I really missed podcasts while I was away in Ghana. There's nothing like free flowing information presented in an interesting way by charismatic speakers. Some new favourites of mine include CBC's Ideas, Smells like Human Spirit, and The Feel Good Podcast. While they're all great in their own way, I still listen to the Joe Rogan Experience the most. I really love how personal it is. There's a lot of honesty and vulnerability, which is something I strive to achieve in my writing. The subject matter is also very interesting, bordering on weird at times, which is awesome. Sure, they talk about some pretty smart ideas like the evolution of communication, personal transformation, and societal trends. But they also talk about some unordinary stuff like aliens, Bigfoot, and odd theories surrounding quantum physics and consciousness! Love it!

Check out the episode above. It's really good. One idea they talk about in JRE #433 that I found really interesting is the decentralization of societal norms that's occurring thanks to new media. The power of traditional media outlets to act as societal "tuning forks" is decreasing as new media expands, leading people to reconsider their perspectives and the way they live their lives. The common story that's been told through traditional media channels is losing influence as more people create their own content, share their stories across the internet, and rewrite a part of the human story (which is becoming increasingly open and diverse). It's not that people's intentions have become better or worse, I think many people regardless of their age have positive intentions. What is changing is the backbone of the culture that gives us options to explore different ways to live out our intentions. There seems to be a growing recognition that the other human beings living their lives around us are also striving to find happiness, and that each of us have to find it in our own way. This recognition is the first step to understanding and acceptance, which is making gay marriage, religious tolerance, drug legalization and other previously taboo topics much easier to talk about and move past. Even this idea will be questioned by those who read it, which is awesome!

That's evolution. It's pretty cool what openness (/vulnerability/connection) can achieve. But there is a different kind of societal pressure that is slowly taking form as a by-product of new media. As people share their stories we empathize with their happiness and their sorrows. But no longer are we just empathizing with our close friends and family, now we are empathizing with complete strangers from across the world. As we encounter stories in unfathomable numbers, we are now faced with a greater realization of how far our empathy must expand.  What then seems to occur is this move towards living with love towards everyone. I don't believe it's happening on a large enough scale to be fully noticeable yet, because we still have to reform all our negative behaviours that have gone unchecked for a long time (see Dunbar's number and think about the repercussions of living in a dense city population), but I am certain it will come. I don't think it's a time-limited trend either, I think it's a result of openness (more tuning forks), and I can't see that changing.

So freedom to choose means no one tells you how to live your life, but connection being equally important indirectly pushes people to choose kindness in their day to day interactions. That's the social sway I see happening, but maybe it's just confirmation bias. But I don't think so.