Grappling at the edges of reality with Joe Rogan

by Bill Benzon

A couple of weeks ago I was making my online rounds. When I checked YouTube I saw a link to a conversation between Steven Pinker and Joe Rogan. I’m quite familiar with Pinker and have correspond with him a bit, though I’ve not read his most recent book. And the name, “Joe Rogan”, set off some resonance that I couldn’t place. OK, I’ll check it out, thought I to myself. See what Steve’s up to these days and find out about this Joe Rogan guy.

It was a long and interesting conversation and, yes, it did cover Steve’s current book, Enlightenment Now, though it took awhile to get around to it. Otherwise the conversation ranged widely: flame wars on Usenet, comedy roasts, altruism, the Flynn effect, mass murderers, spiritual enlightenment, aerobics, online magazines, the long-term course of human history, the post-Trump world, and others.

I liked Rogan’s style.

The good old Wikipedia told me that Rogan had been on News Radio back in the 1990s–OK, now I know who he is–and then hosted Fear Factor earlier in this century–saw that, too, some of them. Early in his life he’d the become interested in the martial arts–karate, taedwondo, kickboxing–and had won some state and national titles. Moreover, he’s put in a lot of time as a commentator with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. AND, he’s been working at stand-up comedy all this time. He’s also into nutrition, hunting, mind expansion–cannabis, psychedelics, sensory deprivation–health and nutrition, and who knows what else.

This guy’s got some range! Read more »