If You Suffer From Depression or Anxiety, You Need to Watch This | Rainn Wilson on Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "If You Suffer From Depression or Anxiety, You Need to Watch This | Rainn Wilson on Impact Theory".
Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.
- Hey everybody, welcome to another episode of Impact Theory. I am here with legendary actor and activist, Rain Wilson. Rain, welcome to the show, man. Big it up, big it up, big it up. There it is. Yeah, buddy. It is so good to have you back, man. - Hey, it's great to talk to you again. I really enjoyed our conversations back in the day when I was kind of more actively with Soul Pancake and on your first show and hearing your life journeys always inspiring and congratulations on the success of your show. It's great to be here. - Thank you, man. I am so in awe of the way that you move through the world and really excited to have you back. One thing I wanna talk about that I think you're doing really well is this is such a crazy time for people, stress, anxiety and all of that. You don't eschew the sort of messiness of the real world. You're in it trying to find a way to do something that matters to you, to the world. And that is so cool to see you leverage purpose and service as a way through any difficult time. And I know recently you've started talking about your struggles with anxiety and depression and I would love to jump into that and just understand more about how you've found a way out of it.
Mental Health And Human Existence
Society's Taboo w Mental Health (01:10)
- Yeah, thank you for saying that and for bringing that up. So there's a number of different fields that I'm interested in besides the whole writing, acting, producing, directing kind of Hollywood stuff, which comes and goes, has its ups and downs. But one is my wife and I do all this work in Haiti with girls' education, I'm really passionate about that. I've been doing a bunch of stuff about climate change. I think we'll talk a little bit about that. But this is another one that I'm really an issue that I'm really passionate about, which is mental health. And so I have this company, Soul Pancake, that I co-founded. And we did last year a documentary about mental health called Laughing Matters. And it's comedians talking about their struggles with mental health 'cause there's a link between comedy and anxiety and comedy and depression, as you know, with Robin Williams and there's addiction issues and all kinds of stuff in that area. So it was really an honor to be able to explore that. But this issue is so huge. In fact, I would say that there's a handful of issues that are kind of the most important in the world as I see them. And we've got racism is a huge one. Climate change is another one. But mental health, especially with young people, is huge. It's off the charts. When you start looking at the numbers, it's a very simple Google search. I won't repeat them for you right now, but you can just type in suicide, anxiety, depression, young people, teenagers, et cetera. And you see that suicides have gone up by a third over the last 15 years. The number of teens, Gen Zers, 20-somethings, suffering from depression and anxiety and loneliness, loneliness is through the roof. This is one of the biggest issues that they're dealing with on college campuses. The numbers are the stories. Was that even before COVID kicked off? Oh yeah, oh yeah, this is terrifying. It's been for years and older people like ourselves, Gen Xers or boomers, like really have no idea how deep this shit runs, 'cause it is very, very real. A lot of lives have been touched by it. So this is one of the things that I'm really passionate about and been working with SoulPancake on some content around. But yeah, through the course of this, I've spoken about my own personal struggles with this. And I guess for me, one of the things that's central to this discussion is that for any young person who feels like they're depressed or they're suicidal or they're anxious, you feel like you're the only one in the world feeling that way. You really, there's a certain measure of isolation that goes with the disease of mental illness where you feel no one else could possibly understand what I'm going through. So it's really important for people, for speakers, thinkers, writers, celebrities, to speak about their struggles. This has really helped people as I've gone along. So yeah, so, you know, I don't know how much I wanna get into specifics, but I will say that, you know, when I got out of college, I was really lost for many years. I suffered from severe anxiety attacks. I would get anxiety attacks where I would be on the subway in New York City, like shaking. And I was afraid that people were gonna think that I was like a crack addict 'cause I was like sweating, kind of sweating right now, actually, but that's more from the LA weather. But, you know, I would be shaking and sweating on the subway, panicking, days I couldn't get out of bed. Sometimes I would just fall to the ground. These came and went for years. Sometimes they would be attached to a thing. So all of a sudden it would get attached to flying. And then I would have this terrible fear of flying. Then it would go away from flying and then it would be enclosed spaces and I would get it around enclosed spaces. Then it would just kind of randomly happen.
Acting, talk shows, and anxiety (06:04)
- How did you, as an actor on the stage, how did you deal with that? - That's gotta be a pretty big trigger to literally be on stage in front of people. - Yeah, yeah. In fact, it was a big deal. It never happened on stage, but I would get that fear, you know that, when you get that cold, chilled ice water in your veins, like heart thumping fear, like, oh shit, this thing is about to happen. I would get that terror that I was on the stage because I was did theater for 10 years before I came to LA and eventually did the office. So I did a lot of different plays, a lot of different styles of acting characters. And I was terrified that one of these days I was gonna seize up on stage, forget all my lines and start shaking and sweating. - Do you have a guess as to why it didn't happen? - Well, I think that it's like people who stutter. Like I have a couple friends that stutter. And when they're acting, they don't stutter. - Wow. - The actors who stutter. So in real life, they stutter. And when they're on stage playing characters, they don't stutter. So what is that about? There's a certain part of the brain that you're using. There's a certain consciousness and focus that you're bringing to the words that you're saying that I think allow you to not stutter and to not succumb to panic attacks. But I was gonna say jumping ahead, this all came back years later when I started doing talk shows. And I had, this sounds crazy. It sounds absolutely nuts, but I started having a debilitating fear of doing talk shows. This is like in the, when I started doing the office, the early 2000s, you know, this was, I did my first one in like 2005, 2006, between like 2006, 2010, right in there. And when the office was just taking off and I was doing Conan O'Brien back when he was at Rockefeller Center and stuff like that. And I would not sleep the night before. I would have night terrors and I would have a debilitating fear of freezing on camera, not having anything to say. And just kind of shutting down and even stuff happening with my body. So I actually, it never actually happened, but I would have to like work on my material. Talk shows are a really weird thing. Now this is different, we're just having a conversation. But a talk show with a live studio audience that's being taped. And then that, what's being taped is just gonna be fed through. And this was back in the day when people were actually watching network television. And there was actually one episode. I need to find it somewhere. It's in the annals of the YouTube videos that no one cares about or watches anymore. It was like me on J. Leno in 2008 or something like that. And I told him about my fear of talk shows and that my therapist wanted me to act out having a nervous breakdown on national television. And I actually did it almost as like a skit. And people thought like, is this supposed to be funny? Is this real? It had a little bit of a Charlie Kaufman. It's really, you weren't sure what you're supposed to think. But I literally went on the floor on J. Leno's show and I was like shaking and like, oh. And I said, thank you so much. This was so therapeutic because I went through my biggest fear which was having an anxiety attack on a talk show. - I have to see that interview now. That is crazy. Did it actually help? Like was there something therapeutic? Like was it exposure therapy or? - You know, it did help a little bit. It showed me the absurdity of like rain. You're not gonna be seized by tremors and have giant flop sweat and shake, you know, in a fetal position on the floor of a national talk show. It's just, it's not gonna happen. It didn't completely go away. It's not like I was magically cured after that, but it definitely took a step in the right direction. - And have you had a process beyond that? Like meditation or cold plunges, anything to help with that? Or is it just over time you've done so many of them that now it's not as troublesome? - You're so 20/20 meditation and cold plunges. - That really is a timestamp. - Those are actually are great tools. You know, I've done a lot of work around it and a lot of therapy and meditation. I do meditate every day.
Gestalt Therapy (10:47)
- Talk to you about the therapy. Is the therapy exposure therapy or is it talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy? Like what was actually useful? As somebody who has struggled profoundly with anxiety, I find the breakthroughs of people have had to be super useful. - Well, generally I'm a big proponent of therapy because my parents didn't know how to talk about emotions, let alone to teach me about how to process feelings that my wiring was all screwed up by the time I got to my 20s. That's what I was finding out. It's like my internal wiring. So it took me years, unfortunately I was making enough money as an actor that I could afford therapy and I had pretty good healthcare, so that helps. But the process of learning about how feelings work, you know, and they need to be expressed and they need to be felt. And, you know, if you're sad, you need to cry and you need to let it out and you need to do self-care and allow yourself to be sad and process that. So you had a guy, a young adult, with all these unprocessed feelings. Then you factor various addictions in on that as well. You know, there was my drinking phase, drugs phase, porn phase, gambling phase, you name it, whatever I could kind of become addicted to at the time. Trying to soothe those feelings that were not being expressed, trying to numb them, trying to escape them through taking things into my body and into my senses. That didn't help. Generally, just learning about how feelings work was very helpful. The guy I've been working with for the last six to eight years, he does a thing called Gestalt Therapy, which is very interesting. It was very big in one of the 50s or 60s and it kind of waned, but it's really interesting. So some people do call it like the empty chair work and that's essentially Gestalt Therapy. So for instance, there's the part of me that's debilitated by anxiety. So that, according to Gestalt Therapy, is a character that resides in me. I have a lot of different, there's a chorus of voices, a chorus of characters that reside in each one of us. You simply engage in a conversation with that character. So it's this kind of actors actually do really well with it. It's kind of like role-playing. So you have myself, there's the therapist over here and there's an empty chair. So I'm me, then I have a conversation with my anxious guy. I'm like, tell me about yourself. I remember sometimes I've been just debilitated by anxiety. I couldn't move. I was tongue-tied sweating in panic attacks. I was like, who are you and what are you about that you kind of take me over in that way? And then I get, you literally get up and you walk over and you sit in that other chair and you talk back to the empty chair, that guy talking back to rain, to reasonable rain. And that guy, you don't know what's gonna come out. You don't try and plan it. You just try and just, it's like improv. You just step into the shoes of that person. And by the way, you can do this all with writing too. You can just do conversations by writing and some people take to that a lot more easily. And then that guy might say, like, you know you're a piece of shit and nobody likes you. And so you're terrified of being found out as a total fraud and unlovable. And so I'm there to protect you. And if that happens, like, I'm gonna protect you and I'm gonna seize you up and I'm gonna overwhelm you so that I'm just, by the way, I don't know that any of this that I'm saying is the truth. I'm just giving an example. - No, it's super helpful. - And you can do that with all of these different characters in your head and then they cease to have that as much control because they're not these characters swimming in the sea of our unconscious that sometimes leap out with their tentacles and grab on and control us. They're much more like, oh, when you hear that voice, you start to feel the anxiety like, oh, there's Mr. Anxiety Guy again.
Stories about anxiety. (15:07)
Or you try and control him. He's like, oh, there's my control freak. I wonder what he's trying to control. Or there's my reactive guy going again. It kind of allows that kind of distance to know that I don't have to be a victim to these characters that live within me. - There's a concept, I forget, a really famous negotiator, I'm forgetting his name, but he talked about a similar concept where he said you go to the balcony. So you're going to the balcony to get that distance, to be looking down in yourself so that you can be more objective in the situation and really figure out what is true, what's not true, and talk yourself down as it were. It's interesting, that's a really powerful, I've never done it, but that sounds like a super powerful way to begin to develop self-awareness, which is certainly what a lot of people struggle with. The interesting thing for me is I didn't have anxiety when I was a kid, but I was woefully unself-aware. And then as I began to develop self-awareness, I began to have thoughts about, oh, what do people think of me? Am I going to make a fool of myself? And that was sort of planting those first seeds of anxiety, but then you sort of become blind to yourself again, of not understanding like what's really driving this, and that notion of learning to process through your emotions, I think is really, really powerful. So we've got the empty chair technique, we've got journaling, which that certainly is something closer to what I do. I've found journaling to be incredibly powerful. Have there been other breakthrough moments for you? And I'm asking you particularly in the context of service and faith. So between the Baha'i faith, and if there's anything there around that about the nature of life, and maybe stillness, or something, I'm obviously guessing, but, and then service, you know, seeing how actively you pursue mattering purpose. I wonder if any of that is tied up in into getting to the other side of anxiety and depression. - Yeah, that's, yeah, we haven't even got to the depression part, but the, so my personal faith, a member of the Baha'i faith, has definitely inspired this idea that we rise to our maximum potential when we're of service to others. And not only our maximum potential, but our greatest usefulness, and living in that potential and usefulness, gives us the most kind of rich human satisfaction. And I know for me, 'cause I spent a long time, when I first started getting famous, various points in time, just trying to satisfy myself, and my ego, and I was miserable.
I wish I knew this 20 years ago... (17:50)
In fact, they do studies on happiness, and this is part of mental health, is you can, I'm sure you've had some happiness experts on, but there's so many books about it, and the whole field of positive psychology is a really exciting field. It just started in the 90s. And when I was going to college, there was no such field as positive psychology. Now there's thousands of books about it, and they're really exciting, but one of the things that is 100% true in positive psychology is irrefutable, that one of the worst ways to achieve happiness, or contentment, whatever you wanna call it, is through materialism. And yet we live in a culture that tells you over and over and over again. If you get this car, if you get this amount of money, if you have this amount of success, this amount of fame, this amount of promotion, then you will be happy. You will achieve happiness once you get to that certain level. And yet, the pursuit of that, the pursuit of like, I need to make 165,000 a year to be happy, or I need to own the new Tesla to be happy, or once I get this kind of girlfriend or spouse or whatever, then I'll be happy. The pursuit of kind of a materialistic view of happiness has an inverse effect. It decreases your happiness, it makes you less healthy. And you can do, again, I don't have the exact specifics on the tip of my tongue, it's a simple Google search. And conversely, happiness, contentment, self enrichment, I always talk about eudemonia, eudemonia. You've probably heard about that and talked about that before, I think we spoke about it before. The idea that the ancient Greeks had a word for happiness called eudemonia, which is human flourishing. And I love that umbrella concept. What creates the largest human flourishing? Let's focus on that. Forget happiness, human flourishing. But from the Baha'i faith, from the study of positive psychology, helping others, being of service, maximizing how much you matter, actually is the number one cause of human flourishing. So I just, when I kind of get into my shit of like, oh, I'm not acting as much as I should be, or people only know me as Dwight, or I'll never have a career again, or I need X show to make X amount of money so that I can go on X vacation, or something, when I get into that whole stuff, which that comes and goes every week, it's kind of like, how can I be of service? How can I help people? How can I take the skills that God has given me, that nature has given me, and put those to their best possible use? So I let that be, I try, and let that be a guiding light in my life. - Yeah, that to me is really interesting, 'cause it jives with what I'll call sort of the physics of being human, you know, when you think about, and I know that one thing you don't love is reducing things that feel a little, that I wanna be true to your words, that are sort of a spiritual, God-inspired moment, like holding your child for the first time.
The 'Physics of Being Human': A Process of Human Flourishing? (21:26)
For me, I share that same sense of wonder and beauty, but for me, I love recognizing it as the neurochemistry, you know, just like the cocktail of what's going on in your brain that it is, but with that same reverence and awe that you bring to it. So understanding, like, the physics of being human is when, because we're a social creature, you have this natural reward that's built in when you are using a set of skills that you have worked to build up, and now you're helping not only yourself, but you're helping somebody else. And when I think about human flourishing and eudomonia, that to me feels like that magic cocktail where you will, whether you want to or not, you will get a burst of feel-good chemistry when you start heading down that path. And so that is, again, one of the things that I find so interesting about you is there seems like this through line in your life of even at the height of fame for you, I feel like you'd be leveraging that to do something for other people as well. And that gives this sort of equilibrium. That's from the outside, I'm sure that it feels differently from the inside, but from the outside, it has that through line that seems to provide a lot of sort of emotional stability. And when I put it in the context of what we're all going through now, in this time of isolation, where I'm sure a lot of people are really struggling, is service something that you think will see people through? And how in this time can they leverage that? What can they do to reach out and feel more useful and connected? - Yeah, so, and by the way, I just wanna go back to a little bit about what you said about the physics of being a human being. Whether you're an atheist materialist, and I'm talking about the use of the word materialist, not as accruing material items, but just seeing the world as molecules, or whether you're a spiritual person that believes that there's some larger force at work beyond time and space, some creator, let's call it God, whatever. Spirituality works through dopamine, spirituality works through endorphins, and the reward system in the brain, and it works through physics. So it's like when people, there was a scientist who, in the last decade, discovered like a point in the brain where people would have religious and spiritual epiphanies and say, "Aha, I've disproved spirituality "because I actually found the point in the brain "where people experience spirituality, "and this disproves it." That's like, no, of course not you idiot, this is where in material bodies, when we see beauty, we experience it through the eyes, when we hear something beautiful, we experience it through the ear and then there's neurons flashing around in the brain, so it all works harmoniously, the physical, the spiritual, it all is combined. So going back to service, yeah, so there's selfish reasons to do service, I wanna do service 'cause it makes me feel good, but even if you look at human flourishing a little bit broader than that, there are other reasons to, there are other ways to flourish. It beyond just like, oh, I'm getting a nice dopamine rush because I helped this homeless person out, and that is also, and the other component to service is like, look around, look around at the world because things are fucked up right now. They always have been, you have those authors, like Pinker and other people that are like, oh, the world is great, we've had less wars and less deaths than we've ever had, yeah, okay, I get it. However, just go talk to one of the billion people in the planet that are going to bed hungry every night, and okay, you may be, it used to be two billion, 80 years ago, but people are hurting, there's systemic racism, there's climate change coming, there's economic injustice everywhere, and so the other reason to do service is to try and make the world a better place because we need it, and if you wanna maximize your compassion for others, then you want to devote yourself to trying to uplift and help other people just because it's good for the species and good for the planet. It's also good for your human flourishing on a micro level as a human being, and it's your human flourishing on a macro level.
Striving to Make the World a Better Place: Part of the Twofold Moral Purpose (26:13)
We have these two paths, in the behind faith, there's a, it's called the twofold moral, you have a twofold moral purpose, we refer to it. You try and make yourself a better person, so part of my goal, Tom, as I go through life is I wanna be a better person, what does that mean? I want to reflect more of the qualities of the divine, and you can call them leadership traits or character, virtues or whatever you wanna call it, it's fine. For me, I'm gonna look at it in that sense. I wanna be more kind, I wanna be more compassionate, I wanna be more patient, I wanna be more honest, I wanna be more giving, I wanna be more loving. I battle with this stuff every day, it's not like, I don't have it all figured out by any means, ask my wife, but I wanna, I'm working on this path, and I'm also working to make the world a better place, I wanna make myself a better place, and I wanna make the world a better place. And if I hitch my wagons to those two pursuits, going back to anxiety, going back to depression, going back to loneliness, I truly believe that's the answer, that's the way out of any kind of mental illness, like I wanna make myself a better person, I wanna make the world a better place, and everything that I'm doing, I've got these two chariots, and I'm going down this road, or I'm going down this road, or I'm going down both together. - Yeah, I'm with you on that, this, when I think about what we're going through now, and like you were talking about, loneliness was epidemic before we came into the pandemic, so how do you begin to deal with sort of the really overwhelming sense of being lonely and disconnected as you get into a time like this? And I think you're right on the money, I think that having established your value system, that's actually a really powerful insight, and I'd be very curious to hear more about what your value system is, and if you have sort of intentionally documented that, or if it's you're playing by ear, but having a value system, living by it, you're calling it sort of traits of the divine, and I think we're saying the same thing, just like you said, I use maybe slightly different words, so leveraging that we're a social creature that will get rewards by trying to uplift the group, right? So by doing things like that, you are going to start to feel better, you are gonna start to feel more connected.
Activating our Inner Hero -- the Traits of the Divine (28:31)
How have you given that we're still physically distancing, how have you done that? Is it the reach outs that you do on social media over Zoom or Skype, or do you have techniques that are working well for you to allow you to serve, allow you to connect? - How have I done it in the pandemic? I don't know that I've been very successful, you know? Honestly, I've tried to increase my prayer and meditation, increase kind of gratitude. I'm sure you've spoken to people about gratitude on your show, but gratitude is the number one tool of positive psychology, and it's really the number one tool of people of faith when you think about it, because when you're praying, you're giving thanks to the divine. You know, you're saying God is great, you allow Akbar, however you wanna look at God or the divine and saying, "Thank you for this beautiful day, "or thank you for the stuff I have, "or thank you for me being alive "and having my senses today." So, increasing gratitude is a huge help in increasing happiness and human flourishing. So, my tendency is to get very dark and cynical, and I can look at what I... Well, I think anyone that's on this path has gone through dark and cynical times, and you may not perceive me as that, but I can be pretty pessimistic. So, it takes a lot of work for me to counter my natural impulse. I would say my natural impulse, and a lot of people's natural impulse, who's for self-satisfaction, pleasure, increased status, increased comfort, kind of pessimism, things aren't gonna work out, negativity. So, I've had to do all this work to counter that. You know what I mean? Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill, but gratitude is... Is that who Sisyphus was, or did he get the fire? No, that was ignorant. No, Sisyphus... I don't know if I'm missing my... You were right on the money. Sisyphus pushed the rock up the hill. I was, all of a sudden, I was like, did I get my... Did I fuck up my Greek mythology metaphors here? But one thing, again, that positive psychology in the study of mental health issues shows us is we need connectivity. Yes, we need it for increased endorphins, and dopamine, but we need it to thrive, and this is a very difficult time. So, how do we make community? I just try and do social distancing with friends with Starbucks and have a coffee from six feet away. Do that a couple times a day. Play some tennis, get outside, connect with nature. I don't know that I'm being very successful, but again, so we talked, our Western society in 2020 is trying to convince us that buying stuff and a crewing stuff will make us happier. We're being fooled by this as we spend hours a day. You know, when you get the weekly updates of how much time you spend on your screen, and you're just like, oh my God, what the hell am I doing? So, trying to put the phone away whenever I can, and increase the connectivity. Yeah, I think wise moves, wise moves for sure. Do you, when you're working with your son, do you think about it any differently given the age that he's going through this at? Are you recommending the same things for him? I know there's a lot of parents out there right now that are struggling with the same thing. You know, we all thought this was going to be brief, and this has become, I mean, this is crazy. On so many levels, this is crazy. Yeah, my son is 15, almost 16, and it's brutal for teenagers right now. I really, truly think they have it the worst, and the parents of teenagers. We only have one. You can imagine having being a parent of three teenagers or something like that. It's because all teenagers want to do is be with other teenagers, and they can't. And you may think, you know, a Zoom classroom kind of scratches that itch a little bit, but it's not panacea toward that. So it's incredibly trying. I went camping with him. We went six days out in the wilderness. I don't have any answers around this. It's really tough, and my heart really goes out to the, you know, the single mom with two or three or four kids during this time, it's brutal. This is a real test. So as you walk us through what's going on, how you're leveraging service, and how powerful that can be to help people at pretty much any point in their life, when I look at the ways that you have done that from creating soul pancake to just entertaining people, and now moving into what you're doing with climate change, super curious to know and what you're doing in Haiti, and trying to empower women through the arts. I mean, it's really a pretty extensive resume of cool things that you've done to be of service. Walk me through what you're doing now with the climate change.
Service through Climate Change and Climate Science (34:36)
I think it's really interesting because you framed it as, I don't know shit about it, but I'm not afraid to go discover and like really take myself out there and just take you guys along on the journey, which I love because so many people will dismiss something like that saying, well, I don't know about it. So you sort of being the pied piper of, well, let's go discover it together. What made you pick that? Is that a general technique that you use of just like, hey, I'm just gonna go learn? - Well, so you use the tools that you have to try and make yourself better and to make the world a better place as we talked about. And one thing I really haven't known very much about, and I was just a slacktivist, it's just a keyboard, social justice warrior was about climate change. Just kind of like reading an article about how terrible climate change is, posting it on my Twitter, then a bunch of people are like, oh, that's bullshit, it doesn't exist. The weather's always been changing. That's when I really love. Yeah, not like this, not over 100 years, over 20,000 years, sure the weather's been changing, not over 120 years, idiot. So I was doing the minimum. I was, yeah, I have an electric car and I was tweeting about it, that's the minimum. So I was like, how do I use my platform? How do I use my voice to not only get the message across, but for me to learn more about it, I need to get off my fat ass and actually do something. So fortunately, I have a lot of young office fans who loved white and they also know me as kind of an idiot and I can just be coarse and uncouth and weird and sloppy and offbeat and these are my qualities. So how do I harness that?
The Idiots Guide to Climate Change with Rain and Dr. M. Valman (36:16)
I started to get to know these scientists, especially this one Dr. Gail Weitman, who's an amazing, amazing social scientist who studies climate change. And so she kind of interacts with climate science and climate scientists and connects them to municipalities, cities, governments, big business, the government of the Netherlands and to about effects of climate change and what we can do and whatnot. And she was like, we're going up to Greenland, there's a bunch of scientists I know up there come meet me. We shot this whole series on SoulPancake's YouTube channel called an Idiot's Guide to Climate Change. That's where people can find it. We've done five of the six episodes that aired so far. The sixth is airing very soon. And it's a, we shot the whole thing for like $67,000. The entire thing. Like I just did this Amazon show called Utopia that's coming out soon. And that's like, it's literally like the mustache wig budget for that show. I mean, we did it for super cheap, but for me, it's like get off your butt and actually do something. A, learn about the science. We can all learn about the science. It's not that hard. It's all right there. And communicate about the science. One of the failings in the whole journey, humanity's journey around climate changes, the scientists have really failed us. Up until about 10 years ago. Scientists always, because academia is so messed up and just how academia works. And that's a whole other conversation. Scientists really viewed it as their role to research and discover data and post their data. And that's it. They would write, they would see these warning signs that humanity is headed for the precipice. And they'd type up their data and they put it in, you know, the journal of science. And that's it, I'm done. Do I get my raise? Do I get my tenure? Do I get to transfer? I published this thing. Can I go to another college university? Again, so these scientists are not viewing their duty and their role to their, being a member of the human species, the information that they have been accumulating. Remember that we've had this information about climate change since the late '70s and early '80s. You know, we had, that when you can go back and look at studies from like 1982, I forget which one. And we're exactly on track, exactly on track with what scientists were discovering in 1982 in the Reagan years, back when both the Republicans and the Democrats thought that this was a great threat, back when it was not so polarized. So scientists need to share their data more forcefully and in different ways to help us move forward. 'Cause now we have this whole science, anti-science kind of thing going on. And it's partially the fault of academia. So I've been rambling, but anyways, there you have it. - Not at all, man. It's interesting to see your thought process and to see what you get interested in. And one, I love tackling the big challenges you listed at the beginning of the interview. Like here are the big things that I think are really going on. And so to see you in there, not accepting the deviation from your own value system. So it's like, hey, I feel like I should be doing something about this. So I'm gonna get off my ass. I'm gonna go do something. I don't know about it, but I'm not afraid to learn. I'm also not afraid to look stupid, which I think is incredibly important. And so going in and your challenge to not letting things be so divisive, I think is really important. I fear it seems to be falling on deaf ears, but I would love to amplify that notion of people really looking at what works and just being obsessed. Elon Musk said it best for me when it comes to climate change. Like, are humans causing climate change? I almost don't care what the answer is. It is a really stupid experiment. Since we know that we have to find an alternative to fossil fuels, burning through them all and sending carbon dioxide into the atmosphere until the bitter end, not knowing if that's going to be a problem, just seems like a really stupid experiment. And I thought that is the perfect way to look at this.
Needing to move on from fossil fuels (41:07)
There's no great outcome here. So putting your time and energy into solving, or not forget saying it like solving the problem, just moving to something that is renewable is certainly the obvious answer. And so when people begin to entrench and it becomes us versus them, I'm on this side or that side, it's like I'm on the side of what works. I always want to be on the side of what works, what is our goal, what's actually moving us towards our goal, and that you can always count me on that team. And if I realize I've been running in the wrong direction, and there's data to show me that I'm running in the wrong direction, then I'm happy to switch it up. And trying to get people excited about that idea, like be data driven, what is your goal, and are we marching towards that goal yes or no? And if you're making progress, if you can state your goal and you're willing to state it, your goal is, I will say honorable, it should be both exciting and honorable so that you can get people behind it, and that in getting people behind it, you're actually making things better for the world. So if you have an exciting and honorable goal, then you just ask, are we actually moving towards that or away from that? And if we could get people excited about that, instead of excited about I'm on this team, and I just dunked on somebody on Twitter and made them look a fool, I think would be in a much better position, but that would require people to do what you're doing, which is go out and say, look, I don't know about this, but I'm gonna go learn. And that to me is exciting, man, it was so neat to see you do that. And as always, your content is quality, your personality is beyond disarming. So it's a great ride.
Current Projects And Social Media Usage
On social media and his latest projects (42:43)
Where do you want people engaging with you and all the cool stuff that you're up to these days? - Well, they can certainly check out an idiot's guide to climate change on the SoulPancake YouTube channel and follow me on the social media. I'm working on a book on all of this stuff, so eventually hopefully you're here. - Do we have a loose title? - It's a terrible title. My working title is the worst working title and I feel horrible, but it, and it's, I don't even remember what it is now. - Well, the last one, I remember the soon King, so you definitely have a tall order to top that. - My life story is in my memoir that came out four or five years ago, The Bassoon King, that's a good laugh, but my new book is something like the upcoming spiritual revolution or something like. - Oh shit. - It's kind of like, how do we harness the power of spirituality to change the world, going all the way back to the Bhagavad Gita, to the Vedas, to the Upanishads, to the writings of the Buddha, to the Bible, the Quran, are there tools in there that can make us better people and make the world a better place, so? - I love him, man, that's awesome. Well, I cannot wait to see what you put together on that. I certainly have enjoyed the last two books of yours that I read, so I'm about it, can't wait. - Excellent, Tom, great talking to you again, man. - Dude, same, everybody, this man is not only funny, but he has got a just absolute treasure trove of insights, so I highly encourage you to spend time, read his books, check out his content, all of it, it's amazing, and if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe here as well, and until next time, my friends, be legendary, take care. - I think that trying to generate your own material will not only maybe you'll get it, maybe it'll also give you a better sense of what it is that you want to do.