- 1:15 – Having a role model
- 9:25 – Nihilism in politics
- 15:10 – Can we make moral judgements without belief?
- 34:50 – Veganism as a political struggle
- 41:10 – Morality should be worrying
- 48:10 – Do you need to assume human nature is good in order to ground politics in nihilism?
- 54:00 – Is your philosophy based on elitism?
- 57:45 – How and where do you draw the line on coercion?
- 88:20 – What activist role do you see yourself playing over the next 5 years?
- 119:25 – What did you see in Buddhism?
Eisel: Hey guys we are recording in Belgium and this is where I’ve crossed paths with a long time viewer of my channel, known to my supporters on Patreon as Muhammad Socrates.
So Muhammad has asked a number of the most interesting questions that sparked some of the most interesting and longest videos on my channel, recently I think we did like a 1-hour answer to one of your questions, this sort of thing has come up from time to time, he’s a guy who has a lot of interest in history, politics and philosophy. Although actually your formal area of education is bio-chemistry, right so biology and chemistry.
And the last couple of days we met face to face for the first time, we’ve had many interesting conversations and we’ve now visited two museums together, so he got subjected to several hours of constant lecturing on art, history and politics, at first the art museum and today the museum of war, museum of military history. It’s been a lot of fun.
So another thing to mention, he’s in many ways wise beyond his years and he speaks several languages, diverse experiences in different countries around the world, but in fact I was shocked when it came up that he is only 21, so you started watching my channel when you were 18 years old,
Socrates: I think something like 18-19
1:15 – Having a role model
Eisel: So it is somewhat surprising for me to think that this is somebody who has in some ways been in dialogue with, you know since he was 18 or 19 years old, to some extent my monologues about politics of you know they’ve been about politics and probably also religion and philosophy, yeah have been a contrasting view in your life?
Socrates: You’re always talking about the concept of scrutiny in politics, but I think this is an example where it kind of played a large role in my personal life, like the presence of your videos in my life are key, like you do represent the role of scruity in my personal life, and how you can change someone’s perspectives a lot and positively. I didn’t expect that I could find a vegan, who also is very philosophically sophisticated and very politically active, like most of the vegans on YouTube were basically just talking about the scientific and the like health side of the debate and all the other perspectives and aspects got basically no attention at all, especially like the philosophical side.
And I actually got introduced to you through the drama with durianrider, this is what actually made you famous, I wouldn’t have heard from you at all if it weren’t for this drama actually.
Eisel: But you stayed with the channel, you may have noticed it because the drama, but you kept watching because you were actually interested though yeah
Socrates: yeah I immediately liked to click on the playlists and videos of the channel and like chicken topics about and I immediately got interested this is this guy’s different than the other look cuz I was really like disappointed in right yes bored with the other channel sure bit like I basically just wasn’t watching beating gains for the for youthful and and comedy right basically I wasn’t hoping to get anything useful or interesting or new from it
Eisel: Well I know obviously I feel the same way about vegan YouTube people often ask me what channels do i watch and sometimes my answer is nothing or there’s a one channel I’m watching there very few that it was me but the other thing I can imagine is how different my own life would be if when I was your age when I was 19 to 21 if there was someone like me that I was watching on YouTube if there was someone even if I disagreed with them about many issues to stimulate that I was saying to Melissa, Melissa is here off camera by the way, I’ve seen him once a couple days ago that you know one of my problems growing up was that I was not stupid enough to idolize Noam Chomsky you know Noam Chomsky you know like there were figures like that in the media in the in the newspapers and so on and I know for a lot of people Noam Chomsky was that challenging you know political figure but to me he was a joke, I just basically found him stupid or too stupid to take seriously almost I’ve also was not stupid enough to I to idolize you know the president United States I mean George Bush wow when you look out to church you know we didn’t reading the autobiography of George W Bush changed my life I’ve never heard anyone say that but yeah that was uh that was part of my own you know crisis was I’m not having anyone to look up to and you know now at least recently they’ve been a lot of videos about it um when I was no longer soup whoa you know what I I lost faith in the family religion that I was really many ways raised to be a communist and rejected communism rejected the rejected Marxism to which is a separate stage there was first projected communism rejecting Marxism, you know and then you look around and really there was nothing to replace it with there was nothing positive I could relate to so you know a fight if I had discovered someone like me at that time even if I had rejected me you know that that which action would have been a really interesting you know process to go through it would have been something to something to respond to yeah.
Socrates: Yeah can appreciate like the influence it’s it’s very it’s not a very superficial difference I mean although it was very gradual and and true like over three years yeah right yeah I didn’t even feel the the big transitions are I’ve gone through so it was past few years but it was certainly profound like the yeah change it’s not necessarily that I just adopted or abused but right now stimulated my yeah my skeptical of faculties like yeah I questioned a lot of crucial positions of making earlier and I changed the whole a book on veganism like before I was actually basically just have oh really it was okay healthy living, yeah but oh and it happens that this scientific evidence pointed to where ism or like it’s nice we’ve been talking for two days but I wouldn’t have guessed that about you because you care so much about politics generally, I would have thought okay but that’s interesting yeah I wasn’t aware of it any other aspects of veganism, like especially the environment inside of it and I know that okay vegans do emit refused amounts of co2 and those are the facts like they were like I think I think I read about it like after after I went vegan but maybe after real so but it wasn’t really the motivating factor well initially yeah when later like I lost interest in like the stringent healthy health arguments like and I began to look for something to keep me yeah maybe long term and and basically your chair was the answer my goal kind of came yeah
Eisel: Well thank you, yeah well I just mention something you said there briefly in the first year, no even the first two years of my channel, when I tried to talk to other vegans on YouTube, you know by email normally, but then later by skype, in person, the first thing they always say to me was; “I don’t agree with all the views in your channel, but…” And I started saying to them and I got, well maybe the first time I didn’t say that, the first couple times, this happened so often I remember saying to people would you really want to watch a channel where you just where you agree with everything the person says like you know boring why no go so I talked about some challenging I chucked with some challenging stuff like you know I’m not saying this to insult you or anyone but if someone came to my channel I made a video recently about politics in Cambodia, why would you agree with me like most of my viewers you’ve probably never even thought about this you don’t have any opinion about you know current politics in Cambodia so you know it’s challenging to you no matter what you know but if you go to my channel you really think I thought I thought democracy in Cambodia was doing just fine and here you are saying it’s it’s a disaster you know so many of the things I was making videos about of course they’re challenging of course they’re unexpected but yeah I remember that but so we just gonna say I think what that reflected was the mentality at the time so maybe 2015 2016 that to be a viewer of a channel meant that you were a cult follower yeah you know like durianrider like this kind of thing and no that’s not what my channels about you know okay disagree with me let’s you know maybe these things are worth disagreeing about I don’t I don’t want to disagree about trivial crap I’m really not into bad but you know a lot of a lot of things are worth disagree but okay cool so look I I have no idea what the questions are but you say you had some sequestered actually I wanted to ask you something company cap this is the de-caff.
9:25 – Nihilism in politics
Socrates: okay you always talk about how we don’t need belief mmm to be a vegan and to recognize the moral significance of the vegan message and you always talk but I couldn’t swallow this pill like how could you even make moral judgments without having some kind of crystal position or belief about what good is right it’s not like drawing like painting a painting right right but everybody wash your face I thought the analogy kind of misleading or uncomplete.
Eisel: Right, so okay in terms of the European tradition one of the marks of the Enlightenment so this is meaning the Enlightenment as a period of history by the way here we’ve got the history of France in Chinese is holding up the microphone at the moment and it does it goes over the history of the Enlightenment and in France in Chinese um one of the one of the big ideas in the period of the Enlightenment including in authors like jean-jacques Rousseau was a lot of optimism about reason with a capital or reason and a rash right and during my lifetime instead there was a lot of cynicism a lot of lowered expectations about reason and rationality it saved the 1990s or maybe a major or a period of this you know in philosophy and in pop culture but the I would say my views are based on a very limited optimism about reason so just maybe we’ve in the last two days we’ve talked about many really hopeless political situations Saudi Arabia Afghanistan you know I don’t know sir we have talked about some political conflicts around the world that is not easy to be optimistic about right there are a lot of social problems like water pollution and air pollution and people eating meat and wearing leather shoes I’m wearing fur coats where it’s it’s it’s hard to be able to miss there um but in a particular scenario like when I say to someone who drinks cow milk you know normal meat eating type of person when I say to someone if you see a cow in a farmer’s field would you be willing to get down on your hands and knees and shuffle over to the cow and drink the milk out of the cow’s udder right well what am i appealing to you so this is my this is my conviction this is my conclusion I don’t think I’m appealing to their belief you know I don’t think I’m appealing to their faith I think I am appealing to their sense of the absurd right and they arrive at this sense of the absurd through a very limited use of reason right yes sir just another example real quick Melissa knows this so the day before yesterday or maybe yesterday it’s but we haven’t been sleeping much Oh jet lag and or you know right studio but when we were at the airport this is at London Airport the the women who was the head of security she had teri aided me a little tiny bit and you know my position was in talking to her I said at one point I don’t have to answer your question either I have civil rights or you know I said either you have civil rights you don’t either person you know it’s a question of civil rights you know so now again what am I appealing to in this and it was Melissa at dr. Lou’s a slightly surreal negotiation where there’s nothing to negotiate I’m you know I’m there to get searched I said no go ahead and search me I’m happy to be searched that’s really all I have to say but no no wait but the question is do this um you know ultimately I’m not appealing to her goodness of heart I’m not appealing to her charity of spirit I am trying to appeal to her sense of the observed to reason in this this limited sense you know what what are you asking me you’re gonna search me let’s get on with the search like this nothing so again sorry it’s a funny situation in our in our in our own lives um yeah you know sorry and again in that in that same conflict she this woman complained I think for no good reason I think you agree with that she complained that I had somehow disrespected or insulted her and I didn’t respond I pointed those two most of the importance list I didn’t respond by saying no I never insulted you that would have escalated the conflict I respond with a question I said have I said one word that was it’s only to you you know when this this managed to bring it down so let me just this is a ridiculous but there’s a real-world situation some of us with police or with the authority views are in this situation what what am i appealing to and what is my conduct chill on my part I own have faith in humanity I don’t have faith in the Constitution or in some political thing I’m there’s this really base level of human reason and a sense of what’s what’s observed like are you gonna interrogate me for complying with being screwed what what are we doing here what is the question about I’m taking off my clothes I’m happy to do the search what what do you want to know what do you wanna ask me you know no you sorry this is not a this is not a philosophical situation but for me honestly it does reflecting on it talk about it afterwards there is a little bit of a philosophical death now you know some what are the limits to this sorry so I mean you’re asking about so is your question can we challenge evil without faith or can we do good with our faith I mean these are all kind of income within your within your question right I mean you know what so you wanna speak to that point a minute
15:10 – Can we make moral judgements without belief?
Socrates: Yeah I think I can formulate my question like this, can we make any moral judgments without having some
Eisel: Ah okay, yes.
Socrates: Like philosophical or religious presuppositions about what good and evil is,
Melissa: Yeah it’s funny I think I asked you about this a couple of weeks ago
Socrates: Is the sense of the absurd, like a reliable source of moral judgements and moral character…
Eisel: Right and my answer to that is to a limited extent yes.
Do want to jump in do you were going to say something?
Melissa: [Inaudable]… you don’t believe in belief… [inaudable]
Eisel: So I got this I got this question about epistemology, couple months ago and answered it on discord on a live broadcast that wasn’t recorded and you know one of the first part of the answer when I was asked this about epistemology, so epistemology without belief or how do we know anything and I pointed out look, when we’re not in an academic classroom when we’re not in a university lecture hall with a chalkboard we are almost never asking the question, how do I know this Apple is red, I don’t have an apple here, how do I know this representation of a raspberry and a strawberry is red, you know this kind of question this is an academic question that we asked in the classroom, you know? But I mean sorry obviously this extends to good and evil also, you know questions of moral judgment, we’re almost never dealing with a very abstract question like this and sorry I just put you both in the university classroom and into practical sciences this can be answered in a very technical sense like when we you know use a mass spectrometer or pass a ray of light over this and measure the wavelength of the light at what point does does it stop being orange mr. P but there is a kind of technically the science of optics or whatever there could be this is not what people are really asking they don’t want to tell you all answer the one that wants a philosophical answer and it may not be susceptible to a feel so we’ve done this on this level of no specificity most of what we’re dealing with in the real world like being interrogated by the authorities were normally dealing with contrasting values of this kind you know sorry I look earlier today you were asking me questions about about practical real world democratic reform sorry the actual phrasing the question you said but do you really think that modern mixed economies like Denmark or those in Denmark Sweden and I forget the other example but they were school Norway yeah maybe there’s some successful some accessible economies and democratic societies like this in Western Europe you said do you really think that the ideal other country should should aspire to imitate and I said no it’s not that I think that they’re the ideal but I think there’s something that pragmatically many countries you could you could benefit from you could learn lessons from within the next 10 20 years there’s something private but this isn’t about knowing what’s ideal it’s about contrasting real world examples in real situations so on a course level like this example of would you get on your hands and knees and drink the milk out of a cow’s udder I do think this completely non belief based mode of reasoning that that it does work right and again in terms of a perception of color can I just perceive that this is an apple can I just perceive that this is red which is almost never what people really want to talk about in epistemology you may have to in academic epistle if there’s normally more meaningful questions how do we know what’s beautiful how do we know what’s divine there’s some other question people really want to get at not the shade of red on a nap or how can we tell them that an apple is an apple um but I mean the judge the nature of the judgments were were making in the real world often is like I’m being interrogated and the woman interrogating me says I disrespected her and I have to ask did I say one word the district am i you I mean what’s what’s happening here this is this is the kind of thing we have to negotiate and not um you know against a blank canvas or against a blank chalkboard putting a circle around what’s what’s good and what’s what’s evil so on a coarse and crude level which is where most of the important political and even ecological questions lie I do think we can do this though faith so we know how.
To give an example a boy I went to high school with whose now a university professor, unlike myself haha, he had a serious learning disability but he nevertheless what your is professor come I wonder how he copes now with that he had something like dyslexia it wasn’t it wasn’t the same as dyslexia oh he broke into the science lab at the high school and they stole all of the thermometers and a number of other expensive instruments and they sat on the sidewalk smashing the thermometers and stealing the mercury so they could have mercury to fluent and of course broken glass and mercury went into the storm drain and I was not there I was not a part of this I talked about it more than a year after it it happened have treated this if I were asking him seriously trying to have a Socratic dialogue did he or did he not consider this evil there are several types of evil to question here there the the literal the downstream consequences the water pollution the ecological pollution there’s the fact that you’re damaging the school in the classroom the ability to provide education to people you know like you know what the school is losing its scientific equipment or it’s their monitor staff here there’s different there’s different kinds of damage halls here neo
Sorry I mean I’m you know I’m joking about it these are these are the real world questions of good and evil you know another one I talked about you know sir again this is this is so this was when I was in high school you know there was a girl and I knew I believe I knew for a fact that she was raped and her older sister were raped repeatedly by their father that they were they were you know he did have been a regular rapist that was on children that he was otherwise generally a pedophile now you know and so from my perspective I knew this as a fact now would it be oh sorry and this is the this is the real clincher maybe you don’t know this what you didn’t see is a long time ago I made a video talking with us um he was a judge at a very high level in the court system now actually someone who really wants to docs me or something could actually take the information here around who I’m talking about but it was suppressed the journalists who tried to cover the story most of the coverage of it was suppressed I believe that Frank magazine somehow covered it or mentioned it that was a rebellious political publication in Canada but the mainstream newspapers and so on I was told they tried to publish on it and was was censored because he was so high place in the system now now what is the good or evil thing to do if you are a young man who grew up reading Batman comics and you know I had to really think that through and I decided then that violence was not the answer and I’m still living by that today and that was a real-world situation of trying to figure out what’s good and evil or what’s even acceptable but intolerable you know not what’s ideal not what’s perfect these are these are real-world situations so on that on that course level method course you know is a good word for it I think yeah you can without faith you don’t know there’s nothing no are there some moral distinctions that are so fine so particular and and for that reason I think so aesthetic in their their nature that it’s more like asking when does read become Orange when does read become pink you know is there some some ethical distinction like this I’m open to that possibility but I don’t think it will matter very much in in politics or even in your real personal if I’m open to the possibility there are some aesthetic judgments because that’s how you phrased it was about surgery there’s some ethical judgments that in effect are so refined they become aesthetic and that then you get into these more more particular questions you know okay it is it okay to divorce my wife and then marry her younger sister in some cultures that’s really considered a terrible crime a medicine consider a kind of unforgivable sin and you can see why I mean it’s gross I mean it’s creepy look you know so what you were cheating on your wife with her younger sisters I guess you can see why but on the other hand I mean probably today and Alif or Nia for most english-speaking people look at this they probably don’t see that it’s they don’t see that it’s incest which it was in Shakespeare’s time it’s the place of Shakespeare you know – for a woman to leave her husband for her husband’s brother that was that was incest as a punishable crime and so on you know are we now went to a realm of you know questions of family duty and honor and we’re really getting into a more culturally relative aesthetic sort of judgment mmm where where you can’t like you can’t ask in the same simple way like you know so I asked before would you get down on your hands and knees and drink the milk out of a cow’s udder would you dump mercury into the into the rain sewers and Toronto would you smash up a bunch of scientific instruments just these are no questions but think that this is a pretty pretty course course level um you know what I don’t know you know would you accept it if a man divorced one of your sisters to get married to your younger sister you know you know so again maybe this way but it doesn’t have this it doesn’t have this simple sense of this limited rational reason just reveals how how absurd it is you know immediately oh I guess you know because I look I mean I I have two sisters I got I don’t know you could probably imagine a situation they can uh you know Greg he’s not that bad a guy I don’t know didn’t work out for Greg and Mary he can try it with Sue I don’t know maybe oh maybe you don’t care maybe what it’s your own sister or maybe even if as an abstract principle you’d object to it when you’d actually be in that situation so yeah maybe there are some some as some ethical distinction some ethical judgments yeah but I think I think those will always be the less less important so another did you see my video with mod vegan I did a three-hour debate on ethics of of cocaine use No a little bit too long I don’t blame you I don’t blame you right sir but just on a coarse level of judgement when I asked her or I could ask you look would you allow your own daughter to use cocaine is that okay from your perspective and in reality everyone will yes or no even if you yourself have been a cocaine addict in the past or a cocaine user you do not want your daughter to become poor son if you have a son whatever you know so this is a veil this is at the same level of absurdity rational absurdity that’s just revealed by it by reason I think and then the next question is okay given that you don’t want your own daughter to become a cooking or your own sister or your own mother how do you justify making cocaine legal and available and someone what we know how does this translate into into drug policy no I’m not saying it’s that simple to then arrive at a good legal policy a specific framework for you know what is the government’s policy on drug abolition or public education, but on the course level of ethical judgment I think that is an example again where it’s yeah I don’t need to believe in anything I don’t need any kind of faith you know to to proceed on that basis.
Socrates: I think a problem with this philosophy, this sense of the absurd, can you really say that it’s the same with everyone, like maybe I don’t find some things absurd that others find such and maybe what’s motivating me the sense of disgust me…
Eisel: Yes, no I agree, i think disgust is a factor in all of them.
Socrates: How would you generalize such a moral, can you even call it a philosophy? Like it doesn’t really have much of a well
Eisel: I think it’s almost an anti-philosophy, I think you know nihilism is in some ways an anti-philosophy and since some ways of positive and constructive philosophy um okay such principles okay
Socrates: How would a society structure itself on such principles? Is it even feasible for a…
Eisel: So I can answer both questions, so I’m a nihilist, I believe every society is structured that way in reality because in reality people in power make these decisions on the basis of animus and their values are not universal that’s exactly why we have constant political controversy so until quite recently so you know in Japan up to a certain point child pornography was legal was permissible in Japan and then they had a period of history where photographed child pornography was illegal but not cartoons and drawings and then finally they made that illegal I forget if it was last year but there were newspaper stories about it Japan finally makes Charlie Murphy illegal now to my knowledge I think every other country in the world it’s either illegal or the country is in such a state of chaos that they don’t have any laws at all like there were a few countries where there’s just no no read the law is working at the moment Laos was like that for a long time but you know sorry but it’s not like people intentionally made it legal but Japan was going with us this was legal printed now you might think that was an example that’s so revolting that so you mentioned discussed I think disgust is an element where you say look this is immoral and disgusting and everyone else is revolted by so why aren’t you well not everyone’s revolted and that’s exactly why there’s not just controversy but coercion so at any given time there’s a minority of people in power in any of these countries we’re going to talk about so any real-world country in the the current century and they make decisions that may be wildly incompatible with the the majority of people or so no I mean other ethical systems make claims to universal values so Immanuel Kant is one of the most observed about this but in generally this is a big part of the Western tradition and you know monotheistic traditions and so on they say this is you know x y&z; are universal and everybody agrees with it therefore therefore therefore and we all know in reality the exact opposite is true so I mean supposing I were to say to you the belief in human rights is universal x y&z; it’s yet jeans even some united nations of this the belief in these this list of human rights is universal and inviolable and indestructible and made out of steel we all know the exact opposite is true this list of human rights is a type of myth it’s a type of Mythology it’s a type of fable and it’s paper thin and it’s week and timorous and we want everyone to pretend it’s universal and available and in fact almost nobody believes in it even the average police officer doesn’t believe in it and the average police officer doesn’t in any way conduct and live his life as if he believes in this list of human rights or as if he cares about them in any way this is maybe horrifying the goal but it’s really true police officers don’t the vast majority of them don’t live their lives way that’s why you don’t just need police officers but you need video cameras and police officers and investigators looking for corruption within the police force and so on none of these values are universal.
I mean let me put it this way, communists believe that their ideals are a future utopia nihilists assume that our lack of ideals are the reality here and now beneath the veneer of ideologies so this is a different view of society where look our views have analytical and explanatory power that none of these values are universal that you can’t arrive at universal claims and then at any given time so for one generation in Japan politicians made excuses for child pornography and then a different generation of leaders took over and they felt definitely about it and so on and this is how it is I mean you know whether you talk about gay rights or kind of any any it’s not Universal you know you can stand up and make a speech that gay rights are universal human rights not in Saudi Arabia and not even 50 years ago in Canada not 50 years ago in Canada, so there’s nothing Universal about it but sure it’s a convenient fable to try to tell people. Yeah, so I just said I don’t see that as problematic the lack of what’s universal, but…
Look sorry I had a debate recently with a guy from India that’s where he was Hindu I was just cuz I wasn’t sure if he was was Hindu or Muslim but now it came up he was Hindu so a Hindu guy from India and I said to have not quite the same example of a cow milk so he’s Hindu women you know cows have a special significance in general for most Hindus and I said to him look do you really see nothing wrong if you visit a factory farm and you see a cow standing upright in a steel cage on a concrete floor underneath the steel roof in a shed and that cow is gonna leave its whole life standing up and sitting down on that one spot until one day someone comes and so it’s his neck you don’t see anything wrong with this you don’t see anything observed with it and he dogmatically existed no I see he said he saw nothing wrong with that he thinks it’s totally morally good and proper to raise cows this way for their whole lives to basically be nothing but suffering ending in this meaningless death to produce an economic value that destroys human health and destroys the environment and so these are the bad things that was his position on that now so I can’t claim it’s a universal conclusion to look at the reality of factory farming and say hey there’s something wrong here there’s something irrational or revolting you know a sense of disgust or absurdity this is observed to have millions of cows standing in millions of sheds like this right that’s not Universal but a large percentage of people respond to it that way I mean I’d say the same about child pornography a large percentage of people respond to it this way and I think we can organize an effective movement for social change out of that learners people but so you just so critically to give an example where I’m really in the minority I see gambling as really wrong you know I really see gambling as immoral you know mean to like Las Vegas style gambling the people pay money into a machine or they pay for credit I see that as as bad in a word that’s not obvious that there were millions of people who see that as completely morally positive or good or harmless right so it’s but obviously I’ve met other people who share my values who also just look at that same thing and for them it’s as obvious as drinking me all kind of a cow’s udder that there is that kind of thing.
So I don’t I don’t claim any of these are universal but I would claim that if even 10% of people feel the way I feel about cow milk and factory farming that 10% of people could make a huge impact, sure and I think in reality we know it’s more than 10%.
34:50 – Veganism as a political struggle
Socrates: Well I guess then this it stems from the realization that 90% of the people never like will never be vegan like it veganism will always be a mineral a phenomenon and right and you basically admit that it’s always gonna be like that and from this presupposition you say okay how right and I develop the most effective right a form of convincing argumentation that appeals to this minority or
Eisel: Right and you know gay people will always be the minority yeah I don’t think gave up whatever percentage they are nobody I think is planning on the future it’s not nobody said we can wait until gay people become 51% of the population have to be it’s not going to work for that right and you know some of the other examples who really cares about cigarette smoking about eliminating cigarette smoking is it maybe 1% of people are passionate about this don’t care about it say hey smoking cigarettes is really bad and you know the majority people are just indifferent they’re not even it’s not that they love tobacco or like very few people feel it’s a civil right to be able to smoke tobacco some do some do you know some people feel that way that you should really have the right to choose and smoke tobacco but can you organize that minority and press for change to eliminate tobacco smoking in our society and I mean that’s similar also because the the campaigns to eliminate tobacco have science on their side and to some extent economics on their side you know the government doesn’t want to the government doesn’t want to spend all this money on lung cancer you notice this kind of thing so yeah disability and what-have-you so yeah I that you’re correct that is how I see it the only footnote is you know we’re talking about the the near future I mean is it possible 300 years from now 500 years from a thousand years from now is it possible the majority of people will be vegan like 1000 years from now yes it’s possible you know, but you know there’s no reason you know I’ve got to plan within my lifetime.
Socrates: It will probably require some kind of ecological disaster, you know for most of the people on earth
Eisel: Well, I wouldn’t say, you know I would say I think what has to change fundamentally is education and sure it’s possible.
I mean so today look ok this is a little bit philosophically interesting too so I had a black friend in high school one I’m from Canada we don’t have that many black people I had one black friend in high school and I remember you know she cared about politics you know she was a bit of a political dissident or political activist type of person and she often very strongly held views of all things she knew nothing about so some something she knew about that’s why we’re friends but like um she just remember she said to me this is one to have several examples of her she said to me that the stars in the sky never moved the constellations hadn’t moved in thousands of years that the stars are made static and I said to her I’m sorry this is just scientifically not true like don’t you realize the solar system is always moving and the stars are moving and we have all this evidence of that and no like a thousand years ago they were in a different position and we have a whole there’s a whole department at the University that’s about this you know the relative positions of the stars you know swear you see them from the earth they have moved and this is this is proven science if that was really before the internet existed or at that time it was just starting to exist I’m not that old but normal people like me did not have access to the Internet you know today if you had that conversation you just say look just get out your phone or something or get out your laptop computer just go to Google just check you know how do they have the stars remain static look it up or something Wikipedia and you can check that it definitely much less than a thousand you’re just within 20 years we may be at a point where they’re reliable scientific facts that support veganism are so instantly available to everyone you know something much better than Wikipedia that you can see by pressing your earring you know uh oh yeah oh this cut oh this causes cancer oh this this causes heart attacks like where this kind information is available so instantly and so ubiquitously I can imagine that that changing and again especially if the quality of education in schools and universities changes I can imagine that giving a big impetus towards veganism.
Socrates: There are some signs of that especially in the scientific circles between scientists for example yes especially in Germany you can already notice that veganism is kind of creeping to the mainstream accepted view of healthy eating yes like especially with medical doctors in Germany I think in the U.S. maybe the situation is a bit different yeah maybe it’s not your mainstream there as it is in Germany.
Eisel: Well also I think you’ve seen this in Germany in most you know in Germany if you buy a fridge or a dish washing machine where there’s a label on it about the ecological impact like how much electricity does it use and maybe how much pollution so again if that becomes a point we can touch your ear or touch your glasses you’re buying something and you know cow milk has an ecological impact rating of 76 based on air air pollution water pollution energy use or something and then next to it is soy milk and soy milk you know so again that also it can be quantified and the quantification could become verifiable and accessible instantly so I peel if you guys have watched my channel for a long time I rarely say something that’s optimistic because I’m normally talking about the next 20 years I’m gonna die people like I’m not I’m not planning on living forever I’ve got an organised vegan activism now but if you ask about the next 300 years or next 1000 years I think some stuff like that will come along and you know I just mentioned along with that one of the changes have seen in my lifetime there’s more and more sneering contempt for factual knowledge there was a time when people were really impressed if you happen to know particular historical dates particular facts if you had things memorized but now because that kind of – can be accessed through the internet yeah there’s less and less respect for that so there will be disadvantages too in terms of a culture of learning, but I can see that spurring on yeah.
41:10 – Morality should be worrying
Socrates: Got to make that sure the point of our discussion about belief and the sense of like I guess the reason I kind of felt let’s say unconvinced it’s because a little bit too vague but the idea like like to base our moral judgments or moral compass on such made concepts as the sense of the observed and the sense of disgust or whatever other senses like it feels more like a as if you feel feels more of judgments not perceive them all right reason to them I don’t know it kind of worries me on a basic level I don’t know why exactly what I think it should be a lot more clearer what I think.
Eisel: I think that I think that morality is worrying I mean I think I think if you’re being honest with yourself about morality and moral judgments I think you should be worried so we already said I was a teenager asking myself if I should murder someone because I knew for a fact this man was a pedophile and a rapist and I knew he’d gotten away with it I knew he’d continue to get away with it because he was a judge he was part of the system and the whole system protected him and I had to I had to reason through cognitively what is the right thing for me to do or for me to not do and hashtag spoilers I decided not to do anything and I really had to think through we know what was the right decision here anyway and I felt more pressure on me I you know I could say more about that that’s scary that’s worrying. And if you get even if you read Shakespeare you know sorry I mean even in Romeo and Juliet Romeo Joe it’s got a lot of teenagers with knives and swords getting into knife fights you know tibalt die isn’t everything you know I mean for most of human history you have teenagers making decisions about war and death and so on and you’re right it’s it’s worrying I think I think the more honest and accurate your moral philosophy is the more worrying it’s going to be and the greater the dynamism of doubt is going to be that we live with doubt and uncertainty and passion and and feeling involved now you know are there philosophers who claim to have constructed a reassuring rational and paper me a reassuring rational edifice of universal reliable answers to these questions yes for example utilitarianism and I think utilitarianism is a great example of why all of that approach is deeply flawed misleading dangerous and wrong and utilitarianism has I think no influence in legislation or world politics directed us this is this is one side of that but you know the you know one of the current schools of utilitarianism they come to the conclusion that the way you want to live your life is to become a high-powered executive banker or a stockbroker that you should try to earn as much money as possible and then donate as much money to as possible to charity they call it earn to give this is there a new model of the ideal this is absurd to me in many ways but they come to this through a cold clinical formulaic style of reasoning they think they’re trading in moral certainties you know but all those systems of moral certainty are a joke to me.
Right I mean okay so look if you just think about a society that’s a little bit detached from you okay so Saudi Arabia despicable social system despicable government despicable culture and religion for being all the way honest and if I’m born wealthy in Saudi Arabia you’re telling me the best thing I can do is get a high paying job maybe as an oil company executive maybe in finance or banking and and give to charity that fits perfectly into a Muslim society this is you know as a cat and salon culture it would be very well regarded you can move up the social system you can be a 100 percent conformance to not question anything your parents did or anything is decided and the Saudi government can keep abducting people off the street and putting them into ghost houses and assassinating dissidents with snipers on rooftops and you have no problem with it because you’re a utilitarian who believes in earned the give, you know, so that’s Saudi Arabia today I’m ok how about the United States when slavery still existed does he tell us no it makes no sense we live in a world with again sense of absurdity I mean what did I just do the subtext of what I’m doing is I’m appealing to your sense of absurdity isn’t it absurd to think you’re making the world a better place by being a conformist and a banker and an oil executive I mean start the oral industry again is immoral and ecologically flawed in its way to and think you’re making the world a better place because you’re gonna earn all this money live in luxury and give and give money to charity.
Now I understand the appeal I understand what some people want to believe that but again I’m pointing in challenging it here I’m actually not appealing to your faith I’m not appealing to you know your belief in some other ideal, I’m actually only appealing to this limited use of reason that’s gonna show a fissure that’s gonna appeal to your sense of absurdity and again it’s even more absurd if we use Nazi Germany or something, so if you’re alive in Nazi Germany or you’re just gonna earn as much money conform with the social political system and give money to charity what are you gonna say when the Holocaust is over well I gave I gave 40 percent of my income to charity maybe I gave 60 percent of my goacci yeah so yeah and and and you know look a my set of ethical principles I know is not universal but it’s only people born in Nazi Germany or born and Saudi Arabia who have the weight of history on their shoulders, the weight of even sorry for me as it can aid the weight of genocide on their shoulders, the moral guilt of being part of an immoral society of if you conform being a conformist in an evil society, I feel that way about Canada too, it’s true in Canada it may be more subtle than being in Nazi Germany or being an insider, but yeah I do I do feel that way.
So, uh yeah Universal rational ethical principles are reassuring and they’re all the more dangerous for that reason I would rather live with that doubt and I even you know preach to others sure you know get upset you know find it yes all right you didn’t say you fended upsetting I’m sorry you found it which word you used me whirring yeah whirring right no but be worried be more I think that’s quite appropriate yeah like
48:10 – Do you need to assume human nature is good in order to ground politics in nihilism?
Socrates: I think you have to assume that human nature is that it’s fundamentally good or there’s some goodness there that that you are depending on, if you ever want to adopt this system.
Eisel: So that’s a great point, I think the exact opposite is true, I think that if you’re Catholic or communists or utilitarian if you believe in an absolute ethical system you-you-you therefore need to believe that everyone is good or most people are good I can flip it around for you what percentage of people are cocaine addicts or heroin addicts in a city like Vancouver or in Toronto now as a percentage it’s not that many what percentage of people are alcoholics in countries where alcohol is available everywhere even even let’s extend video game addicts how many people are addicted to video games video games are available available everywhere so some whether it’s 1% or 5% or 10% of people you know it’s it’s a percentage of people I don’t believe that human nature is universally good I don’t believe any of these things I don’t I don’t believe period my system is not based on belief however it should be empirically obvious to everyone that many people many at least 10% of people reject and shun alcohol cocaine heroin video games right some some people are like that whether it’s 5 percent percent or thirty percent some and for us I count myself in this category what are we gonna do you know no it is not given to everyone to take up the work of government it is not given to everyone to take up the work of research it is not given to everyone to take up the work of charity I my father had nine children nine shall I the eight brothers and sisters I don’t think even one of them could can do what I do not even when they we have a lot of genetic material in common right I don’t think I’m in the majority I don’t think is eclis or politically represent the majority but this is like when I talk about genocide and Cree and ajibway but even if we talk about Chinese or Cambodia or something not everyone can care about political reality there are some people in California and all they will ever care about is getting high and skateboarding using drugs to get high and then skateboarding or riding a bicycle for fun, that’s their whole life, I’m not trying to recruit them into politics research and charity, you know I’m not, you know and look who turns up, a mean, so right now I just happen to have met you baby sorry I mean a little bit of work but this is you know my channel is sitting there what kind of person gets interested in this you know failed the former scholar of Buddhism former you know you know kind of charity were her you know political science majors so my channel is talking about somebody seems some people are gonna get interested in what I have to offer and the challenge I’m making to the unexamined life of getting stoned and riding your skateboard every day I just look right at two more he’s only 21 he could he could decide to spend the rest of his life getting stoned or using drugs and running a skateboard I don’t think you I think if you did you would be miserable someone else would be happy there were tons of people who were happy in Adolf Hitler’s dystopia they didn’t mind they didn’t care they did 9 a lot of them were alcoholics probably and mister alcoholism was pretty high they’re closed they closed the window and drank more whiskey or drank more schnapps get on with your lives right so no this is the thing when you’re not I’m not making claims that are universal about human nature or even human potential I don’t think might my own brothers I don’t think they have the potential I for shit them you know and so we there’s a range of intelligence amongst my brothers and sisters but one of my brother’s is so retarded he’s never said a word in any language he can’t even speak English he can’t speak any language he’s that severely returns so you know I’d like to think I’m at the opposite extreme I’m maybe I’m in the middle of the spectrum maybe we should be optimistic the spectrum goes a lot higher if so you people are not on YouTube the people are the other end of the spectrum come on put me to shame you make better YouTube videos about philosophy politics and veganism.
Yeah but you know no I so there’s nothing Universal about it, but for those who have that potential you know I’ve got to reach out to them and ask you know can’t we do more and a lot of the time so especially when I talk to older people you know that’s what so you let’s say you’re talking to a professor of political science someone who thinks they’ve devoted their life to doing something morally good you know through politics and you say to them why do you wear leather shoes why do you wear the chopped up pieces of a dick typically then they’ve never thought about it you know you know will you talk about ecology or you talk about these things so there are ways the people who already are in some sense committed to trying to make a positive difference in the world, again whether that’s through politics or research or charity or art, I mean very rarely in my life but maybe you talk to someone who’s committed to the arts and making a politician I think that’s you know you know it’s these are people who can be mobilized yeah sure.
54:00 – Is your philosophy based on elitism?
Socrates: So summing up your but your view as I understood it you basically say that the people will bring forth more change in society are like a very small minority of elites kind of like Hannibal and elitism okay what you said is implicating some kind of leaders man and those are the only people who matter and you formulate your kind of arguments and philosophy based on how you can best address them this late in this class of people and convince them
Eisel: So it’s a good challenge in my view but I do I do disagree with the characterization so when I when I say people are our minority that doesn’t that doesn’t make them elite it just means there aren’t that many of them so you could have these characteristics and be born poor you can be black or white you can be of any ethnic group and you can and again even within your own family and believe me there’s nothing genetic about it and so on I don’t know do you have brothers you have one brother right okay so all right so it’s you know you have enough diversity in your family and I’m sure they’re gonna take very different paths in life from you I’m sorry I don’t don’t want to get into this but you know I just say within a given family so you know so for one thing no it’s not an elite for another thing you’re talking about a minority of people that choose themselves nobody else chooses them or appoints them and you’re also talking about a minority that anyone can exit at any time at any time you can go back to you can choose to go use drugs and ride your skateboard you can go to the unexamined life you can get you can get rid of all your moral responsibilities we could go back to eating meat tomorrow and the reasons what we’re not going to include disgust, include the sense of the absurd, include a sense of reason, include you know these kind of negative indicators, again you notice I’m not using the word virtue, it would mean but you know you can construe it you can turn it inside out and express this in terms of positive virtues which is also a valid way to describe it sure but sure but like the number one reason if I tried eat meat tomorrow I’d be disgusted it’s partly because of what the the meat means I would be disgusted also to be put in mercury into the ocean smashing more your containers like sorry these many other examples you know um you know I I in a sense I know what it means or at least I know what it means to me and there’s a there’s a very powerful relationship there that has in almost instinctual forms of disgust and revulsion that comes in so no circumstance your question in saying that it’s a minority of people I don’t I don’t mean that it’s an elite they could be or they could be primarily oppressed and poor people depending on the the country in the culture and you know the the people who are born in Saudi Arabia and look around them and say this is observed this has to change they can be at any social class you know same with Iran and so on so you know this sense of challenging the values and assumptions you were raised with I think it can arise spontaneously kind of almost anywhere with almost any kind of person and if any I would say probably people who are born rich or probably at a disadvantage because they have they have so many rewards for conforming and not questioning you know and in the culture and Emillio the thing right they have so many or worth so I mean you know there are rich people who get involved in politics but they’re involved in politics not to change anything just to keep things the same or just to make more money over that VM you know sorry shut up the George W Bush but you know it means so no I would guess if anything there’s a bit of an inverse relationship to the the privilege of former seventeen
57:45 – How and where do you draw the line on coercion?
Socrates: I guess don’t you think that it’s exactly because of this realization like most people will not be part of this minority that like Universal or absolutist values like the ones that religions offer other ideologies are like on a purely pragmatically yeah useful in society and do play an important role like can you like really just I am the sense for the majority of people in society to to leave them like to the right decisions in their lives like that’s right sure no no no I I believe
Eisel: right right right no I totally good question but you know I’m not a libertarian I don’t believe in so your phrasing was good there he asked do you believe you can leave people to make these these moral decisions in their lives and my answer that is no so a great example circumcision or genital mutilation people paying for a surgeon to use a knife and mutilate the penis of a boy or the the vagina of a girl this is very common in Muslim countries it’s also common in Judaism and in some forms of Christianity this is a worldwide faith-based phenomenon um if you have the attitude you just leave people to make their own decisions to this no I don’t believe that at all I think that some minority of people just the same with cigarette smoking if you just leave people to smoke cigarettes that’s more than 10% of people are gonna keep smoke easier I don’t know it’s gonna vary from but maybe in some countries it’s 50 percent someone is saying yeah but millions of people are gonna keep smoking so no how do you get rid of smoking public education but sure to some extent government enforcement regulation and posters and I think there are all kinds of ways you can guide a society to quit smoking I would prefer not to have the army if it for say that I’d prefer to do it in nonviolent ways but sure ultimately there is a kind of coercion involved.
And when I was a kid in Canada you know that there were actually questions about how would the school treat students who smoked cigarettes because like could they actually be punished or was this in effect like a civil right where the students were allowed to smoke cigarettes and so it didn’t so there are there are difficult.
But also with circumcision I would completely support you know in effect the minority of the population who are not an elite they’re going to be spread all over the place wherever they are who wake up and realize this is barbaric and this is harmful you’re harming in offense you know you’re you’re doing damage to people biologically to wake up and get organized and hold preferably through a democratic process you know pass a law and end this you know in the country of course it’s better to do it through public education it’s better to do it in a participatory way but ultimately no I do believe in coercion.
And you know so for me the perfect example is water pollution you know I don’t believe you have the right to dump anything in the water but not your poo not your sewage not your paint you’re finished painting your house you pour the paint in the what no you know I totally believe in of course public education would help people may not realize throwing paint is in the water is a really serious form of pollution education and so on is definite important but ultimately yeah enforcement sure yeah there’s gonna be a minority of people in government to make that decision or when other people care about it and lobby on it the same way gay rights was a minority movement I think it benefits the majority but it’s totally a minority movement.
Socrates: I think how do you reconcile this deal with your rejection of using violence as a means of bringing forth the socialist or communist ideals and realize them in a society like how do you reject government-sponsored violence or coercion and to objectives and all the situations where you draw the line or is it just that pragmatic like does it just depend on the situation like you’re with government and push and coercion if it serves a perceived public good and how do you define it like this is yeah I know this is kind of a murky situation you pull yourself in if you if you stand if you don’t have any problem with government coercion oh I don’t know if you can call it violence but yeah it is under the threat of violence right it’s you at least say yeah sure yeah you’ll go to jail if you get justified it in in this context like of your own abuse on communism and socialism an ingestion of violence generating political activism for example like why do you say the government can do it but like also individuals or maybe vegan activists or yeah I think right right right right no but I think if they also believe that right they’re doing something good good
Eisel: right right right well no I mean you know my my basic in this sense I’m a mainstream Democrat not in the American sense but a mainstream person who believes in democracy I think it’s fine for a government almost any kind of government to come together and have public consultations and debates and a vote and decide for example that you have to force children to brush their teeth with fluoride you know that this is something we can do collectively now I just put in a footnote how perfectly democratic is that how collective is it do you really just have a dictatorship that symbolically goes around and consults people or is it truly Democrats a very important question but we set that aside now but I finished example I believe in this this Democratic conceit and no I do not believe in grassroots violence or any non-government any public minority anyone special interest refuse accusing models which would be in this case let’s say a group of dentists get together and they decide they’re gonna go around in a group and enforce their idea of dental hygiene that they’re gonna show up and terrorize schools or you know that they’re gonna use again it would be low-level violence whether they’re gonna go around and in a agitprop rebellious terroristic manner, go around trying to force people this start using a you know proper toothpaste with fluoride in it and so on, no I don’t.
So to me these two things are totally different um but I think what you’re really asking is do I believe that the state use of force that government use of force well you could put it two ways one is it always Democratic no of course sometimes Democrats not and then two is it always right whereas the public use of force is always wrong so no and again so both these things I am a nihilist I mean empirically no I don’t assume that there were going to be cases where the government is horribly wrong and
Socrates: But why should it be democratic it’s only a minority of people yeah usually who have this moral conviction who want to propose it as law?
Eisel: Right no that’s a great that’s a very good that’s a very good question but I think I think for me that the answer is a part of the question the obligation on that enlightened minority is precisely to convince the majority in order to convince you know the plurality of whoever is involved in political process so I mean in Canada I mentioned this example recently but back in the 1980s so I was already alive the 1980s there really was a public discourse about whether or not it was acceptable for a homosexual man to be employed as a schoolteacher because at that time there was prejudice and apprehension and fear basically the fear was that any gay man who was a schoolteacher would be trying to have sex with students or would be engaged in something like pet pedophilia or pederasty you know something along those lines and that was a very difficult debate to have where people had to stand up and say no being a homosexual is different from being a pederast or a pedophile and it’s different from you know not having the lack of professionalism to have sex at the office or whatever your job is you know that these issues, they really had to be had to be talked through.
So the the process of you know, if you like Socratic dialogue of building your case of reasoning through and debating those policies, that is massively important and you generally will not get that in a military dictatorship or a monarchist regime, you know I don’t know, you can come up with some examples of military dictatorships that had some kind of public consultation process, but I think implicit in what you’re asking is though, is this really a process of convincing the majority? Or is it just a process of convincing the minority of people who control government, the reality in every country I know in the real world today it’s a process of convincing the minority of people who control government and again a great example be something like seatbelts, you know there was this struggle in the United States and the most countries copied them, should seat belts for safety and cars, should that be mandatory should it be universal should you force car companies to include this feature and it they never convinced 100% of people I don’t think they convinced 51% of people, but they convinced people inside the government in Washington DC in the United States, you know and of course they had scientific facts and yes statistics and so on so yeah that’s the reality in the real world.
But I think I can give you a lot of historical examples that falsified this view, for example in the Middle East, yeah well there was a period were enlightened dictators, yes secular dictators ruled in the Middle East, some up some of them are still ruleing even in around, the shah for you right here or other kings and marks throughout the Middle East and or military dictators but right to know some sort of signal even in Syria like right Saud regime they tried to impose some kind of release Saddam Hussein for his career right like to impose some kind of secular Western values with the right some aspects yeah and not others but just like to do that and some more successful but you can see the backlash yeah right yeah example in Iran in the Iranian Islamic Revolution yeah what happened like you can still see the dispersion I did actually study these examples on University so I do act my thing I’m pretending I actually formally started them through this back at University of Toronto in 1999, no actually it would have been 2000 to 2001, it was just before September 11th but anyway yeah, yeah all right and I think you can obviously see that it didn’t look like the amount of resentment the people felt yeah see that’s right the elite secular threatened governing yes circles it was immense and then and it also caused the resentment of failure of secularism and democracy itself, yeah they got associated with that’s right foreign traitor the collaborator with Western powers, with their with the colonial house and I think this is a major example where this like approach didn’t work at all, like especially with very delicate and sensitive issues that are very deeply connected with religion and more vows and culture right about justice II would like seatbelts right and and
Eisel: oh yes it is like homosexuality though because that’s also very linked to religion yeah okay yeah
Socrates: maybe yeah we worked all the time
Eisel: but oh but yeah but again my I don’t claim so you can I claim that nihilism nihilism is not a future utopia nihilism is the reality beneath the veneer of ideology here and now this is this is the guy I agree you know these are exactly as you say these these are failures but to me this kind of affirms my hypothesis doesn’t doesn’t challenge it so another failure in many ways is democracy in China by the way mr. right the whole of China and the failure tomorrow sue there is another instructive example um but look I can ask you this question so in Iran or we could use many other examples but it would take it run as as an example is it better for the progress of Iran to be achieved through let’s say public education cultural transformation of the masses and then transformation of the government after this transmissions take place or is it better to impose a dictatorship with a different sense of values and then have the violence of that dictatorship impose that change on the people you know now I’m simplifying the situation but only giving you two options because if these two options there’s a whole list of gray areas in between where most of real human history happens and look even within the history of England you know cultural change that happened in England and so on you do get you do get a lot of these questions of how do you impose a cultural trend even linguistic change I mean even achieving literacy or creating a single national language instead of having local regional languages to some extent there’s a carrot and at some extent there’s a stick to some extent there’s democracy and public participation to some extent there’s you know a level of coercion even if the coercion is look if you want to join the army you know if you want to get a government job if you want to qualify for this then you have to have learned this language or done this thing or conform – these values would have their in some way you know these these kinds of impetuses now yes oh sorry I asked this question I assume your answer is not that you would prefer to have you know a brutal dictatorship enforcing change we don’t know if it’s right.
Right and the the problem is timing right I mean the problem is do we have a hundred years right that’s that’s really for veganism also is the question do we have a hundred years to do this grassroots you know from the bottom up and the problem is also commitment to a place now why do I say this right now Canada will accept 100% of refugee applicants basically from all that’s our principle in Canada anyone who is a homosexual in Iran or Saudi Arabia can come to Canada they merely need to say the word refugee and then they can ask for a translator they don’t need to speak English and then they can explain that they were homosexual and they’re oppressed in their native country and they will be granted permanent residency you can’t even need to demonstrate that you actually can I claim you then he is you know the answer you don’t need to that’s correct you do not need to prove anything so that is also a source of tension it’s it’s rare that people make fake claims it will be gay but there are other claims to being a refugee you can many people do fake and there’s there’s evidence of this so no that’s this is also question now look I mentioned this as an extreme example other people like okay right now democracy in Cambodia so in case you don’t know that Cambodia has an ocean border but it’s mostly land borders if you live in Cambodia and you want democracy are you gonna risk your life and struggle for democracy or are you gonna walk to Thailand you can literally walk the Thailand and go live there and have a better life there you know and he’s Sri Lau so used to live in Laos at some points in time we’ve had more allow people living outside of Laos than inside of law when life is bad in Laos they only even go to Thailand you can just walk the Thailand you know um you cross the border and get work there in a factory or on a farm economically you lead a better life so again this is not being a refugee this is just being a migrant migrant worker or something yeah so and now that is a problem that existed to a very very limited extent 300 years ago you know to some extent people could migrate and leave and so on and now it’s it’s a it’s a it’s a huge factor and then beneath that you can stay in the same country but just check out mentally right you can keep living in Malaysia but everyday watch movies from Japan read books from Japan watch pornography from Japan maybe get an internet girlfriend since you’re fan talk to people on the internet and Japanese you know you can stay where you’re living and just live a fantasy life of video games and maybe drugs and alcohol help to you know you can just disengage from reality you know obviously that always existed to some extent historically but yeah there were a lot of things that can that can pull you learn this so I mean commitment to a place that that’s an irrational aspect of of political science that’s normally taken for granted and we now have to think much more much more nihilistic aliy about we have to question that you know who really has an attachment I don’t even mean a country to a town to a city where you know when the local economy collapses they say no I’m gonna stay here and work hard and build a better future for this town you know that that kind of commitment when the government is corrupt they say okay I’m gonna stay here and fight corruption even if it takes years of my life and cause me a lot of money and makes me go because you know even within Canada it’s a huge issue of you know local government is corrupt who cares you know if you can just move somewhere else if you can just ignore it and go somewhere else so these other things and yeah I think you you probably feel that me of the Diaspora from almost every right now Syria the huge numbers people are leaving Syria they’re not going to stay in fight for democracy in Syria this has been happening for so many years as well so this is a phenomena whether you’re they’re refugees or migrants not all of them have formal refugee status end of quote of course it’s appealing whether they escaped from Syria to Canada or just from Syria to Jordan or Lebanon you know they may go a short distance but this this is a huge vector now yeah yeah
Socrates: how much done you have uh nobody go I can go on yeah okay next question yeah I am I am very exhausted very jet-lagged but I feel this is all I can do now I’m not I’m not gonna start studying Chinese this condition so I’d rather talk with politics great for my girlfriend Melissa this is a live YouTube video so I guess disconnect it’s basically the same time but how much democracy and let’s say elitist and oligarchy or government do you like to see in a specific government because you said that democracy is fundamentally unequal you shouldn’t be here you want to see the democracy that’s or democracy is a representative government of the poor because they are the majority but at the same time but that’s actually not well at the same time as we mentioned earlier like we said that like more positive, more change, like at the end there has to be someone inforced, this government elite from above, how do you reconcile those views I guess? It’s kind of hard to see.
Eisel: Okay, good, so good question, but for me it is an easy question to answer, this doesn’t you know this isn’t to me a kind of unexpected audience question all I want government to be for the poor not because the poor of the majority in Canada I don’t think the poor are the majority of people in kenner maybe it’s 30 percent it’s how we define it but it’s way less than 50 so in Canada depending 10% not that Canada a very rich country but you just came from Luxembourg me oh you came through Luxemburg you know sir you wouldn’t let simmer for a few hours but uh as you know but some people if there are almost nobody in Luxembourg is poor look if they have a very tiny number of people who are poor it’s one of the it’s one of the wealthiest countries were but also one of the least four so they have a very small number for the poor or a small minority there um so it’s not now of course I mean it’s a question what percentage of people are poor in China but Laos or Cambodia I’ve lived in countries were definitely the majority or poor so sometimes the poor or a majority and sometimes they’re a minority I do not it’s not it is not because the poor are the majority that I want government by the poor and for the poor it’s because the poor are the people who need government health who need government infrastructure.
So I mean even in the example of socio of a train system the train system it doesn’t really matter if it works well for the rich now if it does that’s nice like it’s nice if there’s a first-class carriage where rich people can drink champagne and it means you could have a swimming pool on the train so rich people can pay extra man pay a hundred dollars to go swimming you have a son I don’t care that doesn’t really matter for society but it’s tremendously important that you have seats on the train that are so cheap or subsidized that an unemployed poor person looking for a job can take the train from city to city and go and do job applications or go and get government benefits or go to the hospital right now again like hospitals sorry I could go on with the many examples if hospitals don’t work for the rich they have alternatives they have options they have ways to cope because they have money yeah the poor need those government services now I can say this to some extent about education, etc. So there it is a little bit different it’s not really the same for education as it is for a trained service but broadly speaking you know you get my point now um I have never known in the history of the world a society where the rich were so marginalized and voiceless that we really had to worry above them not being that the government ignored them you know the government just doesn’t care about the millionaire’s who own factories you know there’s nothing in government but I mean it’s theoretically possible it’s pretty close to theoretically impossible so you know that this is the issue of the government emphasis in the poor but as I’ve already said the poor may be a minority they may be a small minority in a very successful democracy you know the other type of minority you’re talking about ultimately are the people who care so you know if you have an open public consultation if you have an open democratic process with a series of meetings to discuss sewage treatment how is the government going to build a new sewage treatment?
We just had this in Victoria the city I live in Canada and way back in the year 2000 I was involved in those that democratic process in Toronto, when the City of Toronto was planning a new it was called the wastewater management plan wastewater sounds nicer than poo, poo management plan right? Who comes to the meeting? I do. I’m the kind of person to come back here about ecology I care about politics I care about the snakes but if you don’t force people to go against their will you know that is gonna be a minority of people now I think actually there are questions of maybe not forcing people but incentivizing people creating a culture and even an economy where there are enough positive incentives that I mean you know maybe you have to have a minimum we say look if we don’t have ten percent of people participating in this we’re not gonna make the decision at all look we have to have a certain percentage of the public really involved in this process otherwise we’re not going to commit ten billion dollars to this because the costs of these decisions can be huge you know maybe there is in ancient Athens they would pay a salary to people they would pay three Oh balls a day for you to come to an important public meeting and holiday if it was a less important minute so you would get paid a little bit of money to come and spend all day now there are other things involved there is a role of intelligence an education involved but these people going to choose themselves i’ve sat down and gone through technical documents about air pollution water pollution and stuff and when I was in Cambodia and Laos they were different in Laos I got deeply involved in government policy on rubber farming on the different types of agriculture and farming the governor’s maybe I’m not an expert in in agricultural engineering and you’re not either trust me you’re smart enough to sit down and read that stuff even part of it is when you see something you don’t understand going and finding a book going and looking it up figuring out what’s going on here being able to scrutinize the statistics so you don’t you don’t need to be an expert in agriculture or sewage treatment or anything but you need to be someone with a kind of public spirit and sense of responsibility and curiosity and Verve and tenacity and not everybody can care about every issue right so in saying a minority of people are gonna care that ultimately I don’t minority people are going to be involved in the decision I don’t mean the rich or the poor, I mean that when you have real democracy not everyone is good is going to be committed on every issue.
Now is that a problem? Yes gay rights as an example, two types of people in Canada were highly motivated about gay rights, people who were gay themselves and the Catholic Church, and they were on opposite ends. So at that time I mean I don’t remember his long being a major player in Canada we have a lot of Catholics in Canada we didn’t at that time of very many Muslims but I’m sure also you know conservative Muslims had a position on it and so on so you know one of the problems is when you when you when you involve too small a percentage of the public you’re gonna get the polarization of special interests and not a representation of the broader society so yeah there are there are factors to be managed get a design answer questions see for me you asked a good question but I don’t feel it’s contradictory or difficult yeah yeah
Socrates: I just wanted to know like the underlying unifying philosophy sometimes right I just right right right resin pieces right and just want to connect them yeah, but I feel like it it’s kind of a cynical view of human nature and you know life itself.
Eisel: Yeah but look what the best thing in life is when those minorities can choose themselves when people can slip though so you know um even something like museums and art you cannot leave questions about art in the hands of people who happen to be born rich which in most societies what it is someone is born rich their great-grandfather bought many paintings maybe they have paintings like here in Europe there are people their great-grandfather bought paintings and put them in a castle and now here they are today and they don’t care about art whenever in there on this this powerful position in the art world they have money they have an old collection of paintings and they’re gonna be influential that way how how do people how does the public how it is a democracy make questions about art the answer questions of a heart that that really affects the public and that involve millions and millions of dollars of taxpayers money you know men disgusts with tremendous long-term consequences you know that’s a situation where it’s so fundamentally elitist in its bias even aristocratic in its bias that is very hard to create a meaningful Democratic you know process that will involve people and we’re I mean definitely the vast majority of the poor they don’t care they don’t think it’s their issue you know they’re not going to be motivated even in the same way they may be motivated on gay rights or something yeah so these are challenges yeah these are so you say a service party you saying it’s a it’s a cynical view of human nature you know again all the ancient Greeks they they start from this assumption that when people get involved in in politics they are they are pursuing their self-interest you know their interest as a person or as a class but I mean you know you’re in sample of this so you know you you you used to think about veganism in terms of your health which is one kind of self-interest and then it broadened you started thinking about in terms of ecology and in terms of politics, it’s all self-interest but you you’ve become more and more enlightened in your self-interest yeah and your self-interest is aggrandizing and involves other people in the whole world your whole country, you know takes on these takes on these other dimensions, yeah so I mean self-interest is not necessarily narrow and is not necessarily destructive or focused on your own entertainment.
Socrates: I sense John Adams behind…
Eisel: Wow ok, I mean, do you have more on that or that varied over the question list you…
Socrates: hmm I think I exhausted the topics I wanted to ask
88:20 – What activist role do you see yourself playing over the next 5 years?
Eisel: okay so let me ask let me ask you a question that you’re at a turning four in your life you’re now 21 so five years from now you’re gonna be 26 it’s one of the questions I like to ask people what do you think you are gonna do not what you can’t do you will do what do you think is gonna happen for you and the future of the vegan movement.
Socrates: like um I still don’t know what what I can do like the context of a vegan movement because I’m involved in like science and research right now but I’m pursuing a career in scientific researcher and for that also in Germany yeah so I’m not sure if I if I’m going to be politically active right as you are know I’m seeking it like I’m searching for the options and I think we both know there is a way to be a kind of science scientist activist or an acne active within science yeah yeah but I’ve spent so much time like just concentrating on the science yeah and I I didn’t treat and explore like that is enough this point really like know what what the options are right for me as a political as an inspiring political activist until all right and the other option and the other issue is that I’m not sure if I want to be merely a an activist in the right like in the vegan scene like sure I was my political concerns were always as a broader and more related to human affairs don’t like veganism remembers but like the vegan aspect got more and more important in the last couple of years I guess yeah so I’m still sorting out like I don’t have a coherent view of my like my future or what I want to do
Eisel: veganism is certainly unique in that it is possible for you to you know directly apply the sciences to or you know but look I mentioned this example all the time educating the public about leather you know that the biochemistry of leather of how its produced of the pollution and rivers the negative effects on the employees the leather workers the people who make the leather in theory the negative health effects even on the person who wears the leather keeps it in their home leather gives off chromium hexane into the air and then you breathe it you know this is straight biochemistry you know and ie obviously I do not have the expertise to talk about that assuming that that’s an example somewhere within your of expertise you could do it and so I think that’s something maybe exciting for someone of the sciences on the other hand you know obviously I understand what you’re saying there’s this fear of you know real politics you know so we say war politics electoral politics which you know seems to have so little you know so little common ground with with veganism yes look and it’s also some kind of a fear of commitment to a to this if we can very narrow and specifically defined kind of activism yes because it takes time and it’s risky and if you commit yourself for a number of years it’s it’s putting or it’s just like yes something else and then switch and especially like know about your experience yes and they really made me think twice and be a lot more careful when deciding for my bright future decisions about career and pathway ya know I want to play in politics and decision ism or other issues
Eisel: no I mean I think that the responsibility is you adopt become your identity so I mean you know it’s not having a kid that makes you a father it’s it’s worrying about your kid yeah you know it’s the responsibility you adopt and you you don’t you know you you become a father it becomes part of your character you become a parent and in the same way you take on a responsibility for veganism or let’s say you’ve taken responsibility for Syrian refugees you start a charity here doing some work with resettling and helping Syrian refugees or any possible political commitment like that and yeah it does become part of who you are or part of who you are perceived to be at least and in a very a very dynamic way and I think it you know what kind of contaminates everything else you’ve got you’ve got going on your wife so but we’re just one answer what one more thing there on that exact issue commitment I never would have become a vegan activist the only if my other aspirations had been more successful right so just a couple years ago I was trying to be an activist for her curry in a jib way for indigenous peoples of Canada and as languages so really language education and cultural and political change attached to indigenous peoples of Canada Korean ship way or continent languages that’s what I wanted to do politically with the rest of my life I wanted to be a vegan guy a guy who happened to be vegan I want to be vegan but involved in politics of political reform education reform the future of the future of Canada – genocide and non genocide future Canada thesis so that’s that’s what I wanted to do and when that failed you know veganism became my primary political in preparation and for those who don’t know it’s taking over my life in a very real way now because now I’m gonna actually get a degree in cuisine as a baker and get involved with with vegan food as a platform for activism it’s because of matters going oh yeah and that does that contaminates everything else I do that becomes my identity yeah you become a father but even more or you become a baker that’s who you are the other people that said they they perceive you I can definitely relate to that because like my Danish would happen factor that that caused me to get into my chemistry and your studying some like science at university and it’s the respect so much like just individually my own initiative studying and researching like biology evolution of molecular biology biochemistry in the context of three like the creation/evolution debate oh really like it was going on in Jordan back and they I don’t know how exactly what what when atheist friend who like challenged my views that Muslim creationist oh yeah maybe when I was fifteen or sixteen ah yeah it kind of got me like spontaneously in this field and I I got drawn in and it’s and fascinated by it but like your biology in genetics in and so forth in and just like and after four or five years I found myself at the level of a graduate student and yeah maybe not like a postgraduate but kind of a graduate student like who who’s been studying here for like three or four years well yeah and I just felt that I had to like like just go on with it like yeah like if if I didn’t like do it like I just felt some kind of responsibility because I was like aware of it I I could do it I was interested and because the dismal state of science education in Jordan right yeah right I felt some kind of responsibility maybe not a grandiose like sense of right but kind of just for my surroundings like okay so education as activism or some yeah I’m still thinking like about like opening a maybe kind of a scientific research institute or a scientific research education maybe like there to like improve the state of education and and also the the the perceptional of the scientific method and and the scientific way of thinking like it’s it’s pretty good I don’t think you can imagine maybe you can like you’ll have a lot experience like how poorly the level of education there is especially when it comes to the sciences and yes the humanities even worse like forget about that but I’m just talking about like basically like the Natural Science maybe the engineering and then medicine has has a lot more for it because there’s a lot of money right and that but natural science and humanities like it’s letting it sit there and the level of education there is pretty poor but I think I think you’d agree also there’s a change in the sense of social responsibility and political attitude when you shift from regarding human beings as angels missing wings to being biological creatures or when you shift from regarding the soul as something primary and the body is secondary to regarding people as just biologically real accidents of evolution you know I said oh yeah when you stop when you switch from an essentialist view or a theistic view or you know magical view of what humans are and why they’re on earth and and what are their their functions you know they’re realizing how how haphazard so I give you an example which is you know related to nutrition you know dogs don’t need vitamin C but we do you know what I mean actually the majority of land mammals don’t need vitamin C what happens we do you know what I mean there’s this different you know who ended up in terms the evolutionary change you know randomly many other mammals including all the quadrupeds can tolerate including herbivore herbivores quadrupeds like deer can tolerate meat much better than we do and can even to tolerate cannibalism can occasion cannibalism better than we do we have happened to have a set of biological characteristics nobody planned it we tolerate meat really poorly weak I’ll tolerate cannibalism very very poorly you know the health consequences for human cannibalism are too bad but it’s not you know it’s not a moral judgment on the part of a creator you know so I just say you know that’s um I know I think that’s a subtle and pervasive shift I think of some level like we really ever choose our roles like we play you know life and paths we take like okay you have a have some choices but they’re really limited and the limits I’ll just put on you like what you can choose from is very limited at the end of the day and you can’t control that you maybe can control between a couple of choices or three or four and you don’t even know where that will lead you like in the end yeah I think as you get older I think that okay I think what you’ve just said you know I think people that’s really tragically true at age 13 you know I get age 13 what are your choices and to some extent my choices were presented to me by things like Batman it is cultural garbage that’s you know mainstream corporate stuff you know these are your ideas about the outside world are very limited but as you get older even if you say age 13 versus age 23 you know the number of colors on your palette that you’re painting with you have more and more colors you can use you have more and more objective experiences in the real world and examples you can draw from and you start to have more and more of ability to it to generate your own cultural values sweet generous to generate your own ideas be they political or or scientific or economic or what-have-you but sure back at age 13 I can remember saying I’ll give you two examples okay but I remember saying to people on the schoolyard you know it’s it’s not like this everywhere you know in Singapore things are really different you know I knew a little bit about political reality in Singapore you know it may not seem joyed Singapore is so shockingly different a society it is the Singapore was uh was an example for me that way of a different society this isn’t human nature this isn’t universal we can question a man earlier oh saying I think there are kids growing up in Malaysia growing up in Indonesia and a Muslim culture but they watch cartoons from Japan and they see a different society and I get it doesn’t have to be this way so at an early age yeah I think you probably are mostly working from you know examples of real world real world examples I heard an interview with an Inuit man so the Inuit live in the furthest north part of Canada some people still refer to them as Eskimo but Inuit is the proper term so they live in the ice and snow and he talked about how amazingly bleak his life was until he happened to have a job where his coworker was a black American man an african-american man from somewhere far to the south I forget where he was from maybe it was from Florida maybe is from Chicago but he was from a totally different climate and you know one things that guy explained to his coworker on the job when they were talking about life and politics but he really explained them you know life is not like this everywhere and if if your whole life all you have known is the frozen snow and peculiar political situation in Arctic Canada as you know an Inuit person who at that time had a very strange you know political and religious position in Canada you know the government trying to force you to become Christian and so on the policies of that that time I think it’s true when you’re younger you know what which is true but as you get older I think that the the creative role you play in the creation of values increases and the destructive role you can play in demolishing or disassembling what you’ve passively received from society from your parents from religion I think that also increases now
Socrates: But in my experience maybe that’s not necessarily like a blessing always cause yeah like when I was in Jordan I I was but a lot more motivated than now because I’d like I felt the direct direct influence and and role I had to play right in society through studying this yeah thank biochemistry for example and and I could see the basement Misha III had had to film head responsibility to to fill there and here it’s kind of very indirect and like I can’t see like the direct purpose of of my original initial decision anymore and and that what that’s what’s called my initial life loss of motivation and a I don’t know sense of attachment to what I do here like in the past year resin since I came to Germany yeah look like I just told myself I had to move on because I already put like four or five years in the street this and I yeah it’s it’s kind of a hard question did you just move on like go on because you already invested so much time and it’s kind of irresponsible to throw the whale does it really here like married to have a direct connection like to the to the real world to the reality on the ground what you want to do with what you aspire to I don’t know it’s it’s hard it’s a hard decision to make sometimes but I’m just assuring myself but in the future like when I get back I’m not gonna like much but you’re gonna see the fruits of my labor and what is it.
Eisel: You’re saying this about biochemistry but you’re not saying it about veganism or cilantro I’m just saying you know because this would be true for any commitment yeah you know what the realization that your role and your responsibility it is simply whatever you make it I mean it’s it’s simultaneously liberating and terrifying that’s right you have no duty except the duty you take upon yourself so your duty could be anything but it’s going to be something and look um you know I said recently in one of the videos in passing I said look I don’t expect Wayne Siong to speak Chinese he said chinese-american guy just because his ancestry is Chinese I don’t want to learn Hebrew you know some of my answer our Jewish but I don’t doesn’t mean I want to learn Hebrew I didn’t inherit a responsibility to study Cambodia and the Cambodian language my responsibility my sense of duty and purpose was purely elective you know it’s something I took upon myself you know but out of that came a tremendous sense of motivation duty in and purposes yeah you know and of course it ended tragically it was heartbreaking for me you know I didn’t inherit any sense of duty and purpose with Korea or Japan or veganism there it you know you create it, so again this is my sense of it being a blank canvas or a blank chalkboard this is this is somewhere you are in the position of projecting these things you don’t receive duty from your parents or from the gods or to have you let’s say that is simultaneously liberating liberating and empowering but also terrifying and it opens the door to you realize when you look at say the the guy in California someone in California who just uses drugs and rides a skateboard all day you realize that could be me you know there isn’t an essential difference between us there’s a there’s a merely extrinsic difference and an elective difference you know there’s merely you know there’s this the you know it’s a Super Bowl obstacle it’s not an insuperable obstacle that that divides us you know yeah
Socrates: How would you form your life like this view would you say that people should do what they can do best or like in their lives like according to their life skills and abilities or do you think people just could just do what what seems to be like the response or the in that moment, like even if they’re not like the best person to do that?
Eisel: Well yeah I think look I think that’s that’s like many people struggle with what if you feel like your personal way to make the world a better place is architecture okay and then you commit to it you try to do it let’s say you’re terrible at math you’re terrible at drawing you really are bad at the geometry involved in architecture or let’s say you just lack the attention to D like there’s certain kinds of mental qualities you need as an architect or something and you’re just terrible at architecture you know how would you know at the start of the process that this isn’t your talent this isn’t your ability yeah you know what I mean so no you asked an interesting question but I think you already know that nobody knows the answer um so I mean Cambodia is a good example how would I know if I can learn the Cambodian language and I can try but maybe it’s actually impossible believe it for some it’s a very hard language to learn for some people it would be impossible or how would I know if Cambodian culture would even accept me and I just mean in a limited sense you know that I wouldn’t be totally rejected and hated there as a foreign or in an outsider, some guys are, I could give you some examples of why that is, Cambodian cultures is very tolerant of homosexuals, but it’s very clearly oh yes yeah but it’s very intolerant of a man with long hair that’s totally unacceptable though so you if you’re whether you’re straight or gay it doesn’t matter
Socrates: Does that stem from their Buddhist culture?
Eisel: Yes, but different cultures take Buddhism and the inspiration puts them in different directions so you know the the Cambodian attitude towards homosexuality is totally different from the Japanese attitude or the attitude in Sri Lanka it’s even very different from Thailand and Laos so yeah Buddhism is a huge factor in all these but then you have what the culture did with Buddhism is is very different from a person of it so I just mentioned you know what is it possible for me to do the kind of research I want to do in Cambodia the kind of humanitarian work I want to do in Cambodia those questions I can’t know that when I’m when I’m starting to try and it gave me so V but we you’re already example of sewage of sewers and sewage treatment so on maybe I feel this is the way I can make a pause the difference and then I find out that it isn’t so that’s a process of trying that leads to you learning about the society you live in and the political system and learning about yourself so I know it’s too say a process of self-discovery is the most abused concept in the human language many of these YouTube channels are gonna tell you to good on process of self-discovery by using drugs or drinking alcohol or LSD or or go or have sex with 30 people or some crap like this okay I’m sucking under as long as it’s under 300 people okay you know what this actually do think there’s a role for self-discovery there but I don’t know I don’t know the numbers I know the quantity and let’s at some point at some point it’s not self discovery anymore people what’s well you when you get to a hundred we’ll talk I don’t know I want to put a number right now but you know but in a very meaningful sense I think it’s a bit of a sickness in our culture that nobody thinks doing research doing charity doing humanitarian work and doing direct political activism like going to City Hall and lobbying on sewage system that that’s a process of self-discovery but it is you know now again for somebody it might be architecture it might be web salves and of course language and cross-cultural work now so look I don’t yeah I think I may be said this once on the channel before um I do like South Korean culture of course there are things I dislike about but broadly speaking um in a totally different way I do like a lotion culture the culture of Laos I can say things every they’re totally adulterous I’ve got so I really dislike Cambodian culture I didn’t know that right like to see my point here is I don’t like all cultures that’s not possible you know if you like the culture and Germany you’re probably not gonna like the culture in England I mean this the real differences here you know if you like one you you can’t possibly like them all or like them all equally some things are gonna bother you more but that in itself being engaged in research in humanitary I’m working this stuff you may think it’s shallow but it’s really not it was really a pretty profound confrontation with Who I am when I realized what it was about Cambodian culture I couldn’t that I hate it and it differences even though I just said Laos is a positive example so I’ll give you a specific example a culture is the cowardice it’s a very it’s a very cowardly culture um people will people will be your friend but they won’t back you up they won’t take wrists they won’t take risks very conformist very gormless very conflict avoiding um people don’t have a sense of pride and backbone and backing you up or doing the right things it’s the right thing to do even if you’re risking you know and by the way I’ve been told I really don’t know I should have told the maccready’s or actually the opposite that people from the Maghreb know if they’re your friend they’re gonna come to court and testify that you’re innocent because they were there and they saw you and they know you’re innocent and they they feel very modest this is what I was told in France that common okay now I think I think good but there’s an issue of you know if even if it’s a risk to me you know I’m gonna stand up and do the right thing because in your eye and I’m gonna show my courage because you’re my friend I’m gonna do this and Lao culture is the officer I you know I’ve never even thought about that like you know I never thought about what this courage mean to me and in what way am i different from Canadian culture and what why am i different from Lotion culture and British culture and you know that experience yeah it’s real research it’s political it’s humanitarian but yeah there’s also a kind of self-discovery there that I you know it never would have come up if I’d stayed at home reading books you can learn a lot from books but yeah yeah and so on for for Cambodia and Korean a jib boy I still want yeah yeah so apart so directly at your question the the real answer has to do with trial and error and failure and fail try horror be sincere get your heart broken try again and you know maybe some people who are the most disadvantaged you know sometimes you meet someone you meet a young man and at age 18 he started doing computer programming and he was successful immediately and made a lot of my so for my generation I met a bunch gossip that they happen to make a lot of money when they were still 18 19 years old because they did computer programming in the 1990s when it was easy to make money fast there and then they never kind of asked these questions they never had this kind of self-discovery challenging and being challenged so that that can be that can be an issue too.
Socrates: Do you think there’s no escaping like humbling and failure and this kind of discovery
Eisel: Well just I think I think there is escaping it but maybe it’s even more tragic when you escape it, maybe it’s even worse.
Socrates: When you don’t have that you know yeah oh the like the actual barrier that I always hit but when I think about this is like if I’m if I want to be a scientist and if I study scientific field I want to be the best scientist possible yes Yeah right and that means like dedication right getting myself to this work 100% but at the same time sometimes I feel there’s some kind of a possibility to be politically active and then for example now Remini and to do that you have we have to like spend a lot of time but to learn about the culture of the history of politics and like it’s impossible to be like a the best scientist and the best play political activist all political figure yeah like when at what point do you decide okay I’m gonna yeah I’m gonna ditch like for example being a scientist to write to dedicate myself to be a political activist at what point do you say okay it doesn’t make any sense anymore for me to go on like this I’m gonna choose a whole nother path but when when do you reach this point like because yeah you can always kind of change and prove and yeah yeah you can use them okay it’s gonna be better next year next five years maybe if if I just put my hard work on and continue and like don’t that could be responsible and hold on to my right sponsibility as a scientist for example or as a student I think so I think the honest answer that question is you’ll make that decision on the basis of outcomes when it is you know so if you are in a position we real political power we can make a real difference or you can impact the lives of maybe just hundreds of people you know you’re friends with the mayor I mean it’s gonna be something as as minor as that yeah there’s a position in local city government that so maybe it’s only have influence if you move a few thousand I think that’s exactly when the temptation comes great to say no I have to devote myself to politics yeah and you know the opposite is when you you really feel your voice can’t make any difference that you give up politics so you say well I can’t like I’m not even gonna change things four or five people are tentative and we already get a point like this video right now is gonna be watched by more people and have a meaningful influence on more people then if I wrote an academic paper and presented it at a conference and again still to this day many of my friends and people I talk to you have PhDs and go to conferences now this is not so there are a lot of things in between you know there’s actually having political power working for the mayor or working for the provincial government or something like this and there’s being totally voiceless and feeling totally hopeless and most of us most of the time or somewhere in between you know well I have this YouTube channel I can organize a banquet with 50 people promoting vegan businesses or something you know there’s some little thing you can do I can I could make a t-shirt for must be feeding at something you know I’ve written a story book by the way sorry I just was talking to an illustrator for the first time someone really offered to illustrate the story book for free as a form of activism and I was laughing and saying to him well you know you’re the first guy to say you wanted to do it for free yeah everyone else we were talking about how much money they were gonna make it of this I don’t know if they’ll work out but that’s still a project I’ve started doing and still want to do you know publisher so yeah I think I think that’s the reality is it’s the magnitude of the outcomes that are gonna guide you and again you can see I’m to me this is a nihilistic kind of thing and it’s you know that I think that’s ultimately what’s it’s gonna go ahead yeah and heal it so in the flipside is what would tempt you to give up politics on the other side so there’s the feeling you can’t make a difference but then the other side what if you’re in a position in your business where you say look if I quit politics and put all my energy into business I can make so much money in the next five years or maybe I can do do something artistically or you know creatively or something you know maybe there’s something you can accomplish by devoting yourself sorry just to science or just art or just to something apolitical where the outcomes are of such magnitude that you really feel it’s worth doing I could imagine that too and what what if I was in a position where I owned a piece of land and I could take the time and build a house on it maybe that only takes one year or something so it’s not that big a deal but that would be in my own private self-interest it’s not political okay maybe I should take all my time and energy and build this house you know I can imagine that that kind of temptation and even you know I volunteered to join the army Canada to go fight against Isis um this is nothing to do with veganism I mean is it political or apolitical you know it’s kind of both you know as a very dubious you know very dubious proposition no illusions that this is this is not charity you know join the army you know it’s not charity it’s not research it’s not political activism but for a few years yeah I guess I’m sorry another example of becoming a police officer if that takes all your time and energy to become a police officer but you feel you could have a positive outcome so yeah you’re I think we’re we’re tempted by the outcomes okay so I am gonna rudely cut off cuz it yes and Somerset yeah yeah
119:25 – What did you see in Buddhism?
Socrates: Like something popped didn’t work again here it was it’s about what you saw in Buddhism when you when you decided to yes yeah and it’s also relates to another point like I want to ask you what is the difference what was difference between Buddhism and other religions especially as long Chris champion and him and here and Judaism that really made you like interested in and and willing to to be able to stay at that facing of life life like there right do they have a better like history when it comes to conversion to the violence to other like aspects alright organized religion that we see?
Eisel: Sure the short answer is yes all that is true about Buddhism it does have those advantages also but I mean the the core of Buddhist philosophy and religion is dukkha a Nietzsche an admin so point one is life is suffering is the common English translation I prefer to say to live is to suffer okay so as an article of faith or it’s something a religion is sitting down it’s a dictum this is very fundamentally different from honor and obey or the the ten commandments of Moses or the other basis of Judaism let me finish the list so point one to live is to suffer oh this is my own rewording the original penalty actually just says all this is suffering and all this refers to existence basically right point to all is impermanent you know all things are composed all things are composite all things are constantly decomposing the universe is impermanent everything is impermanent right and there is a little bit of an undercurrent there of everything is meaningless that’s not the primary meaning it’s often glossed as everything is empty but the writ is just all is impermanent yeah and then 0.3 there is no soul so you know your question was how is put ISM fundamentally different from all the religions this already gives you a very powerful sense yes Buddhism really is different from all other religions and it’s not just different from Christianity Judaism Islam it’s very different from the Confucian religion in China it’s very different from Taoism this is a big profound it’s very different from Hinduism within India in terms of the the philosophy this is this is fundamentally something very different yeah do you want us more about that I mean I can answer
Socrates: okay yeah like like well what is what is the motivating factor the initial vector that that got you interested in Buddhism and got you to ditch the other like right that’s you were pursuing at the time with what was available really so what attracted to you uh well a lot of the motivation was negative a lot of it was discussed with European civilization Canadian civilization dissatisfaction with the culture was born into so that that’s really the the bedrock was a negative motivation of wanting to reject you know the culture I was born into in Canada which if you guys watch the channel you know there are different aspects of that but including genocide including the history of the British Empire genocide and slavery including all the lies that filled my culture was was built on um [Music] you know lies from the left wing lies from the right wing lies lies of the British Empire and I think that’s something that’s part of my personality perspective my Muslim viewers because over these I used to have some more exporters on patreon well I think that’s something they can they can relate to Muslims and Hanks Muslims of really feeling this sense of a burden there and then you know Buddhism presented to me a religion that in some ways resembles nihilism or is compatible with nothing but some of you might say but that also had the tantalizing possibility of humanitarian work making a positive difference through charity which I always wanted being a part of a community and an ethically defined community which I always wanted is still here in Venus I want I’m looking for and aesthetically I’m not saying ethically aesthetically this self-disciplined sober militaristic macho quality which I always had in me and was never satisfied by the the culture I was a part of you know I grew up around a bunch of wimps you know you know everybody was too soft for me and nobody was was taking their own responsibilities seriously you know grew up around a lot of people who played video games and did drugs and you know lived and said this is still true with the Western world and their live lives I felt or meaningless so you know know how do I react to that one I did read you know Socrates Socrates as exists in Plato and Xenophon and you know these other officers I did read those kinds of Western philosophers today the religion of Socrates is dead today stoicism and cynicism from ancient Athens are dead nobody is preaching those virtues nobody’s practicing those words that wasn’t a practical reality for me right I’m not gonna become a an ancient Athenian philosopher but many of those same qualities including the the machismo frankly you know is is there you know you look at various examples of that in in Athens um Buddhism is an ancient philosophy from about the same period of time 2,500 years ago with those to me what I call Bronze Age values and it’s still here now you can join you can sign up and you can get involved with poverty and post-war disaster in Cambodia and Laos I was even interested in South Korea that way South Korea is more affluent but it’s also a post-war disaster they also have this kind of this Indian history so again the humanitarian work the political reality the economic reality and I mean again so I’m not here misrepresenting Buddhist philosophy I’m just answering the question of what aspects of Buddhist philosophy appealed to me dilka and Nietzsche and man sunita in in poly suniye emptiness and then I mean growing out of that philosophy you know the social aspects of yeah yeah yeah that’s so that’s that’s that presents itself as a complete package that’s that’s very appealing pop yeah why I ask this question is because like during my limited researching and reading into history especially in Islam like I thought that okay like all religions are the same like they’re basically yeah just different different like exterior maybe exterior coming up basically they’re the same they’re the same dynamics playing here and there and I really wanted to know if there’s something like trinsic ly different with Buddhism and and the culture like a nice like historically doesn’t way but after you in this conversation because we did talk about this yesterday also a very different context but would you after these to date would you agree that yes there’s something fundamentally you know different about what is them it’s not the same as Islam you know what you haven’t get a very fundamental way no is this reasonable to say no I don’t think if it’s enough like just based on our discussion yesterday I still haven’t researched sure sure sure yeah I’m interested in this in this public because I was really searching for something that is different like yes like something to tell me okay like there is another way like right especially the history like relate itself differently especially with religion and and its influence on people’s and societies and installation with power and the political systems right but I mean you know um [Music] historically Buddhism did have slavery to give an example I’m gonna say it’s not I’m not saying everything is good slavery is a Brazil he’s long also it keeps it up no God I’ll Circle it Devon flavor Christianity does the whole in Syria slavery oh um you know they do have things in common and including the involvement of their religion in slavery in the slave trader in various ways and benefiting from from slavery be part of a slave society so my point here is not that Buddhism is is morally pure but you’re asking is it different and I would emphasize absolutely fundamentally yes now what is the future of Saudi Arabia this is similar to a question he asked me after this is not the same question with someone if you were to ask would Saudi Arabia be fundamentally better if in the future 60% of its population became Buddhists I answer yes and I even attach this yes even if they became the worst form of mainstream Buddhism the most corrupt form which I would say is Tibetan Buddhism it’s a terrible form of the Buddhist religion but that’s still much much better than the form of Islam that exists in Saudi Arabia and yes if 60% of people in Saudi Arabia became Japanese Buddhists she’s a terrible form of Buddhism it’s deeply corrupt and so on that would be better and if they became Sri Lankan orthodox tera vaada but as so that tradition you know sure from my perspective that would be better so that’s a less corrupt version but but you know my points that when you’re making this kind of comparison no I have no I have no hesitation in talking about better or worse now if you ask would it be even better or if the majority of people in Saudi Arabia instead started believing in Athenian democracy they became skeptical secular intellectuals who believe it’s like well okay now you know all of these things are very unlikely to happen but no it’s it’s not saying that it’s ideal but sure as a real-world alternative and yeah I think I think almost everyone who studies Buddhism does get kind of thrilled by the hope of the possibility that you could have a more a more Buddhist society whether it’s in England or Canada or California or even within Asia that Buddhism could make a comeback but the reality is since world war ii buddhism has failed and collapsed and has continued to fail and collapse it’s gotten smaller and smaller and weaker and luckier yeah and it just note today in 2018 Buddhism is a is a much less powerful much less influential philosophy than communism so we regard communism as a failure but it’s an incredibly powerful ideology compared to Buddhism sorry China is still communist Cuba is still communist you know etc etc and you know so you can make a list Vietnam North Korea you know communism actually still is very influential in the lives of millions of people on a huge scale to a huge extent with huge consequences and Buddhism is incredibly weak even in sri lanka weakening so i ok I do have old videos on the channel talking about that um you know the hope was so this is similar we talked about a little bit the politics of the Arab world after World War Two in the decolonizing period where there was a brief period of optimism and then everything kind of descended into dictatorship and things seemed to get hopeless um likewise in the post-world War two period there was a period of optimism in the Buddhist countries that Buddhism was going to take on a new direction politically socially and the religion be regenerated and revived and and that that hopi daughterly failed minutes ended in failure everywhere I’m generalizing but I think it’s actually a fair generalization you know what are the factors involved well one could talk with us for hours but I mean outstanding features people didn’t make the difficult decisions about reconciling faith with science now the Catholic Church also had difficulty that will evolution so you mentioned the debate evolution you know this happened within the Catholic Church over a hundred year period or something approximately you know went very gradually eventually the Pope made a statement that you know the church should stop opposing evolution that evolution is more than just a theory they eventually did settle down on this but for a long time the Catholic Church opposed that for for a period they opposed the idea that the the earth rolls around the Sun alright the Sun revolved my careful face so this has been an issue within the Catholic religion it’s it’s still an issue in Islam in a subtle but pervasive way it’s a huge issue with with Buddhism what is the role of science in relation to religion what’s but you know there are other examples with modernity in religion the status of women women in religion women’s equality or even even if it’s not equality women’s status women having decent status you know even if not equal can they at least be 90 percent equal or something you know in this religion huge huge challenge for Buddhism and yeah I mean that but there’s a series of challenges here in terms of the confrontation of tradition with modernity this was the first period in Buddhism when the Bible of Buddhism was directly available to the followers of the religion they just in the the Koran is available to all Muslims and basically has been since the life of the Prophet basically I mean you could say there’s a little bit of a lag in terms of publishing and so on but some Buddhism has not been like that Buddhism has relied on a great deal of faith on unlocks as the interpreters and custodians of tradition and yeah that was a huge challenge so in the same way that when the printing press in Europe first made the Bible available to more Christians this challenge for Buddhists in dealing with their own tradition and the challenges of modernity there was a lot going on in that period of time and it failed there was a lot of potential – there was a lot of hope and in Buddhism Buddhism failed I think I should look into it more especially this tree look East Asia the culture well and look you know when talking about the weakness of Buddhism today in sri lanka in laos i’ll just use the two examples in both sri lanka and laos everyone is very afraid of the growing presence of christianity and the growing presence of islam this is basically true in all the buddhist going to the Zylstra in south korea seoul strand Myanmar so these are Buddhist countries that in the past for majority Buddhists and the percentage of people who are Christian keeps going around the percentage people or Muslim keeps growing growing and they’re really afraid but as terrorism is gonna die and disappear the opposite is not true anywhere in the world is there anywhere where you have a majority Muslim country where Buddhism is growing and growing and the Muslims say wow so many people are converting to Buddhism we have to really be worried about losing the Muslim tradition no no y-you know but and you know challenges of why why do you well why are there were a couple examples like that around you know this this shows the depth of the failure you know and you know again judged by the same standards as communism in communism generally you can say as a failure there were some big exceptions China is a really big exception it’s enormous right it failed in Russia Russia cease to become in US but you know um but you know so you should expect even with a failure you should expect some some exceptions and we don’t we don’t have that in us so yeah and with that having been said we talked about the importance of outcomes for me there still is that temptation could I do more good in the world but becoming a Buddhist preacher a leader of Buddhist opinion even a Buddhist monk or going back to academia get a PhD in Buddhism like if I can make more of a positive difference in the world by working within that philosophy and by let’s say performing funeral rituals which are pretty harmless perform you know giving a nice speech and a ceremony and you know read out an ancient text and poly and stand there and interpret talk about the philosophy that all is impermanent and there is no soul hey guys we’re doing a funeral ceremony and guess what I’m not gonna reinsure we assure you that this guy’s immortal soul is living in Canada no I’m sorry who’s living in heaven forever and ever you know I’m here to reassure you the opposite that he never had a soul and his body is now gonna decompose because all all things are impermanent and decomposed and so on um sure the temptation is there because of the possibility of having those those positive outcomes and I this the first time I mentioned this on on-camera but yes sorry this is this is a brief brief anecdote but I think it doesn’t interesting one um I have I have lucid dreams most of time so most of the time when I dream I’m aware that I’m dreaming and I can control the dream but a couple of weeks ago I had not been thinking about this at all my girlfriend I were talking a lot about plans for the future plans would add the baking plans went to a number of things but I think probably were talking with Cree in a g-way whether or not I should start studying curry again my options were studying Korea’s a language how much time I should spend on Chinese how much time I should spend a French or maybe going back to saying create we’re talking about those kinds of issues for the future a lot but we were not talking I think about Buddhism at all I mean not four months it really hadn’t been a topic and I had very powerful dreams two nights in a row and the dreams the dream was really about you know the dream was really stating to me as its thesis look right now is the time for you to go back and commit to paly to this ancient language in Buddhism now is the time for you to commit to what is studies you know now Nana you’ve got to do this and you’re gonna take you know you can become a major figure in this field academically and you can be involved in you know political community leadership but you could you can take on this path and this can really be a way for you to make a positive difference in the world you know when a scholarly sense well against the Tigers over charity research politics being a public intellectual you know this this is really the way to do it and the most surprising thing about the dream like if I haven’t been talking to one person on the phone about it when I was awake it wouldn’t be that surprising but I mean I woke up and I said to Melissa I was my own you know I can’t believe I just had this dream because I haven’t been considering this option at all this has not been on my mind you know even the possibility of going back to penally and I remember in the dream also I in effect said that myself it was like a you know Socratic dialogue but guess what when you’re asleep you’re only talking to yourself you know but some in the dream I pointed out to myself when you went back and studied lotion again the Lao language you remembered so much you still at the handwriting you still dip okay I barely remember this stuff when you go back and when you went back and say French again which I’ve just been doing at that time you know I hadn’t studied or thought of a French word for so many years you were able to start relearning French again you studied Palli so much more intensely in more depth than what more passion you worked so hard on that language if you go back to it now with your current level of preparation experience in languages languages and philosophy languages and philosophy in politics you are going to really be able to place a trail in this field of study and then not just in the field of study but then this is going to lead to humanitarian work and making a difference so that temptation is there that that’s the and you know as they say two nights in a row had I had dreams about this and you know to me it was it was a totally alien thought I can’t I can’t even say this was a repressed thought but some part of
Socrates: Maybe it was a sign from god, who knows?
Eisel: hahaha okay that’s great so Melissa is I think falling asleep oh he’s good to get home and say hey you look great babe don’t worry there’s no ice on the couch all right two hours and 21 minutes guys I hope you enjoyed this conversation I’m really pleased say mom and Socrates before channel for three years I hope I still know you five years from now we just talked about you know what are the possibilities in the next five years one of the reasons I’m on the Internet is to recruit talent and talent comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes, sometimes it’s somebody who’s working in biochemistry sometimes it’s somebody who’s an artist like the guy who was offering to illustrate my children’s textbook but I didn’t come here on on YouTube I don’t know to hang out with a bunch of idiots or just to make fun of how stupid the other YouTube channels are it’s really you might think that’s why I’m here you might think I’m here for criticism to say it’s sacred but no I’m ultimately out here recruiting new talent because I care passionately about the future the vegan movement and I hope you do too if you’re watching this video and you’re trying to do some positive for veganism in the next five years, send me an email, hit me up.