“The only way to change the world is to change it one mind at a time,” said Yaron Brook. “When you have an impact on a good mind, and a mind that cares about the world and a mind that goes out and does something about it, then you get exponential growth.”
Brook was talking about Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism with podcaster Lex Fridman, a scientist whose popular interviews have recently expanded beyond artificial intelligence (his field of expertise) to encompass a range of prominent guests, among them Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Joe Rogan and Richard Dawkins.
In this three-hour interview, Brook — who hosts The Yaron Brook Show and serves as chair of the Ayn Rand Institute’s board of directors — explained Rand’s philosophy in all its branches, addressing a variety of sub-topics and related issues: the nature of reality, free will, principles of a life well lived, win-win relationships, the problem of tribalism, Objectivism as a philosophy of love, and even how the philosophy got its name. At the interview’s end, Brook summarized his work promoting Objectivism this way: “What we are doing is continuing the project of the Enlightenment, and it’s the project that will save the human race.”
As a small sample, here’s how Brook addressed the role of emotions, an often misunderstood topic in a philosophy that regards rationality as the central virtue: “Emotions are how you experience the world. You want to have strong emotions. You want to live, you want to experience life strongly and passionately. You just need to know that emotions are not cognition.” In the course of his discussion with Fridman, Brook touched on a wide range of other issues, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, regulation of new pharmaceuticals, income inequality, the value of entrepreneurs, “anarcho-capitalism,” altruism, Mother Teresa, and thinkers such as Steven Pinker and Jordan Peterson.
Fridman, in closing the interview, shared his own view of Brook’s importance as a public intellectual:
I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I was a little starstruck early on. I’m getting a little more comfortable now. I highly recommend that people that haven’t heard your work listen to it, The Yaron Brook Show. You know, the times I’ve disagreed with something I hear you say is usually a first step on a journey of learning a lot more about that thing, about that viewpoint. And that’s been so fulfilling, it’s been a gift — the passion, you know you talk about reason a lot, but the passion radiates in a way that’s just contagious and awe-inspiring. Thank you for everything you’ve done for this world. It’s truly an honor and a pleasure to talk to you.
Fridman’s YouTube channel has more than 750,000 subscribers and his Twitter account more than 370,000 followers. As of this writing, the Brook episode has accumulated more than 156,000 views on YouTube.
Watch the entire interview here.