TLDR : Thinking about influences, especially after the last post : Media scripts humans
It’s hard to pick out who has influenced you. Partly because it is time dependent (certain ideologies and messages resonate at a certain age), and partly because there are too many.
I thought I would list some, partly to acknowledge their outstated influence, and partly just to be aware of how some of my views were formed.
Humans do emulate people around them. You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Mimetic theory : you essentially copy your desires from other people.
I’ve spent a lot of time virtually/through words with the people below.
His podcast has had the biggest influence on my life - I’ve been exposed to ideas and people that I would have never been exposed to. Although conventionally ‘successful’, I’d argue he lives an unconventional life. His ‘clickbait’ / marketer persona can put people off, but there is gold here. Seriously. His long form conversations are with some of the most interesting people in the world. Quick maths - 500 podcasts- average 2 hours. So I’ve spent at least 1000+ hours listening (not to mention relistening)
A pHD in Neuroscience, and essentially spent his 20’s exploring Eastern spirituality. His podcast and books are deeply influential. He’s highlighted the importance of ‘good faith’ conversation in changing the world. Conversation is the only tool we have to cooperate. The idea of ‘steel manning’ alone changed my conversations. He challenges heated topics (religion) and his views are often misrepresented, but he remains graceful and articulate despite that.
An Indian philosopher who died in the late 1900’s. Had a stance of epistemic humility and skepticism. ‘Truth is a pathless land’. A facilitator of first person introspective exploration. I actually heard about him through Thomas Metzinger - a German philosopher - discussing Spirituality and Intellectual honesty. I would include Alan Watts alongside, who communicated Zen Buddhism in a beautiful way.
He’s not the clearest - and probably won’t make much sense to most.
Probably the largest influence in the recent years. Interesting takes on a range of topics from cryptocurrencies to the human condition. Articulates his thoughts incredibly well, and that alone is something worth emulating. This podcast episode in particular caught me at the right time in medical school.
Yuval Noah Harari
A major influence on my thinking, mainly through his books and lectures. I would say he is seriously unconventional. The man spends 2 hours a day in meditation, and goes on 60 day retreats a year. Intense. He manages to condense complex topics into bitesized understandable takes with humorous examples.
There are a lot of interesting humans out there. I’ve only listed a few influences, but I know there are literally 100’s of people who have shaped my ideologies and dispositions.
Every time I meet someone new, I’ve found myself being captured by their life story and trajectory.
There is something to learn from everyone.