Project Sanity – Ubiquitous Psychopathology


As individuals and as societies at large, we adapt to and shape our environments. Presently, the systems we have created are conditioning us in ways that are grossly misaligned with our overall well-being. This correlates with a widespread impairment of healthy psychological functions and empathy. We discuss how institutions, economic structures, and social environments are fine tuned to concentrate power and maximize profit, unaccountable to the externalities. We illuminate the mounting pressures of existential and catastrophic risks, along with our sense of the consequences. We consider that this ubiquitous unwellness is the result of multiple factors, especially the perpetuation of strategies that perversely incentivize or justify harmful behavior and that confound our sensemaking. We touch upon meaningful ways to reconnect and build back our agency.

In This Episode:

  • Ubiquitous misinformation
  • Defining sanity
  • Collectively suicidal behavior
  • Social power structures
  • Conditioning abuse of power
  • Mental unwellness across the scale
  • Loneliness & addiction cycle
  • Social Media is antithetical to wellbeing
  • Macroeconomics tied to perverse incentive
  • Existential angst
  • Collapse of a globally interconnected infrastructure
  • The war on sensemaking
  • Reversing the damage of traumatic conditioning
  • Homelessness and turning off empathy
  • How can we reverse the conditioning
  • Rejection of the body, in the legal system
  • Restoring individual and collective quality of life.

Show Notes:

0:00 Intro

4:45 The importance of seeing reality with as little distortion as possible

7:34 Examples of environmental casualties of industry

8:15 Can we call the thing that we are doing civil?

10:16 The feedback of societal conditioning and adapting to a damaged world

12:47 Where power is concentrated, power is abused

15:05 A look at mechanisms of widespread psychological dysphoria

18:11 Social media’s addictive attention maximizing algorithms

20:45 Hyponormal environments & susceptibility to hypernormal stimuli

24:43 Perverse incentive in media, food industry, pharma, & military

34:44 We are under-responding to very near-term profound risks & global issues

36:25 A fundamentally different conversation than people “catastrophizing”

40:35 A scenario where we have decentralized exponential/catastrophic tech

41:33 The context that can create ubiquitous individual psychopathology

44:02 A way forward; conditioning a virtuous cycle of resilient healthy behavior

54:39 What are the right ethical approaches to macro dynamics?

57:48 Engaging in meaningful connection and problem solving as individuals

1:03:11 Trust and mistrust when information integrity is broken down

1:08:05 In a well world we would not be able to step over a homeless person

1:09:05 An unhealthy relationship with body image and shame

1:11:36 Law, nudity, and victimless crimes

1:18:53 Authentic relationships, a starting point to evolving in healthy ways

Mentioned In This Episode:

Jiddu Krishnamurti

How to live in an insane world, by J. Krishnamurti

Tristan Harris: Tech Companies Control Billions of Minds

Jacque Fresco, The Venus Project