A Podcast and its Host

As an individual concerned about freedom of speech I have always appreciated what the US evolved into following its independence from the British colonies. As a consumer of balanced viewpoints, I appreciate what Joe Rogan contributes to the social consciousness. As a student of the scientific method data analysis, deep study of processes and implications is something that I appreciate as well. I have had many arguments with friends in which I have tried to convince them about the need for a platform like JRE.

I am not completely sure about where the responsibility of a podcast host lies in the spread of information. There are instances where I am convinced that the conversation he is having is just conversations. Not everything I talk about is backed by data. It is barely even structured conversation at times. However with a platform also comes a responsibility about the message you are spreading. Is it the host’s responsibility to ensure what is being conveyed is legitimate? What if it is just friendly banter? Don’t we have conversations where friendly banter becomes toxic? What do we do when that happens? We acknowledge our ignorance about the topic and resolve to visit the conversation again with more information. We back of and acknowledge the unintelligibility of that exchange of words.

As a frequent listener of the JRE show I am aware that exaggerations and hyperbole are part and parcel of the conversation. Sometimes just as times as when we have non-structured, non-factual conversations with friends. However, the only difference, in this case, is that the conversation is being conducted by 1.1M people and sometimes more, even if it is only one-sided. Many times I am left with a cursory understanding of the topic but a deeper understanding of the guests on the show. Who are those individuals, what makes them nervous, what are they excited about, and sometimes the reasons behind what drives them. If someone is a brilliant performer that show will not give you anything but a presentation. I am aware of this.

The reason I chose to write this short post is that for a long time now the example of Uttar Pradesh has been coming up on the show time and again. I am completely aware that the state is run by a corrupt politician who has the hopes to become a leader within the national political scene of the country. This is a fact which is far removed from the current state of the world, which classifies areas around the world by their response to COVID. Policies, how the people reacted, the numbers, the hospitals, the facilities, and all that comes along with the COVID conversations.

For me, the canvas is viewed from a different lens. I am aware that U.P. (Uttar Pradesh) is a state that is deeply divided based on a caste system, religions, and other political parties that are trying to grab and/ or consolidate power over the people in that state. Corruption is a word that should have been used in the first sentence when U.P. was mentioned but I am bringing it up now. Corruption is rife within the state. Nothing positive in my recent memory has ever come up about that state. U.P. has the largest number of crimes per capita in all India. One could say that’s probably because the state has a very developed population and they’re a law-abiding people. However, the sentence before that would directly contradict this hypothesis. Further, U.P. also has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country. I hope this provides some context about the state.

The use of alternative medicines like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID. While I am writing this I hate the fact that this has become my corner to rant about COVID but I am torn by conflicting emotions about an individual who has shaped many of my ideologies. I grew up watching and listening to Joe Rogan. At first, it was Fear Factor, and then of course it was JRE. U.P. is one of those hell holes in India where I wouldn’t send any of my friends and families. I would do everything for them to avoid that state in the country. India is an amazing country where ingenuity and getting things done in the spirit in most but U.P. has never in the recent times been an example of anything positive.

I collected some very basic data here to contradict the claims of people like Bret Weinstein, Dr. Peter Corey, and Dr. Robert Malone. I have enjoyed listening to the conversations of all these people and I understand that most of these people feel like they have a ‘responsibility’ to shine the light on things that the ‘common man’ doesn’t understand. However, if they are good actors in the theater of JRE and other places the information they convey could be damaging. In certain instances, it has proven damaging and no one has paid the costs. So here’s the data about U.P. in comparison to two other states in the country.

Incomplete data in 12 rows that tells more of a story than a 3:06:17 hours long podcast

That 0.84% number which shows what part of the population had covid?! That’s the nail in the coffin for me. U.P. solved COVID before COVID even started. Like the rest of India that was banging utensils in March of 2020 and singing “go car-on-a go go” to stomp the epidemic U.P. had already started to stomp the pandemic by denying that there ever was a pandemic in the first place. In such a situation whether the state “covertly” used alternative treatments to rid the people of their ailments or connected with aliens to get a cure from the future it does not matter because COVID did not exist in the first place for them. They never actually tested the population at a rate that could determine the progress of vaccinations or medications. All their claims of cures and flattening the curve are based on slogans, marches, hand waving, and affinity towards whatever the public wants to hear on Instagram and other social media. To trust that something worked or did not work for that matter in that state is a disaster. If you don’t trust Fox or CNN you cannot even use the letter “t” for any conversation based on data from the U.P. government. In this case unfortunately there isn’t even any data available.

The Tragedy of the Commons and Decentralization

The post yesterday wasn’t up to the mark. Unfortunately, I feel like I was probably under the influence when I wrote it. The truth is that I was not. That would be a romantic idea of how a blog or book could be written. The fact is that I was just under the influence of the noise that there exists because of the world around me.

What should be the public policy to regulate the dissemination of information? In my opinion, the answer to that question can come either from an expert or simply a person who is observant about the world around them. However one needs to be mindful of all the factors and drivers of such a decision. This is the question about a policy for a policy. As someone recently told me it’s not a unitary or binarily dimensioned problem but rather a multidimensional problem. That is a very accurate description of many challenges that need to be solved in the world today. Identification of those factors that make the problem multidimensional should be step one of problem-solving. That also means defining the problem so that it could be understood by someone not familiar with the subject. This is almost thinking like a consultant. Perhaps a part of me is happy about this realization.

The topic in question is ‘the dissemination of information.’ The first question that comes to mind is dissemination to whom? Is it the people of the nation, is it the people in authority who may or may not have a certain political affiliation (‘always‘ would be the answer to that wonderment). Dissemination for the purposes of my examination here will be the spread of information to the common public. Even within the common public, it is specifically that part of the population that lacks a sense of determination. I particularly call it determination because not only does that take some sort of fortitude but also a sense and skill of separating what needs to be evaluated from what doesn’t. In some sections of the audience reading this that specification could be applied in a meta way on this topic and one could almost apply that filter to the very question that I raised.

In order to understand public policy one almost needs to understand what impact certain regulations or laws can potentially have on the public. If not in a prolonged sense of time at least in the near future. That understanding in itself needs the discernment of people and systems. Interactions of these drivers and an understanding of those drivers independently. Maybe not an exhaustive understanding of Jungian and Freudian psychology but just what drives people to behave a certain way. The outcomes that people desire are another topic of consideration.

I am afraid to introduce any topic in most discussions because I find that people lack a basic understanding of most things. This of course seems very egoistic of me but here I will also admit that there are others with whom I would very much engage in such debate very willingly as well. Most of the people that I pull into a debate wither away at the slightest thought of what it would mean if they were wrong about the position they hold. I, on the other hand, enter into conversations with the utmost confidence in my abilities to derive a conclusion from a given set of facts. My position might be incorrect due to the number of facts that I have taken into consideration but that understanding can always be updated and I am conscious of that result. Drawing conclusions is not the hard part for me. Neither is the emotional turmoil of being caught on the ‘wrong’ side of the debate.

So how does all this relate to the dissemination of information? I many times have experienced people failing to draw conclusions from a given set of facts. It is not the failure of their awareness but the failure to be curious or draw conclusions once those facts come to light during a conversation. This leaves me with a sense of concern about people deriving accurate conclusions from the information when presented to them. This concern was raised out of something that is now also a promise of the decentralization movement. The decentralization of information, technology, and resources among other things. However, I think it’s a valid question to ask – Is decentralization of information a good thing or bad when one is aware about ‘the tragedy of the commons’. A resource of any type gets optimized for individual consumption when released to the commons. This conversation will continue, perhaps for a few more units of measurable time in my head, at the very least.

The heat and the unreal journey

It’s the 25th of July (I wanted to write June) and these Olympics are a bit weird. I’ve usually been excited about the international games and yet I have close to zero idea of what is going on in the games. This is perhaps one example of how beginning of the second decade of the 21st century left us. Lot of lessons, with new found joys after a bundle of tragedy, all in all confused about what is required to be done in life.

After pondering about and around the idea of a sauna I finally visited one a couple of weeks ago. I visited an infrared sauna. It was not the worst idea. When asked about the benefits of a Sauna my answer is a veiled joke about the “heat shock proteins”, a JRE listener would feel in on the joke. This comes as an edit to an earlier entry because after a few hours of me having written this Joe actually posted something on Instagram (used to be a “social” network a few years ago) talking about the benefits of Sauna. I would like to exclaim ‘who would have guessed?’ ironically of course.

I wanted to summarize a few experiences from these past few weeks. Things are always passing by and making a note of the things that have added value to the experience is probably helpful. “No, he’s twelve” – these words, atleast I hope, are not forgotten too easily. The human experience is not simple and conversations about experiences and the experiences themselves makes one realize what things need to be paid most attention to in the day to day on goings. Another sentence was “… Grass grows here…”

They are tirelessly working at it and everyone ignores them because it is inconvenient. I’m not sure what this actually related to but perhaps it relates to workers that immigrate to the United States. There will be another country but for now the USA is one country that allows people to come in and work. It’s not easy and there are other places but if one can figure out the way the machine works. I still don’t know what that means for tme. If we could agglomerate the best learnings into another place it would probably look similar and eventually end up having similar problems. So for now yes there are people that are tireless working, maybe not in the most efficient way but they are working harder than the residents of this country because they have a dream that they are pursuing. This might be the country where entreprenuership is at the helm of existence and value that one could add to society but I still can’t start a company.

What a force of science! The faith in replicability, hypotheses framing and statistics is unparalleled.

One side is corrupt and the other side is inept. Lighthouses that actually meant to function are being taken down by the forces of both. How am I contributing to either? None, I’m just standing my ground and documenting my journey. What will the developing world do in the face of these challenges? Will they follow like always or do they have answers from before hand like they always have? Someday there will be a dam burst and when everyone will be looking for answers they will be narrated through an audiobook that will talk about the unreal journey this was for it’s time.

I don’t want to listen to what someone has to say and I don’t want to look at the world from anyone’s perspective because I think they are all incomplete and flawed. A perspective can help fine tune the whole but it cannot be followed as the only perspective. Human vision is flawed and so is the analysis that follows any perception. The level of nuance required to lead an inspiring life is exhausting but much needed at times.

Love that is not proclaimed. It started again because it feels that life itself is filled with pain. On the other side the other entity didn't need to be implored but neither does it need to be ignored. Things they have to say, important or not they still hold their sway. This might have appeared helpful then but is it even mentionable at all now? Typing away whenever there is conflict as if it has something to say.