Do you want to optimize your life? Start your morning with a kale-garlic-ginger smoothie, or better yet, meditate and fast until noon. Next, hit the gym for your mixed martial arts workout and take a cold shower to activate your immune system. Then plan this summer’s vision quest: Maybe you’ll head to the jungles of Peru, where a shaman will brew you some mescaline-laced psychedelic tea — don’t worry; the intense nausea means you’re grasping new dimensions of reality.

    Next, read a book on evolutionary psychology to remind yourself that you’re just a social primate with genetically programmed urges. Then read some Stoic philosophy to control those urges. Take ownership of your day and soon enough you’ll be a millionaire, running your own lifestyle coaching empire.


This article falls well short of endorsement, but flirts with it throughout. I understand the tension. It can be grating to hear how un-self-aware Tim Ferriss sounds when he describes ideal Bay Area living (or drifts into rank hucksterism).

That said, these "podcast bros" have hit upon something. I am constantly surprised by the people that tell me they listen to Joe Rogan--not just the sheer number, but the variety of occupations, lifestyles, and identities. Maybe it's as the author puts it, "All this continues a long American tradition of self-help and creative, market-minded spirituality." But to highlight a commenter's words:

    I challenge anyone here to sit down and watch a ten minute CNN panel after listening to a few of Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris, or Jocko Willink's discussions with scientists, investors, veterans, or athletes for a week. It will be a nearly unbearable ordeal. More numerous than those disaffected by traditional faith are those who seek alternatives to the purely commercial and manufactured news outlets of the 80's.

    Nonetheless, this piece brings up an important point: that long-form podcasting has (surprisingly) brought evolutionary biology and psychology (among other things) into the spotlight, helping millions make peace with their inner drives by considering the potential good and evil that they can unleash depending on cultural constraints. This is far from spiritual revelation, but it is an important sphere of thought that conventional media in unable to address due to its program format.

posted by blackbootz: 315 days ago