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People Who Know Sh*t: Sam Harris

This is a recurring PGP series. Catch up with all installments of People Who Know Sh*t by visiting the archive.

Let’s talk about religion.

Few things are more thrilling than discussing religion with your friends and family around the dinner table. Heated political debates between loved ones may be the only topic of dinner convo that Trumps religious discourse.

We live in particularly interesting times. There’s a lot of weird shit going on. Access to information has never been greater and the ability to share your thoughts and worldviews at scale has never been easier. The Internet provides equal opportunity for everyone to express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions, while allowing the most interesting people to bubble to the top.

Through the glorious innovations of digital content distribution, Sam Harris is building a media empire around nothing more than his ideas and his impeccable ability to articulate them. He has over three quarters of a million followers on Twitter, he’s written five New York Times Best Sellers (keep up @WRBolen), and he has a podcast that I assume is listened to by hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people (I can’t find any stats on Sam’s podcast, but based on what I can gather this is reasonable to assume. If you know the specific numbers throw them in the comments).

Sam is probably best known for his hot takes on faith and religion, however, his wisdom extends into many topics beyond religion. His thoughts on artificial intelligence and its potential to create either utopia or armageddon are particularly interesting/terrifying. Here’s an excerpt from an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience where Sam and Joe get deep into AI talk:

Apologise for the existential anxiety.

Let’s end with some quotes:

“I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.”
― Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

“The core of science is not a mathematical modeling–it is intellectual honesty. It is a willingness to have our certainties about the world constrained by good evidence and good argument.”
― Sam Harris

“We rely on faith only in the context of claims for which there is no sufficient sensory or logical evidence.”
― Sam Harris

“If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?”
― Sam Harris

“What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.”
― Sam Harris

“Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?”
― Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

“How can we be “free” as conscious agents if everything that we consciously intend is caused by events in our brain that we do not intend and of which we are entirely unaware? We can’t.”
― Sam Harris

“Man is manifestly not the measure of all things. This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name.”
― Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

“You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.”
― Sam Harris, Free Will

More People Who Know Sh*t

  • Peter ThielHe’s anti school, pro corporate monopolies, and hated Gawker Media so much that he financed their demise.
  • Ryan HolidayIn his book The Obstacle Is The Way Ryan masterfully articulates the principles of Stoic Philosophy through stories of historic figures and events.
  • Sturgill SimpsonIt’s tough to convey the full extent of Sturgill’s knowledge in written form.
  • Arnold SchwarzeneggerArnold lives a flavorful life and does not fuck around with mediocrity.
  • Joe RoganHis podcasts are ridiculously long, his THC-fueled tangents are frequent, and there is zero theme or consistency to the types of guests he brings on the show. This is what makes Joe Rogan great.
  • Gary VaynerchukI haven’t come across anyone who has a better understanding of consumer marketing and the current landscape of the media industry.

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