Marcus (@MarcusDaniell) is a professional tennis player from New Zealand. He is a philanthropist and an advocate for effective altruism through his work as the founder of High Impact Athletes and as a member of Giving What We Can.
In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?” Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” Watch on YouTube above or find the audio on our Podcast – subscribe on Apple here & on the other platforms here.
1:45 Marcus intro – pro tennis and High Impact Athletes charity
3:02 What’s real?
- Growing up on a farm in New Zealand
- A “spiritual” father and a “hippie” mother
- Pragmatism, a love for nature and animals, but a comfort with death. Hunting as a child
- Attending Christian schools
- Enjoying Religious Education but never buying in. Being agnostic/atheist from a young age
- Moving alone to Slovakia for tennis
- Discovering “spirituality” and eastern philosophies
- Studying philosophy at university
- Discovering animal ethics but thinking “I’m an athlete, I need meat”
- A turning point when a friend ordered whale in a sushi restaurant in Tokyo
- Going veg*an a week later
- Finding awe and wonder in a naturalistic/scientific worldview
- “Put me next to the ocean or in a forest or a jungle and it’s like experiencing magic for me”
- Naturalistic karma? Putting positive energy into the world and getting positive things back
14:06 What matters? Humans and non-humans
- Meeting a vegan tennis pro
- “I now feel like I’m living in my space in the world – in the right way”
- A sense of solidity… “That’s really helped me”
- Our lack of understanding of non-human sentients
- Intelligence vs. sentience as a moral qualifier
- “I would consider myself a sentientist now”
- I try to give respect to all sentient beings. If they can suffer, try not to cause them suffering
- Artificial sentients? Does suffering matter regardless of species or substrate?
- Sentience as an evolved class of information processing that could also be programmed in
- Luna the puppy makes an audio appearance
- Existential, catastrophic and suffering risks (S-risks)
- Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation. Trying not to cause suffering
- It’s so easy not to think. “I wonder how we can create more of these culturally shocking moments to make more people understand”
- The morals were somewhere there, just hidden under layers of culture and tradition
28:05 The Future
- Talking to others about animal products and hearing “We agree on all the reasons but I’m not going to make the change”
- “I would love for the world to be plant-based”
- Is regenerative animal farming an option?
- Can slaughter ever be humane?
- The broad common ground re: rejecting factory farming
- The inefficiency and waste of animal farming
- High Impact Athletes & Effective Altruism
- Extreme poverty, climate change and animal welfare as charitable causes
- The radical differences in charity effectiveness
- Athletes donating effectively and influencing their fans to do good
- Creating a norm in the athlete world of donating a percentage of income to highly effective charities
- The amazing opportunity to do good through effective charities
39:31 Following Marcus and HIA
- A dollar is the same whether it comes from LeBron James or Joe Bloggs