If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom

Last updated: Jun 1, 2023

The video is a conversation between Tom and Eric Weinstein discussing the concept of the mind and how it interprets reality, using The Matrix as a metaphor for the human condition.

The video is a conversation between Tom and Eric Weinstein, where they discuss the concept of the mind and how it interprets reality. They use the movie The Matrix as a metaphor for the human condition and how we are expected to believe in a certain illusion. They also talk about how the brain interprets stimuli and creates a virtual representation of reality, which may not be a one-for-one representation of existence. They also touch on the plasticity of the brain and how it can be changed to improve one's abilities.

  • Tom introduces Eric Weinstein and his unique way of breaking things down logically.
  • They met at the Teal Talks series, where Eric did a talk with Werner Herzog.
  • Eric has a show called The Portal.
  • Tom is obsessed with The Matrix as a metaphor for the human condition.
  • The Matrix is a metaphor for the real world.
  • It talks about the illusion of the world that has been pulled over our eyes.
  • Our brains interpret the world around us based on our beliefs and experiences.
  • Humans have evolved over millions of years to exist in a certain way, but now we live in a world that is vastly different from our evolutionary history.
  • The internet and digital consumption have changed the micro chunking of our attention.

If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom - YouTube

If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 001

Introduction

  • Tom introduces Eric Weinstein and his unique way of breaking things down logically.
  • They met at the Teal Talks series, where Eric did a talk with Werner Herzog.
  • Eric has a show called The Portal.
  • Tom is obsessed with The Matrix as a metaphor for the human condition.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 002

The Matrix as a Metaphor

  • The Matrix is a metaphor for the real world.
  • It talks about the illusion of the world that has been pulled over our eyes.
  • It is a non-fiction picture discussing our actual world through a layer of indirection.
  • It is a way to bring up dangerous topics through indirection.
  • Eric sees The Matrix as a non-fiction documentary.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 003

The Virtual Interpretation of Reality

  • The brain interprets the stimulus coming into it.
  • It creates a reality that is good enough that we don't bump into too much trouble.
  • Our belief system shapes what we see.
  • The brain is plastic and can change the physical structures and function of the brain.
  • Tom felt hopelessly lost and too stupid to succeed.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 005

If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom - YouTube

The Character of Salieri in Amadeus

  • Salieri laments to God that he is just good enough to realize how much better Mozart is.
  • He wishes to be an imbecile instead.
  • Tom relates to this character and his own feelings of inadequacy.
  • Eric discusses the concept of consciousness and how it comes into being.
  • They plan to continue the conversation in another episode.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 006

Understanding Perception and Reality

  • Our brains interpret the world around us based on our beliefs and experiences.
  • Switching our beliefs can change our entire perception of reality.
  • There are hidden passages and trapdoors in our perception of reality.
  • Realizing that our perception of reality is not what it appears to be can be addictive.
  • Altered consciousness can help us experience brain states that we have never experienced before.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 007

Examples of Perception and Reality

  • Our brains interpret reality differently based on our senses and experiences.
  • People can see and perceive the same thing differently.
  • Our perception of reality can be influenced by our hygiene and surroundings.
  • Exotic circumstances can trigger programs in our mind that we have never experienced before.
  • Our perception of reality can be altered by changing our beliefs and experiences.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 009

Exploring Portals into Another World

  • There are hidden passages and trapdoors in our perception of reality.
  • Realizing that our perception of reality is not what it appears to be can be addictive.
  • Altered consciousness can help us experience brain states that we have never experienced before.
  • Exploring portals into another world can shift our perspective and alter our perception of reality.
  • Space travel can provide a new perspective on our place in the universe.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 010

Understanding the Mind and Perception

  • Our brains interpret reality based on our beliefs and experiences.
  • Switching our beliefs can change our entire perception of reality.
  • Altered consciousness can help us experience brain states that we have never experienced before.
  • Our perception of reality can be influenced by our hygiene and surroundings.
  • Exploring portals into another world can shift our perspective and alter our perception of reality.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 011

Living in a Technological World

  • Humans have evolved over millions of years to exist in a certain way, but now we live in a world that is vastly different from our evolutionary history.
  • Living in a city and using technology can change our relationship to risk and alter our physical reality.
  • As a parent, it's important to consider how to shape our children's physical reality and whether to expose them to nature or technology.
  • Lazy EI EE is the concept of the environment of evolutionary adaptedness, which is our mythological savanna home where our fingers and opposable thumbs were used for survival.
  • It's important to spend time in environments where we are maximally adapted to make use of all the millennia of evolution.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 013

Preparing for the Unknown

  • It's important to have an idea of what happens when our technological substrate fails and we have to rely on our survival skills.
  • Learning skills like starting a fire without matches and going without food for a period of time can be useful in emergency situations.
  • It's important to understand how we got here and to navigate the stack of technology to appreciate our evolutionary history.
  • People should have an idea of where they came from and what has evolved to get us to where we are now.
  • It's important to be in the moment and make use of all the things we have now while also understanding our evolutionary history.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 014

The Impact of Technology on Attention Span

  • The internet and digital consumption have changed the micro chunking of our attention.
  • Micro chunking is the habit of wanting instant gratification and only paying attention to tiny, punchy things.
  • Twitter and other social media platforms have contributed to this problem by providing instant gratification.
  • It's important to be aware of this habit and work to decode longer, more complex information.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 015

Communication and Reference Points

  • Using a poem as a reference point for communication is like throwing a frisbee that may not be caught.
  • Most people are not catching the frisbees thrown their way, resulting in a lower level of communication.
  • Using a common reference point, such as the Indian or Western canon, allows for deeper communication.
  • Intellectual and cultural diversity has a lot to offer, but most people only explore the surface.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 017

The Concept of Portals

  • Portals are tied to how deep the mind can go and can shake someone out of their limited perspective.
  • Portals can be glimpses into a mathematical reality that underlies the world we experience.
  • Eric Weinstein references the existence of a type of number called octonions that has physical reality.
  • The portals are not just an intellectual exercise but a way to punch through to the fabric of reality.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 018

Superpowers and Deep Learning

  • Eric Weinstein's goal is to give people three superpowers in math, music, language, or other areas.
  • People often feel fenced out of these areas and believe they are bad at them.
  • By showing people that there is deep math all around them, they can find it easier to understand.
  • Similarly, people who believe they are not musical can learn to play songs they love with simple instructions.
  • Learning a new language in a short amount of time can also be a superpower.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 019

Planting the Flag and Following the Invisible

  • Planting the flag means acknowledging that there is something important that may not be immediately understood.
  • Following someone who is talking about things you understand and then goes into the invisible spectrum can be challenging.
  • Researching and learning more about these concepts can lead to a deeper understanding of the world.
  • Eric Weinstein gives the example of an artist named Niko Meyer who helped him understand the concept of the Hopf fibration.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 020

The Matrix as a Metaphor

  • The Matrix is a metaphor for the human condition.
  • People are not aware that they are in a matrix.
  • There is a simple shift that people can make to see things in a different way.
  • People need to know that there is a vacation destination called Zion and a revolution that's brewing.
  • Portals are a perfect metaphor for the matrix.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 022

Discovering Abstractions

  • People can discover things that they didn't know existed.
  • People can find their calling in life.
  • People can collaborate on art projects to push out their discoveries.
  • People can visualize vibrations or actually create hot vibrations to create parts of the hopf fibration that can be seen, touched, and displayed.
  • People can walk around and see abstractions taken away.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 023

Seeing Things Differently

  • People can see things in a totally different way.
  • People can relax their eyes and see a ballerina in 3D in a random-dot stereogram.
  • People can figure out what to do physically to see things that have been sitting in front of them the whole time.
  • People can feel fenced out of things that they want to do.
  • People can be good at lots of things that aren't on the agenda.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 024

Challenges in Education

  • People can have learning issues that make it difficult to succeed in school.
  • People can exist on charm and not be able to buy a base hit to save their life.
  • People can be good at lots of things that aren't on the agenda.
  • People can validate the educational system and make the system angry at them.
  • The system can try to help, but there is limited help available.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 026

Optimizing Teaching Methods

  • Teaching disabilities are revealed when the educational system fails to reach a student.
  • The educational complex is a guild, profession, and business.
  • Subjects are taught to maximize the political economy of making them take a long time and rewarding the specialty of the teacher.
  • Optimizing teaching methods involves differential diagnosis to understand a student's learning style and profile.
  • Collecting errors can help quickly figure out what needs to be remediated.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 027

Using Diagnostic Data

  • Technology can quickly figure out what a student is likely doing wrong.
  • Diagnostic data can be used to guess where roadblocks are when things aren't working.
  • Most people get tripped up making the same kinds of errors as others.
  • Monitoring errors is diagnostic data for teachers to use.
  • Diagnostic work involves figuring out how to group people based on natural aptitude.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 028

Challenges in Implementing Teaching Methods

  • Optimizing teaching methods is hard to execute.
  • People can stop with the hate mail.
  • Collecting errors and using diagnostic data is not scalable.
  • It is difficult to turn diagnostic data into a curriculum style.
  • Technology is needed to quickly figure out what a student is doing wrong.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 030

Understanding the Expanding Universe

  • Almost no one understands what it means that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.
  • Physicists will say it a million times, but most people have no idea what it means.
  • People get tripped up making the same kinds of errors as others when trying to understand the expanding universe.
  • Monitoring errors is diagnostic data for teachers to use when teaching about the expanding universe.
  • Diagnostic work involves figuring out how to group people based on natural aptitude.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 031

Learning Things Fast

  • The conversation starts with Tom and Eric discussing Eric's ability to learn things fast.
  • Tom mentions Eric's ability to identify key things.
  • Eric asks for a guitar and an empty coffee mug to demonstrate his ability.
  • Tom talks about his past experience with playing the guitar and writing songs.
  • Eric talks about his obsession with learning things fast and building a film studio.
  • Eric believes that impacting people through entertainment is the best way to incept them with a portal.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 032

The Portal Story

  • Eric talks about the portal story and how it is universal.
  • He uses The Matrix as a metaphor for the portal story.
  • Eric explains how Neo is searching for something and how Trinity brings him into the portal story.
  • He talks about the scene where Neo wakes up in a completely different context.
  • Eric believes that the violence of the portal is what makes it so impactful.
  • He talks about how his creation is an act of violence and how it feels wonderful.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 034

The Violence of Language

  • Eric talks about how Neil Strauss called him out for using violent language.
  • He believes that his creation is an act of violence and that breaking something is necessary.
  • Eric talks about how a mother's water breaking is a moment of a portal.
  • He believes that hitting people at an impressionable moment in their life is the best way to incept them with a portal.
  • Eric believes that the portal story is a way to impact people emotionally.
  • He talks about how he wants to popularize the word portal and make it universal.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 035

The Importance of Entertainment

  • Eric believes that the best way to impact people is through entertainment.
  • He talks about how he wants to build a film studio to create impactful movies and TV shows.
  • Eric believes that hitting people at a limbic level is the best way to incept them with a portal.
  • He talks about how he wants to create something that has a message at its core but also entertains people.
  • Eric believes that hitting people at an impressionable moment in their life is the best way to impact them emotionally.
  • He talks about how he wants to create something that resonates emotionally with people.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 036

Archetypes and Rationality

  • Passover is about the escape from Egypt, which is the narrow places and the birth story of the Jewish people.
  • Some people think in archetypal metaphor, while others don't.
  • People dream in archetypes, which is another reason that some people think in archetypal metaphor.
  • Archetypal stories are told bit by bit and shaped over time based on what gets a reaction.
  • There's danger on either side if you're too rational or too spiritual, and being moved by the archetype in both directions lies nonsense.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 038

Camping and D-Camping

  • There's a camp and D camp between the hyper-rational.
  • There's a tension between the need for rationality and the need for spirituality.
  • People are camping, but nobody's D camping.
  • People accuse Eric Weinstein of having it both ways or being middle-of-the-road, but that's not true.
  • Two sides have been warring for a long time, and that's a cue that they haven't found a frame outside of flatland.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 039

Inviting Both Sides into Your Mind

  • Eric Weinstein invites both sides into his mind initially in a sandbox.
  • He represents the other person's argument and tries to do that for both sides.
  • Once you have all of these things playing in your head, you start making an outreach from one sandbox to the other.
  • You start asking what if you're convinced that there is no god but the religion is super valuable or vice versa.
  • Once you start doing that, you can make progress and find a synthesis of that dialectic.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 040

The Poetry of Flight

  • Eric Weinstein talks about a part in The Watchmen where a guy had written a book on ornithology.
  • The problem with ornithology is that we've lost the poetry of flight and the sense of awe that a bird could inspire.
  • People are so blinded by the science that they lose sight of the awe.
  • Eric Weinstein thinks that being able to camp and D camp is so important.
  • People need to bounce back and forth and find a synthesis of that dialectic.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 041

Importance of Rough Spaces and Embracing Multiple Pure States

  • Rough spaces that aren't safe spaces are important for generative ideas.
  • Purity of one particular kind leads to madness.
  • Embrace multiple pure states to avoid madness.
  • Welcoming the infection is necessary.
  • Recognize that pure states are to be avoided.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 043

Steel Manning and Understanding Others

  • Steel manning is important to understand others.
  • People should believe it is their obligation to steel man somebody instead of trying to tear them down.
  • Madness happens in purity.
  • Homogeneous crops are at risk.
  • People should put themselves in a position to constantly try to understand what the other person is coming from.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 044

Changing Perception and Outcome

  • Changing perception will change beliefs, behaviors, and outcome.
  • Skills have utility.
  • People should have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.
  • Skills can lead to real outcomes.
  • Skills can be used to connect with others and create shared experiences.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 045

Using Guitar as an Example

  • The guitar has utility and can lead to real outcomes.
  • The speaker used the guitar to write songs for his girlfriend and connect with her.
  • The guitar helped the speaker create a shared lexicon with his girlfriend.
  • The guitar helped shape the speaker's life with his girlfriend.
  • The guitar is an example of how skills can be used to connect with others and create shared experiences.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 047

The Impurity of the Guitar

  • The impurity of the guitar is based on breaking the string into three pieces.
  • Placing a finger exactly at the midpoint doubles the frequency, and placing it a third of the way through gives three times the frequency.
  • The number of three times the frequency is not actually the even-tempered version of three times the frequency.
  • There are 12 frets in an octave, specifically geared by the person who made the guitar to break that octave into 12 exactly equal steps.
  • The difference between the two sounds is actually a tiny discrepancy, and that's why we choose the number 12.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 048

Western Harmony

  • The impurity of the guitar is the basis for Western harmony.
  • Without that impurity, we would just have the pure sound.
  • Western harmony allows for modulation to other keys very easily.
  • The fret board is a crime, and the body is chopped up into 12 equal pieces to disguise the fact that our third and fifth in even temperament and our fifth in physics are not the same note.
  • Our ear can't tell the difference between the two notes.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 049

Understanding Music and Math

  • Music is math, and the guitar is math.
  • Understanding the math of music is self-evident to those who understand math well.
  • Experiencing music is entirely experiential, and there is a portal between the experience of music and the math of music.
  • Understanding the math of music at a body level is desired.
  • Feeling the math of music is desired.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 051

Desire to Learn

  • Skills have utility, and learning something from someone else allows you to do something with that thing.
  • People get lost in the purity of their own ideas and are not looking to steal man the other argument.
  • People who are stuck in their own ideas are not willing to learn from others.
  • Learning skills from others is important because those skills have utility.
  • People who are not willing to learn from others are missing out on opportunities to gain new skills.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 052

Math and Music

  • There are certain things encoded in physics that sound like music to us.
  • Understanding these things can make playing the guitar easier.
  • Notes in songs are encoded into the vibrating Fourier series of the vibrating string.
  • There are certain things that people will say are cultural, like the alternation in "Oh Eve" from The Wizard of Oz.
  • One-dimensional mediums like vocal chords or a string will have natural tones.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 053

Utility of Math

  • Tom asks why understanding the math of music matters.
  • Eric explains that understanding the math can make playing the guitar easier.
  • Using a coffee mug to play the guitar can make it easier to start playing songs without having to learn how to fret chords.
  • The hard part of learning the guitar is the fretting, which can be painful and require building calluses.
  • Using a mug to play the guitar can eliminate the need for fretting and make it easier to start playing songs.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 055

The Four Chord Song

  • The Four Chord Song by Axis of Awesome uses only four chords.
  • Three of the four chords are just strings two, three, and five with the mug at different positions along the fretboard.
  • The only thing that needs to be added is a minor chord played at the twelfth fret position.
  • Using the mug to play the guitar can make it possible to play the Four Chord Song in under two minutes.
  • The key point is that understanding the math of music can make it easier to play songs on the guitar.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 056

Conclusion

  • Understanding the math of music can make it easier to play the guitar.
  • Using a coffee mug to play the guitar can eliminate the need for fretting and make it easier to start playing songs.
  • The Four Chord Song by Axis of Awesome uses only four chords, which can be played using the mug at different positions along the fretboard.
  • The key point is that understanding the math of music can make it easier to play songs on the guitar.
If You Want to See How Deep the Mind Can Go, Watch This | Eric Weinstein on Conversations with Tom 057

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