Peter Attia: From MDMA to Prison Reform – The Kyle Thiermann Show

Key Takeaways

  • Everyone worships something
    • Perhaps it’s better to worship a higher power that may not exist compared to something like power or money
  • If you want to make your time on Earth count, think of everyone who would miss you 5 years from now if you were to die today
    • Spend more time deepening relationships with those people
  • Be aware of the hedonic treadmill – the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive events
  • You treat others the way you treat yourself
  • Everyone’s an addict – we all just have different addictions

Intro

  • Host – Kyle Thiermann (@kyle_tman)
  • Peter Attia (@PeterAttiaMD) is the founder of Attia Medical, a medical practice focusing on the applied science of longevity, he earned his M.D. from Stanford University
    • He is the host of The Peter Attia Drive podcast – check out some of the Podcast Notes

Books Mentioned

  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate
    • Peter says this is a very good book about drug addiction, a “real eye-opener”
  • Peter recommends reading anything by Richard Feynman because of his incredible level of curiosity
  • The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
    • Kyle recommends this book – it influenced him to become more curious and learn more

Peter’s Thoughts on Worship, an Afterlife, and Purpose

  • Peter is a fan of David Foster Wallace and his teaching that everyone worships something and it may be better to worship a higher power that may not exist compared to something like power or money
    • If it’s material things, you’ll never have enough
    • If it’s beauty, you’ll die a thousand deaths as you age each day
    • People need to be aware of the hedonic treadmill – the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive events
  • Peter doesn’t believe in an afterlife and prefers to live in the here and now
    • As he’s gotten older, he’s realized more and more that he is “completely and utterly insignificant”
      • Even if you’re one of the world’s most powerful people, the world will still go on after your death and not much would change
        • If you want to make your time on Earth count, think of the people who would miss you 5 years after if you died today – spend time deepening relationships with those people
  • Although Peter doesn’t necessarily believe in “purpose”, his highest priority is leaving behind a better world for his children and spending time to prepare them for their lives ahead
    • Even if no one listened to Peter’s podcast, he’d be happy his children would have it and could use it to learn from his conversations/experiences
  • “You will treat others the way you treat yourself”
    • Peter has been a perfectionist for most of his life which has resulted in him pushing himself (and others) to their extremes

Food and the Agricultural Industry

  • Peter has recently gotten into hunting and realized that many people are unemotionally aware of the process it takes to produce meat
    • People think about a burger, but don’t think about a cow being raised then getting sent to a slaughterhouse and processed
  • Peter is also interested in the agricultural industry
    • One of the most important metrics for the industry is how much food can be grown per acre
      • In 1940, a farmer could grow 20 bushels per acre per year
      • In 2010, a farmer could grow 140-160 bushels per acre per year
      • Today, that number is about 200 bushels per acre per year
        • What caused the growth? – Crop rotation, selective breeding, improved fertilizer and other improvements in agricultural science
    • Peter doesn’t think Monsanto is out to hurt people, they’re just trying to make as much food for as cheaply as possible – they are simply trying to meet demand
      • That said, it’s not their mission to make food in an environmentally sustainable way
      • Monsanto is both good and bad – “It’s no different than Apple making an iPhone”
        • iPhones are bad for kids but there aren’t a lot of people telling Apple to stop making phones
      • Customers have to take some responsibility for the demand they create for products
      • What about the claim that Monsanto products cause cancer?
        • More research is needed, but everything is toxic at a high enough dosage – oxygen, water, and cyanide all have the ability to kill people at a certain dosage

Politics

  • Campaign finance reform is a not very sexy topic but is among the top 3 biggest problems in U.S. politics (the other two are the electoral college and the gerrymandering of districts)
    • Most solutions in politics don’t come from the extreme left or right, but rather in the middle since most people are centrists and not in either extreme
  • Peter believes the government would work better if it were more decentralized and states had more power/responsibility
    • That way, people could express their values and move to the state that best represents them
  • Politicians aren’t necessarily bad people – they’re just playing a game that’s rigged
    • Politicians that take money have a better chance of winning than those that don’t
    • “You have two choices: play the rigged game or get out of the game”
  • An important question – Should companies be taxed more for selling products that hurt consumers? (cigarettes, alcohol, etc.)
    • And if they are, should those funds be used to treat people that were injured from those products or used to discourage people from buying those products?
      • Ex. – Is it better to treat patients with lung cancer or advertise the health risks of cigarettes to prevent people from buying cigarettes in the future?
      • Peter recommends the book – In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate
        • It taught Peter that everyone is an addict – we all just have different addictions
        • A great quote from the book – “Addiction is not the problem, it’s the person’s attempt to try to solve the problem”

Peter’s Thoughts on Prison Reform

  • The prison system is not unbiased and does not do a good job of reforming criminals
    • “There is tremendous bias as to who is in prison”
  • Lots of people are in prison who have a desire to change their ways, but don’t have the resources/help to get better
    • A lot of prisoners end up there because of several unlucky factors – growing up in a home without two parents, growing up in a home without books, growing up in a poor neighborhood, etc.
  • If Peter could only focus on one solution, it’d be drug reform
    • Finding out what people are trying to numb with drugs and what caused their drug addiction in the first place are two fundamental questions that need to be answered to help individuals
  • Why do people hate sex offenders?
    • People hate those who prey on the innocent and helpless
      • Most sex offenders have been molested themselves or experienced other forms of trauma

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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