Today Josh speaks with Sam McNerney about the history of propaganda (public relations) and how it established the incentive models and feedback loops that have led to the increasing division in our current political and societal landscape.
Today we dive into:
- Propaganda, the work of Edward Bernays (the "father of public relations" and nephew of Sigmund Freud), and how he applied Freud's framework of psychology to be utilized to influence the public at large.
- How PR has shaped and gamified our culture.
- Is there objective truth anymore?
- The erosion of trust in America of institutions.
- BDSM and what it teaches us about the subjective nature of power.
- Incentive structures, false narratives, and levers of control.
- Could a Lincoln or Marcus Aurelius-like altruistic leader succeed in today's political environment?
- Joe Rogan, alternative news sources, and the rise of trusted individual voices.
- Alex Jones and censorship.
- Mob psychology and the culting of America.
- QAnon and Antifa supporters have more in common than they think.
- How we're both coping with all of this personally.
- Cortisol and stress cycles.
- Wim Hoff, cold showers, and breathing techniques.
- Meditation, the nature of consciousness, and the illusion of the self.
- Focus, ADHD, and the downstream effects of Adderall.
- What are Sam and Josh are both optimizing for in their lives?
- And much more.
Sam McNerney is an applied behavioral scientist, market researcher, and brand strategist based in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked with brands such as Walmart, Procter & Gamble, and CitiBank.
As a writer, he has interviewed business and academic leaders including Arianna Huffington, Andrew Yang, Jonathan Haidt, and Charles Murray – and his essays have been featured in publications like The Washington Post, Psychology Today, and Scientific American.
Now as an independent consumer insights specialist, he specializes in using surveys to help businesses answer questions about their customers that unlock the greatest value.
Connect with Sam:
Music by Kirby Johnston – check out his band Aldaraia on Spotify