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ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Robert Sapolsky is a Stanford neuroscientist and primatologist. He’s the author of a slew of important books on human biology and behavior. But it’s an older book he wrote that forms the basis for this conversation. In Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, Sapolsky works through how a stress response that evolved for fast, fight-or-flight situations on the savannah continuously wears on our bodies and brains in modern life.

But stress isn’t just an individual phenomenon. It’s also a social force, applied brutally and unequally across our society. “If you want to see an example of chronic stress, study poverty,” Sapolsky says.

I often say on the show that politics and policy need to begin with a realistic model of human nature. This is a show about that level of the policy conversation: It’s about how poverty and stress exist in a doom loop together, each amplifying the other’s effects on the brain and body, deepening their harms.

And this is a conversation of intense relevance to how we make social policy. Much of the fight in Washington, and in the states, is about whether the best way to get people out of poverty is to make it harder to access help, to make sure the government doesn’t become, in Paul Ryan’s memorable phrase, “a hammock.” Understanding how the stress of poverty acts on people’s minds, how it saps their will and harms their cognitive function and hurts their children, exposes how cruel and wrongheaded that view really is.

Sapolsky and I also discuss whether free will is a myth, why he believes the prison system is incompatible with modern neuroscience, how studying monkeys in times of social change helps makes sense of the current moment in American politics, and much more. This one’s worth your time.

Book Recommendations:
The 21 Balloons by William Pene Dubois
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick
The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit by Melvin Konner








English
United States
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TRANSCRIPT

00:00:00Howard gold standard of incorporating Neuroscience into making sense of humans at their worst moments is relying on Neuroscience that was derived from knowledge in 1840 we have an incorporated anything new since then and this is appalling
00:00:29hello I'm just glad y'all in the Box media podcast network but it begin today by making again to request I made a couple shows ago which is trying to get here in at the end of my first chapter of my book which is his Focus if you been listening which is about political identity and polarization in the way the two coalitions of sorting and how that is changing various institutions in American politics if you think I should talk to you for that on the show if there's someone you would like to hear me discuss it with somebody who you think is making polarization worse or you think has a way of making it better or has a prospective or research line on it that I should be considering you know is in a discipline that I don't talk to enough whatever it might be I'd love those ideas I want to make sure that I'm casting the net as widely as I can and getting the perspectives that I should be into it by email is Ezra Klein show at box.com again Ezra Klein show at box.com and I'll be grateful for your for your help and your wisdom I've been very excited
00:01:29about the show today my guest is Robert sapolsky who is a neuroscientist at Stanford and just a genius just a genius if you read his work or have listened to his lectures is the author of a bunch of really beloved books on the most recent one that is behave but before that he wrote what is that the Seminole text on anxiety of a Caballo zebras don't get ulcers a bit about this in the show but I picked this book up because I have anxiety I struggle with that and I want understand it better but it's really in the back half of the book where he began talking about anxiety and poverty and anxiety and society that I was on a plane reading this and I just need some time to read a book and you just get excited like these are just great important ideas and so immediately when I landed I got in touch with him and ask him to come on the show The reason I think this is an important conversation and in fact one of the more important ones we've had on the show isn't it politics and policy making it needs to be
00:02:29getting from a realistic view of human nature and it's so often doesn't I mean it's so often comes from values from etiology from interest but not from an understanding of how human beings were there were loitering up to an understanding of how to build a society in which they can Thrive you here in politics all the time it drives me crazy you're all the time all I don't want equality of all, I want equality of opportunity as if equality of opportunity is some get-out-of-jail-free card for social policy as if equality of opportunity is something somehow easy to achieve anybody who's not seriously or studied the contributors of opportunity knows as much of equality of opportunity is such up it is such an ambitious goal that there is absolutely no chance we will ever reach it but but striving for it which is difficult which would require policy far more radical than anything we have to be striving for it is something that I think it's certainly worth doing and if you're thinking about equality of opportunity clearly
00:03:29opportunity part of what what gives us the ability to compete with each other equal 8 is that the metal hardware software is the temperament we bring to life it's not just where we go to school or what community we grow up in its impulse control do we have do we have the energy to make difficult decisions require delaying gratification how much short-term memory are are we holding what is our executive function like how much trauma is there in our backgrounds what is our confidence in our ability to solve problems supposed to mention to he's a neuroscientist his background is studying primates which he loves up instead of cumin and he has a way of thinking about this in a way of thinking about Stress and Anxiety and pressure which often times comes out of poverty and what that does to those parts of us that is really really important listen to this conversation and then while you're listening to it I want you to try to think about something think about how you think and plan and react to hard information when your
00:04:29tired when you're under slept when you're in really bad traffic when nothing is going right think about in this conversation so this is what I was thinking about are you you are you like a you you explain yourself to be in a diary or in a letter to someone you love or who you want to love you or are you only the you of this particular context how different would you be if the contacts changed radically and so the chemicals in your brain and the things your brain have learned about the way it interacts with the world had also changed radically I think this is an important conversation I think it is the beginning of a lot of conversations like this one that I want to have but it is worth it here is Robert sapolsky thanks for having me on so let me begin send it at with a basic question what is stress and why is it bad for us what is stress it depends on what species were talking about if your your average mammal out there what's
00:05:29this is about is some short-term physical crisis somebody's very intent on getting you where you were very intent on running fast enough to eat someone else short-term physical prices swear it's either over with within a couple of minutes or beer over with and those cases you turn on the classic mammalian stress response your heart rate increases your blood pressure whole bunch of other changes we can talk about when you get to humans though a stress can be very different yes a stressor could be your run for your life from a lion but a stressor could also be a 30-year mortgage we're thinking about your retirement or thinking about the planet your grandkids are going to inherit or something that is just a fine of the human which is chronic psychological stress and when it comes to humans we are capable of turning on the exact same stress response as an animal running
00:06:29first life when we were thinking about global warming why do we think that is why does he use the same Pathways as physical existential immediate stress to worry about a public speaking presentation have to give next week well I think we see a continued on that there's the obvious logic of turn on the stress response some Lions just rip your stomach open there's an obvious stress response obvious logic turn on the stress response who here comes a lion
00:06:59there can be the logical stress response who wear in the sort of place that Lions lirik this time of day there could be an obvious logical anticipatory stress response the locusts have come we're going to be starving in a couple of months you see a transition other species into a capacity to not just have reactive stress responses but anticipatory once and for most species out there anticipatory is pretty short term it's not anticipating 30 years of paying your mortgage is not anticipating the final exam that's coming in 2 months all we have done is taken that evolutionary logic of being capable of some degree of anticipatory stress responses and we've done crazy human stuff without adjust abstracting it over space and time and suddenly you're turning on stress response
00:07:59list four things a thousand years in the future or thousand years in the pasture for a fictional character in a book or somebody on the other side of the planet who you'll never meet and your them in very human specific domains and so if you work or live under long-term condition does chronic stress what it what does that do to us mentally and physically lousy stuff and here we go back to that's like otomy between the wonderful logic of the short-term stress response while you're running for your life and the damaging illogic of the chronic stress response ones turn on for psychological reasons. What are you doing short-term when you're running for your life you increase heart rate you increase breathing rate you dump stored energy into your bloodstream to power your muscles you shut off everything that's not essential in your body you shut off growth in digestion and reproduction stuff like
00:08:59you leave your body prone towards an inflammatory stayed in case you're about to be in church all of this makes wonderful sense if you're being stressed for 3 minutes of a physical in so if you're stressed for 30 years instead or stress day after day in traffic whatever you're sitting there in traffic and absolutely nothing useful is coming from the fact that you're doing the exact same thing with your body while you're sitting in traffic and you increase your heart rate will you divert glucose to your thigh muscles so you can run for your life you shut down ovulation you stop repairing tissue you get into an inflammatory State all of which makes perfect sense when you're running from a lion all of which is a disaster when you do a chronically for nonsense psychological reasons and no matter how bad traffic is or no matter how poorly your boss is treating your whatever you're probably not going to get disemboweled in the savanna
00:09:59left is just like a pile of bleached bones you know I just moved to the Bay Area in the traffic though it is really bad actually hear it it does involve the conditional sort of killing of that sort but still it's a rare it's rare by mammalian standards so I want to lay my cards on the table here and I did not pick up your book on this on under those terms I struggle a lot with anxiety particular the past 5S years and I read the book I picked up the book because I wanted to understand what was happening in my body better and what I took from the book I should read it on a plane ride and he was in the in the back half that I felt like you were offering a theory of social stress that was actually of incredible value to my work as a political turn off in some way of more value than just knowing that all my work was being bad for me on a day-to-day basis so I wanted to move up to this idea of stress as an unequally
00:10:59but importantly applied force across our society and I thought the the place to begin with you have an interesting Insight light in the box where you've done a lot of work with primates and you say that in some ways private Society is a lot simpler than human society that what we've invented in human society is poverty which is a way of applying social stress it's much more diabolical than anything you've seen in your private studies can you talk a little bit about those differences OK the large subject that you're alluding to is a lots of social organisms out there most primates and us have hierarchies status hierarchies dominance hierarchies things of that sort and a general theme is if being at the bottom of your hierarchy involves taking a lot of grief individuals dumping on you if they're in a bad mood you not having much social support things that are relevant to every primate out there
00:11:59the profile you see is your bodies in a chronic state of mildly activating the stress response and you're being set up for all the classic stress-related diseases atherosclerosis hypertension adult onset diabetes is worsened by stress gastrointestinal problems etc etc you look closely at other primates though and you see all these interesting qualifiers like being a low-ranking baboon is not as associated with a bad Health count come if you are friends what's a friend for a baboon somebody you sitting room with somebody you said in contact with somebody who's got your back in a fight and that sort of thing modulated by that it's modulated by if it's a true priest hierarchy is not quite as vicious as an other troops in other words it's not just your rank it's the social system in which the rank is occurring okay so for real this non-human primate subtlety and then you will
00:12:59the human equivalent to which we are not a classically hierarchical species and sensitive like chickens have a pecking orders but we have one hell of a dominating hierarchical thing that we invented 10 12000 years ago or so was just socioeconomic status and differences in it and what you see is poverty is associated with virtually all of the bad Health outcomes associated with chronic stress and we can go into the nuts and bolts of that in more detail with the most striking thing about it is you see that SES socioeconomic status SES Health relationship in sweaty capitalist United States in socialized medicine Scandinavian Canada and Gala Therrien Societies in society after Society poverty no matter how severe or
00:13:59knowing it might be poverty is associated with with worst Health in other wordsm it all the subtleties in non-human primates have it depends on your personal buffers in your personal experience of your ranking with a nature is of the culture of your baboon troop excetra Center when you get to humans poverty is the psychological Sledgehammer like nothing let the primate world is ever invented so I think the obvious counter argument to this the thing people he think when they hear it is isn't the role of poverty and we're sending people to help out, strictly Mercurial you don't have health insurance perhaps although open on Sundays countries are talking about you don't have access to it as good food maybe you're working in a more dangerous job why don't you think that the effect of poverty on help is simply be effective money on being able to buy both better medication and a healthier lifestyle great this this material is the explanation is a significant part of this
00:14:59and it probably has something to do with why the health SES gradient is a whole lot deeper in the United States than it is in Sweden for example and why it's the steepest of anywhere in the world in the United States as you said it can't be due to health care access because you see a gradient in countries with universal healthcare you look at lifestyle risk factors lifestyle protective factors oh bummer they put in the toxic waste dump next to her maybe I'll get a fancy health club membership per take a vacation this is not an option for the poor but when you look at the risk factors and the protective factors and lifestyle it only explains about a third of the variability where most of the variability wants it being explained is in the role of stress okay let's unpack that a little bit of the first thing that you see and this is wonderful work from a colleague Nancy Adler at University California San Francisco
00:15:59ask a person how they're doing when you compare yourself to other people in the world how are you doing in fact let's make this a hard-nosed scientific study here's a picture of a ladder with 10 wrongs when you compare yourself to other people what runs you put yourself on another words what you're asking for is somebody subjective sense of social status and it turns out your objective SES your income many of those measures your objective SES is no better of a predictor of your health and is your subjected us yes in other words it's not being poor it's feeling poor and this one's a being a big statistical mediator of this relationship so that would imply that the way in which parties acting is psychological I mean we've been talking about it through stress but but but it's relative it's a feeling of where you rank compared to other people in your Society
00:16:59does that and it's additional variables because the next piece of the story cuz wonderful work from this epidemiologic ologist Richard Wilkinson on the new UK who shows and that it's not so much being poor it's not so much feeling poor it's feeling poor surrounded by plenty it's inequality and what he shows his after controlling for absolute income the extent of inequality in society is a huge predictor of Health more inequality Everybody's Health is worse all the way up and down the ladder Lowe's on the bottom suffer from the two most but this wines of being a very important statistical mediator of the it's not just being poor it's feeling poor it's feeling we're in a place where your nose is being rubbed in it all the time on that last Point how much do you think it's related to the stories we tell each other and ourselves about the causation of poverty
00:17:59an interesting discussion in the book about how one of the worst things that can happen for stress is you believe you control or something you don't have control over or you believe you don't have control over something that you do so you talk about how the kind of thing we have to say to somebody is there was nothing you could do but in practically in America but to some degree and a lot of other countries as well we tell a real individualized story about property that if you are poor it is your fault that you have failed compared to all these other people you should be getting up earlier you should make different decisions when you are kid you should have never you know done that dumb thing when you were nineteen and you ended up in jail for a couple of years how much is a bad feeling the poverty is a personal failing and that your deprivation admits the plenti is your fault how much do you think that that is a player here I think that's a big piece of it's because if you're growing up in a society where the the myth is that any person could grow up to be a billionaire real-estate show
00:18:59Easter and were president if you're growing up in that sort of setting and you don't want it that way you know whose fault it is when it comes to the psychology stress disorder the building blocks are for the same external stressor we feel worse or more likely to turn on stress response or more at risk for stress-related diseases if we feel like we have no control no predictability no Outlets lacking social support okay so what comes out of that is seemingly this mindlessly stupid one-size-fits-all solution which is maximized people's sense of control and sense of predictability and what you get instead is exactly what you're discussing that only works in a narrow range some stressor occurs that you couldn't have prevented do you want to feel as if you were responsible for it and the answer is if it's a mild to moderate stressor
00:19:58enhancing your sense of control helps because all you're doing there is biasing yourself psychologically to think wow just imagine how much worse that could have been thank God I was at the help on the other hand if it's a massive stressor all that a sense of control does is get you to focus on how much better it could have been and this happened on my watch to see is with the extremes of stress denial distraction all of that works very well and if you have a society instead that's constantly emphasizing that any person can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and we can all be Horatio Alger and if you're not you had the control that's incredibly corrosive source of stress so we're talking here about the way poverty can cause stress and I want to flip the conversation to the way stress kempot can cause poverty the way it's a multi-directional feedback loop written about some interesting research about the way on
00:20:58can chronic stress a sense of overwhelm I it changes even the prefrontal cortex changes are our ability to make certain kinds of decisions can can you talk a little bit about how we operate cognitively differently under high ongoing stress loads so it's absolutely as you say poverty increases stress profile stress through indirect route put you more at risk for Parvati right off the bat though in terms of the basic fighting of the field of poverty associated with poor stress-related health you show that's mostly driven by the poverty rather than by the stress in the best way to show that is your level of poverty is a five-year-old predicts something about your health 20 years later you could do a Time series types. He's okay but getting back to the component of it where stress itself can lead to the sort of psychological profile that had you towards poverty what river
00:21:58surround is this part of the brain you mentioned the frontal cortex totally cool part of the brain it's like his Define ugly human there's anything in our skull we've got more of it than any other species the newest evolve part what is the frontal cortex to and makes you do the harder thing when that's the right thing to do long-term planning gratification postponement impulse control emotional regulation all the ways in which year it is split in the road and there's a temptation to go for the cheap easy pay off and instead you managed to do the right thing that's your frontal cortex and the critical piece of that whole story is stress sustain stressed relatively short-term stress everything in between stress and pears the function of your prefrontal cortex and you get worse at doing the right thing when that's a harder thing to do now you can show this experimental e and you do it
00:22:58classic thing that would behavioral Economist do what you show the people have this really distortive cognitive tendency of time budget discounting which is this whole phenomenon temporal discounting okay how much is this reward worth to you right now a lot how much is it worth you if you have to wait a day for it how about if you have to wait from week for it a month excetera and what you see is we temporarily discount rewards become a lot less rewarding to us a really steep decline when you got to wait for it okay so this is universal among all sorts of smart species and what you see is in US stress makes us steeper Discounters you become more focused on the present an experimental settings stress or stress hormones and people are more willing to borrow in the present against the future people become more risk-taking things of that sort
00:23:58and what that is due to are the effects of stress on the prefrontal cortex so you can show that in Kino sick people in a room and stress them stress them by making them subtract numbers quickly hear some sort of experimental stressor and people now to steeper temporal discounting and stick him in a brain scanner and it correlates with their frontal cortex being less active where things really get problem out of chronically it is in addition to one hour stress making your frontal cortex a little bit sluggish chronic stress actually cause atrophy of your frontal cortex neurons and their shrivel up and you now have a frontal cortex that is going to chronically be having a harder time doing the right thing when that's the hardest thing to do as a shocking finding with this in this has been replicated by some really excellent people in the field Take 5 year old take kindergartners and by age
00:24:58your parents socioeconomic status is a predictor of How High your stress hormone levels going to be in your bloodstream when you're just sitting there at rest and the higher the stress hormone levels those are the hormones that impair function of the frontal cortex the higher those levels the thinner your frontal cortex is going to be at age 5 U of M prudently gone and picked the wrong family to be born into and already you were lifelong trajectory of how well you were going to do the harder things the right thing to do it Center excetera is already being impacted by poverty so I want to add some numbers here cuz you discuss I think we're talking to her about the same study the study of children in Montreal that shows that going from five by h10 the children from the poor homes at twice the circulating glucocorticoids I don't know if I'm saying that correctly glucocorticoids
00:25:58but the circulating stress markers as the highest income children and it's 10 year olds twice as much so what would that do to a kids performance in school Lots okay so you're in pairing function of the frontal cortex that messes up what's called working memory which is like remembering something for 30 seconds that messes up executive function which is being able to do strategic stuff with your information and that messes up impulse control that like defining thing that your frontal cortex does an addition there's another part brain that's near and dear to me call the hippocampus which is Central to learning and memory and what does stress in those glucocorticoid hormones do there they atrophy neurons there as well and suddenly memory doesn't work as well and learning and retrieval of stuff then sitting next to the hippocampus is a part of the brain called the amygdala and what they mean
00:26:57what is about is fear it's the part of the brain hippocampus is where you learned somebody's last name amygdala is where you learn to be afraid of something is where you learn to be anxious and what is stress do their most stress is taking the prefrontal cortex and taking the hippocampus and taking them offline stress makes the amygdala work better than its supposed to what is that explaining neurons there become more excitable they form new connections all of that people with chronic stress disorders for example PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder their middle is grow larger than actual structural level what's that explaining that's the connection between Stress and Anxiety and anxiety sure is not good for learning if you were in a residential and what's sneaking up behind me literally and metaphorically State 24-7 that's going to disrupt learning as well so everything about the scenario of a 10-year
00:27:57paying under a biological price for the randomness of that kid socioeconomic status that's good impact every domain of school function when you imagine that spiraling out their person's life not just that at 10 but them at 12 then it 15 them in a growing up in an area where there gunshots at ring out in the evening them growing up in a single-parent household with a constant getting evicted what does it mean then for our ideas of Free Will and personal responsibility mean if the decisions we make an end the impulses we are able to resist have so much to do with the family were born into in the situation were born into and end with the chemicals that are then running through our brains how should that shape the way we understand guilt and responsibility in a person's life it should cause a radical rethinking about how we we consider that whole subject
00:28:58York Early environment as we heard has something to do with the prefrontal cortex you're going to have as an adult and how well you do that emotional regulation how stressful your prenatal environment was has something to do with it how high were your mother stress hormone levels percolating into your own circulation and getting into your fetal brain the jeans you get at their interactions with environment all of these want to be factors It's relatively subtle being a five-year-old from poverty's frontal cortex is already lagging behind a bit destroy somebody's frontal cortex in an accident or whatever and you have somebody who can tell you absolutely the difference between right and wrong and what counts is appropriate behavior and none the less in a moment of emotional arousal absolutely do the disastrously damaging horrific thing they know the difference between right and wrong yet they can't regulate their behavior
00:29:58about 25% of the man on death row in this country have a history of concussive head trauma to their frontal cortex when you get into that realm this guy is no frontal cortex is destroyed in a horrible accident every test you give him shows he has no emotional regulation no wonder he's a murderer okay maybe people will rethink Free Will and responsibility in that case and begin to think of him as a damaged biological machine rather than somebody with a rotten Evil Soul but then you got to extend it to all the much more subtle stuff in the thing that makes your frontal cortex a little more or less than whatever than mine and this part of the brain in that individual differences and you study enough of this stuff and the whole notion of free will start squealing singing really suspect so I don't know if you know this but when I Was preparing for this interview there is a Twitter account doesn't seem to be operative anymore with it but it was for whatever just
00:30:58that little epigrams that you have said are you kidding nope not at all. I think it's called Prof Robert sapolsky oh my God was the modern criminal justice system is incompatible with Neuroscience is it is this area what you were talking about their yeah absolutely absolutely that is a most flagrant example the one that's most easy to swear to comprehend but I think that's good where eventually sir to get into every corner of how we think about things but the criminal justice system basically the gold standard and American criminology for deciding somebody is so organically impaired in their brain that you can't really hold them responsible for their actions is something that's called and McNaughton Rule and this is if somebody is so impaired that they can't tell the difference between right and wrong and this is basically a way of describing somebody who's efficiently psychotic paranoid schizophrenic whatever that
00:31:58if you're just so thought disorder you're so out of touch with reality that's you know you can't hold her responsible for hearing voices incessantly whatever okay that works in on an oak currently 15 states in the country something like that will allow you to make him McNaughton defense there's no state that allows you to take the next step which is the realm of frontal damage and someone who does know the difference between right and wrong but none the less can't regulate their behavior now what is most astonishing and what makes me like give rise to sound bites like that or something is the make a note in case was a man who in the 1840s was hearing voices I told him to try to assassinate the British prime minister and that was the first time that the system said the sky is too damaged to be held responsible put him in an asylum whatever
00:32:51our gold standard of incorporating Neuroscience into making sense of humans at their worst moments is relying on your side's that was derived from knowledge in 1840 we have an incorporated anything new since then and this is appalling this is always a tricky topic but something I often think about in this debate is it seems to me that Free Will is an idea and to some degree of myth that is very valuable in our personal lives and is very destructive in our Collective life and Society seem to have a lot of trouble separating those two things out possibly because it's very hard to separate those two things out but but it often seems to me that you want people to believe because we do have a fair amount of control over our decisions and circumstances certainly some but you don't want Sia teas to believe that people have full control
00:33:51over their outcomes and circumstances because they don't but holding those to some a contrasting ideas in their heads at the same time seems far beyond what we are able to execute the high in politics politics and lots of other domains as well first off I don't think it's a good thing that everyone has a sense of free will I suspect people like you and me and I'm leaving to assumptions here but the guess is that you're probably is neurotic as I am certain middle class in the wrong sweetheart so quickly huh 30 minutes I mean that's a sense of Free Will is a luxury for people who were basically doing okay and who's problems are like really ultimately like neurotic navel contemplation sense of Free Will who I am the captain of my fate is not great for somebody who grew up in another city and paw
00:34:51prettiest random violence etcetera etcetera to even on the individual level it's not always such a hot idea to Foster somebody sense of Free Will nonetheless as a large dichotomy it would be in a good direction if all of us thought of ourselves as having Free Will and less responsible for our behaviors and thought of everybody else is lacking Free Will so you have to find the means to understand them and forgive them and deal with restitution rather than retribution kind of thing and that one's really hard to do that one's really hard because when people do damaging awful things it's awful and one of our responses to awfulness in a setting like that is a desire to punish the desire to Revenge when we are punishing somebody the reward parts of our brain using this neurotransmitter dopamine or going like crazy it is a very hard thing to unwire the notion that
00:35:51criminal Behavior abnormally damaging criminal Behavior comes from abnormally damaged Brands it's in a sense of truism right it would seem it would seem obvious and yet to absorb that into our understanding of society would upend so much of what we believe about punishment so much of what we want to believe about the rightness of punishment of the deterrent effect of punishment that there is a radical listen to it that you can't seem to convince people of one of the set of studies you relay your book that I do think is pretty helpful here is the work on learned helplessness you write that any of us can be provoked into least transient cases of learned helplessness with surprising ease can you talk a bit about that research because I I think it in a small way people will recognize it in themselves but in a big way it it it helps make some of these points a lot clearer you train an organism
00:36:51lab rat a monkey a human whatever into some sort of conditions Association some avoidance task okay when this light comes on and you're suddenly from experience anticipating a shock to your heart is racing if you press this lever 10 times quickly you'll avoid the shock great you learn how to do that here in top of it you've got an inner locus of control life is terrific Etc then they changed the rules on you which is you get the signal and you press the lever 10 times can you get the shock and you press the lever 10 more times can you still get a shock and you decided you better press the lever 25 times and you better press the lever 25 times while reciting the national anthem were wearing your lucky socks and you get into this whole array of anxious attempts at coping and that's what anxiety is all about you are mobilizing a whole bunch of often mutually contradictory coping at
00:37:51when what used to work doesn't work anymore I'm one of the things our brains habitually do at that point is rather than when seeing Oh when I do X that doesn't work anymore maybe I should try why what we do during stress is instead fall into habitual Pathways I know the solution is to do X 10 X more'n ten times more ardently and we get stuck in Russell okay so that's sort of the anxious face but keep you in that long enough and then you get a transition to where you give up you don't bother anymore and you sit there in the middle of the floor getting the shocks over and over and that's the transition from an anxiety disorder to a depressive disorder depression is learned helplessness and if you're sufficiently learned helpless even when things have gone back to pressing the lever and it working you still can't recognize that anymore it's still
00:38:51not enough to make you feel better it's still you rationalizing why this can't really be the case and why they're going to take it away from you again and why you don't deserve it and why you were fraud and everyone's going to find out and there's this transition early in the phase of things no longer working we anxiously scramble usually in a way resembling a chicken with his head cut off trying to cope when we transition into that stage if there's nothing I can do now ever I'm helpless I'm hopeless learned helplessness that's what depression is about and an awful lot of what we do to the Have Nots in our society is train them and learned helplessness you have a study that was very Vivid on this can you talk a bit about the the research you discussing the book where is some psychologists Tok inner-city school kids who have very severe reading problems and then taught them to read Chinese okay so if you're learned helpless because you keep getting an electric shock
00:39:51that's something like a lab rat can understand and identify with if you were learned helpless because Society tells you you're not smart you're not motivated that's a much more psychological version of learned helplessness and that of course is the version that were doing much more often than our sort of human westernized world if so if you can bypass that you could undo some of the Learned helplessness in this was this remarkable study took these inner-city kids I can't remember what age but they were already years behind the normal reading level books did already learned they're not smart they're not good at school you don't want to be good at school cuz you're going to seem dorky whatever they're already on that path and you teach them instead this abstract thing okay here these two squiggles on the board here mean this word and everybody memorize is it okay and then this other
00:40:51wacoal means this other word and this other school and never are you using the words language or words or anything like that describing what you're putting up on the board and what they found was after certain number of days doing this these kids were learning Mandarin Chinese at the same rate as like suburban school kids what was the difference they weren't tapping into those condition elements of learned helplessness who I'm going to teach you to read in another language leave another language I'm lousy my own because I'm not smart I'm disorganized I'm lazy whatever bypass that entirely and you just didn't end around around these kids learned helplessness so what I take from this research is I think a pretty good working definition of poverty would be an endless series of problems that don't have any good solution I mean it in our society in a capitalist Society right now if you do not have enough
00:41:51money what you have is an endless series of problems that don't have an actual answer where to live how to make sure your kids can get to school on time and make sure you can get to your work on time and if you put somebody in a condition where there forever facing problems and no matter how hard they try they can't really solve they can at best get subtraction on them for for a little while and I end this is not here to take away from the remarkable cases of people overcoming all of this and completely changing the circumstance that happens but for most of us it would be pretty hard if you put people in that condition over and over and over again then what this research seems to say is that it will overtime just weakened their ability and the confidence to solve problems all together that one of the effects of poverty would be it weakens the capacities that you need to get you out of poverty exactly
00:42:47you can readily get caught in a chicken and egg scenario with that when you're looking at someone who's been poor for their half-century life and has been making bad decisions for half century of their life experimental studies show the same thing in settings that will show you the causality take some subjects and have them play some games and Status game and manipulate things in terms of the rewards in the outcomes so they come out the other end either feeling like they are high status or low status as a result of the stupid experimental arbitrary game and what you see is immediately afterward being made to feel poor low-status in this economic game you too steep or temporal discounting you're more likely to borrow in the present against the future you're more likely to make exactly those sorts of errors that reflect reflect frontal cortex not really doing a straw
00:43:47another version of this in the study this one I found very Charming because they stop a random people in a shopping mall I think in New Jersey and you caused people to have economic anxiety you describe to them what if your car breaks down and it turns out it's going to be $75 repair vs what if your car breaks down it's going to be a $3,000 repair what's the ladder doing tapping into every bit of economic anxiety that you've got lurking there and what they show is you do that to wealthy people and whether it's a $75 repair or $5,000 one Whatever has no real effect on cognition do it to poor people $75 repair not a big effect do the massively expensive repair that's got all those alarms going off of I Got No Control no predictability no outlets and I'm just in trouble 24/7 do that and people's cognitive skill
00:44:46suddenly plummet memory goes down the tubes temporal discounting gets worse and other words Ethan a short-term artificial sense of being low as yes or even a short-term reminder of the bad consequences of your ongoing low-ses is enough to wreak havoc with cognition and set you up for as you said exactly the sort of brain that's going to be really unprepared to try to get you out of that low-status situation
00:45:20this place is the podcast to listen to if you want to better understand what is the largest global displacement and I am grand Court in in this season we're going to focus on one of the most important issue shipping the displacement crisis that's how the nature of war is changing we will look at how Technologies like drones cyber warfare and social media are changing the ways that conflict start and how they play out now on Apple podcast wherever you get your punk ass
00:45:50I think the hardest question in news right now is what to actually focus on like what to focus on today what actually matters today and how do you slow it down and give it the time so you understand it I think a lot of us have the experience now we're reading the news and we know a little bit about a lot of things but not enough to understand any one thing today explained the Daily News podcast from box is the answer to that we we built it from the ground up to solve that problem everyday the team lead at hosted by Sean ROMs from chooses a story that actually matters sometimes it is a story about Donald Trump and not just wall-to-wall Donald Trump I mean they go and talk to journalists who seen more than 20 relatives detained in China secret concentration camps or Pig Farmers dealing with a backlash from the Tariff war or a genealogy sites like ancestry.com are used to track down to serial killers I have this experience whenever I listen to that show and I do all the time I actually personally Love It Up by
00:46:50understanding something that mattered that I knew was out there and I didn't understand until I listen to today explained to get downloaded explained where we get your podcasts get it on Apple podcast Stitcher Spotify wherever you're currently listening today explained by Vox it is excellent
00:47:08so I can imagine if you're listening to this second also a bit abstract but one reason I'm interested in it as it relates varied directly to one of the core questions conflicts in in politics right now which is there is a very large and very very strong movement in this country to make it much harder for people to access Social Services to make them fill out more paperwork that you don't forget to get food stamps and commented to get drug tested every week if they could get Medicaid they have that work requirements to make things difficult and there's a note 8 to give it I guess it's credit a theory behind that you know Paul Ryan talks about you can't let the government be a habit you know you if you need people who need people are really want to and need to work for it because you need to teach them or incentivize them to work for it because how else are they going to get out of poverty and it seems to be a lot of This research suggests that making the lives of people who are already in poverty in RDR over stressed and under lot of
00:48:08harder is not going to make them more capable of getting out of poverty it's going to directly harm the cognitive capabilities and make it possible to get out of poverty that you we want to lower the volume on all of these stressors and dangers in life in order to give people more of the energy to do something which is incredibly incredibly hard which is change the entirety of their life circumstance exactly and the underlying biologies exactly the stuff we've been talking about poverty makes the future into a very nebulous abstract concept because the present is so much more dominating that is for everyone else and the notion that you know Paul Ryan esque type solutions for parvo you got to get people not getting into this dependency of just having stuff done for them or whatever and you got to get them to do the hard work to get out of poverty just being poor
00:49:08where is incredibly hard work if you're trying to feed your kids or figure out how you're going to pay the rent at the end of the month it's incredible cognitively depleting source of stress to constantly be worried and constantly wonder how you and your loved ones are going to make ends meet the notion that people are sitting on their rear ends there wallowing in sort of societal you know opioids of of support is nonsense being poor and trying to function with that is one of the hardest jobs we've got out there you know I I think about this in a small way in my own life I was I did I was very bad in school when I was growing up and I think a big reason for it was a very bad I just listening to somebody lecture I just like having auditory processing thing I only understood later in life but I was also very bad socially I didn't have many friends I got bullied a lot and at some point like I can I can look back on my life in and see this now I just kind of gave up like I just stopped
00:50:08I just was not trying that hard in school and did not really know what to do socially in you know I went from not doing well to really really really not doing well to failing things to to really be on the outskirts and then at some point you know I left and I was in a new contacts which is college and I didn't really have to listen to people in class I can just write essays and the social situation just clicked a lot better with who I was and I got better at everything all at once because I developed a sense of capability and it kind of competence and this idea that we are empowered by things being harder and having overcome them it just has never seemed True Form yet I do think I do think people get into rhythms where they're empowered by overcoming things but it has to be you know it it has to be a life Sequel and so they can actually manage if you put people in a sequence for they can't you know when you get into a rhythm a feeling incompetent and feel like you're not any good at it. Just built
00:51:07find itself to I think this is a real mistake that people who are really effective in Life or had very of feeling a real difficulty in life make when they're sort of trying to do policy by introspection which is they see themselves as having overcome so much and they assume that like what they need to do is give other people the opportunity to be the same and they don't really have a sense it if they were in a situation but I couldn't overcome as much we're just wasn't there for them that they would just start failing that you know that we are that we can be put into contacts fitbreak our ability to generate that sir Ford Energi I might think it's a real I think it's a real mistake that that that afflicts powerful people yeah there's a very self-satisfied myopia to comes in at that point that makes one very very open to the myth that it was all your own doing and you're just self-made it's all luck it's all the luck of biology
00:52:07impacts us and for example that relationship between poverty kids who were from low e s s s e s background or do you have markers of one of the bad Health outcomes which is an overactive inflammatory system and that's bad for a whole bunch of reasons oh but not all poor kids whoa who are the exceptions are they the ones who have like memorize the American dream Edict of they can pull themselves up by the what's the predictor which kids do better with that they have a loving mother at home who's not so exhausted after working three jobs that she can actually like spend time with them oh that sure is an outcome of their own like doing to get themselves the luck of having a mother who could do that just all of these variables explaining the rare subset of people who get out the other end of it the majority who don't are predicated on an ocean of self-determination that
00:53:07we isn't there a sense of efficacy is great if it's a reasonable one telling people that everybody could be rich any of you could be rich any of you could be president whatever is just setting people up for my own damn fault and it didn't work out that way something more reasonable like everybody may be with someone who understands the system or who is a native language speaker taking by the Hat everybody can open up a savings account at a bank and be more prudent with their money that one's more memorable how much more plausible but societal myths about your infinite Mobility is all it does is make the victims feel like they're responsible for what happened
00:53:54someone to talk about society and hierarchy stress from a different perspective now which is why we talk here about the normal perspective on it which is at the lower you are in a hierarchy all else being equal The more stress you're going to feel but you write in the book about times when when hierarchies become unstable when you know in in in private Society key individuals died or someone is transferred groups and then you get all these animals changing conditions left and right and under those conditions you get tipsy dominant individuals feel incredibly stressed you get a lot of different players feeling incredibly stressed I was reading that and I was thinking that that seems to describe our society right now pretty well that we're in this. We're traditionally dominant groups no longer feel dominant or nobody new has risen to actually be dominant where the underlying hierarchy of American society is under flocks and so you see this kind of incredible
00:54:54yes and offensiveness among groups that maybe have not always seen that or not always felt that I'm curious if you think that that is a a lesson or a perspective that can be the latter it up to society and that way if that sounds possible to you absolutely and the whole notion that in societies where the Have Nots are chronically stressed during periods of major instability it snow blowers on top at the center of all the instability who tend to show the transient worse stress profiles you know makes perfect sense if you're in czarist Russia in 1916 who's doing worse that some poor peasant out there in The Boondocks he's got you know tuberculosis are rickets bed bugs are puno's what amendment are at the bottom of the totem pole if you're looking at czarist Russia and 1918 who's doing worse designs family being taken out and getting shot mean if there's a REV
00:55:54Lucian going on you don't want to be sitting inside the palace while people are riding at the gates when I think we see is during periods of Stark instability the people who were in the middle of the battle for its are transiently the ones who were the Maybach may be at risk for the stress-related diseases of being shot by a firing squad but once it settles it goes back to the usual hierarchical stuff I think with your looting to hear is sort of this very important shift going on in this country which is the folks who were traditionally on top traditionally on top for centuries worth of white privilege and male patriarchal privilege and all those things that we know about, have spent recent decades realizing they're not really where the culture is anymore or their level of expertise and education is not really where the cutting edges anymore our whole
00:56:54world of poor working-class poorly educated white Americans who were showing something that is unheard of in the Western World which is there life expectancies are getting shorter because they're sitting there drinking themselves to death earlier ages or suicide or any of the other things are opioid addiction and it is unprecedented for a population to westernize Country to be having their life expectancy shrinking under these conditions and what we're seeing are the health consequences of discovering that your formal formerly of high-status cultural Niche has disappeared and you've become irrelevant to what the Contemporary world is about it yes up you're right that's exactly what I'm alluding to end to some of what we've been talking about here you know the way in which that
00:57:54kind of stress my change long-term decision-making the way it might make you feel that you know you you have to focus on what you can do right now when I look at our politics right now when I look at who was chosen to be president in the last election but also just when I look at some of the kinds of conflicts we see in the way that they seem to have a Time Horizon of right this second like if we if we don't win the fight right now there will be no fight to worry about in the future but it seems to Bear some of the same hole marks to me that there isn't much of a long-term view because maybe a long-term view is something that comes out of a place of stability and right now when everyone feels that there is instability and the question of who ends with dominance in the hierarchy is completely unsettled that sense of a long-term view that sense of running politics for 30 years from now for 50 years from now as well as for the moment just recedes and it becomes about you know whatever can win you tomorrow no matter
00:58:54it is no matter what caustic Aries and I mean I'd best politics is incredibly short-sighted system that's all about temporal discounting yeah I think I absolutely it's an extreme right now you know there's something I'm going to have in a couple weeks up political scientist named princely on the show and she's just wonderful wonderful worksheets at the University of Maryland but she's his new book called unstable majorities and it I want to run something and it by you cuz I think it's interesting what she shows in the book is that the last 20 30 beers in American politics is quite unusual that in basically every other are in American politics what you have is extended periods of one party control the Republican party is dominant for a long. Of time the Democratic party is dominant for a long. Of time but over the past you know again 20-30 years we see Power Changing Hands between the parties more often than ever before we see fit our margins than ever before I mean it used to be normal that you have a landslide present
00:59:54collections like Reagan and say 84 now you have these incredibly razor-thin elections in the last since 2000 you have two of five presidential elections won by the narrow loser in the popular vote and then that feeling of everybody either has just lost power and can get it back or is it just got in power and can keep it her theory is that a lot of why we see the kind of political Warfare were seeing right now is like the narrow knife's edge of the competition which is actually an unusual thing in American society is not how are politics has traditionally operated and I'm curious from the from the neuroscience perspective if that sounds like plausible political science that makes perfect sense
01:00:41and I think what you've got is each side is more polarized each side has the ability thanks to like the internet of just being in an echo chamber of only hearing through their side of it each side as a result gets less capable of perspective-taking all of that and I say that as somebody wait at the left of your like basic Democrat but none the less said something that occurs in both sides you have this additional issue which is like a lot of political scientists try to make sense of the Samuel Huntington Clash of cultures the the Islamic world and its conflict with the Western world and the implicit hostility inability to have shared values and do we have a decade to conflict ahead and a lot of people focusing on sort of one of the roots of Anger of
01:01:41Marine resentment in the Muslim world is the relative position of subordination in the world order now and the fact that a thousand years ago like all the planet was about who the most cruel inventive you know dominant things were the Ottoman Empire the Moors the Byzantine Splendor all of that that they ruled the world while traditional Europeans were in caves kind of thing and people who used to be in a much better position and now we're in anything but that's a very very simmering exert a potent situation to be but you see that a lot right I mean russia-china those are both National narratives that have very powerful hold there were two absolutely and I think that's a way of stating the narrative we have now at home which is the whole class of people who used to be the given as the Norman Rockwell dominance
01:02:41culture in this country are not so much looking back into the house to clean a thousand years ago but there sure are looking back to 1950 or whatever I think that's the exact same psychology going on it is a very scary mindset
01:02:58to think that things used to be a whole lot better and something really crummy and unfair was done by some them that is brought about the present State instead you have in your buck I wish I'd brought this in my notes because I thought I was so fascinating but I'll I'll do it for memory here this is implications for how we act trying to say if you if you take this model of the world it is implications for how we should operate in the world do you talk in the book about private societies where you'll see a particular a member of of the group just getting the shit kicked out of them all the time just absolutely a huge Target for harassment you know anytime they get you know a nice Bush or a banana or meat that I was just coming in and killing them over it and that you often find it somebody who was dominant and was particularly brutal when they were dominant now being dominated by the people who are younger and stronger and more powerful and that by contrast
01:03:58have players a private Society who were Kinder when they were on top and you know spent more time with others in grooming and whatever and they seem to manage a transition better and I do Wonder a little bit when we think about this as a as a societal level question how much the way we act towards the world at a time when we're on top how much of the way we see it is your assignment that we have to show we're always at the winner how much it sets us up for a much more brutal form of competition into the future absolutely if your plan is to prefer to be feared than loved or to dominate unilaterally rather than be cooperative and reciprocal or whatever you're absolutely you're going to build up centuries of resentment you're going to build up centuries of consequences absolutely one of the other pieces in RRP
01:04:58text that I see about a little bit reading your book. You don't even want to send our politics I think I just want to say in our social life here is that
01:05:07your book talks a lot about social stress and in particular relative hierarchical stress the feeling of being a feeling of going up or going down to being a top or being a bottom that does a lot to us we are very attuned to it but in theory was probably for the most part things are pretty stable and those movements happen pretty slowly and I wonder about the ways in which were on the social platforms now where we are constantly getting all of this feedback you know how many likes did something bad or did everybody gang up on me or that joke I put out about politics or about culture actually everybody thought I had said something you know terrible and now they're all ganging up on me I wonder how much the stress that people are experientially feeling because we do CPR to be among young people very sharp Rises and anxiety somewhat Rises you depression I wonder how much the intense speeding up and intense instability
01:06:07digital social hierarchies how much we're just not well built for that and it just creates a constant feeling of anxiety and people that's absolutely case either anxiety and or outrage and or desire for revenge and or Despair and or all the above because what that world of Internet etcetera it's increasing the volume it's bringing in a distorted sense of their constantly being a crisis and one that is unprecedented and is occurring right now and has to be dealt with In This Moment send we're all you hear our voices that agree with you that are shouting louder and louder and I think that absolutely leads to that this is something that you get out towards the end of the book but I did want to talk about it here because as I said you know I picked up the book because I struggle with a lot of anxiety like I wake up and I feel it. You know I feel that that kind of nervous tension and
01:07:07I think a lot of people do I think when I look at the data on this you know it's it's in a lot of folks your book talks about some of the straightforward remedies or or things that might help with anxiety exercise meditation Etc but if you wanted to try to live or think about your life in a way that better Accords with what anxiety isn't human beings I'm curious what advice you have for people philosophically this is not a world built to calm anxiety it's a world built to activate it to make us aware that we could always be doing better that we could always be doing more of these people don't like us you know going living in a world that is not well designed for the actual Pathways my anxiety we have I'm curious you know away from sort of Life hacking how you think people should think about themselves in relation to it well virtually anything I could say here is going to be some sort of fatuous sound bites in terms of sort of my expertise
01:08:07isn't what I spend two years studying in my lab I am so much better understanding why not controlling stress does in your brain and body than understanding how to avoid the whole thing nonetheless from what people know about it is again within certain parameters Morrison's control predictability Outlet all of those one thing that's clear is if you got a choice among all of those sort of classic building blocks of Stress Management I'm probably the best one you can go for his get yourself social support social support which is not meeting somebody on Tinder social support the sort of support you get from a slowly emerging in a relationship
01:08:55nothing does ascend when it turns out that someone who we thought we were close to actually just turned out to be a not very reliable acquaintance social supports usually important I'm constantly goes through this like virtually useless good script sound bite of say what am I so frazzled about right now right now in this moment would this make any sense whatsoever to a hippo would this make any sense to any other mammal out there who secretes stress hormones because there's a physical crisis right now know everything that I'm doing right now is in my head is in my head that could work to some extent if in your head is I've got to do this abstract thing of paying rent tomorrow and I don't have the money for it and no degree of like ship a wall and she is going to solve you of that because there's a reality but again if you've got the privilege of middle or upper class neurotic sources of cycle off
01:09:55stress remembering that they would make no sense to any other animal out there as helpful I would say that in a larger sense and particularly for the sort of like educated insightful folks who would be interested in something like this sin is a commonality as you say is a lot of ambition working really hard at the beginning to get a clearer sense of just what you're willing to give up for that ambition and if it's going to seem worth it and that's a hard one but sort of in my world is dealing with incredibly gifted Stanford students with trajectories of success ahead of them in the sky's the limit and all of that just getting a sense of what you're willing to give up and what it's going to cost for what version of the good outcome and successful life just really think that through beforehand the same question
01:10:55the social policy perspective I'm not here I'm not going to ask you you know which exact policies you you would put into place but we've had this whole conversation about poverty and about what it does to the brain and what are the brain touched it yet and if you were thinking about how to build social policy design social policy so that we were created the conditions for people to better their lives more easily creating the conditions for people to have like the mental energy to better their lives more easily what are the principles he would be thinking about InDesign of programs what are what are the kinds of things you'd be trying to achieve whatever the programs were that might achieve them when looking at I think what really help societies function better it's tapping into this concept that sociologists Lowe's, Robert Putnam it harder to really pioneered it of Social Capital just like physical capital what your social resources are what your Society has
01:11:55Tesla deal with social problems there's a gazillion ways to think about measure Social Capital but I'm certain level it boils down to Serta two questions on the average do people in society feel like they can trust each other
01:12:11and on the average do people in society feel like they have efficacy if they are heard if Collective efforts actually accomplish something and those two things you could measure that with like idiotic lie simple like question are on the average can you trust people or not yes or no how many groups do you belong to how many organizations starting with something that simple those measures of social capital or hugely predictive of how well things work in society and in some ways the punchline to the whole poverty poor health story is exactly that
01:12:50we saw there's not just being chords feeling chords in core surrounded by wealth income inequality and in some ways the most startling finding in that field is not just when income inequality goes up the hill for the port really gets worse Everybody's Health gets worse including the wealthy from Jeff bezo Saint down more inequality in society predicts poor health and what to study show is the key mediator of that is the more inequality there is in a society the less social capital there is how can you trust people when some much deeper ladder that you can fall off of how can you trust people when by definition for inequality means there's less equality there's less people who are potential peers to have symmetrical relationships with instead of hierarchical ones and the steeper
01:13:43the steeper the curve the less sense of efficacy people have the less you can think that any sort of collective efforts your union your tenants organization your Bowling Club your knitting club whatever is going to actually come up with something when an equality increases Social Capital goes down everybody suffers for It suffers in their health but people like Wilkinson of done wonderful studies showing that you suffer in terms of rates of crime homicide teen pregnancy obesity rate everything Society that's on equal Society where people don't trust each other and were people and feel like they have no control over things and those are predictors of whether you're a biologist or sociologist or criminologist did all of those predict too much lousy or place to live in so probably really the key thing to focus on with that
01:14:43what's the issue with inequality I got the great answer why not taking up quite a bit of your time you're so let me ask you the question that we always used to end the podcast which is what are three books you read over the years that you would recommend to the audience of influence to you books first one was Twenty-One balloons which I read when I was about eight and was like the most marvelous book I've ever read my wife and go back to over and over and over about an imaginary utopian society on the island of Krakatoa that got destroyed when the volcano that erupted, but that one's probably have limited sort of relevance hear another book probably the book that is most influenced my thinking since graduating college if the only book in a long long time where when I got to the last page I immediately went to the first again reread it is a book called chaos by James Glick which is focusing in on this whole domain of how complex system
01:15:43a complex system that sell made up of the gazillion molecules a brain made up of the gazillion neurons Society made up of the gazillion people and Echo System made up of the gazillion influencing factors in the diversity of how very complex systems work and don't work and it's like revelatory the sort of the world it opens up for you so that's influenced by thinking tremendously I guess the third book the one that's like influenced my professional thinking the most is by this physician Anthropologist male Connor Melvin konner with a K on Emory University book called The Tangled Wing biological constraints on the human spirit and it's basically an exploration of the biology of our potentials and vulnerabilities and propensities and
01:16:40biology Gene in Farmington directions and it's a wonderfully scientific book at the same time as being wonderfully Poetics the most beautiful book ever written one subject trying to make sense of us as biological organisms going about being wonderful to each other or crummy to each other so that book has been enormously influential for my thinking Robert sapolsky thank you very much thanks for having me on this is been a pleasure
01:17:10thank you to doctor sapolsky for being here thank you to all of you for being here thank you to Tober roof at UC Berkeley to my engineer traffic L. VOX media has a poncho is a VOX media podcast production
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