The following is a verbatim transcript of episode #224 of the Making Sense Podcast by Sam Harris, published on Nov 3, 2020 — the eve of the 2020 election.
— — —
As all of you know I’ve been struggling for years to understand how it is possible that nearly half of American society admires or at least supports Donald Trump.
I’ve spoken with Trump voters in search of illumination, but illumination never came. For instance I had Scott Adams on my podcast to explain this to me, and he described Trump as a master persuader — perhaps the best he’s ever seen. …
The year was 2003, and I was a sophomore psych major at the University of Toronto when I came across Peterson’s 2nd-year elective in the course calendar. The class caught my attention: it had a 90%+ re-take rate in a sea of psych classes in the 60–70% range, which meant that meant almost every student who took the class did not regret their decision. Encompassing the personality theories of Freud, Jung, Adler and others, it was also the only course description that even hinted at self-development psychology, which interested me more than research psychology. I went for it.
I went on to take all of Peterson’s courses between 2003–2006, and I can’t overstate the positive impact they had on my life. Being exposed to his work during those years was so formative that it’s difficult to imagine what kind of person I’d be like if that hadn’t happened. For years after I graduated, I gleefully introduced friends to his work whenever a conversation crossed that threshold revealing a glimmering mutual interest in questions of life, purpose, and what it means to be a human being. …
Last night I dropped by the Centre For Social Innovation for what I thought would be a mayoral candidate promoting his candidacy.
It turned out instead to be an inspiring group discussion about the future of libraries, and though the candidate David Soknacki and his campaign manager did say a few words about the upcoming election, it was clear from the format of the event that it was genuinely about sourcing progressive ideas about the city.
They’re engaging in the political version of “customer development”—a startup methodology where you seek to improve your product by developing a better understanding of your customers. …