporters who go out & report
93/ Now they're coming after people who r the least racist, most forward thinking, thoughtful & nuanced. Its no coincidence.

One interesting pattern is putting a ton of pressure on a large group of people to salute some flag that shouldn't be saluted. Then u have one person who
94/ will stand up & say you can't compel me. This is how we found @BretWeinstein, @jordanbpeterson & co.

The commonality seems, the person who doesn't salute the flag, usually has a deep reason. Its not just that they won't salute, its that they have an entire worldview.
95/ They are most likely to be someone doing ground-breaking research in an area that you would never know. So in essence the least interesting thing about Jordan, Bret, etc, is the things for which they initially became known.
96/ The Overton Window

What can we discus, what can't we discuss. Lot of us may benefit from this notion that we're going to make certain ideas too hot too dangerous to express in polite company. On the other hand, we’ve started to hamstring the cognitive power in our contrarian
97/ thinkers, where they don't feel comfortable or safe thinking aloud.

Somebody asks the question: ‘Do u believe intelligence is perfectly, evenly distributed between genders or among ethnic groups?’

Statistically it would be crazy to say I believe it's perfectly distributed.
98/ On the other hand socially it'd be crazy to suggest it isn't perfectly distributed. So we have these funny situations where top-down thinking tells us whats acceptable & what isn’t, but the bottom-up leads to ask all sorts of questions framed out by usual terms of discussion.
99/ Additionally, check these out:

4 Quadrants

Camping and Decamping

Theory of Everything (Short sharp thread)

Crossing the Adaptive Valley

Articles on
100/ If you want to read a bunch of Transcriptions (of his videos):

As I mentioned at the beginning, if you’re looking for more context / depth on the topics from this thread:
101/ And thanks to @tferriss @RubinReport @joerogan for all the engaging chats w/ Eric.

Honestly this thread is only a glimpse into a deep reservoir of thoughts. Another mega thread wouldn't be enough to cover it all.

So thats it from me! Hope u enjoyed @EricRWeinstein 101.
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