I'm just relieved that you guys are there. It seems important to promote your work, so if anyone would like to share this LinkedIn post (where I'm seeing the warring factions ramp up the rhetoric) it may get the film a few more viewers.


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Jan 19, 2022·edited Jan 19, 2022Liked by Alexander Beiner

The thesis / anti-thesis framing works well, because on the other side of the thesis there is not a counter-thesis per se. I have noticed that smart people on the anti-thesis side will share a piece suggesting COVID is being exaggerated, and then also a piece suggesting it might be a frightening bioweapon. Similarly with the vaccines or therapeutics, the same person will share a series of irreconcilable arguments.

After engaging with several of these people, I understood they are operating from something akin to the "reasonable doubt" standard for criminal cases in court. Many of them don't have a particular counter-thesis they can defend or would stand by, but they interpret the sheer breadth of counter-claims itself as reasonable doubt that the thesis can be solid.

Of course this hinges on their general distrust of the institutions and factions who support, defend, or otherwise advocate for the thesis. This means the thesis is already weak to begin with (in their view), so their threshold for reasonable doubt is very low.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Alexander Beiner

It seems like the responsibility that goes with the right of free speech is truthfulness. There is an appropriate threshold for every context somewhere between unfiltered bullshit and the infinite recursion of internal reflection. I think a part of wisdom is related to the efficiency with which one can converge on a truthful expression of an idea.

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Jan 20, 2022Liked by Alexander Beiner

This piece is indicative of the brand, Rebel Wisdom. One can sense its practice here.

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Your summary of the anti-thesis fails to explicitly state one very important bit: the claim that COVID-19 is not serious (only affects elderly, people with comorbidities, etc). The anti-thesis side puts a lot of energy into this claim, because the rest of the anti-thesis doesn't make sense otherwise.

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Just started listening to this episode on the apple podcast and one of the first things that struck me was an interviewee doctor commenting on Dr Malone. He comments (my paraphrase) that Dr Malone had never been heard of until recently and is now building a career on his opposition to vaccines. I personally had never heard of Dr Faulk pre-covid. He and many other doctors in support of the mainstream handling of covid are also helping to develop and build their careers during this crisis. The blip from the interview seemed incredibly oversimplified and one sided.

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This was a beautiful and well constructed podcast and very much appreciated. Yet I have what I think is a profound critique, or at least addendum that I do not see anyone exploring. You are all talking about this thing without really talking about it. That thing is simply the effect of the body state or stress more broadly on the mind. The ultimate bedrock of liberal values is actually the health of our bodies. Jordan Peterson has gotten very close with his interview with Randy Thornhill, but hasn’t outwardly seemed to change from the cognitive-semantic level of analysis. He also gets close with his discussion of Hitler’s use of language. I would expect 4E cognitive science to be all over this, but they seem to focus very little about stress and metabolism.

I think the philosophical and psychological levels of analysis are also true and valuable, but one level deeper seems to not have a voice. The capacity for the mind to attend to biases or multiple points of view is related to cognitive energy. Taking another’s perspective might be one of the most energy intensive things we do, if and when we do. All things personality including authoritarianism and neuroticism are almost certainly much more dynamic than most psychology seems to be aware of. Perhaps even the right brain left brain dynamic might be driven by the level of physiological stress and the history of ideas to a great extent relies upon the biological environment of the person and culture from which it emerges. This is my focus, but I don’t really have a public voice. The thinkers I’ve most borrowed from are Thornhill, Lisa Barrett Feldman & Philip Jenkins and the books closest to this level of analysis are:


This Is Your Brain On Parasites

Climate, Catastrophe, and Faith

How Emotions Are Made

The Parasite Stress Theory of Values and Sociality


The sense of should: A biologically-based framework for modeling social pressure (LB Feldman)

Pathogens and Politics: Further Evidence That Parasite Prevalence Predicts Authoritarianism (Thornhill)

My Nascent Attempts to Integrate the Above:



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This film is crucial. I can't thank the team enough for this. I have so much respect for this quest in sense making. I am trying to act as a synthesis facilitator but it is so testing for people attached to their opinions. The lack of self-reflexivity on both extremes has been scary. I, like David, think Joe has good intentions but if anything, his last few months have shown how powerful the echo chamber can be. I worry something similar has happened to Charles Eisenstein, a person I admire tremendously. We are so fragile, I know I was close to the edge of certainty which is always repressed doubt. I would love for David to interview the guys on 'Conspirituality' podcast--- a good example of men with good intentions refusing to open up to the possibility that the antithesis might have something right.

Question I have is: Can there be a real possibility synthesis without internal work? The super pro vaccine and mandate folk and the anti whatever the Gov says folk are, to me, demonstrating personal traumas and internal suffering through the veil of this latest culture war. How can we, in a non-patronising way, pitch healing to them?

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In light of all-time high numbers of infections in highly vaccinated countries, would you care to revisit your premise? Vaccines have failed spectacularly. 90% of deaths in the UK are among the vaccinated.

Please write a followup.

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Hey there! Thanks guys for your amazing work! But reading the video title I was thinking about another topic such as how religions make people experience and understand the covid crisis. From what I see around me, believers tend to think in a quite binary way : good against evil .... And this way of making sense of a complex reality tends to make them fall easily in the trap of conspiracy theories. What do you think about that?

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"The uncanny valley is a gap in truthseeking... it creates ecosystems of information that never meet, where what is unchallenged truth in one ecosystem being utterly discredited in another. And yet the marketplace of ideas only works when all ideas are challenged. For that two happen, the two sides of the valley must be in dialog with one another."

The information architecture of the Internet (and other communication systems) is broken. It was not designed to promote the best ideas. If it's a marketplace, it's one in which the flashiest sides and ads get the customers, not the best products.

I'm working with a group called The Canonical Debate Lab (canonicaldebatelab.com) that has a proposal for a way to fix this, and many other sensemaking problems.

"I have to check that statement after the podcast is over... There's the actual having to figure out how to make sense of the actual facts, you know... how many peer-reviewed papers am I going to read through? And then, you know, as Daniel Schmachtenberger often points out, I then have to go look at the incentives behind each of those papers, really, if I want to get a sense of how trustworthy each one is... I'm inevitably going to have to outsource some of my sensemaking somewhere."

How much easier would sensemaking be for each of us if that outsourced sensemaking accumulated so we could have it at our fingertips, and in a way that doesn't require trusting the other sensemakers? I would love it if RW would engage with some of the tools and ideas we're proposing. At least on a theoretical level: What would the Uncanny Valley and sensemaking look like if something like the Canonical Debate existed? I see everywhere people lamenting the problem, unaware that there are proposals to fix it.

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Thank you for your insightful and intelligent discussion on these timely and thorny topics. When you spoke about the tipping point where people move from a believable sense of conspiracy to an extreme version of it, I began to wonder what the role of trauma might be in this dynamic. Trauma - individual and collective - is activated when situations and emotions are heightened, amongst other factors. I would be curious to know how many of those in the small cadre of the antithesis hierarchy are responding from a place of trauma, which is often fraught with fear and paranoia. If this were so, it might also serve to explain why so many others with trauma - especially medical or authority-based (i.e. school or church) - would be so magnetized to those who can passionately articulate and validate their individual and collective fears.

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A timely reminder to zoom out and assess why Malone, McCullough et al have engineered their positions... which I had been supporting. This insightful film has achieved what David alway promises - to see both sides of the argument. It has left me right back where I started: I am uncertain what is true, perhaps I never can be. Each actor in the public sphere has an agenda. My agenda is to listen to them all. Thank you

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Let me say a heartfelt thank you that you are attempting to implement rational conversation.

But - I offer an essential caveat.... Let’s include it as an important part of that conversation. A conversation I welcome... because until you deeply understand a problem AND have considered it from a perspective of finding solutions to those problems, will you have any chance of resolving those problems.

So I read with interest your analysis of the issues... From what I understand from this article is an essential attempt to find common ground, a platform upon which the conversation/debate can begin. You clearly recognize the polarity inherent in the debate... a veritable chasm yawns between the opposing viewpoints. I can see you also attempt to describe the opposing views in terms of a religious adherence to those viewpoints. You take what might be called a centrist position avoiding what you call conspiracy theories. Fair enough... or, is it?

Do you really appreciate the Red Pill information... its depth and breadth? It reveals a somewhat overwhelming catastrophe of insane and criminal behaviour on the part of what many term the ruling elite... Have you taken that journey – it’s based on easily researched and confirmed evidence? Frankly I doubt it. It’s too much for most to imagine a world and those who rule can be so cruel. Until you do, I also doubt you can succeed at starting meaningful debate.

The Red Pill effect... plays a major role in the issue of establishing an intelligent, tactful and meaningful conversation between the parties. So much so, it makes it very hard for those of us on the "rational right" to even open the conversation with ANY expectation of getting a dignified hearing. Which I believe is essential to the debating process.

I fall into that Red-Pilled category. I have gone through process of researching, understanding and appreciating the full red pill process. It's also known as going down the Rabbit Hole... I offer a warning: On arrival at the bottom of the hole you really need to stop and back up somewhat, before the rabbit starts crapping on your head! I.e. there's a lot of nonsense down that rabbit hole and only intelligent rational discernment stops you from accepting it (much of it true to some extent but framed out of context). I ADVISE: you take what can be realistically proven, is essentially credible once you have the FACTS and EVIDENCE to form a meaningful opinion. YOU ALSO TAKE THAT WHICH IS SELF-EVIDENT (ONCE POINTED OUT) and disregard the rest. It takes a while to sort out the rant from the realism.

Nonetheless it is a very deep Rabbit Hole - or one helluva of a Red Pill!

Frankly, once I realized just how bad, corrupted and psychotic our world has become ...in terms of institutionalized leadership - its Military Industrial complex, its financial banking manipulation that includes the excessive and dare I say sociopathic greed of Wall Street, its toxic agriculture and food production, its clear and deliberately abusive lies and incredible deceptions of what is termed 'allopathic medicine'.... ONCE you understand what a horrific criminality has been perpetrated on humanity as a whole, you cry for days - literally. It’s called Waking Up - or The Awakening.

It’s the real deal.

IT THEN BECOMES EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO HOLD A CONSTRUCTIVE DEBATE WITH THOSE WHO REMAIN BLIND TO IT ALL. The un-awakened, many of them conservative, are still part of the matrix. As such they are nearly as difficult to talk to as the Neo-liberal Lefty's. Together they are the compliant, complacent and complicit ideological throng who not only allow the terrible abuse of humanity to continue - they are, in fact, its cheer-leaders!!! And for as long as... (What you might call) our cultural opposites do not consciously recognize the Red Pill issues... they inevitably "feel" the angst and dismay those issues are causing - in a deeply rooted subconscious manner... even though they don't understand why - It hurts! It hurts real bad!

That hurt is playing a very real role in all that has manifested in the "woke" versus "conservative" conflict. Under-estimate that reality and you will NEVER understand just how inevitable this conflict has become. The discussion you seek, such as it is... will be held as viewpoints online, mostly. Rarely can the main protagonists interact because so huge is the gulf between them it can never be bridged.

The conservative faction MUST win and dethrone the insanity of woke culture steadily and rationally... and VERY VERY determinedly... before so much damage is done we (our species) cannot survive the illusions' they have been taught and created from subjective reality. THIS IS A VERY REAL ISSUE and a far greater existential threat to our species survival than the nonsense of "climate change, LGBTQ###, BLM or critical race theory... BECAUSE believers of this nonsense have completely subjected themselves to an ideology that has shown itself able to completely ignore proven science at every level of its various disciplines. Dangerous! Very dangerous indeed... in the meantime the corporate elites, the banking fraternity, the political corporatized and militarized world of power will take advantage of them (on both sides) to impose absolute tyranny on mankind as a whole. A tyranny that could take as long as a millennium to over-turn! (If ever.)

So tell me again - how do we bring the opposing parties to the table? Keeping in mind we have less than a decade to avoid some the Red-Pill’s issues greatest threats.

First the battle must be fought. Only when some of sanity reigns can a meaningful conversation be demanded. Because it is the left essentially that cannot and will not debate. Until such debate can be framed in ESSENTIAL REALITY there is little point in even trying to start the conversation. At this time the left is unable to concede it needs to revise its thought processes. It‘s entirely possible it never will.

As for the Red Pill issues… Unless Ai gets involved and exposes them I doubt they will be tackled anytime soon. Sadly.

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This was a really amazing analysis of where we are as a culture. More people need to hear this, so anything you can do to get message out there is important. Any feedback from Bret Weinstein? He and Heather need to listen ( and ponder; not just react and defend). ......I'm an emergency physician, so this really helped me in my thinking. Like Rocky, I can testify that patients are confused. (I complete agreed with Rocky. He- we- are passionate about this, since it effects our patients and their care. Not sure why " Artist as Family" thought these were straw man arguments).

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This is how we shared this piece on social media: "Regardless of where we find ourselves in the Covid story, this piece (even though biased towards the thesis position), provokes some useful thinking, and is a call for greater compassion and thus consciousness of our own biases." We felt Rocky mostly offered straw man arguments (no, we are not Malone fans), and Charles Eisenstein, Maryanne Demasi, Tyson Yunkaporta, Norman Doidge or Alex Berenson would have been a good third anchor to make the framing less biased, however we felt this piece at least opens dialogue towards compassion and listening to others, wherever your prejudices fall. For which we are tremendously grateful.

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