023: Dov Baron, Conversation 2: Freedom and the Jaguar, full transcript

February 14, 2018 by Joshua
in Podcast

Dov Baron

Dov continues his insightful, thought provoking and thoughtful discussion about these things that a lot of people don’t think about: about awareness versus willful ignorance, about distraction from what matters but also how to get back to what matters. He talks a lot about how freedom can be a prison and this forces you to reflect, to meditate, to learn about yourself which is how he got there I believe. He talks a lot about his challenge, about not driving his dream car for over a hundred kilometers. This is something he loves but it’s also about living by his values, overcoming internal conflict. It’s not what you lose or what you give up, it’s what you replace it with. He replaced it with something that he likes more which is what you have to listen to hear. When we start off we start talking about plants and food. I love how Dov, a world class speaker, talks about how he digs in dirt because that’s what gardening is about. So, let’s listen to Dov.


Joshua: So, what I’ve learned is that if by getting to know the volunteer coordinator for the farm delivery thing, if I show up at the end, I get extra vegetables.

Dov: Oh, really?

Joshua: Yeah, and last time I literally had, I had so much I couldn’t carry them. And I had like 4 times as much vegetables, so my fridge right now is full of celeriac, this kind of broccoli that looks like a monster.

Dov: Oh, I’ve seen those, those are fabulous, yeah, I saw those in the store like, “What the hell is this?” It’s like [unintelligible].

Joshua: It does, it tastes the same.

Dov: Does it? It looks fabulous though.

Joshua: Yeah, it looks amazing. And then I got all these peppers and all these other things and I was really curious of what to do with them because celeriac, I don’t really know and then I saw a picture of celeriac soup, and I thought, “I’ll make some soup. So after I finish with you, I’m going to eat the soup and over there I have, I have so many plums. I would guess I have two bowls over there, I have like probably 40 plums and I’ve eaten as many as I could since Tuesday. And I also have apples and pears.

Dov: You can cut your plums down and you can put them in the freezer.

Joshua: My freezer is filled with peaches because I’ve been doing this all summer long and I don’t know what to do. And actually, over there I have this giant bag of the scraps, not scraps but earlier in the summer I got these beans and the beans, I’ve only gotten beans either in cans which I don’t get anymore or in dry. You know I bring it back to the store and fill them back and weigh them. And these were in the pods, in like in the plants and so the other day I noticed that there was, I had them in his plastic bag and I guess there must have been some water in there so there was little mold growing so I said, “I can’t let that go”, so I was up until like 1 AM this one night, I normally go to sleep for eleven, just shelling beans and at first I’m like, “What am I doing?” because like the amount of beans that I shelled at like two or three hours a pound in bulk, It’s like ten dollars for the beans but they’re beautiful and I’ve never done this before and I wondered for a while, “Where did dried beans come from?” Because I know where peas come from, I’ve seen them in pods but I’ve never seen beans in the pods, so I’m getting closer and closer to nature. Not nature, I mean it’s nature but it’s like how we’ve gotten closer to the land and it’s just…

Dov: You’re also you know, you’re getting closer but you’re also getting more aware of the process that we get lost in because we’re very much end-users, right. And so we’re end users so everything’s been done for us.

Joshua: Yeah.

Dov: You know like I told you I’m a meatarian, I eat meat and I did try to be vegetarian less than a year and a half and I’ve never been sicker or fatter in my life, it just didn’t work for me at all with my body type. But I’ve often said that if I had to kill my own meat, I’m would starve to death because I thank God that somebody goes that process because that process is horrible for me, you know. And it’s the same even with anything, even a bean. You know there’s a process and you get a can of beans and you go, “Oh, great! Those are beans in the stew”. But the whole thing that there is a pod and you get to show the pod and that some Mexican man is doing that for two bucks an hour and meanwhile crazy [unintelligible] It’s a fascinating ecology and economy. There’s a bigger picture that most people are missing.

Joshua: Yeah, and you might say like, “Why don’t you let the immigrant do it for two dollars an hour when you can do other things?” But what would I rather be doing? Not that I’m like, “Can I hang my hat on shelling peas or beans?”. You know this story about the fisherman and he’s like the NBA comes up and says, “Oh, you know, you could get other, you could hard peel this for you and then you can get a bigger boat” and the guy goes, “Oh” like, you’ve heard the story, right?

Dov: Yeah.

Joshua: You know and eventually it’s like, “Where’s the end?” Well, you can go fishing. And cooking and preparing food is just wonderful. And three years ago I had no idea, you know I could cook pasta, I could open up a can of something to heat up and I mean could makegood stuff but it was still always not starting from the original plant or a little bit like I’d get a jar of tomato sauce and I’d grab some garlic, onions, broccoli, put that all together and it’ll definitely be a better pasta but now it’s like now when I get something like all the celeriac, I’m like, “What do I do with this?” Before I was like, “What do I do with this? I don’t know.” Now it’s like “Hmm, what do I do with this?” And it’s, I think that there’s a…I’m guessing here but I think that we must have evolved to have like a really fascination for plants and like enjoying preparing stuff.

Dov: This is an interesting conversation. You are probably not even recording it.

Joshua: Oh, it’s being recorded.

Dov: Is it? Okay that is, I mean this is a very interesting conversation in the context of the planet.

Joshua: Oh, yeah.

Dov: In the context of the planet because as I said I think that we’re so distant from the original source of something, we think everything is instantaneous. You know my granddaughter will never likely know anything different. You know we at least, you and I have had some interaction in our generations, you know in the generations to come everything is just getting faster and faster and faster and everything’s in a hurry and I need somebody to make sure they do all the steps. And I get it and I appreciate it and I recognize that you know I’m actually applauding it, I like it.

But there’s also the last of connection to the earth. People ask me, “What’s your hobby?” and they’re all surprised when I say gardening. They say, “You live in a city?” I do, I live right downtown. But gardening, everybody, like I live in a townhouse and everybody in my town stops to look at my garden and everybody tells me about my garden and how much they love my garden. And I grow beautiful flowers and I also grow herbs and I mix the herbs and the flowers together and it’s gorgeous. It’s a tiny space for me, because I had a big garden before, but it’s a tiny space and I grow all these things and people say, “Why?” and I say, “It’s my meditation”. Having your hands in that dirt, going out every day, deadheading, cutting herbs when my wife’s making food and she says, “Can you go cut me some rosemary? Can you get me some basil? Can you get me some…” whatever it might be, you know is that when you’re walking in and smelling those smells of all the herbs and the flowers with urban living and speed takes a lot of that away.

So we want flowers, we go across the street, we get to go to the store, go to the bodega, we get flowers and that’s nice, it’s beautiful but there’s no, I don’t think we think where does this come from. It’s like these things, right, iPhones. I wrote a piece on this called Second and Third Generation Problems That We Don’t Consider. When the piece was I’m totally in favor of electric cars, massively [unintelligible] cars, they’re fantastic. Love them. Love my iPhone, can’t really live without it. I’ve gotten that way that I can’t really live without it. It’s my life, I carry it with me wherever I go. Okay, I’m a modern person. But at the same time what does an electric car run on and what does this run on? It runs on a battery, okay. That’s great, right, because we’re not polluting. Where do you think the batteries come from? Nobody that, It’s a lithium battery. Where does lithium come from? It’s mined. Who mines it? Often children. So we’re putting little lithium batteries in cars to drive them around but very often it’s slave labor that children are doing. We don’t think those levels down because it’s like, “Oh, I’m helping the planet because I’m not putting gasoline in my car but I don’t think about the levels.”

Joshua: I think people have access to it and I think they know where it leads and they don’t want to.

Dov: That’s a very good point, Josh. I think there is the willful ignorance that is, I can pat myself on the back, I can feel good because I drive an electric car. But that level of goodness that I feel will come down slightly. At least if I saw photographs of kids in Africa working fourteen hours a day, six years old to crawling down little holes to my lithium, yeah, that probably would take the shine off for me.

Joshua: Yeah. And the flip side to me like I went to, I don’t know if I told the story when I found out how much pollution that flights flying causes. And I did what anyone does. I suppressed that information, I didn’t want that clash with my identity and I didn’t want to deal with that. And if that’s all there was to it, I wouldn’t be doing this podcast, I wouldn’t be trying to spread the message that I’m spreading, not just spread the message but spread the behavioral patterns. Because the end result when you actually do connect with all that and I’ve got ways to go but as far as I’ve come what happened for me when I reduced my… Every time that I reduce my impact on the environment it gets better, at least by my values, more delicious, more convenient, saving money, more community, it’s better. And you know there’s this whole Slow food movement and all these other things that are going on where people get this, minimalism and so forth. But it’s so predominant message of comfort, convenience, don’t worry about all these other things, just enjoy, more, more, grow, grow, GDP, higher GDP is better. It’s very hard to go against that.

Dov: Of course, it is. I mean, you’ve got to remember that the machine is driven on economics, right. And economics is driven on fear.

Joshua: But yeah and these beliefs…

Dov: People are afraid and the more afraid you are because if you don’t smell good, women won’t like you so you must buy my aftershave. And if you don’t, if you have any hair on your body, men won’t want to sleep with you. So, buy my hair remover. I mean, you know if everything is fear.

Joshua: And people knowing that doesn’t seem to be enough to get people to exit that. They know it, it still works.

Dov: Well, you know as [unintelligible] said, the problem is, and Alan Eriksson said it too, the problem is not putting people in a trance, it’s getting them out of the trance they’re in.

Joshua: So yeah, so that’s pointing to the solution because I believe you simply telling people what’s going on I think it’s not enough for them to change.

Dov: That doesn’t get them out of the trance.

Joshua: Yeah.

Dov: You can say to the person who’s in a hypnotic trance, “You’re now in a hypnotic trance” and they go, “Okay”, they don’t go, “Oh, I should get out of it.”

Joshua: And I think that… So what does get people, you know, I mean I hope that hearing others go through transitions is a big one. I mean that’s what I’m trying to do, that’s, is it the only thing now? Is it one thing? Yes. I think it’s more effective than… Well, look I greed… Finding out the science, spreading information about the science, I think that’s important. Passing laws, I think that’s very important. But those things alone are not enough and I don’t think they’ve ever been enough. I mean I’ve said this before, probably to you, probably to people who have listened to all the podcast but like spreading science, spreading facts, my example there is we know more about nutrition than ever, we know more about diseases of excess than ever, we still eat a lot of Ben & Jerry’s and we can’t stop ourselves.

And so we’re dying of diabetes and like people pointing fingers like they say like, “Hundreds of thousands of people die of like eating too much and like this tiny, tiny fraction that die from eating too little and they’re like the same thing.” But anyway, that’s a whole other issue. And then we pass these laws that people agree with them in principle but they don’t like how it’s being forced down the throats, how they perceive that is being forced down the throats and sometimes it is and so they reject these things and we end up continuing to grow and continuing to grow.

Dov: That’s the falsehood of freedom which is something very few people actually will ever address.

Joshua: This sounds very rich. What do you mean by that?

Dov: Well, one of my quotes is, “The most effective prison in the world is the one you don’t know you’re in where you believe that God is your friend”. So we live in a society, particularly in North America where and predominantly the first world where we, the highest value we have is freedom, democratic freedom. We will go to war with another country under threat of losing our freedom and under threat of them not believing in our version of freedom. But when we start going down in the Mandelbrot set in and we start diving deeper and deeper and deeper we find this the same **** over and over and over again.

So people have a tendency to go either into a trance about that and stop noticing, which is very often what happens, or they rebel against it. And so, then you get your radical right wing that will say, “Don’t tell me what to do”. You know, I want my Confederate statue and you don’t get to tell me what to do. And I understand that because it’s an insult to their freedom. The problem is what… You say I’m taking my freedom but what are you calling freedom? This is what, this is where it gets fantastic. This is where it gets so intricate and so interesting. How do you claim freedom? What is freedom? Because it’s an indoctrinated idea of freedom, it’s not actually free.

So you are saying, you are trying to take my choice away because I like my confederate flag and you’re trying to take my choice away because it insults your morality. Okay, so what is the freedom you’re fighting for, the freedom to do what I want to do? All right. What does that mean? Well what it actually means is the freedom to stay inside of my box, the freedom to keep my blinders on, the freedom to see the world through my lens and that is actually freedom. But the lens you’re looking through is the lens of your cell window. So it’s a fascinating deep dive into psychology that most people will never even consider. And so, one of the questions that I had to delve into in my own work more than 30 years ago was, “What is the prison I call freedom?”

And if you, as a listener even right now, or you Josh, as we are talking about this, if you were to meditate on that question, your whole ******* world would fall apart, your whole belief systems would become under question because it forces us to question everything. So what is, what is the prison I call freedom? And then when you get to that you get the other side. Okay, what is the prison I call freedom? How I made freedom into a prison?

Joshua: To me, the question becomes, you saying everything falls apart, I would say you have to rebuild everything.

Dov: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Everything in the form that you know it falls apart and there is this psychological, very often it would be psychological devastation because you mentioned earlier there is a challenge to my identity, how I see myself, how I see the world. It is the story of the matrix.

Joshua: So what do you do about it? Because you’re talking about what happened, to me you can talk about it but if I don’t meditate on it and come to things myself, I’m just hearing you talk. I mean, I’ll get it and it might give me some milestones to see along the way. But ultimately you have to discover it, I believe you have to discover it for yourself and those things that you’re talking about, I’ve discovered some things but you got [unintelligible]to what you’re talking about but not exactly what you’re talking about so I will meditate on this. But then what do you do about it? Or what did you do about it?

Dov: First…

Joshua: Because I really want to focus on like what, like what comes next, what do we do about it, not just like I don’t want people navel gazing.

Dov: Yeah, so the first thing I did about it was a resist it.

Joshua: What is it?

Dov: I resisted the idea that I had created, I had created a prison called freedom. That was a bizarre idea to me and I resisted, that’s nonsense. I didn’t want to dismiss it, It was easy to dismiss, so, okay. So and then okay, then I’ve got [unintelligible] on resistance and then I said, “What if it’s true?” And I always say that to my clients that I work with is, “What if this idea that you want to reject is true and what if what you believe is false?” So you begin to question that, and so and then my question to that is, “Tell me anything you believe”, just pick something, Joshua.

Joshua: That I believe? Gravity works at 9.8 m/s2.

Dov: So something you believe philosophically about your life.

Joshua: I believe that most people want to leave the world a better place than they found it.

Dov: Okay. What has to be true for that to be true?

Joshua: What has to be true for that to be true? That people have this belief, that people have this desire that they want to leave the world a better place than they found it. I mean…

Dov: Right. And have you met eight billion people?

Joshua: No.

Dov: So what’s your evidence?

Joshua: Yeah, it’s my own belief and my commonality with the people that I’ve met.

Dov: And your commonality with the people that you’ve met, and by the way I don’t disagree with the belief but however, there’s a commonality with the people you’ve met. However, the people you’ve met are the people who fall into your resonance field meaning that they resonate on the same level as you do, they likely think the way you think in some way, shape or form, just to use a radio analogy, if you’re at the frequency of 95.3 they’re not likely to be at 103.5, you know they’re going to be within the range. So there’s going to be some common resonance between you.

However, you can go online, you can find people, you can meet people in particular bars or whatever it is, who have a completely different view of the world and see it very, very differently. So, the problem is, we have confirmation bias. We’re looking at the world through the lenses of what we want meaning the mind is looking for evidence of that which believes to be true even if what it believes to be true is completely false. So we believe what we choose to believe and we don’t often choose what we want to believe. I’ll say that again. We believe what we choose to believe but we don’t often choose what we believe. So most of what we believe was either indoctrinated or adopted.

Joshua: Yeah.

Dov: And it’s not self-discovered. So when I went to look at what is this prison I call freedom I had to look at where I have got the idea of what freedom is because I thought… I mean I’ll give you an example, when I went to my friend and told him that I was going to marry my wife and he said, “You can’t do that” and I said, “Why?” he goes, “I know your highest maxim”, I go, “Me too” and he goes, “When the highest maxim is free, maxim is freedom” and I said, “Yes” and he goes, “Well, then how can you get married?” and I said, “Because your idea of freedom and mine is different” and he goes, “What do you mean?” and I said, “Well, yours is the ability to put your penis in as many vaginas as possible. That’s not my idea of freedom”.

Joshua: Did that new mode of freedom, did that emerge from the self-exploration and questioning?

Dov: Yes.

Joshua: So that came first. So among other things it produced a deep resonant, long lasting, loving relationship with your wife that probably wouldn’t, that might not have been possible otherwise.

Dov: I never feel restricted like when, so this is [unintelligible]my indoctrination and adopting, most of that what we believe is indoctrinated, adopted or reactive. So, for instance, my father, my birth father was a philanderer, my grandmother who never saw, said, “If he could get up early enough, he would **** the crack it all,” meaning he was jumping on anything he possibly could. And my grandmother didn’t swear but she worried about him. So my reaction to that as a boy became ‘it’s wrong to do that’ so I became monogamous as a belief system, not as a truth, as a belief system. What that meant was that in my teens, even early 20s, I would go for coffee with a girl and then have another coffee date or another meeting with another girl later in the afternoon and I would not show up to second meeting because I feel like I was cheating on the first girl who I’m not dating but in my brain it’s cheating.

Joshua: Yeah, you became like a Nice Guy.

Dov: Way beyond Nice Guy.

Joshua: You know the capital N, capital G like…

Dov: I do, yeah. But what it is, it was a reaction to a belief. So my father’s belief was, he was free to sleep with everyone who he wanted, my grandmother mother’s belief was that he was a douche bag so I chose a side and reacted to my father. Am I monogamous now? Yes! Am I free to sleep with anybody that I want? Yes.

Joshua: Yes, that’s your choice.

Dov: So every day, all day long it’s a choice and that’s what freedom is, freedom is every day, all day long is a choice. So I can go to jail – it’s a choice. I cannot go to jail – it’s a choice.

Joshua: Alright. Bring this back to environment.

Dov: Yeah.

Joshua: So actually, let’s bring it back to the personal challenge you did. So you took on a challenge you could, it was, you got a Jaguar, you like the Jaguar.

Dov: That was like my dream car from when I was a kid.

Joshua: So you aspire to it.

Dov: Yeah.

Joshua: And I got to ask, was it the dream car, if you could get an E-type that had the same reliability, same performance and so forth of the current one, would you get it like an E-type…Because the style of the E-types is so…

Dov: E-type Jaguar was the sexiest car ever made. That and the Aston Martin DB8 from James Bond, those two cars were amazing. But even if I could get an E-type that was reliable because those pieces…

Joshua: They fell apart, yeah.

Dov: Make up a block. If I could get one, no, I would not have one because it is… I mean we’re talking about practicality, there’s no practicality to it.

Joshua: Okay, so just to say…

Dov: I actually got to drive, before I got my Jaguar, I got to drive the Jag Sport which is very similar, the S-type it was a very similar to the E-type. Very similar, long nose, all the rest of it, and a friend of mine owned one and my car had gone in and he said,” Use the Jag.” And I was like, “Cool”. I drove it and it was beautiful to drive, it was magnificent, it held the road spectacularly and it felt really good getting in and out of it. But God forbid, you had to put anything larger than an umbrella in it and there was no room. Really. Well, you folded the roof down, it went into the trunk and there was room for an umbrella. That was it. There is backseats in it that are there surely for insurance reasons, you can’t sit on them unless you’re a four year old and you’re strapped in like [unintelligible], it’s insane. So no E -type.

Joshua: I have to comment now that you’re the second person this week that I’m talking to on this podcast that is talking about, what do you call it, supercar, luxury cars, exotic cars? And part of me is like these cars do not get great mileage and people drive them for fun and it’s… I mean people are…I don’t think people drive them like to go to the grocery store and back, so I think they’re usually for fun and that’s not great for the environment.

Dov: No.

Joshua: On the other hand, my view of leadership is much more about supporting the person and hopefully helping them see how their values, we already are doing, you’re choosing to lower your driving, the other guy, he chose to not eat meat for I think it was a month, two months. And he said very clearly, he said, “I will not reduce my drive in exotic cars”. He’s like, “That’s not going to happen”. And so I listen to him talking about, I’m sitting and thinking like, “How are the listeners listening to this? Josh should just be saying, “Stop that!”. But I’m not. This is about people to me and I think that we have enough people saying, “Do this, don’t do that”. And I think that in the long run people will reduce the joy of things. Now there’s a lot of things you can do like pollute. I think we’d stop doing a lot a lot of things that we know hurt other people even though we don’t have to. I think that’s going to happen but I think it’ll happen less for me telling you, “Stop that!”.

Dov: Well, it is the natural reaction psychologically if somebody tells me not to and I want to. I mean, you know…

Joshua: You want to resist being told, you don’t like being told what to do.

Dov: You know that the first time I got married I was 16 years old, right?

Joshua: I think you said it the last time, yeah.

Dov: Yeah. I mean 16 years old and the reason I got married at 16 was because my mother said I couldn’t. It’s very simple.

Joshua: Maybe she wanted you to get married. Getting married young, then he’ll eventually get a really great relationship. Maybe she was like, may she was even better than you thought.

Dov: So this is part of the problem with environmental people, is their wanting to should people and their wanting to make people wrong and that process has never worked, ever. It’s never worked. What we have to show was the good outcome.

Joshua: It gets feel that dig their heels and more and say, “You want me not to do that? You’re telling me what to do. That means you want me to change. That means you’re not happy and I’m happy and you want me to follow your advice”. That doesn’t make sense.

Dov: Well, if the whole thing with the Confederate statues. I mean I watch that and I go like you guys are pushing for a backlash that is just going to be ridiculous because the more you try to say these are wrong and we should tear them down, the more people will fight to keep them up. People who actually don’t really give a crap are simply feeling restricted.

Joshua: They don’t think that they’re wrong, they don’t think they are full of hate. And so if you say, “You’re full of hate” to someone who doesn’t feel like they’re full of hate, they’re like, “Guess you don’t understand me. I’m not going to listen to you if you don’t understand me. That doesn’t make any sense.”

Dov: Right.


Joshua: So how did you feel about doing this challenge with the not driving?

Dov: Well it was, I was actually very consciously aware of it so I consciously chose to, I mean I like to walk and I don’t live in Manhattan. So you know in Manhattan I walk everywhere all the time, I don’t particularly like the train in Manhattan, I actually prefer to walk and I walk in the rain or whatever. But Vancouver is a much smaller city and I’m, I do like to walk so I walk a lot and that’s fine but I’ve noticed that there were things where I would normally jump in the car and go and I was like, “No, I’m going to go, I’m going to walk”. And I now it’s interesting because showing my own bias I chose that challenge in the summer, much easier to walk than in the pissing rain in the winter, so not so much fun.

So I didn’t miss the driving as much as I thought I would, that was number one. Number two was, and you and I had chatted briefly in between, I found that I saved it a little more, I saved the drive a little more, I saved being in the car. There was one particular day that I went, “Oh, I could go over my commitment here” and as you know I sent you photographs of my odometer the day off and today so to make it sure that I’ve kept my word. And there was one day I was out. and I kept looking the odometer, “Oh my God!” I was like freaking out, I wanted to keep my word and I was with my bride and it was our anniversary and we were driving, you know, we were driving to where we got married and so it was like, How far is that and how do I make it back and how do we go for lunch and not go over the limit?”

Joshua: Like who the **** is this Josh and why is he getting between me and my wife?

Dov: But what was interesting about that was that I came back and felt very good about the fact that you know… I like to challenge myself and I didn’t feel like you were doing that to me so that’s very important for me to understand, I mean you offered me an opportunity to create a challenge for myself, you didn’t tell me what the challenge was. I decided on that challenge, again for you. So I decided on that and I felt, I felt pretty great that I didn’t go out and it was interesting because two days ago I had the opportunity to go out in the car and that’s when I took the photograph by the way of my last odometer it was because I had the opportunity go out the car and I went, and I was like, “Damn, if I so much as drive out of the garage, it’s over”. So I was like, “Yeah, you know what? I’m just going to close this. I guess I’ll be five minutes late”. I hate being late, being late pisses me off. So I walked very fast and actually did get there in time as opposed to getting there five minutes earlier which I would have done in my car, so it was a great experience. I’m really glad I did.

Joshua: That tells me that this style of influence is at least in this case more effective than what we were talking about before, like telling people what to do, that gets people pushing back. I think there’s a lot of polarization from people saying, you know, “This is good, this is bad” and other people saying, “Why did you tell me that?” and inviting people to change and asking people… What gives me hope is this belief that I think people want to leave the world a better place than they found it and okay that leaves open what’s better and that there’s some agreement on what better means because we want freedom but we also… You know, everybody wants freedom but everybody also wants clean water, you know, you don’t want to be drinking like, mercury. And so when these things clash, how do we resolve that? And I hope that what I’m doing is to lead people to an experience like yours. It reminds me of, you know, in college I drank beer to get drunk, now I drink scotch to savor and drink a lot less alcohol than I used to before but I think my net joy of through alcohol is higher now, certainly more refined and it certainly connects more with other people because we’re just drinking to get drunk, you’re like, “Ah, just pour down.” But this one is like, what’s going on in Scotland? What like, what are they doing with each other that they are like figuring out how to do all the stuff and why can’t anyone else do it just like that? It’s all this human stuff.

Dov: Well, you know, I mean it’s an interesting thing you brought up there because that’s what I was saying when we first started the conversation. We remove the humanity, you know we go to the store and we buy the kind of beans, right, versus the humanity of, you know one of exercises we used to do it in one of my programs was we had a silent dinner one night, it was a retreat, a night retreat. One of the nights was a silent dinner and as we left the main hall everybody was not allowed to speak until they came back in the room and I had instructed that we can now speak. And the layout of what it was, was that during dinner you cannot speak, you cannot but you can’t speak. You can’t mouth stuff to speak without words, you actually have to not speak and you must taste everything you eat. So instead of a 45-minute dinner, we had an hour and a half dinner. And it was fascinating to watch because when we come back, you know we get a little bit of a baroque music playing in the background, it’s very nice, and we’d come back and we’d ask people, we’d say, and we asked them, “Make sure you taste everything, so whatever is on the plate, you know we tend to rush through it. I want you to make sure, if you’re going to have gravy, you taste the gravy, separate from the mashed potato.” You know what I mean? You know, whatever it was I can’t even remember what it was they were eating but you know, each of the things, taste each of them and was fascinating to see how many people came back and said that they tasted everything.

And then once we did that, then I said, “Okay, here’s the next part of the exercise. I want you to now move to gratitude but not at the first level. I want you to think about gratitude at every possible level” and they’re like, “What do you mean?” and I said, “How many of you had beef? The beef was on there.” Okay, beef. Great. So we’re out, I’ll walk you through the beef but you can do the rest” and they go, “Okay”. I said, “At the level of the beef there is the guy who cooked it, the chef who cooked it for you, there is the kitchen hand who helped with that, there is the person who delivered the beef, there is the person in the butcher shop from where it was bought, there is the person who brought the beef as in a piece of meat to the butcher, there is the farm in which grew the animal, there is the person who took the time to kill it.

Joshua: Yeah, there’s people who domesticated this thing tens of thousands of years ago.

Dov: Yeah, and the person who had to push their morality or whatever it was to decide or do whatever they are able to do, you know you kill that beast. And you know, I walked them through all that and then all the way back to, as you said, like to the grass and to the domestication of the animal and walking through the all thing and then the next, then what we said is that, “Before you go for dinner the next day, we did the next day, before we go to dinner here’s what you have to do: you have to run through the gratitude you did yesterday for all the food, you will take like 15 minutes for you to run through the gratitude of all the levels, then watch how much you eat.”

And everybody came back and said they ate way less. I didn’t tell them that it was right or wrong, I didn’t tell them to eat too much, I didn’t tell them that it was wrong to eat meat or right to eat meat or any of those things. What I asked them to do was to become conscious and this is what I’m talking about freedom. You see, people think freedom is to be unconscious, that’s the prison. But freedom is actually being conscious and freedom has a cost and the cost is you have to be awake.

Joshua: So did this exercise… By the way, I hope people are not just listening to you but also think of themselves, “At my next meal I will be conscious and I will taste everything and I will do great”. You know, it may not be at one meal but maybe two meals because you know the first exercises in my book and in my course is this three raisins exercise where we have to eat three raisins with awful, all your senses you have never come across them before. Before I sign it I asked the students and when I sign it I’m like, “This is some weird?” and they always say, “Yes.” And I say, “Can you do it anyway?” and they say “Yeah”. And so after they do it, after we discuss it in the next class I say, “Was it weird?” and they go, “Yes, it was kind of weird” and I say, “Should I not do it next year?” and they’re like, “No, do it next year, by all means” like this is it. This exercise is really important, costs nothing, doesn’t take you away from any, you know, you’re going to eat anyway and it’s trivial to do but really amazing.

And I remember when I had lot of experiences like, “What are you talking about?” but I had this plate of pasta that I thought it was going take me like two minutes to do this exercise but it took me half an hour. And then I went and like put a fork in up in the spaghetti that I was going to eat, I twirled them up and it was about to put on my mouth and I’m looking at like in horror how much pasta I was going to put in my mouth for one bite because I was so insensitive and I’m like, “How can I do that?” and I ate half the bowl and I was like so stuffed. I would have normally eaten the full bowl not thinking twice. Yes, so this is I’m just repeating what you said.

Dov: Yeah, but it’s the willingness to become conscious. This is what freedom is, this you know because you’re asking me earlier on, what I got to was freedom is the willingness to be conscious about that which I’m unconscious of.

Joshua: And did this exercise like give you…. Like what value did it connect with? Was it freedom, was it consciousness?

Dov: Deeper sense of what freedom is and that freedom only exists in a single moment and it only exists in a single moment of consciousness. So example, you’re walking from A to B and you suddenly realize, “I don’t know what I thought about.” And you go, “Wow, I was completely unconscious.” Or you’re driving from point A to point B and you go, “How did I get here?” Like I don’t even remember the drive.”

Joshua: When you finish college and you think, “Four years.”

Dov: Four years. That was a lot of beer.

Joshua: Yeah. Or just like it was a lot of not paying attention, just you know, just following the path that was ahead of me without thinking, “Is that the path that I want to be on?” or what, like, “Am I getting what I want?”. So is this an experiment you did and now you’re done or is it going to change anything? Is there long-term effects?

Dov: No, I think that, as I had mentioned last time, I am now considering letting go of the Jag.

Joshua: Oh, wow that’s big!

Dov: I’m actually considering letting go of the Jag.

Joshua: You know, this reinforces one of the big things that I’m seeing in this.,. Walking a lot of people through these personal challenges is that there’s a big thing out there that says, “Here’s a little change you can do”. And saying “Here’s a little change” implies you don’t want to do it and it reinforces the belief that you don’t want to do it. And I think the value of little changes is not that little changes add up to more than little things but that little changes wake you up and get you to do the big changes and you realize there’s value in these big things and that’s better. Value, evaluate, what’s good, what’s bad? It gives you the chance to choose what you want thinkingly, consciously and that’s the value. It’s not doing something little, it’s doing something, whatever you got access to.

Dov: Yeah. Again a level, a level of consciousness and as I said, I want to keep repeating this to people that the freedom, most people think freedom is that I don’t have to think and freedom is the ability to think.

Joshua: It’s weird, it seems like obligation.

Dov: You know, 1984 was based on the fact that you were not free to think, but you’re going to be free by following the rules. Well, that’s not freedom. Freedom is the ability to think, the ability to choose and most people don’t bother with that.

Joshua: And so now you have a new choice in your life.

Dov: I’ve gone from being unconscious or not truly unconscious but semi-unconscious around driving my car to saying, I mean I became very conscious every single time I got in that car of how many miles I was going to put on it, how much driving I was going to do and just recognizing that and saying, “Okay”. So, are there times when I really want to drive it? Yes. Are there times when I feel like it’s the right vehicle for me to drive for what it is that I’m about to do? Yes. And any other time is simply in my mind irresponsible. Not the truth, just in my mind. Irresponsible. So can I be more responsible, can I be more conscious around that? Yes. Okay, it’s not a big deal but I can do it. However, I may give up that car.”

Joshua: So it sounds like there’s a struggle and that the more you struggle the more struggle you want. I mean the struggle is not, it’s like hard but I think that… Why do you struggle? You don’t struggle for no reason, there’s a reason because you think there’s something on the outside of it.

Dov: Where do you see the struggle?

Joshua: When you have, I guess you have a conflict, an internal conflict that you like the car and you also like not the car. I’m oversimplifying. And so you have to figure out, “On what side of this conflict do I want to end up?”

Dov: Yeah, I mean I don’t see it as a particular struggle because it doesn’t occupy my mind. So that would qualify as a struggle for me but it’s not the truth, it’s just my truth. For me, it’s not necessarily a struggle, it is… Actually, if I really look at it, it’s the time it will take to make that choice.

Joshua: You’re making a choice and…

Dov: If I made the choice to stop driving the vehicle, that’s actually inconvenient. So it’s a convenience of driving the car but it is actually an inconvenience to not driving the car meaning not that it sits in my garage but now I’ve got to put it up for sale, I’ve got to take care of the paperwork and do all those things and I’m a busy guy and [unintelligible]. I don’t want to be bothered with that. That’s you know, if there’s a struggle to it, it’s a time struggle not actually to do with ecology or planetary or any of the moral reasons.

Joshua: Yeah, it’s practical.

Dov: Yeah, it’s practical, totally.

Joshua: I learned so much theory in physics and theory in physics I think it’s much more concrete than theory other places but practical so much more what you actually do to me brings things home so much more. And now I’m really curious, there have been several people that I ask, “Do you want to do a third?” because some people like, “Done. Thanks, Josh! Good luck with your next person.” But a lot of people are like, “This is really…”, they’re like, “It gets I’m really thinking, really doing, really considering what comes next” but usually it’s not. To me this sounds like a big thing and it’s not like you could put a date on it, like with some people they’ll do something and then I will say, “Do you want to talk again?” and they’ll say, “Yeah, let’s talk again in three months”. But I don’t want to put a date on what you’re doing but I’m kind of curious of if you decide one way or another, it feels like this follow up for you. Do you want to do a follow-up conversation, a third one?

Dov: Sure. And as I said the challenge for me is around the practicality of the time. So for me, where are we? This is September so I know right now my decision, my conscious choices that within six months I will make the decision to keep the car and shut up but still drive it far less than I did because I know I’ve already made that decision. I’ve already made that decision, I will drive it far less than I did. But within six months I’ll make the decision whether to keep it or let it go.

Joshua: Yeah, it will be interesting because if you’re driving a lot less but enjoying it more keeping it might… I see the decision matrix changing in lots of odd ways.

Dov: That’s a very interesting thing about it.

Joshua: And then there’s also like this rentals and things like maybe you could get a more exact access to a more exotic car but not actually owning it. I don’t know if that’s interesting or not.

Dov: For me even having this conversation about cars it feels inauthentic for the simple reason that I’m not a car guy. Like I’ve got lots of friends who are car guys. My friends love Maserati and love Lamborghinis and love all these fabulous cars, I don’t give a ****, I really don’t care. There are only three cars I like: Jag, Bentley and Aston Martin, that’s it. I can’t afford the other two, I drive a Jag. So those are the three cars I like and the reason I like them is because they’re logic cars, they’re very comfortable cars and they have a lot of power. I like all three of them because they’re larger, they’re powerful and they’re luxurious. I don’t like the climb down and getting your Ferrari car. I have no interest in that. I have a friend who has a Lotus he goes, “Do you want to drive it?” I’m like, “No, no, I have no interest.

So I’m not a car guy and people say, “Well what engine is it going?” One that moves the car. I don’t know shit about engines, I’m not a car guy so it’s not that conversation [unintelligible} someone told me, You can rent this” I’m like, “Why? Like I don’t care.” So for me it was this, I was this as I told you the last time, I was this poverty kid living in the edge of the ghetto, would go to the main road and sit on the [unintelligible]and I’d see certain cars go by. And one of those cars was a Jag which I always loved. There were different Jags as you said E-type Jag but also other Jags that I just loved. There were Rolls-Royce which I got to ride in when I was a kid as part of initiation test that I did on a school camp, I got to ride in it and I really liked it but I actually liked Bentleys more and I liked Aston Martins because I liked James Bond. But outside of that, you know, I really don’t care. I mean I get in people’s cars and I go, “It’s a beautiful vehicle.” But am I going to run out and buy one? No. Am I going to run out and even rent one? No. So it’s not that for me.

Joshua: I loved that doing these things, when you act on your values conversations become about values, conversations become about meaning and purpose. You know you’ve got to do your taxes, you’ve got to like, would you like a receipt with that? You know you’ve got to handle that sort of regular stuff in life. But it’s this type of conversation to me is much more interesting like, oh it’s not exotic, it’s your experiences with the Bentleys, it’s your experiences with other people and how… I bet when they ask you what kind of engines I bet that that helps you refine, like “What is it that I like about it?” even if it didn’t come out in a conversation. And that’s what to me this is all about is that it’s I hope that I’m helping people to live their life by their values and that means that their relationships with themselves as well as with other people are going to evolve. I don’t mean evolve like [unintelligible], you know just change to develop in ways that they like and they’ll have more of what they like.

Dov: Yeah, and that’s what I’ve been really enjoying about our conversations is, and I think it is part of the misdirect is that people might think that this is a conversation about the environment. And I think it falls under the banner of that. But in truth this is a values conversation, it’s what we had last time, it’s what you and I have had when we’ve not been recording, they are values conversations because those are the conversations I have and it’s certainly the conversation that this podcast fits, that’s where I come from when I was looking at what is the deeper values that a person is driving on that, what is the purpose of their being, meaning that they’re looking for life.

And in doing this the way you’ve done it, which I really appreciate, is as you said, it’s not about wagging a finger and you are wrong and you are bad for the environment but rather eliciting the values of that person so they can make a choice. And that’s vastly different than wagging my finger and saying, “You are wrong, you are bad” which is the world we live in and why we have people doing crazy shit is because somebody is wagging their finger and saying, “You are bad”. And if you can look on that on either side of that spectrum, it doesn’t matter. That’s why the Christians went in and did the things they did to the Native Americans, you know because they were bad and they had to wag their finger because they have accepted Jesus, you know. And then there’s the jihadists doing their thing, you know. Whatever it is, but it’s all about wagging the finger and making somebody wrong as opposed to revealing the values of that individual. But if you reveal the values of the individual they might choose something other than what you choose and we’re not really good with that.

Joshua: I hope to, I’m trying, you know I mean that’s why I try to empathize with the person more than impose. So I’m kind of like, part of me is thinking, “I want to continue”, but part of me is also thinking, “Always leave them wanting more” and I’m thinking, could we schedule the next, the six month one now?

Dov: No, you and can sort it out off air because I have to go into my calendar and find it.

Joshua: Okay.

Dov: So we’re now, what are we? September 22 or something?

Joshua: Yeah.

Dov: As we record, this September 22nd so we’re looking around mid-March.

Joshua: October, November, December, January, February, March. Yeah.

Dov: Right, mid-March. [unintelligible] for mid-March you know, we’ll come back and see what the evolving states of this is.

Joshua: Now I’m going to be thinking about you for six months. I mean we’ll be in touch anyway.

Dov: Well, I might be going for that stew in April. I’ve been invited to speak in April in New York so we’ll see if it works out. I don’t know, it’s not confirmed yet.

Joshua: Well, if you could taste the celeriac soup and [unintelligible] broccoli stew that I made and these poblano peppers, so good.

Dov: But the celeriac soup with some caraway is delicious.

Joshua: You know I got my herbs over there, I don’t have caraway but I’ve got, rosemary.

Dov: You won’t be growing caraway because it’s exotic. But you can go buy caraway seed and grind it. You don’t need a lot and it’s so good when the soup springs the flavor right up.

Joshua: I’m going to get some then. And yeah, if you tasted it you’d be more like, “Let’s make this thing happen in April”. But you are going to [unintelligible] anyway. April is difficult month because it’s going be all root vegetables because like the spring stuff hasn’t quite grown yet. So you’ll get turnups and rutabagas and cabbage and parsnips, anyway it’ll be really good. I guess I’ll close with, it if I can, any advice for people who are listening and thinking, “Should I do this, should I not do it?” or what their Jaguar is or something like that?

Dov: Yeah. But I think what you’ve just said is really important and I would challenge the listener exactly on that which is, what is your Jaguar, what is your Jaguar because my Jag is a Jag but your Jaguar might be frappuccinos. You know it’s that thing that you really enjoy that maybe has a negative impact on others or the world or you know, the planet or whatever it is and just to really ask, just ask yourself if outside and this is that this is the outside, like my car is delicious to drive, right, so outside of the deliciousness so there’s the sensual experience of the thing and then there’s the values and to be willing, I challenge you to be willing to put those two things side by side because I’m not asking you to just [unintelligible],which I love by the way, is I’m not asking you to give up deliciousness at all. But I am asking you to evolve, to bring forward, to become conscious of the values and very often we repress and suppress the values that are our own in order to facilitate the sensual experiences of the world that we live in. And that question is one that will wake you up, should you decide you want to wake up. But again, you may not and that’s perfectly fine too. What I just want to say to people is to repeat which is the consciousness that freedom is the willingness to be conscious. What does conscious mean? It means you get to be awake about the things you’ve been asleep about and some of those things you become awake about you may prefer to be asleep about. That’s the challenge, not for everybody else, for me and it’s the challenge for anybody who chooses to take that on.

Joshua: And so the interaction with the environment is a place that you can do that.

Dov: The environment is a wonderful place to play with it and you know, just the thing I would say to everybody is, that exercise I gave you which is to slow down and eat the dinner but even do it as you eat. Okay, as you put the meat in your mouth run through those different levels of gratitude to the person who cooked it, to the butcher, to the farmer, to the person who killed the beast, to the person who domesticated the beast, to you know or whatever it was, to the maybe the child that was in the barn when that animal was born if it was born on a farm. Whatever it was, all the gratitude, all the way back, that is such a powerful experience and then you can do that. And by the way that is something… I’ve never mentioned it, I apologize. That is something I did with the Jag, excited to do that experiment with the Jag after I took on this challenge. So one day I went out and I sat in my car. I went and sat in my car, remember I told you…

Joshua: [unintelligible] it’s kind of, I’m picturing it, yeah.

Dov: So, you remember I told you that I was going to go for a drive and went. “Ah, if I get in and out of the garage, I’m done. I’m over my limit,” which was my 100-kilometer limit. So what I did, I sat in my car and I ran through the gratitude. So I went, “Okay, what am I grateful for?” And these are leather seats so I do now think about the animal who gave its life about my seats. So I had to go through that. And then I went through all the different pieces, the people who work in the factories that created the plastic and the trees that the wood came from because it’s got beautiful wood paneling, I had to go through that and it was like that was really cool. Then I went deeper and way into the people working in a factory who built the engine and then built the body parts and then I went into the tires and the rubber and then where does the rubber come from and the rubber and the trees and all the plants that gave birth to that, you know all those kinds of things. I went into the depth of all these different levels of gratitude, even to the creativity of the person who designed the vehicle, who probably was working on this design and maybe couldn’t…. I know that when I get excited about something at night I cannot freaking sleep. I go to sleep but I’ll wake up like an hour and a half later and I thought this person who probably wakes up an hour later just thinking about these different curves that he had really thought about and suddenly that that curve is exciting to them and they want, they have to get out of bed and sketch the curve and I started to become grateful for the person who sketched the curve. You know I started to think about all of those different pieces just like you do with the dinner. I suddenly realized that I had been sitting in my car for like 15-20 minutes and I totally enjoyed my vehicle and I hadn’t gone anywhere.

Joshua: And I want to leave that for people that they have that opportunity is there for them as well.

Dov: Enjoying the deliciousness, you don’t have to go anywhere and you don’t even have to have it. You can simply enjoy the deliciousness from a place of gratitude.

Joshua: I’m so glad you said because deliciousness is a… That’s like the main thing that I think of because it started with food packaging and it ended up being these delicious vegetables. I’m going to leave it there and so you and I will connect afterward on other stuff like, we’ll talk again in about six months on this and in my theme of trying to give the listeners everything so there’s no secret stuff on the side, when we hang up we’ll hang up. And then we’ll get in touch about our other non-environment stuff or tangentially related stuff. I look forward to that. Thank you very much.

Dov: My absolute pleasure and I’ll find a date in March and send that to you.

Joshua: Okay, great. So, talk to you soon.

Dov: It was a pleasure my friend, always a pleasure.

Joshua: Same here.

Dov: I’ll be probably seeing you soon. Cheers.

Joshua: Bye.


He felt great, he savored the opportunity, he’s glad that he did it, it improved his life. This is not what most people expect when they think about doing something for the environment. Earlier guests had to struggle to get through things. He enjoyed the process. It was a challenge but he had a greater realization of the value of something and acting on it, especially freedom. His consideration of getting rid of a car took this podcast from me to a new level. I’m releasing it before other conversations are recorded after because earlier guests they do things like getting mugs instead of disposable coffee cups or not eating meat for a little while. These are great challenges to start off with. Getting rid of a car is a pretty serious consideration. It told me that this podcast has the potential to change things on a significantly bigger scale than I thought of before and for that I owe Dov a big debt of gratitude because now I’m seeing that potential for serious change.

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter