The world is ending, relax.



Here’s a question: Is there an evolutionary advantage to being kind? 

Our guest today is Dacher Keltner, an eminent scientist who will make the case that, contrary to popular conceptions of evolution (dog-eat-dog, survival of the fittest), and contrary to a lot of what we see on the news, our species is actually uniquely wired for kindness and compassion.

Dacher Keltner is the Director of the Social Interaction Lab at the University of California at Berkeley, the Faculty Director of the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, and the author of the book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. 

In this episode, we talk about Darwin’s perspective on human sympathy and selfishness, where he stands on the question of Original Sin versus Buddha Nature, the importance of touch when it comes to communicating compassion, and the relationship between teasing and kindness. 

We are bringing you this Ten Percent Happier podcast series in collaboration with the Apple TV+ Original Series Ted Lasso because k –> Podcast Link


  • Author of book “Born to be good”
  • Tries to dismiss the idea “nice guys finish last”
  • “transformation” showing kindness has become more desired in society, in leadership and in parental and social contexts
  • Darwin claims sympathy is a very useful tool and is incredibly important for thriving societies
    • “survival of the fittest” often misunderstood
  • Homosapiens became the apex predator not due to our ability but our cooperation
  • Joesph henrich “we share 40% of resources with a stranger”
  • Micheal tommosello “18 month olds will try to help and empathize with others”
  • Data shows “outrage” brings about social good not just for the group but yourself i.e protests
    • This also improves with pro-social tendencies
  • With kindness there are gender issues (men seem to be more aggressive and manipulative, women seem to be more cooperative and less confrontational)
  • Kindness =/= being exploited
  • Broad review looking at how social movements gain power
    • People seeking change should feel anger but not rage
  • Original sin (humans want to sin) vs buddha nature (essentially good)
    • dali lama “compassion is our natural state”
    • primitive parts of brain activate when see signs of human suffering
    • oxytocin leads to you being more generous
    • vagus nerve engages when we feel compassion
    • parts of your brain light up when we give things away
    • seems to be 45/55 sin/buddha
  • Compassion is a skill that can be trained through meditation
  • Seems to be positive movement socially (womens rights, lgbt issues, race issues)
  • Awe is very important and can be observed in chimps
    • Studies show is “awe” is shared with strangers you're more compassionate with them.
    • The environment is the biggest source of awe
  • Laughter & play
    • Play is one of the deepest thing mammals have evolved, dogs, rats, birds all play
    • Teasing, joking, comedy
    • “how do you know you're falling in love?” teasing, laughing together etc
  • “one of the things in finding more happiness is confrontation and conflict”
  • People who're really kind or empathetic seem to not be as corruptible by power
    • Power reveals

#podcastnotes #tenpercenthappier

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

If they were to cut open my bloated corpse they would find nothing but cookies – I am no more in control of my actions than a man with a gun to his head, truly mans most self destructive behavior is the reinforcement of the mass delusion that is control, we are no more in control of our actions than a plant is in control of growing towards the sun, but at some point in our history we saw hands in front of us on a steering wheel and assumed they belonged to us because sometimes they move when we tell them to. We completely disregard all the times we tell them to move and they remain stationary or the times they turn according to their own desires.

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

The past

In the past I've journalled in a very specific and rigid way on a very regular basis, however covid saw that habit change and pretty much disappear, this has given me enough of a break from it to re-evaluate and I've reached the conclusion I'm going to change how I journal

Digital Journal

Firstly I went digital, using obsidian, having templates, the ability to search, plugins to encrypt information, internote linking etc makes the journal entries much more usable – but in this “journal” I mostly use it for bullet points, a quick rundown of the day a chronology. Then I will also use other templates as/when needed I will include the templates below.

Daily template

# Journal
## morning
- [ ] Something you're grateful for
- [ ] Go over yesterdays note (if applicable)
## afternoon
## evening
- [ ] A nice memory
- [ ] meditation

[[month-21]] #month #journal 

Work template (based on newports idea of deep work)

# Work Start
#### How do you feel?

#### What do you plan to do today?

#### Why do you want to do these things?

#### What might get in your way?

#### How can you overcome this?

# Work End
#### Did you do good enough today?

#### What did you do?

#### What helped you?

#### What hurt you?

#### How do you feel?

#### How do you plan to rest tonight?

[[<% moment().format("DD-MM-YY") %>]]
#<% moment().format("MMMM") %>

Stressed template

# Stressed

**List things making you stressed:**

*Highlight the most important*

**What can you do about it?**

**Is there anyone you can talk to about it?**

**Why are these things making you stressed?**

**What do you think you should do?**

**What was the outcome?**

[[<% moment().format("DD-MM-YY") %>]]
#<% moment().format("MMMM") %>

How it's used

I use plugins to create new notes with both work and stressed templates then insert a link to those notes in the daily note, this is all a hands off process and since they're separate notes in separate folders it keeps everything free from clutter and organized.

The structure

  • Journal/
    • 00-Events/
      • 2021/
    • 00-work/
      • 2021/
    • January-21/

Physical Journal

My physical journal will be used more for long form thoughts and feelings about life, mine and others. A more sort of decompression, I'll carry it wherever but will think before writing in it, the format and structure will be simple, on the front will be month-year month-year so I know when it was start and when it was full, inside it'll just use a title and month on each entry, anything more granular gets lost in the pages anyway, if I need to know specific things about a specific date then I should just ctrl+f my digital journal, if I want to reflect then dates aren't nearly as important and neither is a chronology of what you did on that day.

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate


This episode I describe how we see, meaning how our eyes focus, convert light information into electricity the rest of the brain can understand and how our brain creates the incredible thing we experience as “sight”. –> Podcast Link


  • Get exposure to sunlight in the morning and evening (in winter consider blue light lamps)
  • Several studies in thousands of people as to how to stop myopia (near sighted-ness)
    • 2 hours outside has significant chance of reducing risk of myopia
    • could be caused by looking at things at a distance
    • also seems to relate to sunlight
    • does not work through windows
  • holding visual focus may help you hold mental focus
  • accommodation is the ability to focus on close and far objects
    • looking at things far away is relaxing due to flattening
    • healthy eyes dilate when looking at things far away
    • you need to look at things up close and far away
  • look at things far away on a regular basis ideally not through a window
    • every 30 minutes of close work allow eyes to unfocus and face to relax
    • every 90 minutes look at something far away and allow eyes to relax (panoramic vision)
  • Self generated optic flow
    • visions moving past as body moves through physical space
    • not motorized vehicles
    • bicycles and running work
  • Looking up promotes wakefulness (10-15s)
  • Sleep in a very dark room
  • Spend 10 minutes a day looking at things at least 1KM away
  • Smooth pursuit training (youtube videos, bird watching, car watching)
  • Snellen chart improves vision if you try it on a regular basis

#podcastnotes #hubermanlab

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

I was not, I was, I am not, I do not care: In theory this is fine, in practice I find myself lost in thoughts of the loss of experience, not mourning the universe without my existence in it but a sort of fomo in which I can think of experiences I want to have but will never, it’s easy to get lost in these thoughts but the only things you can do are wallow in the lack of theoretical experiences or focus on the experiences you can have.

Considering the absolute diversity of experience the universe offers us not just internally but externally it seems nothing short of choosing to be miserable to allow yourself to be caught up in the experiences you won’t have for more than a moment.

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

My entire life I've heard over and over again “live each day as if it's your last” what stupid, thoughtless and destructive mindset is that, if I live each day as if it's my last I'm taking drugs and banging escorts until I curl up in a ball and die from either exhaustion or dehydration.

I think If you want your life to be good you must live by the opposite, which I am coining “live each day as if you'll live forever” now for a fun easy thought experiment we're going to change reality a bit.

Right now a god appears in front of you and tells you that you'll live forever, you can still get sick, get ill, get injured but you can never die of old age, sickness, illness or anything like that. If you get cancer you will never die from it but it can destroy you in the same way it does others just without the eventual fatality; Being overweight will never kill you, but you'll still get out of breath easily, have chronic pain and other related outcomes. Now what kind of choices do you think you'd make? would you exercise? eat better? avoid known cancer causing compounds? what about your friends, would living forever change how you treated them? what about knowing you'll outlive every family member would you save any negative feelings you have for them till after they've died? I mean you'll literally have all the time to hate them once they're gone right? What would you spend your free time on? would you mindlessly watch tv? spend all your time inside your room?

You don't ruin your life on a single day, you do it day after day walking to your own destruction step by step, if you only ever look at your feet you don't see what you're walking toward and when you look up for the first time it will be an ugly sight, don't worry, the longer you look at it the prettier it gets.

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

I hate my neighbors, I mean strongly the dad is a violent drug dealer which isn’t too out of it for my area but I have to listen to him yell at people over the phone, when people come round kicking off I have to listen to that, the police knock on and I have to say didn’t hear anything – then they’ve crammed 5 kids into a two bedroom house so they spend most of their time in the back garden making a ton of noise – Most recently one of the younger lads has gotten into footie. More specifically booting a football against a metal shed repeatedly.

Then today he comes out into the backgarden in full kit, his mam walks out smoking a cig and proceeds to keep kicking the ball back and forth to him and the lads having the time of his life – it was an honest childhood moment. This made me stop and think if I had anything like that, my first thought was no but as I’ve spent 5 minutes trying to recount positive childhood memories I’ve managed to come up with dozens; but I had to put effort into doing so, negative childhood memories I could remember chronologically without even a thought.

I guess we by default focus more on the negative, I didn’t have a bad childhood and i don’t think I’d ever claim I did but if you would have asked me I would have described it as ‘fine’ but now after remembering all these “forgotten” memories I would say I had a good childhood, with parents who cared deeply about me, it’s changed my perspective on my childhood – I wonder how long these positive memories will remain fresh? how many more could I recount?

maybe things aren’t that bad maybe my brain just hates me and wants me to remember the bad and forget the good.

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

Disclaimer: In this post when I use the words introvert/introverted I am not referring to the spectrum of introversion I am talking about the way people commonly use introvert as a sort of psychological immutable immutable characteristic that you are.

The category of introvert

I hate people who describe themselves as an introvert, I would probably hate people who describe themselves as an extrovert as well, if they existed that is. I could have a biased sample or something but I've never heard anyone describe themselves as an extrovert, everyone seems to think they're an introvert which if that's the case they aren't, they become the baseline people who describe themselves as introverts can be split into the following 1) people who want to feel like they're better than others. – introverts are reflective and introspective, extroverts are loud and shallow – introverts are enough for themselves 2) people who want to be able to dismiss shitty and selfish behavior – cancelling plans at the last minute – categorizing someone as an extrovert then judging them because you say them socialize once 3) people who collect labels because they crave identity The more tshirts I see making reference to being an introvert the soonerm y inevitable mental breakdown comes please stop you don't need coasters that say I'm an introvert, please stop how many things do you need to buy that all express the same sentiment of “I don't like socialization, you know that thing that's core to human happiness and experience” it doesn't meant you look good it makes you look pretentious. You're not better than others because you denounce socialization and community as a mortal sin.

The negative traits that accompany introverts

Usually introverts will come with a bundle of things that would make you think they're a shitty person, but you don't because they're an I N T R O V E R T so it's ok, I've tried to keep this list to the most telling things but if you want examples check out any introvert meme pages on reddit of facebook or wherever and you'll see nothing but shitty behavior dismissed as quirky – cancels on plans often – avoids talking to people because they need to “recharge” – judges people harshly for liking socialization If someone did these things you'd think they're a shitty person and a shitty friend but what about if I told you they self describe as an introvert? for some reason now it's ok?

The dismissal of clear symptoms of mental illness/dysfunction

The three above examples are all clear symptoms of either mental illness or the brain not functioning normally, these traits are not normal or desirable.

“Who I am”

My main gripe with introverts is the idea it is in fact a part of 'who you are' this implies that it's unchanging and makes up a part of you which is going to lead to an acceptance of negative traits instead of you seeing them as something to be fought against and overcome, kind of like how viewing yourself as depressed vs viewing yourself as someone experiencing depression not only effects likeliness to get treatment but the success and relapse rate of the treatment with the second being more favorable. It's nice to have identity but if you allow negative traits to become a part of your identity you're digging your own grave.

Introversion can change

I could come up with real life examples but everyone will experience introversion in various degrees based on how you feel to begin with and what the situation is, you can fill in this example with memories from your own life.

Redundancy of the category

Hopefully I've established that a) introversion being self reported and seen as desirable means people will want to (and can chose to) belong to this category b) the category of introverts is a negative one that you shouldn't want to belong to. c) aligning “who you are” to introvert will cause you harm d) Your levels of “introversion” vary based on a ton of factors on a regular basis

Now before I make this claim remember the disclaimer at the top “Introvert” is a useless, harmful category that can never be accurate since anyone can/does say they're an introvert and if you've ever called it yourself you should overcome the traits and cringe when you look back on the times you would define yourself by such a negative shitty collection of traits.

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

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Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

To preface all of this, I'm not sponsored by blinkist, I don't think it'll replace reading but I do think it has a valid usecase.

I got a trial of blinkist out of curiosity and decided to use it for books I've already read to get an impression of it and how well does it actually communicate the meaning/message of a book – I don't think it's a perfect replacement for books but I think some books can be distilled down into 10-30 minutes “blinks”

After I wake up I usually will try to go on a 10-20 minute walk before working out, this and sometimes before bed is when I listen to blinks the features it offers make it very usable for casual purposes (like mine) or with features such as the ability to read/highlight/extract the content it even offers use to a more study focused approach.

What I'm trying to say though poorly is blinkist does offer some level of value and I think most people should give it a try but if you do it's important to work it into your routine instead of just letting it be, unless you set aside time for it you probably won't use it.

I'm now going to recommend some blinks I think most people will benefit from

  • Deep Work, Cal Newport
  • The power of positive thinking, Norman Peale
  • Atomic Habits, James Clear
  • The art of rest, Claudia Hammond
  • The world without us, Alan Weisman
  • To have or to be?, Erich Frommm
  • Conscious, Annaka Harris
  • How to be an epicurean, Catherine Wilson
  • The Aesthetic Brain, Anjan Chatterjee
  • Man and his symbols, Carl Jung
  • Suspicious Minds, Rob Brotherton

Whenever reading any of my posts consider the date it was posted, people change as do our views. readme // donate

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