VALUE: After Hours (S06 E20): Tom Morgan on McGilchrist’s Hemisphere Theory and the Hero’s Journey

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In their latest episode of the VALUE: After Hours Podcast, Tobias Carlisle, Jake Taylor, and Tom Morgan discuss:

  • Quantitative Finance and the Mantis Shrimp: Unlikely Connections
  • The Power of Weirdness: Embracing Your Unique Path
  • Beyond Logic: Exploring the Limits of Left-Brain Thinking
  • Navigating Digital Connection in a Disconnected World
  • Experience Matters: The Role of Failure in Developing Intuition
  • Rediscovering the Value of Emotional and Somatic Intelligence
  • The Wisdom Advantage: Maximizing Effort for Optimal Results
  • Unveiling the Power of Myth: Decoding Hidden Forces in Society
  • The Path to Integration: Lessons from the Hero’s Journey in Finance
  • Reclaiming Confidence: Battling Mental Illness in the Face of Professional Chaos
  • The Flow State: Achieving Integration and Authenticity in Life
  • Holotropic Attractor: Navigating Hidden Forces in Life
  • Beyond Analysis Paralysis: Harnessing Intuition for Decisiveness

You can find out more about the VALUE: After Hours Podcast here – VALUE: After Hours Podcast. You can also listen to the podcast on your favorite podcast platforms here:

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Tobias: And we are live. This is Value: After Hours. I’m Tobias Carlisle, joined as always by my cohost, Jake Taylor. Our special guest today is Tom Morgan.

Jake: THE Tom.

Tobias: THE Tom Morgan. It’s difficult to get my hands around what we’re going to talk about, Tom. I might even just throw to you right off the bat. I saw your Sohn conference, which was discussing some of McGilchrist’s work on The Divided Brain. You referenced Joseph Campbell. I thought it was fascinating. So, we’re going to get you here to talk about it.

Jake: I think maybe we met in, maybe it was even 2019 or maybe 2021, but Capital Camp. I think we sat next to each other, and ate dinner and had an interesting conversation.

Tom: I think that was like my full blown McGilchrist evangelical phase as well.

Jake: [chuckles] It was.

Tom: I was like, “Have you heard the word of the Lord?”


Jake: Yeah.

Tom: They’re people down and running through it, even if they didn’t ask me any questions. So, yeah, you probably heard it back then as well.

Jake: I think that might be right. Maybe that’s why I found it interesting.

Tom: [chuckles] You’ll be the first. But yeah. No, sorry, carry on.

Tobias: McGilchrist is a researcher in– He’s a psychiatrist, I think.

Tom: He’s actually in itself, it’s quite an interesting story. The guy’s obviously a genius. He was invited to All Souls at Oxford three times, which is, you only usually get invited if you’re unusually top of your year. They basically give you patronage to go and do whatever you want for a certain number of years. He got it three times. But he started at Oxford in humanities, and then basically looked at criticism where it was like, when we were all taught humanities at school, it was like, “All right, tear apart Moby-Dick and write about 19th century whaling in three pages, single space.”

It was like, it was never about understanding the whole of anything. He then got so interested in the structure of the human brain, he became a practicing psychiatrist and then a professor of neuroimaging. But I think he’s 70 odd now and he spent his entire life on the structure of the brains hemispheres.

The moment you say that and someone comes out of the woodwork on the internet, every single time I tweet about it, basically going, “Oh, that stuffs debunked or there’s no evidence for it.” And I’m like, “Okay.” In his second book, as we were talking about before we came on, The Matter with Things, it’s the best book I’ve ever read, but it’s 1,500 pages. But there’s 7,000 or 6,000 footnotes, going back to studies and 180-page bibliography. So, [Jake chuckles] you cannot throw– This is literally not lightweight in any sense.

There’s actually a lot of experimental data, because people with very bad epilepsy get their corpus callosum severed. People with bad strokes, people with damage through accidents, it’s actually quite easy to know what the differences between the two hemispheres of the brain are in a way that’s empirically testable. He takes it to wildly philosophical directions. But the actual experience of testing this stuff, I think is quite straightforward.

Jake: Control group to test.

Tom: Yeah.

Jake: Yeah.

Tobias: What is his thesis? What is his idea?

Jake: Boil 1,500 pages down into eight words.

Tom: I did it for five minute for Sohn and my tiny little brain was dribbling out of my ears after three weeks of that.

Jake: [laughs]


Beyond Logic: Exploring the Limits of Left-Brain Thinking

Tom: It’s a conclusion of world changing importance for me, which is, essentially, we are imbalanced towards the brain’s left hemisphere. So, his first book, well, not his first book, but the predecessor was called The Master and His Emissary, which is that the left hemisphere should be the emissary and the right hemisphere should be the master. The very simplistic differences between the two is that the left hemisphere tends to be very narrowly focused, linear, logical and highly verbal. I like to think of it in my own life as the voice in my head, like my internal monologue. And then the right hemisphere is much more holistic, emotional, somatic, but highly nonverbal.

In myself, it doesn’t speak at all. The way I look at it is for the last 200 years, we’ve gone up into our heads. We use our heads for most of our jobs. Most of our lives are lived in digital abstractions or in books. And then we’ve also married other people who tend to be quite head centric. One of McGilchrist’s chilling observations is that autism and schizophrenia, in his opinion, are both left hemisphere lock. Neither of them really existed 200 years ago. There are accounts of every single mental dysfunction apart from those two. He’s like, “We’re just gradually getting more and more directed towards the left hemisphere.”

The example I give when people ask me is, what is an example of the left hemisphere being dumb while thinking it’s being intelligent? My favorite example is smash sparrows, which is when Chairman Mao was like, “All right, so the sparrows are eating all the grain reserves. We’re going to kill all the sparrows.” They did. And then there was a locust infestation that was so bad it killed 50 million people. You’re like, “Ha-ha-ha, isn’t that dumb?” And then you look at us doing it over and over and over again, including today, with the way that we behave towards engagement algorithms or just making the quarter, or like pursuit of nuclear weapons.

When you optimize for a single variable in a complex adaptive system and you just throw everything else out the window, everything falls apart, and that is an absolutely classic left hemisphere trait. The other example, and I’ll only give two, that really hit me hard, was that, if in a normal subject, you experimentally suppress the brain’s left hemisphere for 10 to 15 minutes, they start to see the world as animate. So, much more relational than the world we inhabit of like dead atoms. They’ll see the sun crossing the sky literally giving them energy. If you do the reverse, which is experimentally suppress the right hemisphere, people start to see other living things as dead. So, they’ll see other people as like zombies or furniture or machinery.

I think that speaks to the way that we behave towards our environment, the way that we behave towards each other. Like, the maximum psychopathic like late-stage capitalism of like, “I’m just going to lay off 5,000 people because they’re just numbers, I’m going to kill another 5,000 people because they’re just numbers. I’m going to use you as a vector to get what I want because you’re just a number.” So, there are literally thousands of examples in the book. But those are the two that really hit me the hardest.

Jake: That’s wild.

Tobias: Is your conjecture that it’s a societal problem, or is it that an individual can benefit from understanding that their left brain locked and they’re not accessing enough of their right brain? What do you do with that understanding?

Tom: Yes. [laughs] [laughter]

Tobias: Both?


Rediscovering the Value of Emotional and Somatic Intelligence

Tom: Yes. Yes, it’s a short answer. My entire life’s work as a result of this is basically to get people to understand that the right hemisphere in McGilchrist’s work, it has a better understanding of the world in almost every different mode of thought. And yet, it comes to us emotionally and somatically, which is something that tends to get systematically downgraded in our society, because it cannot be rationalized by definition. The topic of my Sohn talk, I was like, “If I only get five minutes in front of the world’s most left-brained audience, what am I going to do?”

Jake: [laughs]

Tom: It’s this concept of attractors that if we are left brain locked, we are more disconnected from our environment, which is normal, which is, if you talk to any other indigenous culture, they look at us as massive weirdos. Animism has been foundational to every single human culture, 99% of human cultures before us. So, we’re the only ones that regard ourselves as separate from the world.

So, what follows from that is you need to take, I think, the impulse of curiosity is the one thing I focus on a lot more seriously. I’m not saying burn your life down to go and be a breakdancer. Like, it’s not about making really stupid, impulsive decisions. It’s just understanding that those emotional and somatic impulses may come with a higher degree of intelligence that our society has really acknowledged yet.


Jake: So, Tom, how do you then separate Kahneman’s system 1 versus system 2 thinking?

Tom: Oh, my. I’m glad you asked that question. McGilchrist does the world’s politest destruction of the Kahneman system in book two of The Matter with Things. When you think about it– I’m sure Kahneman’s done a lot of really useful stuff. But one, based on the Hawking Index, no one’s actually finished thinking– [crosstalk]

Jake: [laughs]

Tom: Find me someone that’s finished it. And two, it’s actually meaningless. So, what he’s saying is like, “Okay, system 1 is quick and dirty and it’s often wrong. System 2 is, if you think about stuff, it’ll better.” You’re like, “No.”

So, if you show a chessboard to a grandmaster and it relates to a game of chess and then you take the board away, the chess grandmaster can reassemble the board from memory. But if you make it a random configuration, they have no advantage over a novice. Their intuitive recognition of that pattern is really, really high.

In the same way, if my intuitive database is really, really rich, my “system 1 intuition” is going to be incredibly good, but if I have no experience in that field, my intuition is going to be incredibly bad. But conversely, system 2, if you get– This is incredibly applicable to investing, particularly the really experienced investors I’ve spoken to and worked with. If you ask intuitive people to put a rational framework around their process, it can destroy their process. Like, it’s not just weaker. It can actually destroy their process.

My favorite example is the cliche about Soros’ back pain, where basically Soros’ son outs him to the Irish Times, basically being like, “Yeah, my dad gives all these really clever left hemispheric justifications for why he’s done what he’s done, but actually, it’s because his back hurts when his portfolio’s positioned badly.” There’s a lot of interesting depth to that idea. But it’s this idea that if you were to construct these rationalizations, they would impair your ability. I personally think that, based on my own experience, McGilchrist is much closer to the truth.

Jake: Do you think that you can fine tune that with–? Can you get feedback on that intuition and then fine tune it? Is there ways that we can actively work on making our intuition better?


Experience Matters: The Role of Failure in Developing Intuition

Tom: Yes. This has been the focus of my work for the last three or four years. Some of it’s like blindingly obvious. I wrote an article about Buffett and it’s actually like, you need more experience. So, this would take a month to explain, because it took me like a month to understand. But all you need to learn is that the world is so complex learning rules, particularly in really fast changing environments doesn’t really help. What helps is having a really large database of stories and situations.

So, if you’re constantly reading case studies of situations, you’re not learning it to learn the overarching rule around the 10 key points of all of these 50 case studies. You’re learning all the different fragments of situations that can show up in the world to make your database really rich. Then, in any experiential context, you have to fail a lot.

One of my friends is a hedge fund manager and a phenomenal one of that. He’s young. He was part of the reason I succeed is because I play against people that weren’t allowed to fail until they were 30 years. They’re probably just people that tossed, that got heads 10 times in a row. And as a result, they have no conception of failure. Whereas to build intuition, you need to be failing incredibly regularly to get accurate feedback for that intuition.

So, you need to get a lot of experience like [unintelligible 00:12:27] and you need to have to be failing a lot, I think that’s less obvious. Stage three is you need to upgrade or at least learn how to interpret the intuitive signals when they come back. So, you have this huge reservoir of information, and then somethings going to get surfaced to you emotionally or somatically when it triggers that intuition, well, how do you know it’s the right thing?

The deep thing about the Soros anecdote isn’t about the back pain. It’s that when he got back pain, he knew it was about his portfolio. He didn’t think it was because he was hungover or done too many squats or whatever it was. He made that connection. And so, when we talk about landing the plane, in practicality, the thing that I find most useful here, one of the ideas is this concept of emotional granularity, something I try and teach my kids as well and mostly fail.

Well, this guy, Eugene Gendlin, found that they could tell whether people were going to get out of therapy within the first session. It was based on the quality with which they could describe their own emotional state.

So, I’m British, I’m either happy or sad. I have two words for my emotions. But if you have [Jake laughs] a thousand words for your emotions, you can close your feedbacks really fast, but you’ll also know your intuitive triggers when they come through. So, literally, trying to using an emotions wheel above your desk and trying to be like, “All right, I don’t just feel disappointed right now. I feel x word.” Like, “I don’t just feel angry right now. I feel that.” And getting more and more granular means when you’re served a sensation by your subconscious in an intuitively relevant situation, you can interpret that and then bring that to bear in your life and in the markets.


Tobias: I liked in the Sohn speech, you made that reference to Soros and Druckenmiller. You said they’re examples of success were intuitive. They’re known for their intuition. I think that it’s interesting because whenever Druckenmiller is interviewed, he gives a rational, logical explanation for what is about to happen, and then he just goes away and completely fades what he just said. He’s very well known for doing it.

Tom: Yeah. Well, there’s a bigger point there, which is that there’s a– One of my favorite studies on 30 years of wisdom research. And of the big five-character traits, they found, the one that had the closest association was openness.

Jake: Hmm.


The Wisdom Advantage: Maximizing Effort for Optimal Results

Tom: You’re like, “Okay, well, obviously.” But age and intelligence didn’t correlate with wisdom. Wisdom, for me, is the thing worth having. Wisdom is, basically, how effectively do you navigate the world. Do you put in the minimum amount of energy for the maximum amount of effort? And the thing I like to say is that the opposite of wisdom is anxiety.

When you’re basically deploying all this useless energy and attention to stuff that just doesn’t matter. Imagine if you can go through your life all the time knowing what was most important at that any one moment. That would be the world’s most ludicrous superpower. And indeed, it is. Like, all the research that these guys put through found that wisdom correlates with hedonic happiness, how good you actually feel and eudemonic happiness, like how much you’re growing.

Intelligence is static. When we hit our 20s, it flatlines and then declines for the rest of our lives. We all know the guys, the Ivy League dudes that we all work with are like, “Look at me, I’m really intelligent.” Great, it’s static. But wisdom never stays static if you’re smart about it. But wisdom requires this constant pain, and updating the prize and openness. That’s really hard, particularly for intelligent people, because it requires this constant destruction of their mental models, and their ego, and their public opinions and all of this stuff. It just seems like– Druck is like, “Yeah. No, I told that five minutes ago. I guess I don’t care anymore.”

Tobias: [laughs]

Jake: Yeah.


Tom: If there’s one trait, one trait– I’m a bad investor. Well, I’m not really an investor because I never really tried, because I watched everyone fail in 2008 when I was a few years into the business and I was like, “Wait a, I’m going to index.” [Jake laughs] But the one trait I’ve noticed from really good investors and traders is the default assumption that the market’s right, that basic openness, the default assumption that the market is smarter than them, because the number of exceptionally “intelligent people,” that always think they’re smarter than the market just burn up. They just burn up into bitter little husks eventually, because you just can’t fight that.

Tobias: Let me give a shoutout, and then let’s come back and talk about Joseph Campbell. Petah Tikva, Israel. What’s happening? Old ocean, Texas. Brandon, Mississippi. Toronto. Raleigh. Valparaiso. What’s up, Mac? Torino, Italy. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Chicago. Chapel Hill. Nashville. Dubai. Bham, Alabama. Durham. Tallahassee. Quebec City. Edinburgh. Jupiter, Florida. Oh, just jumped on me. Savonlinna. Oslo. Havertown. Jamaica, what’s up, Monique? You made it. Redmond, Washington. Edmonton. Milwaukee. I think I’ve got them all.

Jake: Found it out. [chuckles]

Tobias: Tom, Joseph Campbell, I thought was very interesting– You quoted Joseph Campbell in your last slide at Sohn. I love that. He’s written quite a few books and I’ve read a few of them, but the one that everybody knows is The Hero with a Thousand Faces. How has that influenced you, and what do you take from Joseph Campbell’s work?

Tom: Yeah. I’ve tried The Hero with a Thousand Faces twice and found it unreadable. It’s a brutal book, man.

Tobias: But you got through The Master and His Emissary?

Tom: Yeah, for whatever reason, I can get through that one.

Tobias: So, I think you got to get through. There’s a part at the start of The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Once you punch through that first third where he’s just talking about the meaning of it all, and then you get into him actually describing the hero’s journey, I think it gets vastly better at that point.

Tom: Oh, maybe I should stick with it. Yeah, I’ve read The Power of Myth, multiple times. I think that– Because it’s a dialogue and it’s like the end of his life and the end of his career when he’s like, “Oh, this is what it all means.” Like, I feel like–

Tobias: That might be the way you have to read.

Jake: Yeah. [laughs]


Unveiling the Power of Myth: Decoding Hidden Forces in Society

Tom: Yeah, the theory of that basically is like, “Here’s all the ingredients of the soup.” I was like, “I don’t want all the ingredients to the soup. I just want to eat the soup.” That is the soup. Myth is the ultimate information alpha. It’s sitting right in front of our faces, and everyone ignores it because they think it’s fantasy and about orcs and fairies. And I’m like, “No, it’s brilliant.”

The idea that I’ve been trying to incept these people with for the longest time is this idea of hidden forces that there are hidden forces at play in the world, and those forces are often encoded in story. As a result, we tell the story in order to describe those forces. And then when you’ve deviate it from the correct path that those forces show you, the myth is aimed at getting you back on track. So, this can be hyper-obvious.

One story I like to tell is about the Moken tribe in the Indian Ocean, that they basically had a story that when the water recedes, the ground shakes and the cicadas stop singing, go to high ground. They were the only people that survived on that island during the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. So, they were like, “Here’s this pattern. When you see this pattern happen again, start running, all right?” That’s a hyper rationalist example of a myth encoding real world information. People are like, “Oh, the locals tell this dumb story.” It’s like, “Well, they all seem to be running direction. Maybe you should be running in that direction too.” That’s like a straightforward example.

I think that there’s a guy called Brett Andersen, who wrote this unbelievable essay and YouTube series called Intimations of a New Worldview. He introduced me to this idea that I’d been mulling for years, “The hero’s journey describes a phase change in a complex adaptive system.” So, basically, we saw how people grew in this nonlinear way, how the world complexifies in this nonlinear way. And then we told a story that confirms to this really quite rigid like 17 stage process to describe how to go through the process of individual change in an optimal way. But because it’s fractal, it also describes how society changes.

So, it’s like, “Yes, of course, this is the ubiquitous human story,” because it’s how you change well, it’s how you adapt well. The profundity of that just never stops hitting me, because it’s also like these forces are hidden. How you align with these forces of change are fundamentally hidden, because they also relate to these attractors in life that most of contemporary science says don’t exist, but yet we intrinsically know do.


The Path to Integration: Lessons from the Hero’s Journey in Finance

Jake: Maybe explain some of your own personal story and how that aligns with this hero’s journey. I think we’ve talked about it before, but I find it to be like, it takes something and makes it very tangible.

Tom: Yeah. I jumped through all the right academic hoops in the UK, fell on my face straight after university, because I thought I was very intelligent. Lucked my way into Merrill Lynch in 2005. Spent about 15 years on the sell side and enjoyed the first 11, I would say. Then just hung around too long, and found myself just less and less interested in finance and eventually, got into a full-blown crisis. Had a spiritual awakening, stroke, psychotic break on a trading floor in the end of 2017 and then a Dark Night of the Soul in Manhattan that lasted nearly three years. It was absolutely brutal. Made every possible mistake imaginable.

Then troughed out about a week before the pandemic, and then got myself back into a job that over the next few months, I started writing about my experiences in the abyss, but also finance as well. My former employer is the KCP group that turned into Sapient Capital were like, “This stuff’s really crazy. Interesting. It’s insane, but it’s interesting. Come, write for us and our clients and just find the most interesting people and ideas and connect us to Wall Street and keep us on the pace, and go speak to people and go speak at events.” Basically, I was paid to follow my curiosity.

Let’s back up for a second. You asked me to relate this to the hero’s journey. The best version of the hero’s journey in contemporary media that I’ve found is the Matrix, because everyone’s seen it, because it’s bloody brilliant. So, you basically have Thomas Anderson in his cubicle, but he’s always got this sense that something’s not quite right, that there’s cognitive dissonance, which I actually think a lot of us have at the moment with this idea that we’re more disconnected than we need to be from the world, the whole left hemisphere lock idea from McGilchrist.

Then basically he has this message on his computer saying, “Follow the white rabbit.” That represents the call of curiosity, which tends to come from the archetypal feminine. It’s this call towards creative. But it’s somatic and it’s emotional. It’s not rational because it’s coming from the right hemisphere, the “feminine.” So, he rejects it. He’s like, “This all sounds lunatic.” He goes back to his job. The agents then find him, they interrogate him and then he gets forced into a crisis.

For me, that was a health crisis that my body and brain started breaking down, because I was just in a toxic professional environment. Not a toxic as in toxic people. Just a place where I wasn’t growing anymore. I wasn’t respecting my curiosity. Then Neo has the famous red-blue pearl moment where he has to make a voluntary decision whether he leaves. I left my job, ended up making a whole bunch of other crazy decisions. But then your whole world comes apart.

The significance of the world coming apart within this context is effectively the left hemisphere has to learn that it’s not driving the bus, that the forces that you can define as your curiosity or emergence or a bajillion different, very confusing things, are actually a better guide of your future growth. The Tao as you were talking about earlier is a better guide of your future growth than you are, and you should be working alongside it. But your ego will rather kill you than accept that in a lot of situations.

And so, you go into this very prolonged agony where your ego and your soul wanted a better term, fight it out. That’s Neo against Agent Smith. It’s this force of conformity. It’s the guy in a suit with a generic name that just wants you to be like everyone else and to not follow your bliss.

Eventually, in the movie, Neo has a death and rebirth. He’s actually killed by Agent Smith. Most people forget that in the movie, Trinity kisses him. You literally see a video of his heart starting again on the little monitors. And then he integrates Smith into himself. He doesn’t kill him. He integrates his ego, and then he becomes the one. He becomes a fully integrated human being with all these amazing psychic powers and stuff. That is basically what happened where like– Again, the hero’s journey can sound massively grandiose, but there was a lot of crying in the shower with mine. Like, it’s not–


Jake: [Laughs] It’s not always theory.

Tom: There is nothing heroic about it. The reason why it’s called the hero’s journey is it’s just this is how you do this the best way. And we held up the people that have done it the best way. But for me, the integration stage was– When I was in crisis, I was like, “Finance is meaningless, full of immoral people,” which is not true. But what I did was I rejected all the gifts that I’d got good at on the sell side. Whereas what I do now is I enjoy communicating complex things, hopefully, reasonably quickly to people with not a lot of time. I enjoy following my curiosity and reading about meaningful things, but also communicating information to people that I think is going to help them. I did that a little bit on the sell side, but now the stuff I read and write about, I really care about.

So, what I’m doing is I’m using these skills in service of something I really care about. I’m using my left hemisphere in service of the right, which is the correct arrangement. But the payoff on that or at least the rub is that you have to then follow this relatively uncertain path, because you have to be so open and because you have to be so flexible. And so, it’s not always clear what you’re doing next. But that openness and that flexibility relates back to what we were saying about Druck. Does that make sense?

Jake: Yeah, totally. I got goosebumps a couple different times during that.

Tobias: I took from the hero’s journey that you have some unfulfilled potential. The way that various myths help you is that they take you into this fantastical realm where you battle against these dragons and monsters that represent the hobgoblins chief face in your ordinary life dressed as a different way. And then you defeat them in this magical realm, and you come back to the ordinary realm where you’re now equipped to deal. That’s the integration I think that you talk about a little bit.

I was wondering, how did you find having gone into the desert and had your purification and then come back out and then gone straight into COVID lockdown, did you feel like you were–? Many people found that a very traumatic experience. Did you find that you were better equipped to deal with it because you’d already just gone through that process?

Tom: Wow, man. I had like the best COVID ever. It sounds like [crosstalk] [laughter]


Reclaiming Confidence: Battling Mental Illness in the Face of Professional Chaos

Tom: My wife is like a news anchor. She was sitting there trying to broadcast from our dining room with a 15-month-old baby. I was just loving life, because my whole world had fallen apart three years prior. I was like, “Oh, welcome, guys. This is what it feels like. Total professional uncertainty. No idea what you’re doing with your life, total chaos, like psychic damage. Here it is guys. Come on in, the water is horrible.”

And so, there was like a schadenfreude to it, but actually less nastily. I ended up getting bailed out of more than two years of psychotic treatment-resistant depression and eventual just basically total human malfunction by [unintelligible 00:28:46] which is something–

It is an amazing story. I’m happy to talk to anyone that’s listening about it. But what had happened as a result of more than two years of being relentlessly kicked in the nuts and major mental illness was that I couldn’t really speak anymore. I had no idea what I believed. I had no confidence to say it. I couldn’t really use my voice. The me pre-crisis has been pretty close to the me now, which is like, I’d often speak a lot more bullshit. But I was reasonably articulate and confident, and I went to a stage where I couldn’t speak at all.

And so, I had this job directly during COVID which wasn’t the KCP job that I loved. It was, to be quite honest, for me, a relatively meaningless finance job. But I had to do 300 pitches over 11 months. So, I was just pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching. pitching, pitching. Because I wasn’t doing it in someone’s office, they couldn’t see the sweat stains. They couldn’t see the beads running down my face. They couldn’t see how badly I was shaking. And so, I got a boot camp to get me back on my feet. I had to do all my certification exams.

I basically got a really gentle reintroduction to the world from my bedroom, which I think was like, if I’d had to go into an office and put on my suit and pretend to be a functioning human being, that would have gone really badly. I think I could have been laid off as soon as a couple of weeks afterwards. So, it was a real mercy for me. Yeah, it makes me feel a little bit guilty to say that.


Jake: On that right side of the brain and the more intuitive side, I assume that you’ve read some of like René Girard’s work on mimetics. It has these things that it wants, but maybe that’s influenced often by the things around us that other people want. Like, we’re a mimetic species. Anything that you do or think about there to make sure that the poll that is coming out that you’re listening to are things that are healthy for you, and maybe not pulling you in bad directions, which you do see sometimes in mimetics.

Tom: Yeah. Curiosity for the sake of curiosity is not necessarily an unalloyed good. It can lead you up clefts. There’s a really wild idea that is maybe worth. Like, the slightly involved introduction, which is that science is increasingly finding that the universe trends towards complexity. The definition of complexity is something that has very differentiated parts that are very integrated into the whole.

So, that almost seems like a paradox, right? But if you think about your body, how many parts of your body can you name from the cells to the bones? Like, how many can you name? How long would it take you? I’ve got no idea. Like, thousands? Like, tens of thousands? But yet, here we are. Completely seamlessly. So, we are highly complex. The human brain is the most complex thing in the known universe.

When you think about where you need to be going in life, the reason why I concluded with my favorite Joseph Campbell quote, which is “follow bliss and doors will open only the walls.” There’s two components to the pursuit of curiosity. The first of which I think is relatively well understood and conceptualized by us, which is like, do stuff that evolves you into that niche of differentiation. There will be things that Jake can do that bore other people to tears. There are things you’re interested in that makes your wife think you are a crazy person. [crosstalk]

Jake: That one is true. That one hits home. [laughs]


The Flow State: Achieving Integration and Authenticity in Life

Tom: It’s same for all of us. But there are things that you can do that other people would rather stick pens in their eyes than do. Actually, I believe that the more you pursue those things, the more differentiated that thing becomes, the more time you can dedicate to it. But, but, but, but, but, but, but this is like a catastrophically huge but that is not accepted in our society for lots of different reasons. But it’s like, a lot of people are like, “Great. That just means I should do whatever puts me in flow.” Like, tennis or be a drummer or whatever it is. Flow for the sake of flow. No, because that ignores the concept of integration, which is that you need to be integrated into your environment.

If every cell in our body was like, “I’m going to be the most Jake I can be,” but wasn’t integrated into your body, you’d be like a mush. You’d be like an assemblage of skin and bones. So, what does that mean? It means you need to be integrated. Well, what does that mean? It means that your environment needs to be providing you feedback that you’re moving in the right direction.

Now, a lot of people can see that quite instrumentally like, “Am I making more money? Am I getting more clicks?” I think the biggest sign is synchronicity, which is meaningful coincidence, which is, is reality literally signaling back to you when you’re on your flow? That’s how you know it’s not mimetic, because reality is going, “Yes, more of that.” Not just the more money in your bank account, which could be you copying other people.


Quantitative Finance and the Mantis Shrimp: Unlikely Connections

Tobias: Tom, usually, we do veggies at the top of the hour. JT, you want to serve up some–? It’s all veggies this episode. We’re just going to interrupt Tom’s veggies to do Jake’s veggies.

Jake: Yeah, I feel like mine are going to be kind of– They’re not going be as– [crosstalk]

Tobias: No pressure, JT.

Jake: Actually, you know what? I’m a little bit proud of this one. So, we’ll see if everyone agrees or not. All right. So, the mantis shrimp. [chuckles] I find it ironic, actually, that people happen to often love the animal-based veggies, the best, veggies and meat together. It’s like the inverse of beyond meat, where the vegetables are masquerading as animals. But we’ll start with some amazing facts about the mantis shrimp.

They’re typically four inches in length, but can be up to 15 inches. They hunt and feed off of fish, crabs, snails, rock oysters, other mollusks. But there are two things that really stand out with the mantis shrimp. It’s their eyes and their punch.

The first, the eyes. The shrimp here has the most complexed eye in the animal kingdom. It has the most complex front end of any visual system ever discovered. So, if you think about it like this, humans have relatively simple eyes, and then we use the software of our neurons to make it effective. I actually was thinking about this the other day, we’re a little bit more like Tesla, actually, where it’s camera based more and then they use software to try to do the self-driving, whereas Waymo is more like the mantis shrimp, which uses beefier hardware. Like, they’ve got all the cameras on there, they’ve got the lidar, all that stuff. And then they use more relatively simple software to solve the problem.

So, the human eye contains millions of light sensitive cells called rods and cones. The rods let us see light and motion, and the cones enables us to see color. And so, dogs have two types of cones, green and blue. So, they can see basically blue, green and a little bit of yellow. Humans have three types of cones. And so, we can see blue, green and red, which then also allows us to see red plus yellow, which is orange, and red plus blue, which is purple. Butterflies have five types of cones. So, they can see two additional colors that we don’t even really have names for, as well as the combinations of those if however much gradient you want to include.

Now, are you ready for this? How many color receptive cones do you think that the mantis shrimp has?

Tobias: More than the butterfly.

Jake: More than the butterfly.

Tom: 6.

Tobias: 10.

Jake: Put those two numbers together and– [crosstalk]

Tobias: 16.

Jake: 16 color receptive cones. So, just try to imagine what the rainbow looks like for them. I mean, you can’t really. So, they can perceive wavelengths of light ranging from deep ultraviolet, which is 300 nanometers to far red which is 720 nanometers, as well as polarized light, which is interesting. No one actually knows for sure why they can see polarized light. One hypothesis is that it helps them avoid predators like barracudas, who have shimmering scales to distract prey. So, if you can polarize it, when you look through sunglasses that are polarized, it lets you see past shimmer.

So, now the second remarkable thing about the mantis shrimp is its punch. They have these two raptorial appendages on the front of their bodies that can basically shoot out from below. They accelerate with the same velocity as a bullet from a 22-caliber rifle. In three one thousandths of a second, it can strike prey with the force of 1,500 newtons. Just to give a little context, a 1,000 newtons is the equivalent of force of someone who’s 100 kg or 220 pounds sitting on your chest. The mantis shrimp’s limbs, they move so quickly that the water around them boils, and it’s called super cavitation.

So, when these cavitation bubbles, then collapse, it produces a shockwave that can kill or concuss the prey. So, it’s almost like a second punch that works even if they miss. So, there’s so much force that tiny bursts of light are emitted, if you can imagine. [chuckles] Imagine being able to punch so hard that you could create light. Now, if a human– [crosstalk]

Tobias: Underwater.

Jake: Underwater. Yeah. If a human could accelerate their arm at 1/10th of the speed, you could throw a baseball into orbit. The mantis shrimp, they basically dismember their prey by smashing them to pieces with these clubs. In a lifetime, they can have as many as 20 to 30 breeding episodes, which is the same schedule that Toby’s on.

Tom: [laughs]

Jake: So, aquariums typically don’t house mantis shrimp, because they’re voracious predators. They basically eat everything that’s desirable in a fish tank. Plus, there’s also cases of them actually breaking the aquarium glass. These little guys are basically like little hellraisers.

So, let’s connect this back to the investment world, if I can. Last week, we lost a true iconoclast, a man who never wore socks and smoked like a chimney, Jim Simons. Simons, born 1938, Cambridge, Mass. He’s a mathematician, hedge fund manager and was really renowned for his groundbreaking work in quantitative finance. He had a math degree from MIT. He earned a PhD from UC Berkeley in math in 1961. He actually worked as a codebreaker for NSA and later as a math professor at Stony Brook.

So, in 1982, he founded Renaissance Technologies, which was a hedge fund. And in 1988, they established the Medallion Fund. Some of the numbers on this thing have just been absolutely insane. Simons himself earned over $100 billion, or the funded in trading profits since 1988. It translated into supposedly a 66% average gross annual return and 39% net between 1988 and 2018. Just numbers you can’t even hardly fathom, right?

So, he utilized his expertise in math and he pioneered the use of quantitative models and algorithms to predict trends. When he passed, he was worth more than $31 billion. All of it basically scraped off of day trading [unintelligible 00:39:51] as far as I could.

Tom: [laughs]

Jake: I’m kidding. But Simons was a serious philanthropist. He supported lots of research in mathematics and basic sciences and autism. So, let’s try to tie these two together, the Jim Simons and the mantis shrimp, if we can. All right. Both excellent vision. The shrimp possesses the most complex visual system. Simons, he said, “Don’t run with the pack. Do something original.” He was known for his ability to see patterns and opportunities in financial markets and then take advantage of them. He was leveraging his superpower really of advanced mathematical understanding. Both had powerful, precise strikes, despite their very small size.

Of course, Simon said, “If you’re really fast, maybe you’re going to be the winner.” He made really powerful, decisive moves in financial markets with the trading and achieved these high returns through RenTech, but famously constraining the capital and keeping it small to allow for the opportunities. And then adaptability. Both of them thrived in various–

The mantis shrimp, it survives in various marine environments and is very adaptable and resilient. Simon’s, over his track record in a career, he obviously was successful across a lot of different market regimes. So, lastly, like the mantis shrimp, you don’t want to let Jim into your fish tank. It probably wouldn’t take long before he dismembered all the other traders that he was competing with. So, that’s– [crosstalk]

Tobias: Can the mantis shrimp chain smoke to 86?

Jake: I think so. I think that checks out.

Tobias: There’s a good question from the crowd here. “Does the mantis shrimp think the dress is black/blue or white/gold? We need a definitive answer.”

Jake: Hmm. Fair. That’s a good question. Depends on what you’re primed with, I think.

Tobias: Good one, JT.

Tom: I was watching a video about the mantis shrimp with my five-year-old boy. Did you know that the water is heated to such temperature when they punch that it is the same temperature as the surface of the sun?

Tobias: Wow.

Jake: That’s insane.


Tom: But there’s a connection here that you alluded to that one of the gateway ideas to crazy town for me was what neuroscientist, David Eagleman, calls the umwelt, which is basically like, it’s very easy for us to conceptualize that other animals have worse sensory experiences than we do, that like an earthworm has never seen a sunset and will never see a sunset, therefore has no conceptualization of a sunset at all. It’s really hard for us to understand that the mantis shrimp is inhabiting a different, dramatically richer reality in certain facets than we can ever comprehend.

Bob Mercer said that, “We only trade signals people don’t understand.” When it’s sunny in Chicago, grain futures are up X%. When it’s rainy, no one knows. No one knows why that is. But one of Morgan Housel’s lines, I think, from his brother-in-law is that, “All behavior makes sense with enough information.”

Jake: Hmm.


Holotropic Attractor: Navigating Hidden Forces in Life

Tom: I think that that goes back to what I’ve been talking about, which is, that I believe there are hidden forces outside of our sensory umwelt, both in markets but also in real life, that we can detect and harmonize with. When we do so, our life goes really well. People have been talking about these things for thousands upon thousands of years. But one, because we’re left hemisphere locked, we can’t literally feel them. But also because science can’t find them, we deny that they exist. And that is creating a massive crisis, but it’s also meaning we’re driving ourselves individually into the wall.

Tobias: I’m glad you raised that, Tom, because that was my next question. When you say hidden forces, are they supernatural or are they psychological? Where do they come from?

Tom: Nothing we know. So, there’s a really interesting idea that basically we don’t have the right language for any of this stuff, because either you need to be some deeply woo-woo spiritual person, or it needs to be a scientific term that no one really understands like emergence.

I think one way to look at it is the drive towards complexity, which is, that if the universe trends towards complexity and we are part of the universe, we have to experience that drive towards complexity somehow. I believe we experience it through it feeling good, through the pursuit of curiosity feeling good, but also our life working out well within the domain of our environment by the pursuit of curiosity.

There’s a systems theorist called Ervin László, who’s a serious dude. He calls this the holotropic attractor, which is this concept of an attractor in our environment that pulls us towards greater complexity and wholeness, that we can inhibit by being too left brain locked or going in the wrong direction, which is what myth tells you what not to do. But you’ll notice that evolution makes most things that work towards fitness feel good. The fact is that certain kinds of information feel good in a non-doom scrolly way. The information feels meaningful, the action feels meaningful, and being able to determine what’s meaningful from what’s pleasurable is very subjective, but that’s also something which the emotional granularity can help with.

I think there are potentially lots of other hidden forces, just as an aside that I can go on to forever. I think that the human heart is central to interpreting those forces, because every single human culture apart from ours talks about the human heart as an organ of perception, and cognition, and truth and direction. We have all these metaphors in our society, but we still taught that the heart is a pump. So, I believe the heart connects to those hidden forces in an extremely literal way. But again, because the left hemisphere denigrates the right, we repress those impulses.

I think there could be as many external forces as there are colors that the mantis shrimp can see. But the one that’s important is the one that you can calibrate towards, which is this bliss and this curiosity that Joseph Campbell was talking about.


Tobias: Do you see any ancient philosophers like the Daoist or the stoics as tapping into some of this stuff? Are they on the right track or are they on the wrong track?

Tom: Taoism, man, they just got it. It’s really awkward and embarrassing, in my opinion, because you read– [crosstalk]

Jake: Looks like, it’s been here for so long, I guess.

Tom: Yeah. Guys, it was right in front of us. And in fairness, you don’t read the Tao Te Ching and you’re like, “Oh, well, that’s an operating manual for life.” There’s a good book called Trying Not to Try by a guy called Ed Slingerland. He was on Jim O’Shaughnessy’s podcast, actually. He just writes the Tao Te Ching for Westerners. This is what it means. But the reason why it’s so brilliant is that one of the defining concepts of Taoism is Wu Wei, which is effortless action.

Do you see what I’m saying here, right? It’s this paradoxical motion where it’s like, “Okay, so if your right hemisphere was going to lead your left, what would that be like in your life?” It would be you constantly in a state of pseudo surrender to forces outside of you that were more intelligent than you. But when you’re perfectly aligned with them, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing very much, because it’s the holotropic attractor. It’s emergence that’s doing all the work for you.

You just have to work out how to read the signals and calibrate towards those signals, which is why Taoism talks about when you do this, your life actually becomes abundant in the real world. This isn’t like an afterlife philosophy. It’s like, “Nah, if you can work out how to orient towards this thing,” whatever it is, the Tao, this constant force towards novelty, your life’s going to go great. I’m like, “Well, what is that?” But everything we’ve just been talking about.

Tobias: can you break down holotropic attractor? What does it mean?


The Power of Weirdness: Embracing Your Unique Path

Tom: A tropism is a direction, I think, and holism just means holism. So, it’s a directional force towards holism. So, it’s like, evolution is always acting on you to draw you towards psychological wholeness, like personal evolution, but also the evolution of your own niche. Like, why does a shark look like a shark? Why does a dolphin look like a dolphin? Because it’s evolved to occupy a niche that it’s highly fitted for that niche. Is a great white shark adapted for its niche? Well, if you drop it in a Sahara Desert, it isn’t adapted.

So, you are adapting constantly towards a Jake shaped niche. If you’re a great white shark, there’s probably only one niche for you, and it’s the same for all great white sharks. But we are so complex and differentiated to each other that the Jake shaped niche is really very, very specific. There’s this constant attraction.

Jake: Very weird too, I’m going to guess.


Tom: Well, the beauty of this is you do get licensed to be mega weird, because you’re like, “Well, if I’m interested in something no one else is interested in,” you’re like, “Great.” If it’s working out in an integrated fashion, you’re saying the synchronicities, even better. Keep on keeping on, because that’s your niche and that’s the point of the holotropic attractor, which, again, is just like a slightly pretentious way of talking about following your bliss. But people like it when you can say things like holotropic attractor, because then you don’t need to use– [crosstalk]

Jake: speaking to your left brain, right?

Tom: Right. This is where I think the world is going in all of this place. This is what my new company is doing, which is like, you can’t have cringy spiritual videos about this stuff, because it’s no longer the domain of cringiness. One of the main problems of myth is that people think that they’re fake. People are like, “These don’t apply to real life, because they’re about orcs.” And you’re like, “No, these were just a way that we managed to communicate these patterns that apply to your life.” Let’s take the inverse.

The other most popular myth, apart from the hero’s journey, appears to be careful what you wish for, which is, when you screw this up, which is when your ego takes control of your direction because it wants what it wants. But the ego is the left hemisphere and it knows nothing. It knows absolutely nothing. So, what it does is King Midas, which is like, “I just want the gold. I want the gold and I’ll be happy.” And it turns everything else to gold. And that smash sparrows over again. It’s like, “I just want one abstract thing, and then everything alive in your life goes dead.” So, that’s when you can be at your absolute dumbest within this context, which is, you target an abstract variable.

Tobias: That’s– [crosstalk] Sorry.

Jake: Go ahead.


Tobias: I was going to say, there are some great lines in the Tao in its power and the way in its power. where he says, one of the problems with humanity is we like to cut up the world. So, we use our words to cut things up and then we label things. It’s funny that it comes from– What’s the movie, where they make the underground rock from their basement? Wayne’s World, where he says– I think it’s Kierkegaard. Isn’t it Kierkegaard? He says, “If you label me, you negate me.” It’s funny.

It’s a complete throwaway line joke that, but it’s true. I think that’s what the Taoists were getting at. Like, the moment that you give something a name, you stop thinking about what it actually is and now you’ve categorized it by that name. I wonder if we do that a little bit too much certainly in finance, chopping up a whole lot of things that are continuous– [crosstalk]

Jake: Identity politics.

Tobias: Yeah, absolutely.

Tom: What does the left hemisphere do? Categorizes, separates. Puts makes abstract language on things. And then eventually, you take the word for the thing itself and you don’t live in the real world, you live in the abstractions.

Tobias: Yeah.

Tom: It makes you sick. It makes you really sick.

Jake: Tom, I want to make sure that we also get to– This is a very selfish thing, but I just want to hear, what does AI then mean for integrating all of this? What does it mean for humans, and what we might still continue to be good at?

Tom: AI doesn’t have a heart. So, I think of the heart as a means of determining relevance. Type into ChatGPT, what should Jake do with the rest of his life?

Jake: I’m scared to.

Tom: What was he going to say? He’d be like, “Ah, Jake exercise.” It would just be meaninglessly generic, because AI is not connected to the holotropic attractive. It has no sense of it. AI can spot patterns. AI is brilliant at a thousand different things, but it has no means of determining relevance.

One of the examples I think of is– So, Pixar doesn’t animate faces. You ever noticed this? If you’ve watched Pixar movies with your kid. We have the ability to do photorealistic animation of anything, and yet we don’t do faces. Why? Because the human face is so staggeringly complex that if you screw up even a little bit, you hit the uncanny valley and it looks really weird and it’s so distracting, you can’t even look at it.

Highly autistic people, left brain locked, can’t look you in the eyes because the face is throwing off so much information. They can’t work out what’s relevant. They don’t have that heart centeredness intuition to work out what’s relevant.

But in corporate access terms, investors who get corporate access outperform, and having sat in, God knows, a thousand corporate access meetings, I never heard non-public information discussed in them. People assume it’s because it’s all non-public information all the way down. I was like, “I’ve never heard that.” I always saw was just like a hyper intuitive, experienced investor speaking to a CEO and CFO.

You can get so much information from their body language, no matter what they’re trying to do, that I think there’s alpha in that. Can AI do that? Maybe eventually, but I doubt it. It just seems to me that AI cannot determine relevance. It might be able to do it in an investing context, but it’s never going to be able to do it in your life.

Jake: So, then would that imply then leaning into the more intuitive and less into the left brain, which the AI seems like left brain but the best version of the left brain, potentially?

Tom: Yeah. Picasso had a great line, which is, “Computers are useless. They can give you only answers.”


Tom: It’s a pretty cool quote.

Jake: That’s great– [laughs]

Tom: Because who’s typing the prompts in?

Jake: Yeah. What’s the question? How do you know what to ask?


Beyond Analysis Paralysis: Harnessing Intuition for Decisiveness

Tom: How do you know what to type into Google? So, that goes back to my son speech, which is like, the world is combinatorially explosive. We’re so good at doing it, we don’t notice it, that we just know what to pay attention to when we walk into a room or when we speak to someone. Imagine that superpower getting deactivated for a moment. You’d be jello. You’d be like a blubbering mess. You’d be burnt out like a light bulb. I actually had my senses open one day, and there was so much input. It just folded me like a light bulb attached to a nuclear reactor. It just absolutely crushed me. And so, that’s all done intuitively. And so, the ability to frame good questions, I don’t see how AI can do that. Again, I don’t know what I don’t know.

Jake: People who don’t have access to that right side, it’s really hard for them to make decisions. They end up in analysis, paralysis. Even just little things get bogged down, you can’t satisfy.

Tom: Well, it works both ways. The same guy, Brett Andersen, with one of my other favorite dudes, John Vervaeke, wrote a good paper that may be oversimplistic, but I found very helpful as a shorthand, which is that full left-brain lock is autism, which is when basically like, if I tell you to go and learn a programming language for nine hours, you’re going to go do it with hyper focus and better than most normal people. But if there’s a label digging into the back of your neck from your clothes, you cannot focus on that for whatever reason. So, you have to be told what to focus on. Your environment, as in someone in your environment has to be like, you go focus on that and then you can do it with laser focus.

The other end of the spectrum is positive schizotypy, which is where basically everything’s hyper relevant, everything seems hyper connected and you’re constantly being distracted by lots of different things and drawing spurious conclusions where they are. So, neither of them at all desirable. And to the Tao, you want to be in the middle. You want to have really broad attention and openness that’s leading the show. And then when you found the right thing to focus on, focus on it. Laser focus like an apex predator for as long as you need to focus on. That constant switching is what a really healthy brain looks like.


Tobias: The dichotomy between anxiety because you don’t know where to focus and wisdom because you’ve been able to narrow it down. I think that’s a very interesting idea. How do you move yourself from anxiety towards wisdom? What’s the process going to the desert, spend 40 days in the desert?

Tom: When I was mega, mega depressed, I had a spreadsheet with when I thought I was going to die based on my life expectancy, and when my money was going to run out and what city I was going to move to with all the variables. That’s what the left hemisphere does. I found when it doesn’t die, when it’s about to be reincorporated, a lot of guys of my age, I’m 43, start to get panic attacks about random things they can’t control. It always seems like such a trivial thing, but they start to get increasing panic attacks about it. What it for me represents is this concept of futile control. I found that the antidote for me in my real life, I do live this is just the more confusing things get the more to narrow my time horizon.

Easier said than done. But right now, I’m starting my own business and there’s a lot of unknown variables. So, what do I do? I focus on tomorrow. I think you can only do that– Well, you can’t do that. It really helps to do that if you have a process that you fundamentally enjoy. So, for me, I wake up every day, I write for three to four hours, I go do Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the middle of the day and then I have meetings structured, so that I meet at least three to four new people a day and then I go back and write a bit more, do something else and hang out with my kids. So, I’ve got a flow to my day that I could sustain for the rest of my life that’s enjoyable.

Then I just bring my time horizon back from the future to know that every individual day is enjoyable. I think you can’t have that time horizon thing if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing. It still work for me.

Tobias: It feels like, if there’s anything that’s the problem with modern society, certainly post pandemic is this increasing anxiety, increasing isolation, and so is the solution to that. That doesn’t quite towards wisdom– I don’t know how you cross that chasm, but maybe it’s just you’re saying speak to more people, get out in the world more is a way of at least conquering the anxiety side of it or the isolation side of it.

Jake: There’s probably like an algorithm to that of explore versus exploit that you would want to tap into. So, when you’re very early, you probably want to do more exploration. And then once you find what’s working, you want to really exploit.


Finding Your Tribe Online: Navigating Digital Connection in a Disconnected World

Tom: Yes, exactly right. I think that all of this stuff is solved. It’s like a solved problem in many ways we just don’t do it. Like, “Yeah, put the phone down.” But I think you’ve got to work with what you’ve got, which is that like, “Why are we talking right now,” Jake and I talked because we met in real life and then we met digitally. My wife doesn’t give two hoots about anything I talk about. That was very alienating for a long time during COVID when it was just the two of us in a room. And then I started being mega turbo weird online. [Tobias laughs] I’ve now got like good in real life friends that would just want to spend hours talking about the batshit stuff that I talk about right now.

And so, I found my tribe online using technology, which I think is a very important caveat. I pursue information that gives me energy, not just like in real life community that’s so obvious everyone does it or doesn’t do it. You know what that is, right? Information brings you connection and excitement.

Then I think it’s this general conception of, if you can bring more right hemispheric practices into your life, you will feel more embedded and at home in the world. That just brings you a sense of intrinsic well-being that, like, I think that if you have to pick one word– Literally, if you go through every single thing that’s problematic in our world right now and you just apply the word disconnection to it, you win. Environmental disconnection, we’re killing it. Like, personal disconnection, we’re killing it. Political disconnection and polarization, we’re killing it. Institutional disconnection.

Every single problem we have is disconnection. The fundamental nature of the left hemisphere is disconnected. Is it causal? I don’t know. Is it a symptom? I don’t know. But that’s the problem. And so, to the extent that you can resolve connection in every single one of these, you can resolve that problem.


Tobias: That’s fascinating stuff. We’ve come right up on time. I think that’s a good note to leave it on. Tom, if folks want to get in touch with you or follow along with what you’re doing, what’s the best way of doing that?

Tom: Thanks, mate. My Substack is What’s Important? And I’m @tomowenmorgan on Twitter.

Jake: Oh, Tom, thanks. This was probably one of the more enjoyable shows that I’ve personally felt like I’ve been a part of. So, this is awesome.

Tom: Yeah. Fascinating chat. Tom Morgan, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks very much. We’ll be back next week. Same bat.

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