Eric Weinstein: Difficult Conversations, Freedom of Speech, and Physics | Lex Fridman Podcast #163

My Notes

  • EW does wonder about extraterrestrial life.
  • EW finds that speculating about aliens is a recreation for when things are not going very well.
  • It gives us some meaning and purpose in our lives.

The Simulation Hypothesis is taking over from Religion. You can't believe enough to go to church on the weekend so then you simply take up an interest in the Simulation Theory because that might be something you do for your job (coding). We do not have an idea about all the different ways we can use to visit distant worlds. We should not think only about breaking the speed of light. We don't know the framework. We need to start thinking about more temporal dimensions. Almost all the work we do is a Euclidean signature and then there's this case of Relativity Theory in physics that uses this one time and the rest spatial dimensions. It is usually momentary looking at space.

3 kinds of important equations in modern physics

  • Elliptic
  • Hypebolic
  • Parabolic
  • We are amusing ourselves because we are not making progress.
  • The Pentagon releasing UFO-related footage: they opened the door for every stupid theory known to man. My aunt saw a ghost will now be more acceptable.
  • Whoever is in charge of misleading the public - they need a cost function that incorporates the damage in trust.
  • People will not know what to think.
  • EW is tired of authorities playing games with what we can know.
  • We don't seem to have a clue about who might have the ball.
  • EW thinks that there's no government is in a state of decay since 1945. There's a lack of coordination and everything is getting less coherent.

On the importance of keeping track of things

  • Your house doesn't keep updating its plans. As people are doing modifications, they don't record why they were doing what they were doing.
  • We have a system in which the people who inherited the structures have no idea why their grandparents developed them.
  • Electronic & digital speech makes any other type of speech irrelevant.
  • Tech dwarfs previous forms of communication.
  • 30-40-year-old people have never seen functional institutions.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk
and being an adult

  • We have man-childs running the Bay Area.
  • Elon might be the closest thing we have to an adult.
  • An adult is someone who weights things, speaks carefully, thinks about the future beyond their own life-span, someone who has a decent idea on how to get things done, someone who is not wildly caught up in punitive actions and more focused on breaking new ground. When Elon Musk found out he is the richest person in the world: How strange Well, back to work ...
  • There is yet no known solution to regulate so many people with the ability to connect and communicate non-locally.
  • Locality was part of the implicit nature of speech inside the Constitution.
  • If you think about speech as a bundle, this now got unbundled.
  • How do you abstract the bundle into the Digital Era?
  • We do not dare to ask if the First Amendment really applies in the Modern Era in the same way or if we have to work through an abstraction.
  • We are constantly looking backward.
  • We do not have smart conversations on a national level.

On FU Money

  • If you can live on rice and beans, you are noncancellable because you are always rich relative to your needs.
  • FU money protects everything that you care about. It is not only about you. As the responsibility grows, the FU money requirement to protect your surroundings is going to increase as well.
  • There's no place where we can actually talk except long-form podcasts.
  • Joe Rogan is not part of the system. He is noncancellable.
  • Joe Rogan is one of the few people with FU money who actually said FU.

The Academia

  • We have a war on Academic freedom. The idea of Academic freedom was that you will have the freedom of a billionaire, on a much smaller salary. We ushered in peer review, which was a disaster. We lost funding. This results in a world in which there's no ability to get people to say no.
  • Top minds value their intellectual freedom, their physical and economic security at a different level than other human beings.
  • It is hard to destroy podcasts. What they will do instead is try to destroy reputations.
  • Reputation attacks is too powerful of a tool to hand it to CNN, MSNBC, Princeton, Harvard etc.
  • I don't see why people who have good ideas have to lead lives that clean.
  • You should be able to be messy, otherwise, we are suppressing too many people.
  • Can you believe Elon Musk smoked a blunt? OMG OMG OMG
  • One should be able to have consensual drug-filled orgies. FU perfect life.
  • Respectability is the unique prison where all of the gates are open and the inmates beg to stay inside.
  • We should not be brought under pressure to disavow our friends and family members.
  • It is not a good idea to constantly push to isolate people.
  • Everybody is entitled to a hypocrisy/mendacity budget.
  • If the worst person in the world proves a mathematical theorem, we cannot undo the theorem.
  • We have to get past the idea that we are going to purge ourselves of our badness. We are destroying ourselves trying to find perfection. Is Amazon evil because it will sell you Mein Kampf?

Curtis Yarvin
Curtis Yarvin

  • Smart people discuss
    Curtis Yarvin
    Curtis Yarvin
    in hushed tones.
    Curtis Yarvin
    Curtis Yarvin
    had made very interesting points, provocative points.
  • Smart people associate CY as the person who has made these points and they treat the completely foolish stuff that he says and that's super-dangerous as this is just CY
  • He is a First-Principles type of thinker.
  • CY enjoys the freedom to say dangerous things.
  • CY is theatrical & a troll.

On Innovation

  • Innovation is like dessert. You can have dessert after you solve the problem of the main course. And the main course is a bunch of insoluble problems. We can get into innovation after we perfect ourselves.
  • We are going to kill each other if we do not grow. Growth is like an immune system. You always have pathogens present but if you don't have growth present, you can't fight the pathogens in your society.
  • We have got to make sure that we understand why diversity is potentially really important.
  • Ashkenazi Jews (like Lex and Eric) are good at technical stuff. Chinese, Japanese & Indians are good at technical stuff as well.
  • Playing music feels a lot like doing physics (for Eric). He believes that one of the things that is true is that the analytic contributions of African-Americans to music are probably fungible to science.

On crypto and the economy

  • I pretend to be an economist hoping that the economists will take issue that I'm not an economist so that I can advance gauge-theoretic and field-theoretic economics which the economics profession has failed to acknowledge was a major innovation that happened approximately 25 years ago.
  • The economy is curved, not flat.
  • Gold is a gauge theory. We should be looking to liberate crypto, and more importantly, distributed computing from the problem of this unwanted global aspect which is the Blockchain.
  • What Satoshi Nakamoto did is an intermediate step towards trying to figure out what should digital gold actually be.
  • Physical gold is a collection of up quarks and down quarks in the form of protons and neutrons held together, the quarks by gluons with electrons orbiting and held together by photons with the occasional weak interaction beta decay. All of those are gauge theories. Gold is coming from gauge theory. Markets are coming from Gauge Theory. The opportunity to do locally enforced conservation laws, which effectively is what a Bitcoin transaction is, should theoretically be founded on a different principle that is not the blockchain. It should be a gauge theoretic concept in which effectively the tokens are excitations on a network of computer nodes.
  • If you move a token from one custodianship to another's custodianship, you effectively push the token as a gauge theory.
The Gauge Theory might be the correct differential calculus for the 21st century.

Misc/Random nuggets


  • Jack Dorsey is a zen monk.
  • We are founded on civil disobedience.
  • We are the product of our trauma.
  • The Matthew Principle = the rich get richer and the poor get poorer
  • Neurotics build castles in the air and the psychotics move in.
  • I don't belong in the world as it's been created. I'm trying to build a new world.

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