“Joe Rogan Podcast #310 – Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist)” (plus my thoughts)

A discussion between Joe Rogan and Neil deGrasse Tyson filmed in 2013:

Really appreciated that conversation.  clap  Wonderful to see Dr. Tyson able to speak casually at length about everything from popular conspiracy theories to environmental change and the possibility of lifeforms out in the universe.

About 1:40:00 into the podcast, I especially liked how Dr. Tyson hit on the probability of life on Earth originally being seeded by matter introduced from without, namely from Mars which appears to have once been Earth-like. Always wondered about that too, if Mars could’ve seeded our planet.

And I found it very fascinating when they were discussing how the universe seems to make nothing solitary, how everything comes in pairs or more, so when we back up further and further, from multiple universes to multiple multiverses and so on, how that basically trails off into infinity. That’s something else I’ve been pondering a while now, and I tie it in with my understanding of string theory and quantum physics and how perspective seems to be key in how we relate to anything and everything. Like when Dr. Tyson was talking about the clouds and how we commonly observe them versus how much is actually going on within them that we couldn’t historically detect. Obviously I’m a total layperson who’s learned more about “hard” and physical sciences outside of college (aside from a course on zoology and half a semester of physics), but this stuff’s always captivated me on some level so I read and comprehend what I can on these and related subjects. Then I mesh it together with what I’ve learned about biological sciences and then social sciences, the latter being my own emphasis. And I just keep seeing all these patterns, from micro to macro and on back to micro depending on perspective taken, and how these “layers” (for lack of a better term) can appear calm from a distance but appear chaotic up-close and personal. And I swear it divides out in SO many ways, from physicalism (to borrow a term from the book War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality) on down to human social relations and the intricacies of our psychological and social functioning from within an individual and among them, spanning out to mass group dynamics of most-modern times. So many things that are difficult to measure once you get to the social and psychological end of the spectrum of human life, but also in analyzing animal life and its myriad of social formations and trans-species interworkings. Then on down to pondering the energy vibrations that make up matter.

It’s all rather cool to me. Can’t probably speak intelligibly in depth on these sorts of things, but I dig them and look into them and like to let my imagination roll over the possibilities.

Fractals, yes.

And this is partly why I’ve found space exploration somewhat humorous. I’m with Dr. Tyson on considering it folly to strive to terraform Mars since the amount of energy and technology needed for that could very likely be better used in serving our interests here on Earth. Though I’m not one to concern myself greatly with the continuation of our species. Just sayin’. But for as illuminating as I’ve found space exploration to be, I’ve always wondered if eventually—combined with our research into everything on Earth, including exploring lifeforms in the ocean depths and in Earth’s crust—it will all lead us to realize the “sanctity” of the lives we’ve been “blessed” with. Putting those words in quotations since I know people are sensitive to them, but they come to life when we also take into consideration the role of consciousness and our higher development in that arena. Makes me wonder if this will all someday drive us back to appreciating the basics, recognizing we have this life to live and no guarantees beyond that, but that there is a balance to be reached in some sort of way in order to find some amount of peace, recognizing that though we each are so small and seemingly inconsequential, we really are amazing creatures with so much potential who make living interesting. If nothing else, that’s what we are. Gives me a bit of comfort when I arrive back around to that conclusion periodically.  smile  Can’t explain why exactly — just does.

Maybe more of us will learn to love one another in better ways and to appreciate one another’s humanity and significance. Maybe not, but for those who do, I consider them blessed. We have been bestowed a gift and a curse as human beings, but life is what it is and we don’t get to choose the nature of “objective” reality — we can merely work within it with one another.

Dr. Tyson’s talks always refill me with appreciation for humanity. Not sure exactly why. (Not that I don’t expect us to drive our species over a cliff in due time, but still.) Maybe it’s his infectious way of spreading curiosity and encouraging us to explore for ourselves and to not be limited in doing so. All I know is I genuinely appreciate the man and his insights and the information and ideas he shares.

Also becoming a bit of a fan of Joe Rogan, slowly but steadily. Never much was into the Fear Factor show, but then again, I don’t subscribe to cable and so didn’t see it often. Liked most of what I’ve watched from him online thus far.

One inquiry into what is religion

Tonight I came across Suicideforcelluloid’s video “What is religion?”:

Have only maybe maybe watched a video or two by him in the past, so not too familiar with that YTer. Mostly I viewed that in preparation for listening to Prof. Anton’s reply:

I’ll post here what I left in a comment on that video:

Wow. You said it ALL in this video! Thank you for responding on this topic — this inquiry is so important for all of us right now.

“Dogmatically committed to a hyper-hyper-rationality” — very good way to state it plain.

“Hyperationality…it’s imagining what will never be. To that extent it’s an irrationality…There’s more rationality in the person who accept the limits of rationality.”  Great explanation there.

That’s the problem in a nutshell with so-called “scientism” and is why atheism is coming to look like dogma dressed up in scientific cloaks. People collect and then conform and before you know it turn dogmatic in their share beliefs. Appears it goes hand in hand with rising populations and widening the net in how we’re affiliated.

“What is community?” really is the deeper question. We as individuals can’t survive without some form of community, yet what we’ve created is now causing us so many problems and is breaking up tight-knit communities everywhere. They’re rapidly going extinct—first tribes, then towns, then neighborhoods, now families are feeling the pressure—leaving us all out here to float around looking for what feels missing in our lives and trying to figure out how to connect and bond with very little knowledge of wisdom that might help. Instead we’re flooded with insecurity-poking magazine articles and fiction.

I really liked what you said about kids and parenting, because it is true that some people are made better people by becoming parents, and their children benefit from this. Love is what it’s all about, it’s what we need more of. Just sucks that there’s so much pressure on everybody to breed, as if that in itself is the key unlocking a meaningful life. Winds up becoming about adults using kids to satisfy their own longings, which rarely works out well for all involved. Would be ideal if we saw less of that and more parenting that comes from a place of wanting to pass on love and guidance and being able to do so.

You spoke about people being “sentenced to life” and on putting more weight on the death that will inevitably follow — that ties into my own views on abortion and why it can be seen as merciful (though many people react badly to hearing that). Life is sacred, so bringing people in willy-nilly without much forethought, not caring if they wind up raised by the foster care system because they weren’t adopted out, leaving them to the mercy of society without any promises of love and devotion from the people who created them — that’s just so incredibly harsh. If we accept that and wish to prize life, it seems to follow that it’s also our responsibility not to bring new life into being if we can’t provide love. To do so is cruel and creates broken people who then may turn around and take out their pain on others.  And being reminded of that by the news nonstop makes us feel all the more cautious and untrusting and disconnected.

What do you think the future may hold in store for communities?