The spiciest parts of this conversation come at the end. It's possible listeners may think we were annoying each other, but I think I can speak for both of us that we enjoyed the repartee. Anyone who has talked to me about my work since I started watching and listening to Daniel's What Is Politics? videocast knows it's shaped how I view politics, meaning how groups make decisions. If we want to change culture, he covers much of the core. If we want to undo some people dominating others, it helps to know how dominance hierarchies form. The core is in anthropology, which shows how humans have related to each other going back hundreds of thousands to millions of years, and current material conditions. We talk about creating videos versus writing books. Daniel shares a lot of backstory to his creating What Is Politics?, including his goals and greatest hurdles. At the end things heat up as I share what I want to do, which he sees as impossible and a waste of time. Do you think he's right? . . . or that I should keep trying? I will be the first to say I lack experience explaining myself in this area. I just haven't had the chances, which is part of why I valued this conversation so much.
I can't tell you how valuable (and entertaining) I found Daniel's video series. Regular listeners and readers may know how important I find anthropology to solving our environmental problems. If we want to change our culture, we have to know why it is this way, how other structures have worked, and how we can change. I started realizing this importance when I noticed that I had read podcast guest Sebastian Junger's book Tribe the day I unplugged my apartment. It showed me what we lack in our culture that others have: freedom, equality, community, connection, and what we value when calm, not bombarded with ads and feeling guilt, shame, helplessness, and hopelessness. It gave me something to look forward to beyond being able to fly to see the Eiffel Tower whenever I wanted. Next, reading The Dawn of Everything, another book on anthropology, showed a variety of cultures I hadn't known. We don't have to feel constricted to "returning to the Stone Age." But that book left open its main question: why are we stuck in our current culture? Enter What Is Politics?. In the series, Daniel clarifies what a lot of loose terms mean, thereby simplifying how to understand politics. It led me to understand why we're stuck and what we have to do to free ourselves. Daniel and I went to town talking politics, anthropology, hierarchies, how and why they form, sustainability, and more. Normally when my conversations go longer than an hour, I break them into parts, but if you like our conversation, you'll keep listening. I expect what we cover here and his series covers to ground a lot of what we have to do to change global culture. I'll close by reminding you of my mission statement on my bio page: My mission is to help change American (and global) culture on sustainability and stewardship from expecting deprivation, sacrifice, burden, and chore to expecting rewarding emotions and lifestyles, as I see happen with everyone I lead to act for their intrinsic motivations. In my case the emotions have been joy, fun, freedom, connection, meaning, and purpose. Everyone’s experience will be unique to his or her experience, but I know we all love nature so I don’t have to change anyone. I reveal what’s already there.