27: Daniel Schmachtenberger - On Avoiding Apocalypses

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In this second episode of the Portal to be released during shelter-in-place restrictions during the Corona Virus Pandemic, we release an older discussion with Daniel Schmachtenberger on whether there is any plausible long term scenario for human flourishing confined to a single shared planet.

Daniel is seen as a leader of the growing Game B subculture of the human potential movement. This group bets that there is a second evolutionary stable strategy for cohabiting not based on conflict or rivalry, even for life raised in Game A (i.e. standard evolutionary and economic environments based on scarcity and rivalrous goods. Eric asks Daniel about where the bright spots and progress might be in this movement which refuses to accept the fate that that Eric has elsewhere put forward as the Twin Nuclei Problem of having unlocked the power of both Cell and Atom in the early 1950s without the wisdom to use it.

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Table of contents

00:00:20 - Covid and DISC
00:14:00 - Daniel Schmachtenberger
00:18:27 - System validity gain vs. loss as a distributed local criteria for response.
02:37:30 - Prostitution, commitment and status
02:40:00 - Relationships as a replacement for status

Annotations for the portal player

New York mayor tweet
gated institutional narrative
Embedded Growth Obligation


negative externalities
von Neuman-Morgenstern
[sub-utility functions]
principal agent problems
moral hazard


Mechanical Ventilation in an Airborne Epidemic
Preparing intensive care for the next pandemic influenza
stockpiling ventilators for influenza, pandemics
estimates of the demand for mechanical ventilation in the United States during an influenza pandemic

Triage is the process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition or likelihood of recovery with and without treatment.

Daniel Schmachtenberger website
The Twin Nuclei Problem
Game B

A gene drive is a genetic engineering technology that propagates a particular suite of genes throughout a population by altering the probability that a specific allele will be transmitted to offspring from the natural 50% probability.
Kalynivka ammunition depot explosion
James Damore
The Personal Responsibility Votex
Tristan Harris, founder of time well spent and the center for humane technology
Charles Lindbergh
Dunbar's number/limit
Peter Kropotkin
Lotka–Volterra equations