The video of our conversation is here on the Sentientism YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/L2bb8zxy4Po.
The audio is on our Podcast – subscribe here: https://apple.co/391khQO (& all the other platforms https://pod.link/1540408008).
Myq is a stand-up comedian (http://myqkaplan.com/ and https://twitter.com/myqkaplan). He has performed on the Tonight Show, Conan, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Late Late Show with James Corden, in his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents special, and in his own one-hour special on Netflix and now Amazon, “Small, Dork, and Handsome.” He has been a finalist on Last Comic Standing and recently appeared on America’s Got Talent. His debut album “Vegan Mind Meld” was one of iTunes’ top 10 comedy albums of the year his latest, “AKA” debuted at #1. He hosts the Broccoli and Ice Cream (metaphorical) and The Faucet podcasts.
In these Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?” Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.”
- Myq’s comedy journey starting out in Boston, then on TV and at the Edinburgh fringe, now on Zoom
- Studying philosophy, psychology and linguistics
- Learning about Buddhism and Tibetan debate
- Was the Buddha an early scientist?
- Buddhism seems congruent with scientific understanding
- Perception, existence, non-existence and the “selfless”
- Impermanence, connectedness and the lack of intrinsic “selfness”
- “We are all one, but that’s my stereo!”
- Batman doesn’t exist but the concept of Batman does
- Growing up culturally Jewish with a conservative Jewish father
- “I wanted you to have something so there wasn’t a void that would get filled with a cult”
- Being Bar Mitzvah’d for the party and the presents
- Music was more central than religion
- Pacifism, non-violence and veganism
- Is Sentientism “the only moral discrimination”?
- The boundaries of sentience
- Resenting playing the violin (“wax on”) but picking up the guitar easily (“blocking”). See the Karate Kid
- Flow states. How comedy and music can help us connect communally
- Playing the game you’re given vs. choosing which game you want to play
- “I feel like the universe is telling me to do something”… “Isn’t that just your brain”… “And my brain is part of the universe.”
- “It’s all universe”
- “Jamie is not Myq but we’re both universe”
- Kicking back against religion and identifying as atheist: “If God is all powerful and kind then what is going on?”
- Metta loving kindness meditation
- Love and compassion, happiness and suffering
- Being terrified of death. Imagining not existing
- Reincarnation and re-birth
- Fate, free will and determinism
- “You exist; you matter; others exist; others matter; maybe nothing is real; act like it is just in case”
- Not knowing is OK. Suspending belief until we have evidence
- Pantheism – “god” in everything
- Psychedelics / mushrooms / ayahuasca as gateways to a transcendent perspective
- Raymond Smullyan “What is the name of this book?”
- The radical shifts of sentient experience possible
- Can we have a naturalistic transcendence?
- Are religious/naturalistic/psychedelic perspectives all views of the same reality?
- Love, compassion and care for the self and others as the core
- Reduce suffering, increase happiness
- “Discover your gift then offer it”
- How religions can warp compassionate ethics
- Visiting a queer storytelling bar church
- “Maybe the point of being is to be loving”
- Being ethical is what matters most, whatever the motivation
- The power of stories
- Journey into veganism
- Dick Gregory’s activism (inc. veganism) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Gregory
- Luna the autonomous sentient being makes a contribution
- “Wouldn’t it be great if I could live in a way that animals didn’t have to die”
- Peter Singer “a guy”. Applied Ethics
- Giving myself permission to fail, then work to cut out animal products
- Veganism as a root to more variety of cuisine. Constraints can foster creativity
- The dairy industry is the meat industry
- “It turned out to be easy!”
- Animal farming is like a trolley problem – shouldn’t we just stop the trolley and get off the tracks?
- “Doing nothing also has effects”
- Socialism and capitalism
- “Progress is happening, progress is possible” e.g. other social changes we’ve achieved
- Realism and optimism
- All we can do is “start where we are”
- We see more suffering because it’s easier for us to see it now
- “Our world is wonderfool”
- Myq’s AKA standup album: “compassion, love and not murdering”.
Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at https://sentientism.info/.
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