Podcast 924: The Devil’s Dictionary with Steven Kotler

It is with pride and honor to interview again New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler. This time, we’ll talk about his latest book entitled The Devil’s Dictionary, among other things.

Steven is also an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. Some of his masterpieces and bestsellers are The Art of Impossible, The Future is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold and Abundance.

Meanwhile, The Devil’s Dictionary is a follow up to his another piece Last Tango in Cyberspace. The story revolves around the protagonist’s journey in uncovering the truth when a routine em-tracking job goes sideways and disappears. This novel is surely packed with intrigue and heart-pounding action, marked by unforgettable characters and vivid storytelling, filled with science-based brilliance and cult comic touches.

If you want to learn more about Steven and his amazing works, please click here to visit his website. You may also purchase his book through this link.

I hope you enjoy this engaging interview with Steven Kotler. Happy listening!

THE BOOK    

In The Devil’s Dictionary, when a routine em-tracking job goes sideways and em-trackers themselves start disappearing, Lion finds himself not knowing who to trust in a life and death race to uncover the truth. And when the trail leads to the world’s first mega-linkage, a continent-wide national park advertised as the best way to stave off environmental collapse, and exotic animals unlike any on Earth start showing up―Lion’s quest for truth becomes a fight for the survival of the species.

Packed with intrigue and heart-pounding action, marked by unforgettable characters and vivid storytelling, filled with science-based brilliance and cult comic touches, The Devil’s Dictionary is Steven Kotler at his thrilling science fiction best.

THE AUTHOR

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance. He is the author of ten bestsellers (out of fourteen books), including The Art of Impossible, The Future is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold and Abundance. His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 50 languages, and has appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, TIME, and the Harvard Business Review.

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transcription (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside personal growth. This is Greg Voisen. And all of you know me and many of you know, the gentleman on the other side of the screen, Steven Kotler, because he's been a regular guest on inside personal growth. And I just want to acknowledge Him for the good work that he continues to do. And today, we're going to be speaking about his newest book, which releases on April 19, which is Earth Day, the Devil's Dictionary, and I think most of you are going to be intrigued by what he has to say, around environmentalism, empathy, how that's gonna play a role. And I think when you read this book, you can take away let me just put it this way, a new perspective about us and our relationship with mother earth and how we're treating her and I, I applaud you for that because man, things are have gone sideways, in this world, right? Even

Steven Kotler
sideways is sideways in a good polite term there, Greg, sideways,

Greg Voisen
It is sideways. Well, for my listeners who don't know much about Stephen, it's really pretty simple. All you got to do is type in his name and Google, you're gonna come up with all kinds of things. But I'm gonna tell you, maybe a small bit amount because I couldn't give you everything in the accolades that he's got is New York Time Best Selling Author, and award winning journalist, the executive director of the flow research collective. Again, if you want to learn more type flow research collective in, he's one of the world's leading experts on human performance. He's the author of nine best sellers, the art of impossible was last one he did on our show. The future is faster than you think stealing fire, the rise of Superman bold and abundance. And he's been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes. And last time it was on, he said, you know, I've been nominated by I've never gotten them. Have you gotten one yet? No, I

Steven Kotler
Still haven't one. But it's close.

Greg Voisen
It's coming. It's coming. I can tell you that. A lifelong environmentalist and animal rights advocate, he's co founder of plant at home, a conference concert innovation accelerator focused on solving critical environmental challenges. And the co founder of the forest plus fire collective, a network of individuals and organizations dedicated to winning catastrophic wildfires and restoring forest health in the American West. You living where you live, me living where I live, I suppose living in California, well, you might be on the Nevada border there. But the reality is, the wildfires have been, to say the least the big challenge for all of us. Thank you for the work you're doing. Hopefully, we can make an impact. We've certainly had prior administrations, which were completely ignorant to the challenges associated with what we have to deal with here in California. And across the world wildfires here, I mean, look at the Amazon. He's also the co host of flow research collective radio, we'll put a link to that in the blog. It's a top 10s iTunes Science Podcast, frequently on television and radio. He else you'd be also can check him out on Google, the science of maximizing human potential would put a link to that at the TEDx Albuquerque, which is where he used to live. He doesn't live there anymore. Whenever possible, you can find him hurtling himself down mountains at high speeds. I don't know how much of that is still going on. But are you still doing that Steven?

Steven Kotler
Yeah, I have no use of my left arm today from yesterday's outtake.

Greg Voisen
Okay, so you were out snowboarding, huh?

Steven Kotler
Skiing? Skiing? Yeah. Like, I definitely managed to hit the ground hard a couple of times. I was I was learning but I was crashing.

Greg Voisen
Well, we've had some, again, unusual weather patterns here in California and not as much precipitation, as expected. And the snowpack has been less than normal, both in Mammoth Lakes Lake Tahoe area where Steven lives. And so a challenge for us but that's where we're going to weave this interview into. You know, the Devil's Dictionary is a sci fi thriller. And it's the sequel, kind of to the Last Tango in cyberspace. And many of my listeners have no clue about either of these books. So to put a context in rap row about it. One, how did the Devil's Dictionary come about and can use that the story kind of in the briefest way possible going from The Last Tango in cyberspace to the Devil's Dictionary, which is rich with characters rich with you just said gangster a minute ago Jewish gangster. But I'd love to kind of put that together for the listening audience.

Steven Kotler
It's interesting because the core is the Devil's Dictionary, self. And I won't be giving away too much here is an artificial intelligence that can create life from scratch. So the reason it's called the Devil's Dictionary is one of the fastest ways to drive species extinction is the introduction of new exotic species into ecosystems thought tends to drive extinction. So an AI that can create life from scratch. Caught poses a giant threat to the stability of our ecosystems. I actually had the idea, not an AI in the beginning, like 30 years ago, I had the idea for a dictionary, like a like a magical dictionary that any rare thing that was written to the dictionary got appeared in reality, and that I played with this idea. In a tiny little short story I wrote, maybe right when I was just out of grad school, I don't think I ever published it, and sort of parked it and went, That's a cool idea. I don't know how to deal with that. And let it alone for 20 or 30 years. And when AI started showing up, and my dear friend Andrew Hessel is in charge of the human genome right project. So you, everybody is familiar with the first human genome project where they read DNA, the right, they read a human genome, the right version is an attempt to write a human genome from scratch to literally boot up human life from scratch. And Anders, a dear friend, I've known him for a very long time, in conjunction with Sydney University and things like that. And we started talking about sort of what CRISPR and AI and gene sequencing those technologies will make possible, really within like a 10 to 15 year timeframe, which is where the book is set right about 15 years into the future. And suddenly, I realized, oh, wait, I don't have to write this magical realism book about a dictionary, I can use actually real technology that will be here in 10 to 15 years to tell the same story. And so that was sort of where the, the original core idea that's the center of it came from, and as you pointed out, almost everything else is the continuation of a world I created in Last Tango in cyberspace. And this is essentially that same story picked up, you know, further on and I would say I think the books function independently very independently, especially Devil's Dictionary, I wrote it specifically. So you didn't have to read the first one. I think Devil's Dictionary is better than Last Tango. I think Last Tango I was still trying to figure out how to write the world and, and really put the characters together, I think Devil's Dictionary, it really sort of snaps together. We were what might we meaning myself and my publisher, right? St. Martin's always sort of thought about this a little bit in the back of our minds is lions or unlike a new sort of detective kind of detective hero for the future? For that kind of story? Do I want to do a trilogy? Do I want to keep doing this as a series only because those are writing challenges I've never tried to undertake before. So they're from a writer's perspective, they were new challenges, but the world the lead characters of man name lines on he is a genetic mutant, first of his kind born in the 21st century, so this century. And what is different from him is and this is probably actually something that's already in our species I've just taken it farther is he's what they call, he's an empathy tracker. So he has a wildly expanded sense of empathy. He doesn't just feel for all human beings, which he does, of course, but it extends beyond the line of species. So he feels for plants for animals, for ecosystems, and he's not the only am Chakor there's others who have started showing up in the world and you know, they end up while the transformation itself is you know, when these new talent show up. Difficult, right? So you're feeling empathy for things you've never felt empathy before and can be overwhelming at once that transfer. Turns out it was a it's a in the future that I created as a useful skill. It's like the cool hunting of tomorrow, right? Like because they can track cultural trends using empathy and emotion. Long before they arrived. They can see them start to emerge and help organizations companies whatsoever get out ahead of them. And in Last Tango, Lion is brought in by an eccentric billionaire, to help solve an environmental problem and the This book, it's this, it's sort of the same setup, it's the environmental issues set up in Last Tango was the development of a psychedelic, a new psychedelic that actually creates the same cross species empathy that M trackers normally feel in average people. So the tension in the first book is around that particular psychedelic. In Devil's Dictionary, that psychedelic has already been written really astride. And it's produced what I termed the splinter, which is there are people who literally now feel empathy for all animals, they're huge animal rights advocates in a huge portion of the globe has gone in this direction. And we'll talk about why I thought that was important half a second, I'll come back to it. And then there's an opposition movement, right, who doesn't I don't believe empathy for animals. It's the humans first. You know, two legs, not for counter movement. And this is the world of the Devil's Dictionary. And interestingly, I always say that this book is like two parts cyberpunk and one part, climate fiction with a twist. And the twist is that both cyberpunk and climate fiction as a general rule, are set in dystopian universes. And while the universe and both last time go a Devil's Dictionary is darker, for sure. It's most of the make climate change, climate change related disaster has been averted. species die off disasters have been averted. I don't make a big deal out of it in the book. But my interest was if you're creating a world with these, these huge catastrophes that are, you know, as you brought up, the world is going sideways, that's part of the sideways have been averted. I wanted to know how it would happen. And I came to the conclusion that you would need a giant shift in consciousness and empathy, we would have to expand what psychologists call our sphere of caring, and into include plants and animals and ecosystems so we can start to see the Earth as an extension of ourselves kind of thing. So that's our

Greg Voisen
Species extinction is an issue. And you know, you were influenced by an evolutionary biologist at Santa Cruz, who recently passed away, I actually was listening to one of his videos and the accolades people made, you know, what would caught me about what I listened to, because he talked about it, he lived in San Diego and used to get abalone and only would dig for abalone with, with whatever he had. And back then abalone were this vague, he said, now, he said, there are these teeny little things that you can barely even get. So talk about something that we all in my lifetime, were used to being able to get to eat. And now we're looking at extinction, if it's not already pretty close, believe it or not, to tide pools and things where you can't get these things. And you and you know this? So if you would, you know, I apologize for not remembering his name, Michael Sue, like Michael Sue, Les. So Michael sue a had a huge influence on you. And what a wonderful man died at 84. Just recently, actually. And as I listened to that, I thought about the book, you know, I was like, Okay, here's a guy that's talking about just an extension of one species. I think right now, we have about 3000 species that are close to extinction. I don't know what the number is,

Steven Kotler
But number it was 1000 times better than normal we're losing. depends on whose numbers you want to go by 50 to 300 species a day are what we're losing. It's the numbers are catastrophic. And so anyway, Sue Leigh, Big Hero, amazed he's the godfather of conservation biology.

Greg Voisen
He's your guy, you know, is one of them.

Steven Kotler
But, like so, and I was introduced to him, you know, if people always ask, what are your favorite books recommend, and one of the books I was recommended is a book by a science writer named David plomin, The Song of the dodo. And it was actually David Qualman, who introduced me to Michael's to lay back in I want to say the 90s when he published that book, maybe the early 1000s. No, it was the 90s. But slay was this conservation biology? Well, they weren't conservation biologists at that point. He was a biologist. And he got really interested among other things in the fragility of island population. So one of the things that's really well known in sort of field biology is that weird things happen on islands and species tend to push into all available possible niches so you get gigantism, and you get dwarfism, right. It's why there's a dwarf rhinoceros running around Sumatra that's the size of a small dog. Right? Those kinds of things happen in Ireland. The other thing he started to figure out is that species who live on islands are extremely vulnerable to extinction. And it's, the reason is you can't If a so called extinction event, a volcano eruption, a tidal wave, a typhoon, any of those things, strikes an island, there's not a lot of genetic diversity on the app. So if you wipe out a big chunk of the pot 70% of the population or something like that, like a tidal wave can do to certain species on islands. Inbreeding as the result, and within a couple of generations, the line itself dies out. So this has been well known for a while, 50 years, 100 years, I don't actually know what slay realized in the 60s and 70s, was that in the modern world, you don't need an ocean for Island, you can do a two lane highway. And for certain species of snakes, for example, that are preyed on by birds of prey, they won't cross the highway, because they're too it's too open, too exposed. And they've got, you know, really hardwired evolutionary coding that says, don’t do that. And so they're stuck in this little manmade island. And what they realized is, this is the entire modern world. And his response to it that has since you know, become foundational ideas and conservation biology is, you know, a fight against habitat. Fragmentation, we need mega linkages, which are basically huge tracts of unbroken wilderness, connected by migration corridors, which are skinnier quarters, so animals can have room to roam, and that they don't get trapped on these islands in case something goes wrong. And this is now the most well established sort of way to protect species against climate change. EO Wilson famously wrote a book called half Earth, where he said, if we want to fight off species extinction, we need to conserve 50% of the planet. And by the way, this has since become standard. This is now standard environmental thinking, if you look at the United Nations plan, dealing with conservation, climate change, and environmental, it's 30% of the world's oceans, and 20% of the world's landmass, is what they're trying to protect your son of the earth. And so this is this is an, you know, US government is involved in this governments all over the world are now involved in this. So Sue Lai, has is thinking has become hugely influential. And here we are in, you know, in the decade of conservation, also. So even though he just passed away, I think he would have liked, you know, the stuff that we're going to see over the coming decade,

Greg Voisen
Most definitely, you know, he reminded me, you know, I've written in books, I've been asked to write chapters in books for Bucky Fuller, and I was thinking about Bucky Fuller and Bucky Fuller's predictions. And you know, the same kind of thing is Michael silay. Now, the story follows and empathy tracker, as you call it, in em tracker. And I think this whole concept around empathy tracking is important. It's a theme, it's an important theme, speak to the listeners about empathy tracking, and why it's considered a syndrome. Well,

Steven Kotler
it was considered a syndrome and the way that like, you know, the way I explained it was when the, when the genetic mutation first shows up, they call it a syndrome, much of the way that they started talking about Shellshock, you know, is a syndrome before we actually figured out Wait a minute, this is post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, right? It's not. And I, what was what was interesting about empathy tracking is if you work and you know, my wife, and I have for years run a dog sanctuary, and but if you work in the animal rescue world, the animal rights world, you meet a lot of real empaths. And especially people whose sense of empathy stretches across species, lions. Now, this is not all that rare in the regular population, you know, roughly 10% of the population sort of has this kind of cross species empathy built in there. Some people think the numbers go all over the place. But so I just said, well, let's take it farther. And empathy, if you know how people are feeling and you can sort of feel cultural empathy, you could get the sense of like emerging cultural emotions, you can predict because emotions drive our behaviors so you can predict where that's going. But the reason sort of empathy is such a big deal for me is again, environmental. And you probably know this, but the human brain drives I've written about this in most of my books is a is a giant filtering mechanism, right? We take in 11 million bits of information in a second that's where their senses gather. At but consciousness what we can be aware of is depending on whose numbers you want to go by roughly 2000 outputs. So the vast majority of everything that comes in it is invisible to us. And so you have to ask yourself, well, what's gets through the filters? What are we what we see in reality, and one of the things that we don't tend to see anymore our plants, animals and ecosystems, and the reason is quite simply, we live in box world, we live in boxes, we spend our lives staring at boxes, sometimes we live in boxes, Sterrett boxes, and other boxes inside the box inside the like. And so the brain goes, Okay, box world is what's really important to you. Let's, we've got to get rid of information, let's filter out what's extraneous, and what gets removed just plants and animals and ecosystems. So if you talk to psychologists about climate change, or species die off, or any of these great environmental challenges that we now face, why are we why is this happening? A lot of them will say, it's because our ability to see and perceive and care about the natural world is gone. Yeah, thanks very much. Right? So how do you get it back? Right? If we're going to save the planet, how do you get a bag and it turns out, empathy is the secret weapon. Empathy literally, is what expands the brains, I use the term earlier spear of caring how what you care about, what is it most people care about, like their tribe, their family, their spouse, their kids, maybe a couple of close friends, you know, maybe their community if they can stretch it out far, but it's a limited scope. But it can be empathy is how we widen it out. And as it widens out, you start you basically saying, Hey, I feel for this thing, this is important pay attention to the brain starts letting in plants, animals and ecosystems. So if we want to reboot, ecological perception, empathy, is one way to do it. And this is not just sort of this is we know from flow research, we know from research into psychedelics done by Robin Hart card, Harris's lab at Imperial College London, we know from meditative research, one of the things that happens with these altered states of consciousness is you get nature appreciation, because it expands your sphere of caring. And you end up with nature, appreciation and environmental activism on the back end of it, this is sort of really well established. So it's sort of, even though this isn't a human performance book at all, it dovetails in with a lot of the work we do at the flow research collective. And one of the reasons that I, you know, thought it was really important to start the collective and train people in this stuff, is one, I want them to use peak performance to solve environmental challenges, right? I want them to, you know, take what I'm teaching them and learn how to use flow to help make the world a better place. But also, it's a backdoor into empathy and ecological perception, getting people to kind of see and care about the environment,

Greg Voisen
As well, it's you, as you say, it's, it will solve ecological challenges. And so that brings me to this part about the evolution of technology with VR. So now you say we're staring in boxes, well, yeah, I'm staring at a box right now with you through zoom to do this call. And unfortunately, I do spend a good percentage of my day, but I do spend a lot of time outdoors hiking and, and bike riding and getting in touch with nature, because I believe that balances one's world it has to, but I do see an imbalance at this point. And I see our world, speeding up in the box movement in the virtual reality movement into the glasses into whatever so that they can stay connected, but not to the true ecology of our world. Let's say you set the book in the future, but everything from augmented reality to virtual reality to mixed reality, the holograms are all there and they've been woven into the fabric of our lives. Will this as the question says, all happen? Fast? We're in 2022 you’re saying we could hit it by 2030 30?

Steven Kotler
Well, that book 35 I think 2035 I think it doubles. Last Tango, it was like 2028. Okay, maybe a little bit right in there. So,

Greg Voisen
But tell us we're what we Yeah, the issues, you know, I think back, pardon me, but one of my favorites was Barbara Marx Hubbard. You know, I hadn't really realized that she had run for vice president and, you know, she'd spent so much time on the ecology in the world and the conscious evolution of our consciousness, right. Speak with us if you would about, you know, how is my listeners sitting here saying, Okay, I'll get the Devil's Dictionary I'm going to read this great nonfiction book, I'm going to hear about all these characters in what's going on. But I need to take some action to it starts with me. It starts with me. So what would you say, you know, is this going to happen? When's it gonna happen? How can we make a difference?

Steven Kotler
So those are technological questions and make a difference questions. Let me let's start on the tech side. I believe I could be wrong, but I think you had me on to talk about the future is faster than you think, which is a book I wrote with Peter Diamandis, about technology, technological development and convergence over the next 10 years. So I don't know if I told you this story. When Peter and I were first talking about the future faster than you think, which was about these converging exponentially accelerating technologies. I couldn't figure out the kind of world they were going to create. Because everything was happening so quickly, they were looking at in the real world. So I literally created the world. And Last Tango, one of the reasons I wrote last Hangul was to take all these technologies that are coming so quickly, put them into a world and roll it into the future, just so I could see what was coming. So I could then go back and write a nonfiction book about it. The short version of this is, you know, exponential technology is technologies that double on a periodic basis, Moore's law, right or anything right down the back, Moore's law, what we're seeing now is converging exponential. So AI is stacking on top of robotics is stacking on top of VR, etc, etc, etc. And you're getting these overwhelming waves that are kind of washing away almost everything in their path. Ray Kurzweil, who has done sort of the best, predictive math on this question, has said that, over the course of the 21st century, we're going to experience 20,000 years worth of technological change. So that's like birth of agricultural to the Industrial Revolution twice over the next 80 years. It's 100 years with the technological change in a decade. So you want to know what's coming, we'll think back to 1919 or 1922, at this point, and then fast forward 2022, that much technological change over the next decade? So yes, I think a lot of this stuff is happening. And a lot of it is happening, you know, significantly faster, and the acceleration keeps happening. So it's speeding up more. So that, you know, that is a that is just the fabric of our reality right now. It's, you know, blitzkrieg fast as we know, and that's the first side of it. So I'll stop there. And then we can

Greg Voisen
Well, the second side is if empathy is the solution, compassion, empathy, whatever, we want to refer to it as for all our beings on earth, animals, plants, you know, nature. How do we, because you just gave the dichotomy between the empathy person and the person who is not the too vague, and you call the two legged? Something?

Steven Kotler
The first two legs out for humans first? Yeah, yeah.

Greg Voisen
So what is it that you believe, as a writer, researcher, founder of organizations that are attempting from a philanthropy philanthropic standpoint, to mitigate these challenges needs to happen?

Steven Kotler
Well, it took so I, I believe you do need a shift in consciousness, you have to, and I, you know, I like to say that empathy sort of starts at home. It starts with how we treat the animals in our lives, how do we treat the plants in our lives? Like, you know, what, for anybody who has pets? Is the pet a family member and treated as an equal? Or is, you know, is the pet treated as something that's submissive? And, you know, do you have a pet? Or do you have a companion animal is sort of the question. And, you know, I always say that, like, you, that's where that work starts the work of shifting our consciousness, because you have to start with the stuff that's closest to you because it's the easiest to sort of work with. I, you know, that the technology side of it that I just talked about, is what sort of gives me the most hope, because we are getting, you know, Peter and I have been reading about this in three books. And we're writing a fourth book now that talks about we have the technology we're starting to have the technology to meet these grand environmental challenges. So it is, you know, it's really a question of can we shift our consciousness because the tech is there. It's just about the will to do it. And we're seeing it now with climate change, and I think this is only the first year. But if you look at the amount of entrepreneurship, the amount of funds and really creative smart funds that have gotten started up around climate change, or called Clean Tech 2.0. It's, it's an astounding hopefully, it's not too little too late. But it's an astounding amount of innovation. And I think we're starting to see similar shifts in conservation, which is what's really needed to protect,

Greg Voisen
To think our worldwide pandemic accelerated the, the technology side to make a difference. And that's question one. And two. As of just four months ago, you know, I was vegetarian, now I'm vegan, I will not eat dairy, I will not eat fish, I will not eat anything. But I do that from an understanding of, you know, how much water does it take to raise get a cow and having meat grass? And I think a lot of my listeners understand this, this isn't like unique to these listeners. On the other hand, many still haven't converted. I look at you know, we read a lot of Dr. Greger stuff, you know, speaking about how pandemics start you know, is it the ducks, whatever you want to believe, however, we got this but did one did? Do you think the pandemic accelerated the desire technology true, and also have some impact on the environment? Because people stopped traveling so much. We stopped putting, you know, pollutants in the air. We stopped airplanes. We, I mean, you think about it all. There was a lot of impact there for a while. Are we going to just go back, Steven, and forget all about that. Now that work got our masks off?

Steven Kotler
Yeah, I think there's three layers. It's a complicated, you're asking a good question you're at but I think there's I think there's a couple of three layers like did the pandemic accelerate technology? I think it stalled certain technologies, right. Some of the some of the some of the technologies that required kind of more social engagement, right? Certainly, you know that the biotechnology, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, all the things that were brought to bear on the pandemic itself. Wow, did they accelerate? Yeah, and right, and where you're gonna see this and where it's gonna matter. Environmentally, interestingly, is the same technologies, the same AI, sort of matching technologies that sort of give us new meds, they also give us new foods. So you're going to see like a downstream and cat in the food chain, and health and things along those lines, and in the reinvention of food, and, you know, so the technologies that make me really excited are things like vertical farming and cultured beef, right, so steak from stem cells. And I've said for a while these technologies make me so excited. Both, you know, first of all, you know, phenomenal that we can get like animals out of the food chain and you know, cruelty, cruelty free beef, and all that stuff. And the explosion and all the culture feeds, you know what I mean? Like it's cultured fish and oysters and shrimp and everything you could imagine and you know, by 2030, the in this keeps accelerating, but they cost MC competitive, we already have cultured beef that you can't tell the difference between it in real estate taste wise and blind taste test. Even with like three star Michelin chefs cooking, they can't do it. It's a price thing now and that's about the bioreactors in the process that it takes to make this stuff and that is coming down so we think it's going to be cheaper than beef by 2030. So when you have a product that's cheaper than beef, and it's beef, you know, that's just

Greg Voisen
It’s fascinating. What about printing food 3d printing

Steven Kotler
That that I think that's a same curve basically. Because we're already seeing lots of like 3d Food printers with chocolate you know what I mean? I think you know, I think it's Last Tango I had a confectioner 3d confectioner. That was in Last Tango, and that stuff's already going on. I mean, Avi risin does a friend who's runs 3d Systems is a chocolate fanatic. So he's got into like chocolate pretty good dessert pretty good, right? So you know all that. But all this stuff later. braid like how do we get 30% of the plant of the landmass for to give back to the animals, we need another 20% because 10% is already sort of protected. We're 30% of the planet's surface is used for cattle ranching. So we're about to see most of that go away. I think what will be left is like boutique, super organic kind of stuff or cattle that's used in Silvia pastures, which is where you put agriculture and cattle ranching together, you actually get much better yields from agriculture when there are cows in the mix. And you know, or large hurry we need even if we do restore forest health, the Great Plains, you need large herbivores, bison buffalo running across the plains, because this is they co evolve together the grasses and the bisons and there are a lot of grasses on the plains

Greg Voisen
That West sac West Jackson is doing work. Yeah, West is West. This stuff is amazing. Yeah. And my friends doing documentaries with him and Peter Warren Buffett's son is involved as well.

Steven Kotler
Oh, I didn't know that. Yeah, Peters. That's cool.

Greg Voisen
Well, he's actually donated a lot of money to the Land Institute. But the whole perennial thing, if for my listeners, like go back and listen to I'll put some links to a couple of podcasts I did with the guys that are working with West Jackson.

Steven Kotler
You know, so radio poly cropping?

Greg Voisen
Exactly. And it's necessary for us to continue to keep soils at high levels of nutritional value number one, and not keep plowing them under and all that kind of stuff. But, you know, again, going back to this issue, you are addressing two questions, you did a great job on the technology side. Now, that whole thing around your flow collective or flow research collective in the science of flow and human performance? How about we talk about human empathy? Okay. Is there an overlap in this work?

Steven Kotler
So there's a lot over that? Well, there's a lot of overlap. One flow increases kind of nature appreciation, but it also increases empathy. So over the past year, I won't. I'll be a little vague here. But we have trained up at the collective a number of different police forces in America. And the reason is, the cops themselves. Want peak performance? The higher ups want more empathetic police forces out especially after everything that happened this past year, right. Obviously, this is a major issue. And I think actually even at the like the level of individual cops and a lot of this has to do with this through the US them thinking that is at the heart of sort of COP culture and you know, three letter agency culture and US military code, right, there's an us them mentality there that is, is difficult and flow teams to bridge that gap a lot, a little bit. And so we have been idle so uh, yeah, I think there's a lot of overlap there. And I, you know, Greg, I've always said this, I, my personal interest in flow was I wanted more flow for you know, me and my friends and I wanted to do research I was the research puzzle is really what got me up in the morning, get excited, when I started the training side of the company and wanting to do that a lot of it was for environmental reasons it was I wanted, you know, people want peak performance, they want to be more productive, they want to be more engaged at work, they want to be more creative, they want all this faster learning and, you know, well being and happiness and all this stuff you get with flow, cool, you can have that I want you to be more empathetic and more environmentally aware, and more environmentally active. And it turns out, you know, me training people and flow serves my needs and the environments needs and it also serves our customers needs, right, you get both. And so to me, the overlap is really important.

Greg Voisen
Do you believe from an economic standpoint, though, you know, if I was looked at Greg Mackinnon and his work with minimalism and people taking a more of a minimalist life style, again, our world is propagated with instant gratification by now get it add to, I just noticed the other day. It's like, you know, how much of these little plastic trinkets that people get no matter what it is at Christmas time ifmar, whatever, you know, is ending up in some landfill someplace. On top of the fact that we've got, you know, gases being emitted as a result of all of these landfills, comment on, if you would, this correlation between our consciousness, and how the powers that be, I'm not gonna say whether it's Facebook, Google, or trade name a mall, are infiltrating our world, Amazon to say, Bye bye bye bye bye, which we know that's having an impact on the distraction of our own consciousness and being more spiritually aware of people. Do you? Do you have any kind of comment about how we would break that tied to that? Well, so does that make sense?

Steven Kotler
Yeah, I know what you're, I know what you're saying. You're

Greg Voisen
trying to get it out, though.

Steven Kotler
You're, you're asking you're asking some good questions. So Greg, what I think two couple things. I mean, one, like you, we also it's also it is worth pointing out just because we've hated on the large tech companies a lot lately, that Amazon's recent commitment, you know, like, what Amazon is now doing for climate change, for conservation, for like, all these issues there, like they're starting to get in this game at a really big level Microsoft to you know what I mean? Like, if you, if you if you ask me, who's at the cutting edge of a lot of stuff, Microsoft, and you know what I mean? Like, because some of these companies have really, really figured some stuff out or, and are working hard on it. So you got to like, yes, we could put some fingers and you're right. But you also gotta take celebrate when you see some wins. But what I will say is you're talking about sort of materialistic culture and the by now by now by now, dopamine, dopamine loops, right? And it's interesting, because some, some of that is generational, right? Like we see less of it. In Gen. In Gen Z, Z, right? So the materialism is gone, is going away. So we are in that way, I also what I'm like, I don't necessarily know, if you're like you, we need dopamine to survive, right? Like, you're not gonna win. No, I always say that one a lot of life is addiction management, right? Because we were dopamine adult driven systems, because we're goal directed systems as humans, and that produces a lot of addictive behavior, including, you know, materialism shop, all that stuff. We, you know, so you like I always say that modern life is very much addiction management. And we don't like to talk about that, because addiction is dirty word. But especially with social media and the way it works, you really need to be like you need to know what's going on. I think like the cognitive literacy that it has been really important to me at the flourish Collective is for teaching people like, Hey, be aware of this is what dopamine feels like. This is how it interacts with your system. This is where that urge is coming from kind of thing. Here's how you sort of protect against it. That's part of it. But what I what I think is really much more hopeful, because I don't know how you like, can you get people to be better? I like you mentioned Bucky Fuller earlier. And you know, Bucky said, Don't try to change human behavior. It's been the same for so long go after the tool, change the environment, change the tools, better tools lead to better people, right. Yeah. So what I think is interesting is so for example, you mentioned the forest fire collective that I'm involved in, that you're working on, right? This is this a bunch of individuals, organizations, institutions, who are trying to just restore forest health and then catastrophic wildfire in the American West, one of the big things we're working on is ways to turn soft woody biomass, basically, the dead trees that are that are packing in our forests that we need to get out of our forests, so they don't burn. Can you turn that into bio plastics? And the answer is yes. And that closes a loop. And now we have recyclable biodegradable bio plastics that go back, you know, like the stuff I've seen around software, the biomass degrades in three months and goes back into the earth as is completely natural. So that's the stuff that excites you. We're seeing Cradle to Cradle manufacturing practices work circular economics. In fact, you know, it's so funny because, you know, every time a field gets involved in this after renamed, business has the ESG goals and, you know, environmentalists, we've been talking about circular economics forever. And now if you're an economist you talk about don't I'd economics, but they're all words for the same thing, which is like closing the loops in you know. So input streams from, you know, become waste streams become input stream. So, you know, if you're a company and you produce waste a waste product, it automatically becomes somebody else's input it gets turned into something else.

Greg Voisen
So instead you said Cradle to Cradle in the normal terminology was cradle to grave cradle

Steven Kotler
To grave cradle was William died is that I'm looking at looking at on my bookshelf, I think it's big data. Where's that? Where's his damn book? But yeah, Cradle to Cradle is the new is one of the new times their use?

Greg Voisen
Well, I get that look, if you look at Apple, or you look at Microsoft, you just mentioned that they've really gone a long way on recycling their products. What I don't know is when I take my old iPad to Apple, where that really goes, I haven't tracked that to

Steven Kotler
Slide. Yeah. And that was another, you know, technology, helping our challenges. The Internet of Things, as you know, is really, really being used for a lot of environmental purposes. Right. And I'll give you an example. There are now ways part of what has to happen for the forest fire Collective is we have to sort of reinvent sawmills. Because we need to process a lot of this wood sawmills are not the evil that we thought they were we obviously need to plant a ton of trees. But we also need to bring back sawmills in a more sustainable fashion along the lines of this. And there are ways now using Internet of Things trackers that they can track a tree, from the forest, all the way to like your home, the fall in the woods every step of the way. Oh, fascinating, right? So we're gonna start seeing that because I agree with you like, Yes, I you know, I recycle my computers and all that all that stuff. But like, where the hell is it going? There's a lot of heavy metals there. You know what I mean? A lot of our E waste, we are shipping

Greg Voisen
To Asia for years well, and then they

Steven Kotler
Then now they don't want any right now China said we don't want.

Greg Voisen
We don't want your waste. But again, this is a global problem. And you know, you've come to this part about empathy. And I can kind of wrap this up. There couldn't be anything more alive for me and present than, you know, rescuing little dogs and making them part of my world. And you said buddy soup project focuses on revolutionising the quality of hospice for dogs. My, my wife and I were talking about this, who's adopting those dogs that are in their last days of their life that wants to take care of them. And I was talking to some people at the dog park because we go there all the time. And the other thing is, I found a new product here, just for people that are listening and have dogs artificial turf that last 15 years that has no smell, then in the state of California, which the ridiculous reduction in water usage. Now the reduction of water usage leaving a non toxic chemical that gets sprayed on it, because the sprinklers put it out there, right. And I'm actually investing in this company, because I believe in what they're doing. Because you see 1000s of dog parks in these planned communities coming up with people trying to maintain and keep grasses green and then walk their dogs, they got a problem. They gotta have a place to go take the dogs, right. So tell us a little bit about this. This hospice care in the buddy suit.

Steven Kotler
You know, Greg that with the when my wife and I were in New Mexico, we ran Rancho de Chihuahua, which was a hospice care and special needs dog sanctuary rescue sanctuary. In our work in New Mexico was in we were working and living in a very poor rural community with very high incidence of animal cruelty. So sort of a frontline effort. We did that for about 15 years. And what came out of that work was first of all after 15 years on the front lines, you got to get off the front lines you'll go crazy, but was a healing protocol, an elder care protocol that is phenomenal. There's an overall movement in, in the vet world in a sense to double canine lifespan. They don't think that's too difficult applying sort of human standards of care to dogs, they think that's low hanging fruit, and we tend to agree, the work we've done, really sort of like some of its nutrition, some of its the way we care for our dogs, news flow, etc, etc. We will take dogs with late stage cancer and stage heart failure. You know, one eye three leg You know, all that stuff, and supposedly a month left to live right with a will get the dog in, they'll go to a vet, and the vet will say things like, don't get too attached, they'll probably get a pass away within a couple of months, just so you know, we hear this all the time. And then the dogs live five to 10 more years because our protocol works so well. So what we wanted to do was also in the same time frame that I'm talking about, we had the chance my wife more than me to tour some other hospice care facilities that are starting to pop up. And to put it bluntly, people are just doing it wrong. They have like, really basic stuff that to us, is being masked and some of the hospice facilities we've cared for, are really high stress environments for dogs and are not dogs are not going to flourish there. And so what we decided to do is to reboot, we've moved to Nevada, northern Nevada. And so we're, we're actually, the buddy Sue project is new. It's where we are in the process of fundraising for it right now to build it. But we're going to build a dedicated one, it's we're going to build a facility that I call the cohabitation project, human animal homeless tomorrow today. So the artificial grass you're talking about, we want indoor pet bathrooms for older dogs, among other things, soundproof walls, things like that cheaper furniture. We want to do that for our animals. But we're basically going to create this better facility and turn it into a YouTube channel. So we can give away the FCP, watch what we're doing. And we can give away the healing protocol to everybody. And in the end, what we want to start to do is the third stage of it. So stage one is build the facility and get that done. Stage two is of course, get the YouTube show going so people can start sharing this protocol. And stage three is create what basically like Tinder for that matches people, humans who have dogs, humans who are dying, who have dogs is a big problem. Right? Cool, right? You dying humans with small dogs, you know, like an elderly person who gets a chihuahua as a companion animal. That's a 22 years that to our lifespan is 20 to 25 years. Yeah, somebody's in their 80s and they're going to be gone by the time they're, they're 90. Their dogs gonna outlive them by 20 years and so a huge stressor to people humans in hospice care dying humans. Oh my God, what's going to happen to my dog? So we want to create a matching service between dying humans and adoptees who can take their dog

Greg Voisen
So as a county in for a donation to your Thank you, sir project, I send me an email we hang up. Because I'm a huge advocate of donate to a lot of things. Including, what is it Danny and Ron's rescue, I, that guy up in Oregon with the 25 acre ranch Asher, who's on Netflix, I'd love to see your YouTube channel. And for all my listeners will put a link for this as well. Because this is all about empathy. Right? Exactly. This is this is the kind of thing that will shift your consciousness about how you treat the whole world. I've always said that people that adopt dogs, at any stage are really true loving human beings and they become part of the family. You were talking about that earlier. And along that line. Go pick up this book, The Devil's Dictionary for a thrilling, the characters are rich. It's a nonfiction book about really how you now become more empathetic, how we shift the world, how we make this place a better place and solve some of these. I was being nice when we set up, it's gone sideways, but to really fix some of the problems. Hey, Steven, it's always a pleasure having you on. It's a pleasure. I could talk to you for hours because every time I get on here, I learned something new or hear something new. And that's the same thing for my listeners. I hope today. For everyone out listening. You've learned something new from Stephen. He's got this great book. We'll put a link to Amazon. We'll put a link to his website. We'll put a link does your new nonprofit for the dog thing? Do you have a link for it yet?

Steven Kotler
I will get you what we I'll get you an email that that yeah, that wiki so people who aren't because we are fundraising. So all the help that we can get.

Greg Voisen
I will definitely make a donation to your project. I'd love to do that. And those are passion projects. That's what you and your wife love doing. So Blessings to you. Any last thoughts as we kind of wrap this thing up?

Steven Kotler
No, I just I just want to thank you because this is I don't know how many we've done these together. I think five or six five or six. Yeah, you've been you've been useless. supportive and ask smart questions all the way through. And I've had fun discussion. So thank you.

Greg Voisen
Well, you're quite welcome. And I hope that you're feeling better. So tomorrow you can go back out on the skis don't fall, stay safe

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