Moment of Zen

By Erik Torenberg, Dan Romero, Antonio Garcia Martinez

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Erik Torenberg, Dan Romero, and Antonio Garcia Martinez discuss what's happening in technology, business, politics, and beyond.

Episode Date
Low vs High Culture, legacy vs new institutions, WWE, & Lex Fridman w/ Aarthi and Sriram

0:00 Intro 

1:10 Sponsor (Secureframe) 

3:10 Has Aarthi always been more based than Sriram? 

6:40 Attribution 

10:10 Legitimacy 

14:30 Brokenism vs Institutionalism 

19:40 Attention as influence 

26:00 Should Twitter eliminate trending topics? 

28:30 Antonio’s cultural elitism 

32:00 Low vs High culture 

41:50 Who are the elites? 

51:10 WWE & Kayfabe 

1:01:45 Lex Fridman 

1:11:10 Andrew Huberman 

1:19:00 Bryan Johnson 

1:21:00 Lindy 

1:24:00 Against a la carte beliefs


Thank you Secureframe for sponsoring (Use "Moment of Zen" for 20% discount) and Rob Perla, Natalie Toren, and Molly Mielke for production/art direction. 

The Cognitive Revolution, AI podcast:

Twitter: @moz_podcast @sriramk (Sriram) @aarthir (Aarthi) @Dwr (Dan) @Antoniogm (Antonio) @Eriktorenberg (Erik)

Feb 04, 2023
E6: The AI moment, AI vs crypto: a heated debate with Amjad Masad, Flo Crivello, and Nathan Labenz

0:00 Preview of the debate

0:30 Sponsor

1:00 Nathan introducing our new upcoming AI podcast, The Cognitive Revolution

3:45 Flo’s take on the AI moment and AGI

8:20 Amjad’s take on the AI moment

15:00 Is chatGPT a step function change?

23:45 AI’s effect on coding

34:40 Amjad believes AI is underhyped

35:00 Bounties

53:15 What AI companies should VCs invest in?

57:30 Antonio/Flo pre-debate

1:00:15 “All knowledge work will be automated in 20 years”

1:01:00 Antonio’s AI skepticism

1:05:20 the inflection point is a jump in generality

1:06:00 Who will capture value, incumbents or startups?

1:14:30 Segue into AI and crypto

1:20:00 Flo’s crypto skepticism

1:23:40 Antonio and Flo HEATED DEBATE

1:26:30 Dan tries to calm everybody down

1:27:00 Dan’s crypto perspective

1:29:30 Antonio’s crypto perspective

1:31:50 Amjad’s Bitcoin maximalist view

1:34:55 Amjad’s hilarious rant on crypto ponzis

1:38:00 Dan and Amjad debate Bitcoin/Ethereum

1:40:00 AI vs Web 3 brawl

1:52:32 Amjad’s AI predictions

Jan 29, 2023
E5 w/ The Realignment on Silicon Valley & DC, Trump vs DeSantis, and the future of media & politics
Jan 21, 2023
E4: USA vs Europe, Zeihan & Fukuyama, Reforming institutions vs starting new ones, and why we started "Moment of Zen"

0:00 intro and sponsor

1:20 introductions (who the f are we?)

3:00 Antonio introduction

5:12 Dan introduction

6:50 Farcaster

10:10 Erik introduction

12:30 the life of the mind vs the life of the founder

16:00 Being in the arena as a requisite to comment

18:30 Why is the podcast named “Moment of Zen”?

20:20 Erik is the Johnny Appleseed of group chats

23:30 Group chat culture

26:55 Reforming institutions vs building new ones

29:30 Antonio’s intellectual evolution

30:40 Europe is behind, but Antonio prefers it

31:40 Antonio feels like a teetotaler who runs a bar

32:50 LARPs

34:00 Explaining Fukuyama

37:50 What’s the best functioning institution today?

39:10 Richard Hanania

42:30 We don’t have a grand unifying projects anymore

45:00 Should the China threat be the unifying narrative?

48:05 Taiwan

49:56 Explaining Zeihan

1:00:20 When shit hits the fan, what country do you flee to?

1:02:40 Why doesn’t Prince Harry get a paternity test?

1:04:00 Europe vs America

1:08:20 Dan is bullish on Europeans, bearish on Europe

1:11:20 “Everything except the startup scene is better in Europe”

1:15:19 Why is the US public sector so much worse?

1:21:35 Why are we doing this show?

1:22:32 “How about we just don’t get canceled?”

1:23:55 Teasing upcoming guests

1:24:34 Erik’s favorite ex-convict?

Jan 14, 2023
E3 w/ Amjad Masad on AGI as religion for nerds, history as a series of conspiracies, and religion as a foundation for raising your kids

0:00 - Antonio’s circumcision

1:20 - The future of Replit

6:30 - The future of coding

9:46 - The Steve Jobs Blackpill

12:00 - Will AGI lead to the death of humans?

18:13 - AGM thinks AGI dystopia is bullshit, religion for nerds

21:12 - Why is there a human need for “end of times” theory?

23:20 - Climate science is unsettled

25:55 - AGM swears he has no idea who Curtis Yarvin is (Who is Curtis Yarvin? - editor)

26:25 - Dan wrestles with the guilt of bringing another human into this cold, ugly world

27:00 - Amjad’s counter-narrative to the AGI dystopia narrative

29:30 - How can AI become consciousness if we don’t know what consciousness is?

32:15 - “AGM do you want to share your story with an AI girlfriend?”

32:58 - Amjad’s Palestinian background and his identity crisis

37:00 - Redpill moments

39:17 - The media never lies

40:35 - Russel Conjugation

41:50 - Comparing Islam and Judaism

43:44 - Judaism isn’t about faith, it’s about practice

51:00 - Transhumanism vs Ludditism

51:50 - Was The Unabomber a left-wing or right-wing nut?

55:15 - Ludditism never works, you can’t roll technology back

57:00 - Antonio’s redpilling

58:30 - Raising a family with or without religion

1:04:40 - Dismissing religion is the classic midwit meme

1:07;20 - History is a series of conspiracies

1:15:00 - Modern day true conspiracies

1:21:05 - “Are the frogs gay?”

1:22:50 - Why does truth matter?

1:30:40 - Prediction Markets

1:36:30 - The only places where truth matters: wars, elections, and markets

Jan 08, 2023
E2 w/ Marc Andreessen on Elon, Nietzsche, and America's Thousand Year Empire

00:00 - Intro

1:00 - Unpacking the famous SBF quote

4:00 - Introducing Joe Henrich’s “WEIRD”

6:15 - Introducing Tom Holland’s “Dominion”

7:10 - Nietzsche’s criticism of Christianity 

8:45 - Christianity’s inversion of morality

11:40 - Is Wokeness the logical conclusion of Christianity?

15:00 - The Christ narrative as the central narrative

16:20 - Are there any alternatives to WEIRD - Is WEIRD taking over the world?

17:20 - Antonio’s circumcision

20:30 - Why we can’t have Nietzschian morality in TV shows

24:30 - Kanye, Trump, Elon

26:30 - Introducing James Burnham and the rise of professional managerial class

31:30 - How Elon is a threat to the PMC

34:00 - Can other countries resist WEIRD?

38:30 - What would Balaji say about the case for America?

41:50 - Balaji’s Network State

43:20 - is social media going to fragment?

46:35 - America is consistent with the process of evolution

48:20 - We need more cleaving of the elites

Thanks to Secureframe for being our first sponsor. Sign up at and mention "Moment of Zen" for 20% off

Dec 30, 2022
Moment of Zen E1 w/ Marc Andreessen on SBF/FTX, Twitter, and Open AI/Chat GPT

(0:00) All-in Tribute

(1:15) What happens to SBF? FTX = Enron + Theranos

(5:00) History of collapses in crypto

(8:10) DeFi/Web3 actually works

(11:35) Redemption arc for SBF/Caroline? Comparing with other frauds

(15:37) In an alternate universe, what could FTX have become? Steelmanning FTX the business

(22:30) What’s going to happen to Twitter?

(24:20) How would we advise Elon?

(25:20) Is controversy good for Twitter?

(26:10) The killer app for Twitter is to dunk on your enemies

(26:40) Bull case for Twitter

(34:00) Tech civil war? The fight for free speech

(40:15) Future of AI - open vs closed?

(45:10) Intersection of AI and crypto

(53:00) Role for gov’t regulation

(58:50) 2023 Predictions

Dan Romero:

Antonio Garcia Martinez:

Erik Torenberg:

Marc Andreessen:

Thanks to Rob Perla and Molly Mielke for production

Dec 27, 2022