The Portal is an exploration into discovery, including conversations with thought leaders. Host Eric Weinstein, Managing Director of Thiel Capital, brings his unique expertise and diverse roster of guests for a wide range of discussions, including science, culture, business, and capitalism. The show will feature people whose lives demonstrate that portals into what we would normally consider impossible, are indeed possible. Guests include presidential candidate Andrew Yang, NY Times bestselling author Sam Harris, and retired Navy Seal and creator of the hit business podcast Jocko Willink.
41: Douglas Murray - Heroism 2020: Defense of Our Own Civilization
If you don't know Douglas Murray, in the estimation of the The Portal, this may well be the most important voice you will hear from the United Kingdom for some time. In the tradition of De Tocqueville and Alistair Cook's famous "Letter from America," Douglas Murray is America's true friend. He is not the man who tells you that you look great and laughs at all your jokes, but the one who pulls the big mac out of your mouth, flushes your cigarettes down the toilet, locks your liquor cabinet and personally drives you to rehab until you straighten yourself out.
I have met many men who train in combat sports, or extoll the virtues of masculinity. However, I know of none braver than Douglas Murray. In our time, this is one voice of relentless reason that everyone needs to hear.
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40: Introducing The Portal Essay Club - What if everyone is simply insane?
If you have ever wondered whether you were crazy when everyone else claims to see things differently than you do, this is the episode for you.
Book clubs are everywhere and we are always asked for book recommendations. But what about the great Essays, Interviews, Conversations, Aphorisms, Shaggy Dog Stories, Lyrics, Courtroom Testimonies, Poems, Movie Scenes, Jokes and the like? Sadly, there is almost never a club in which to discuss them. Yet there are Essays and offerings in other intellectual formats that are just as profound and meaningful as any book while having the advantage of being much more in keeping with modern attention spans. The Portal seeks to fill this obvious lacuna.
We thus finish out the regular first year of the Portal Podcast with an inaugural episode of an experiment: The Portal Essay Club. In this episode Eric reads aloud an astonishing essay from 1944 by Arthur Koestler which changed his world. In the essay, Koestler wrestles with a difficult question that has plagued independent thinkers for ages: what if everyone who is supposedly 'normal' is actually a maniac living in a dream world? What if the only sane ones appear crazy just as the crazy appear sane?
During the episode, Eric first reads aloud the essay "The Nightmare That Is A Reality." and then discusses paragraph by paragraph what makes this one of the most profound yet often forgotten essays to have appeared within the twilight of living memory (1944 as it happens). We hope you will enjoy this experiment and let us know what you would like to see appear next in this series.
Thanks for a great first year.
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39: Admission To Sugar Baby U.
One of the pillars of the American Dream has been that of seeing your children go to college. And, for the many families that can't afford the cost of soaring university tuitions, a new controversial institution has arisen to address the problem. That institution is Sugar Baby University, a tuition assistance campaign that attempts to allow attractive young women, and a smaller number of handsome young men, find generous older men to date in the quest to complete a new version of the American Dream by graduating debt free in an era which has made it all but impossible to discharge student debt even in personal bankruptcy since 2005.
This year, Sugar Baby University is 'graduating' it's fifth class with thousands of alumni in its network that stretches from coast to coast and includes institutions of higher education from local community colleges to research universities and ivy league colleges. If you know many young graduates, the chances have been increasing that one of them has quietly matriculated in response to the crisis of crushing debt payments. Yet despite widespread awareness of the program on campuses by students and financial aid advisors via word of mouth, the world of Universities and mainstream media news outlets have tacitly given their approval to the campaign by remaining strangely silent as tuitions have continued to climb an unbelievable average of 8-9% per year.
In this episode we do not pass judgement on Sugar Baby University, it's parent company 'Seeking Arrangement' or it's spokesperson Kimberly De La Cruz, who is our guest. Rather, we celebrate their openness to discuss the situation, and question, instead, the universities, politicians, media, and the lending industry, who have quietly created the desperate need for this program which they do not openly discuss and prefer not to address at all.
We also note that Kimberly is approximately 15 years from the date she took on her own student loans which leaves her still approximately $50,000.00 in debt. We have asked her to start a GoFundMe campaign so that we could make a contribution of $1000 dollars to let her know that we appreciate her honesty in being willing to talk openly about the terrible crisis on which her very business and livelihood now depends. I ask my listeners, who can easily afford it, to simply donate $10 dollars as a simple show of appreciation and solidarity with a woman who I have no doubt would, if it were possible with the wave of a wand, put her own company out of business by making attending college the beginning of a new American Dream, rather than the start of a familiar financial nightmare. If $10.00 is too much, pledge the minimum you can just to send a message of solidarity. The show now gets hundreds of thousands of listens per episode. A small number of contributions will go a long way.
Lastly: She's not the one asking for this. I am. And thank you.
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38: Mass Media, Markets, and Human Malware: A Portal Q&A
With this release, we try something a little different on The Portal. We begin an initiative to search for ways to feature members of the vibrant Portal sub-communities as part of the podcast itself, by requesting that listeners send in their questions around the prompt: “Mass media, markets, and human malware.”
The questions that came in were interesting and enlightening, and we hope that you may find the answers similarly useful.
We look forward to hearing your feedback on this new format as we continue to expand and experiment on The Portal. Hope you enjoy this episode.
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37: Andrew Marantz - Surfing the Wake of The Woke
New Yorker writer and book author Andrew Marantz and Eric became friends shortly before the 2016 election when Andrew set off to write the first profile of Eric and Geometric Unity, his theory of Physics. Coming from similar ethnic and politically progressive backgrounds they found plenty of common cause. With the rise of Trump, they then found themselves in subtly different places with Andrew more directly concerned with the rise of the Alt-right and Eric convinced that the Alt-right was likely a response to the transformation of the Democratic Party begun under Bill Clinton into a serious threat to National unity.
In this conversation from November of 2019 in New York City, they discuss Andrew's theories of the rise of the alt-right and internet trolling as well as the research from his 2019 book Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation. They also explore the contradictions between traditional and woke versions of progressivism and where all of this may be leading the republic. Particularly interesting given the 2019 time of this conversation is the concern with civil unrest and revolution which was shortly to play out in the American street a few months later.
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36: Dark Matter, Black Matters and All That Jazz
Stephon Alexander is a first class jazz musician as well as a first rate physicist and a professor at Brown University. As the New President of the National Society of Black Physicists, Eric sits down with Stephon over a good deal of wine to discuss particles, politics, blackness and STEM, and other matters as they look back on the last decade of their friendship and their sprawling discussions across music, politics, mathematics, physics and beyond.
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