Ep 431 – Sapiens: More Fiction about Fictions – Part 2

Panel Discussion

Posted December 31st, 2017

Could a scientific mythology could bring balance to the force and peace & harmony to the galaxy? Listen in to Part 2 of this panel discussion of the book Sapiens with some responses to listener comments about “fiction” and “myth.”

A source about the common characteristics of mythology:






  • Tom Bunnell

    Thanks for pumping out the Sunday episodes. Great episode! I loved Homo Sapiens and it’s fun to hear additional thoughts on the author’s ideas.

    I was just listening to the part where John points out that we need a more meaningful and powerful myth than our religious myths. I totally agree. Have any of you listened to Jordan Peterson’s approach to myth and personal meaning? He answers some of the questions brought during this section of this episode. You often touch on many of Jordan’s ideas and I’d be surprised if none of the infants haven’t listened to some of his podcast episodes. If you haven’t listened to him this might be a place to start https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=48678749&autoplay=1

    Or the beginning of a lengthy podcast/lecture series on the psychological analysis and meaning of the Old Testament. https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=50251641&autoplay=1

    I know he has some unpopular views on some free speech issues and has been vilified lately. I’m not sure how I feel about some of his views but don’t let that turn you off to the rest of his work.

    • Oh yeah, wasn’t this the topic that Peterson and Sam Harris couldn’t get past? I need to listen to that one again with this new approach fresh in the mind.

  • floydfloyd

    Glenn. Fucking hell. Having not seen your survey results, but feeling that I’m rather average and I got it pretty quickly, I’d like to think that most people got what you were trying to say (as excellently summarized by John in episode 1). In light of that, your condescending and not really even relevant lecture at the beginning of this episode on what ‘myth’ means in the world of academic folklore was exceptionally annoying. I LOVE IOT and I’ve listened to every single episode. Every. One. Your artistic efforts and those of the rest of the infants have kept me sane over the last half decade and probably saved my marriage. Now that I’ve washed your balls enough, I can honestly tell you that at the end of your lengthy definition of ‘myth’ in this episode, when, in my opinion, it didn’t clarify or add anything useful to the previous episode I was shouting in my empty apartment while folding laundry about how badly I wanted to “fucking curb stomp your pompous face”.

    Now that I’ve calmed down and enjoyed the rest of the episode, I can laugh at my bout of rage. But seriously. Fucking hell.

    • Glenn

      Yeah, I hear you hear you, floydfloyd. That’s why I moved moved it to the end of the episode a few hours after publishing the version you apparently heard heard. 20+ min of dry pedantic boring monologuing to get to the panel discussion was way too long long. Now it’s at the end in an extended “Easter egg” section so people not interested can just shut it off off.

      And the curb stomp comment is pretty tasteless bro.

      • floydfloyd

        You’re right. But I said it, so I figured I’d own up to it. Some days I’m just a terrible person.

        • Gabriel von Himmel

          I too am a terrible person –– given the right temperament, contidions depending.

    • CocoaCoveredHeretic

      “I was shouting in my empty apartment while folding laundry about how badly I wanted to “fucking curb stomp your pompous face” ”

      Damn dude. That’s some strong feelings for a podcast being given to you for free. Maybe bring it down a notch, or seek some anger management help…

      • iknowthetapiristrue

        Question: (I’m serious in asking this question, seriously) what is so appealing to men about having their balls washed?

        • Oh man, if you don’t know… you’re going to the wrong gym!

          • Gabriel von Himmel

            My personal trainer has employed a specialist to handle this procedure –– ball washing that is.
            It is an acquired taste (ritual), a favored therapy among select (chosen) tribals.

      • floydfloyd

        My anger is fleeting and fake; its acknowledgment is all the therapy I need

    • Not cool man. Why go there with the laundry story?

      This topic of mythology is a dense one. It’s so deep in our collective consciousness as a synonym for “falsehood” that it was tripping me up. In the paper Glenn references, it’s the ‘function’ piece that clicks it together for me. Myths providing order or cosmology explains our need to have the story of astronomy and the Big Bang. I mean—wow. We even spell it in Title Case like it’s the name of Jehovah or something! Chalk up another one for team mythology 😀

      I was stoked to realize this, that our mythology expands as our techniques of understanding reality expand. I wouldn’t have considered that concept otherwise.

      It’s a new year. Here’s to laundry done in peace, love, and no more lost socks in wormholes.

      • windy_way8192

        I was introduced to the concept of some myth being compatible with truth in high school English. Thanks, Mrs. Pyles. As the only Mormon in the class among a bunch of Baptists and other Bible Belters, there was incentive for me in being sorta diplomatic about belief and it did me favors later, I think. (I could still be an arrogant ass, though.)

      • floydfloyd


  • Beth P

    Holy fuck! That opening was so much more triggering (I hate that word but truly cannot think of anything better) than I ever would have expected. I almost turned it off because it creeped me out so much 😂😂 good job Glenn, you really did an amazing job on that. By the end of that I was laughing so despite the emotional trauma caused by listening to it, it was still gold.

  • windy_way8192

    I’m glad John brought up Haidt’s description of how humans decide first intuitively, and then use rational thought to examine the decision. This imo why it is necessary to call objective reality the scientific “myth” among all other myth. If you want to know how to get somewhere, you need to know where you are.

    I think we can assume that at some point, our ancestors used little to no rational thought to examine their (intuitive) decisions. Then, at some point, some did and others didn’t. Those who did developed memories of ideas associated with decisions. Those memories became part of their intuitive mechanism and helped them make future decisions, decisions which tended to be more directly connected to rationality. Therefore, the more rational humans had a better survival rate than their counterparts.

    By acknowledging objectivity as myth, we are respecting this human process of intuitively selecting objective paths of study and exploring them with our subjective human tools of rationality. We are allowing ourselves to contemplate our contemplation.

  • Gabriel von Himmel

    Infants, you are still revenant, stay tuned and keep to the scent.
    John, thanks for adding to the fray, a tapestry woven of our experience.
    Good on you all, thank you.