Podcast Ep. 51 – Understanding Everything
Larry Olsen May 24, 2021
Tom Beakbane is president of Beakbane: Brand Strategies and Communications, a company that has delivered over 20,000 projects to Fortune 500 customers since 1986. He is also the author of an amazing book, How to Understand Everything: Consilience a New Way to See the World. Larry and Tom discuss what it means to be open-minded, the bottom-up theory, a new way to see the world and understand everything, and most importantly. . . what that all means to you and your journey in life. Discover more: https://www.beakbane.com/
Larry Olsen [00:00:07] Welcome. I’m Larry Olsen, and what’s on your mind once set, it delivers your life. To change the outcomes, we want we must change the plays we’re running. Join us at Mindset Playbook with Real people – Real talk – Real insight!
Narrator [00:00:28] Today’s episode is sponsored by Aperneo an Achievement Exploration company whose approach to professional development enables clients to gain insights and perspectives to live, work and engage with more success.
Larry Olsen [00:00:44] I want to welcome everyone to Mindset Playbook. I have had a lot of different guests on. I find this one to be not only interesting, but mind changing. Those of you that know me know that I don’t share those words easily, but I think you’re going to find this to be delightful. Today’s guest is going to give you a whole new perspective on how you think about your thinking and its impact on your life. Here’s a bit of his background. Tom Beakbane is a president of Beakbane Brand Strategies and Communications. A company that has delivered over 20000 projects to Fortune 500 companies since nineteen eighty-six. He resurrected the concept of consilience after attempting to account for the gap between textbook theories of human behavior and his experiences creating marketing communications. He closed the gap by tapping into his passion for understanding developments at the frontiers of science. Tom has an honors degree in biochemistry and neurophysiology from Durham University in England and has just published his fascinating groundbreaking book, How to Understand Everything, which I have found hard to put down and would recommend to anyone wanting to look at life from an entirely new perspective. Tom as we begin our discussion on opening our minds, let’s begin with the groundbreaking ideas you’ve developed that take a 180-degree flip on how we look at life and our reaction to it called consilience. Just what is consilience and why should anyone care?
Tom Beakbane [00:02:29] Let’s take it one step at a time. First of all, the word consilience was coined by a fellow called William Fuel, a British fellow in 1840. He was a polymath and a brilliant thinker, a cleric, and a scientist. He actually coined the word scientist. He coined the word because he saw that different disciplines could be joined together through big ideas. So “silience” is jump in Latin. So, consilience is the jumping together of ideas. Let’s say you have two disconnected domains, and we could pick anything. But let’s say the crazy political situation that we see in the Western world right now, that’s for many people, including myself, a massively vexing and confusing situation. It’s really completely separated, I suppose, from biology and genetics and science. I reckon that we’re now at a point in time where scientists have discovered enough about what’s happening inside our bodies, along with geneticists and computer programmers and the medical world that enable us to see exactly what’s happening in our bodies so we can actually make the connection between biology and what’s happening in the public arena. So that’s a jumping together of these two different realms that were previously disconnected. So, neurophysiologists are realizing that the brain works in the moment. And the brain for the last like six hundred million years or thereabouts has had the function of immediately pointing us towards things they like and away from things that they dislike or fight or flight or whatever it is.
Larry Olsen [00:04:17] You said that we’ve found out that the brain works in the moment. So, all of the mindfulness and be here now and how important it is to live in the moment we’re already doing it biologically is what you’re saying.
Tom Beakbane [00:04:32] You’ve also got this conscious part and I don’t like localizing it to any parts of the brain, because the one magical thing that we’re realizing about the human body is that all the different cells are working together and no one part of the body controls another part. We’ll probably talk about that some more. But so much of our behavior is not determined by our conscious thought processes. So much of our behavior is happening completely below the level of consciousness. And we’ve really only started to get a measure of how complex the systems are in the last, who knows….. 20 years.
Larry Olsen [00:05:12] Why is that relevant? I mean, I know I can’t divide my own cells. I know that I can’t digest my food. I mean, all of this is prefab. It’s everything that was designed prior to my awareness of it. Why does that matter, that you know, when you’re referring to consciousness, which is what I touched upon when I said be here now and you mentioned, well, we’re here now mentally. I mean, from a physiological perspective, our brains always working, but from a consciousness perspective, we can drift off into thinking about what happened to us, what’s going to be taking place in our lives. How does understanding the essence and of all of that make a difference in how we make decisions, for instance?
Tom Beakbane [00:06:02] That’s a very good question. What I’d like to do. Is make a sharp distinction between the science and the biology and what we’re discovering about all of the systems in our body and the ideas that we use to live our lives. So just because you discover that one part of your nervous system does one thing or another or that there’s a particular neurochemical, I know you’re very keen about the amygdala. Just because you discover those things doesn’t mean you should use that as a metaphor for life. So, my whole argument is that we need to acknowledge the realities of our biology, because when you realize what’s actually happening in our body and how our minds work and how we’re not, our behavior isn’t actually determined by thinking and doing the air quotes that it frees up to actually acknowledge the skills of people like you who are helping leaders lead more fulfilled and productive lives. It opens your heart to different ways of leading your life. So, I don’t think that the science and the realities of what we’re discovering about our human body should be used as metaphors. I use the metaphor of a computer. If you just look at the pixels on the screen and you don’t understand how the how they get there, you know, you could be an OK computer programmer. It helps to understand what’s happening in the box, so to speak. That doesn’t automatically make you a great programmer and good at using a computer. But the deeper understanding, the more secure and confident you’ll be in what you know and also in acknowledging what you don’t know.
Larry Olsen [00:07:59] OK, so use the example, when we talked prior to getting on the podcast and I mentioned the amygdala fight, flight, freeze, if I get caught into that’s all the amygdala is, then I can’t expand my learning. I can’t refresh and get new perspectives on it. Is that what you’re saying about creating these metaphors of what we think is understanding?
Tom Beakbane [00:08:25] The curious thing about understanding is that we use words. And when you understand deep down what words are that they are all metaphorical, the deeper understanding, the more you can recognize how words are built socially and how the meaning is determined by the attitudes and the history and the experiences of the people that are using those words at that moment, understanding the realities of the mechanisms that enable us to generate words and to understand words, help one make decisions about what words are and how to use them more effectively in many of those things you know about intuitively. But you for sure haven’t realized that neuronal substrate and the implications are massive because, for instance, we think of words as being sort of mental constructs. I would say, well actually, words are no different from other forms of movement, whether you’re writing those words with your fingers or speaking them with your lungs and your larynx and your tongue and lips and so on. It’s all physical. We don’t think of that. But once you make those connections and there’s a jumping together of those ideas, it enables you to become a better wordsmith and a more understanding person. And if you’re a leader, a leader who can listen, with more curiosity rather than thinking, you know, I know what that means, does that does that make sense?
Larry Olsen [00:10:03] Yes, it does, because I find that when someone tells me that they had a great weekend, I can imagine that what a great weekend would be. But it’s through my eyes and my experience is not theirs. And by recognizing that, I don’t know what those words mean to them. Is that what you’re sharing then? Then when I say, well, what happened on your weekend? You know, why was it great? And it’s now giving me a substance from which their understanding comes from. It also alerts me to where my biases are, my judgments, and where I have limited my own beliefs through a false understanding. Just because it happened before doesn’t mean it’s the truth. And this is what I found fascinating about your book is, I think in the beginning it was a little intimidating because I was going, oh, boy, any solid belief that I have is going to be challenged now. And I think that becomes a little bit more standing on the ledge now. And you don’t know whether you’re going to be able to fly or you’re going to fall to your death. I think that is what’s so compelling about your writings and your research and your innate ability to comprehend complexities and yet be able to deliver them in the way that is understandable and yet be careful of understanding, correct? What is it we’re understanding? So, am I getting this at all?
Tom Beakbane [00:11:37] I think you are, Larry.
Narrator [00:11:38] What fantastic insights we are getting into in this episode. If this resonates with you and is provoking and of value. Please consider the best-selling book of Get a Vision and Live IT by your host, Larry Olsen at Aperneo.com. His book has been an inspiration to many of Mindset Playbook’s guests. And you’ll find everything you need to live the best version of your life, now. The results you’ll get will absolutely amaze you. Find the book at Aperneo.com In the shop. And now let’s get back. You won’t want to miss what’s to come in this episode of Mindset Playbook.
Tom Beakbane [00:12:22] I’m realizing increasingly that my book is not for everyone. It is for people who had deep thinkers and are curious. I don’t use a lot of well, I don’t use much scientific jargon at all, do I? I don’t use words like epistemology and so on. I use anecdotes and I use metaphors and I use all of the techniques that are good, good communicators use. That you can understand at the neuronal basics when you read my book. But my book and this whole idea of consilience is referred to as a new paradigm. It’s a new way of thinking. And paradigms aren’t just sort of new ideas, the new foundations to the way you build your knowledge. And so, it’s just like, you know, once you really get into this, it’s like kicking away the foundations of everything, you know, and that’s why it’s taken me twenty-five odd years to arrive at this position that I am at.
Larry Olsen [00:13:23] Didn’t you spend three years to just to go into a dead end?
Tom Beakbane [00:13:27] That’s right. Yeah. I’ll tell you a little story if you want, but just finishing up this whole thing about objectivity. People who are schooled, particularly in engineering and medicine and the hard sciences, are really believers to an almost religious degree in objectivity. And indeed, objectivity is a very useful idea. It’s very important idea that there’s no harm in believing it. But if you go into trying to figure out the brain with a precondition that you have to be explaining objectivity, you come to a complete dead end. And I would argue that’s the reason people say that they don’t understand the human brain and it’s one of the deepest mysteries in the universe and so on. I would say, well, just abandon everything that you thought you knew and look at what scientists are actually finding about how the eyes work, the ears work, the muscles work. It’s not that complicated. And you just put it together in a new way. But you do have to walk back. From the whole idea of being able to be completely objective, I mean, the things in the universe exist as they exist, you know, the atoms, the molecules, and the elementary particles, and they can be observed and conceived in different ways. So, it’s not a question of saying, well, you know, this molecule definitely isn’t there. You can be wrong about stuff. But this whole idea of consilience is a bit of an excuse. But it’s a bit of a kicking word because it sounds that means like a meeting of the minds and everyone’s going to agree. It actually doesn’t mean that. It means you’ve got to acknowledge that your own beliefs are built socially, and it forces you to be more humble about your own abilities to understand. I’m very confident in that because I’ve read the scientific papers, as you can tell from reading the book. This is not this is not a crazy, Tom Beakbane’s wild theory of consciousness. It’s not. It’s just this is just spelling it out.
Larry Olsen [00:15:31] Lay it out. So, mystery of the world as well. I was everything you’ve written is fascinating and understandable. Let me share a little example is when I was getting ready for the Christmas pageant in the fourth grade, and we were going to sing to our parents. I was really excited about, and we’ve been practicing about a month. And that evening before the concert, the music teacher came up to me and said, Larry, can you just mouthed the words tonight. And Tom, I was dumbfounded, and my interpretation of words was, “I can’t sing”. So, for the next 15 years, with that limiting belief made up of “words” which were simply “mouthed the words tonight”. I met her at a school where I had been teaching school and they got to get together with a lot of educators throughout the years and she happened to be there. Fifteen years now, where I have gone out of my way not to sing. And she walks up to me, and she says, Larry, and she even remembered my name. She goes, how is your singing? And I thought that was really sarcastic, you know, very right in my face and I go, what are you talking about? You told me I can’t sing, said I said nothing of the sort. I said mouthed the words tonight, Larry, not only the best singer in the group, you were the loudest. And I wanted everyone else’s children to be heard. Fifteen years I went with the wrong information, and it was limiting and that’s what I encourage our listeners to recognize when they’re listening to you. That’s the freedom in what you’re writing is don’t count on those beliefs, especially if they’re limiting.
Tom Beakbane [00:17:26] Yes. Yes. And I explain in the book what consciousness is and how we’re products of all of our experiences. Like when you just look at something simple, a book or whatever that sensation is, your brain putting together accumulation of all the experiences that you’ve ever had with a book. And if you had a. An unfortunate experience with a teacher in fourth grade. I mean, whether or not she actually thought you were a great singer or not, you’re a product of that interaction. And one of your big messages is the power of thinking, the power of the mind, isn’t it?
Larry Olsen [00:18:11] Yes.
Tom Beakbane [00:18:12] And once you understand what’s happening in the human brain, you don’t come away thinking, oh, the power of ideas and thinking is diminished because our body is part of the system that affects our behavior. You don’t you don’t do that. You just acknowledge that ideas are extraordinarily powerful and more than that. The interaction between people is deeply important. I write about the importance of social interaction and how that forms from an evolutionary standpoint, because as human beings, we even as we grow up, our behavior is affected by what I call the parenting. The parenting instinct and also the attachment instinct. So, if you take a young child away from its parents, becomes extremely anxious, those same mechanisms are happening in adult life. We are extremely sensitive to being ostracized or left out or misinterpreted or whatever it is. And I think it’s useful to understand the scientific underpinning for some of those systems, because now we’re actually understanding the brain chemistry. So, the more you understand about the systems that are at work in our brain, the more sensitive you become to your surroundings. Also, you become more appreciative of the importance of social interaction.
Larry Olsen [00:19:42] Absolutely. I think based on what I’ve been reading about what you’ve you have to share it. It gives you courage. It gives you the recognition that nobody really has power over you. I mean, they may be able to lock you up. They may be able to do whatever, but they can never control your thinking and your reaction to the words that they share, because that’s all up to us. That’s something that we that we can do. And by knowing how their words were created to begin with and where they’re coming from. And there’s so many different variables, like you said about “you can’t just say this started World War One”. I mean, there’s so many nuances and idiosyncrasies that had something to do with that ultimate event. It’s the same thing when we’re interacting with others. One thing I wanted to ask you about, because this nurture-nature concept that we hear about. Was it you that I read that was very young and your parents, you were in a room full of books and you couldn’t come out of the room until you had an original idea?
Tom Beakbane [00:20:53] Something like that. Yeah, that in the introduction I was talking about how you how you’ve got to really get rid of all your preconceived notions.
Larry Olsen [00:21:01] But let’s share that story. How old were you when that took place?
Tom Beakbane [00:21:05] Oh, well, it’s partly imaginary, but as a child, for whatever reason, I was deeply fascinated by science and the natural world. And when I was four or five years old, my the very first books that I asked my parents to give me were huge, big science picture books. And I was lucky enough to have a microscope and dissection kit. And so I’d spent hours now looking down.
Larry Olsen [00:21:31] Your grandfather was
Tom Beakbane [00:21:33] He was a veterinary surgeon, and my grandmother was a botanist. And as a child, when I was one or two years old and five years old, I spent time in Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, running around, swimming in the river among the crocodiles and so on.
Larry Olsen [00:21:51] I’m going to interrupt you for a sec. I say that just to show you some differences here. One of the highlights when I was growing up is we got TV trays.
Tom Beakbane [00:22:07] OK.
Larry Olsen [00:22:09] My dad was in the kitchen saying, “we need to eat as a family” and pretty soon he rolled his tray out and joined us. And I want just to see the juxtaposition of these two upbringings. And I’ve just I’m just fascinated. I didn’t want to go to the point of envious because I don’t think envious is a positive thing. But just in such admiration and I’ve just I know how grateful you must be for being able to be brought up in that type of an environment and then having that innate gift of curiosity that you possess. But anyway, go on with your story about this creative idea or something you were supposed to.
Tom Beakbane [00:22:51] Well, I’ll go in a slightly different direction now. I mean, as I spent time in Africa and I was fascinated by the natural world, it meant that when I was sitting at a desk at school. I was completely disinterested in what I was being taught, and I was a I was a typical boy who had sort of borderline ADD or ADHD, and that meant that I wasn’t very attentive, and my mind would wander this way and that way. And I really didn’t do very well as a student. It was remarkable that I got into a first-class university and graduated. I mean, I became interested in what I was studying at university, but I wasn’t a good student, which has probably led me to not identify with mainstream academia. I do regard myself as an outsider. So, I deeply, deeply respect the findings and the writings of various academics. I mean, as you can tell, I’ve read thousands of books and papers and journals, but as I’m an outsider in that world, it’s allowed me to look at their findings in a different way. And that’s the reason I’ve come to different conclusions. So, yes, I had a truly blessed upbringing. I was never shy about taking risks. I traveled around the world, hitchhiked around Europe when I was 14 or 15 by myself. There were a few little anecdotes. I rode my bicycle up the side of the Potomac River from, I guess, Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh and then Toronto sleeping in a plastic bag. So that was when I was maybe twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two years old. So, I have had a lot of strange experiences. I’m not sure how that’s relevant.
Larry Olsen [00:24:47] I think it’s all relevant because it’s each time you share something it fires different experiences and people that are listening right now. I think what you offer is so refreshing. I think you’re kind of in the face kind of guy that you don’t limit me with beliefs. Don’t tell me that this is the way it is because I haven’t met a belief yet that isn’t limiting or isn’t has some mean spiritedness in it. And it’s if you don’t do this, you’ll burn in hell or you’ll be shamed or you’ll be in the corner or you’ll be held back or whatever those punitive measures are that seem to create just rebellion in all of us or submission, which is the worst-case scenario. I think your risk taking was because of your curiosity created your courage. Does that make sense?
Tom Beakbane [00:25:46] Yes, it certainly does. I want to come at this from a different place if I can, and we’ll end up back where you’ve been just now. And I want to talk about attitudes to authority and expertise one of the big ideas underpinning the book is that there’s a new way to understand everything in the world. And I know that sounds overblown. The history of science is that it evolved from religion, where top-down metaphors, where you categorize things, and then thought up laws, laws of the universe was the normal way of understanding. OK, and I guess in the last 15, 20 years, there have been advances in advances in mathematics and computing. And now there’s a widespread realization that the matter and evolution and the universe isn’t controlled by laws because like who’s going to pass a law will pass the law. But where’s God? You know, Hubble telescope, we haven’t seen anyone out there ruling it over the universe. By the way, I’m not diminishing the importance of scriptural practice and religious belief because I believe all of those things are so, so valuable in people’s lives. But what I’m saying is there’s a new way of understanding the world, which is bottom up. And that applies to, frankly, everything, including what happens in our body. So, the traditional way of thinking about the body was that it’s basically a structure with lots of different organs and the brain is telling the muscles what to do and the heart is doing its sweet thing. The new way of thinking about it is what actually you get a sperm and egg coming together and then it forms a little cell and then it splits and splits and splits and splits again every single one of those cells. It splits what is about 40 times. It doesn’t see many, but that turns into the 20 trillion odd cells in your body. Now, that’s quite a mind-blowing idea, but the new realization is that every single one of those cells is looking after itself. OK, nothing’s telling them what to do, there’s some fantastically mind-blowing mechanisms that enable the cells to do what they do.
Larry Olsen [00:28:17] What about what about the people that are saying the chromosomes are telling them what to do? The DNA is telling him what to do?
Tom Beakbane [00:28:26] OK, well, if you if you think of DNA as being like a sort of a book of instructions, you face the issue of like, well, who’s telling the rest of the cell how to read the instructions? OK, so what you quickly realize is that the intracellular medium, that is the soup that the DNA is swimming in is actually being controlled is the wrong word. It’s engaged in a dance with what are called microtubules. And the complexities of that system are astonishing, and they’re very poorly understood because they’re moving all the time. It’s a dynamic system. I use the metaphor of a drum circle, but I don’t want to get to science on you. But the long and the short of it is you can understand the human body far better and the brain far better by understanding that it organizes itself. You can also understand how people operate better when they are empowered to look after themselves. And I personally think that it can inform one’s opinion of authority because traditionally it’s sometimes believed that kings and rulers and presidents have power over people. And I find that a very strange notion, because when you run organizations, you realize how little power you have over people, that the way to get people to do stuff is to make them want to do it and to provide leadership. And you don’t do that by forcing them, generally. I mean, you can put them in in prison and you can beat them up and so on. But it’s not a good way of getting people to do what you want.
Larry Olsen [00:30:13] I’ve talked to leaders who are why do they just finish the task, and they won’t think for themselves and move forward? And I’ll go, “have you looked in the mirror lately?” Because obviously they’re not a part of the vision, secondly, they’re doing just enough to get you to shut up because all of us innately push back. I see what you’re saying is we have to understand it so we can utilize it effectively as opposed to coming from someone. “I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you”, which came out of the military, which a lot of the leaders came from. And so, you have this kind of regimental hierarchical structure, which we’re finding out now is not very effective in bringing out the best in people.
Tom Beakbane [00:31:03] The remarkable thing about the brain, maybe it’s not remarkable, but like a very fundamental characteristic of the brain is its goal directed. In other words, at every moment the brain is and the neural systems in the body of figuring it out, should I be doing this or that and it sort of mapping the way forward and it’s working in the moment. But what that means to say as you scale that up is that as we go through the day, we’re always wanting to go somewhere that means something to us. And if we’re not on a journey, taking us to a place that’s better than where we’re at, we get stressed out. So the job of a leader is to figure out the destinations that people can get to together so they feel more fulfilled, and if there’s a common understanding of those destinations, I’m talking metaphorically here. People end up being a lot happier and more productive and leaders are more self-fulfilled because the people around them are feeling better and more energized. It feeds on itself. So, when you read my book, you understand how deep those things go and how important it is that we find our own policy in our own way. And we do it collectively because we’re social beings. We’re social animals
Larry Olsen [00:32:33] You bet. Hey, have you heard the term, I’m sure you have “teleological”?
Tom Beakbane [00:32:38] Yes.
Larry Olsen [00:32:39] I don’t know if I pronounce that correctly, but it isn’t that kind of like mechanism within a what do they call that cybernetics. Where I get off track, back on track, off track, off track until you strike and that we are goal oriented, like you say, and we need a destination. I think that’s where depression can come from. Like you said, stress is when we’re just aimlessly going through the motions, that we’re just turning the TV channel and allowing some other world to entertain us because ours is meaningless. Your book is about good news. I really see it that way. Once I got over that, I was about to give up everything I believed in. I began to realize that, no, I get to choose which beliefs are going to be most effective in my life and then that is going to benefit those around me, because now I have a destination, I have an understanding, I have passion. I am excited about getting up in the morning. I have that curiosity that you talked about. And I just I want to tell you how honored I am, Tom, to have you allowing me to interview you.
Tom Beakbane [00:33:58] Really?
Larry Olsen [00:33:59] Seriously.
Tom Beakbane [00:33:59] I don’t consider myself a celebrity.
Larry Olsen [00:34:00] I know, that’s the humility is infectious. But as reading your book and I want our listeners who end up getting your book to understand some of you won’t be intimidated, those with the medical background or engineering or are in some form of discipline. But those of you that are just beginning to kind of understand this miraculousness of life, hang in there, hang in there. The chapters become more and more enriching as you go, and one feeds off of another. And some of the understandings you will get will pale to what you got in a history class or what you got in a biology class. And you’re at a point in your life now, listeners, where you’re in more of a want to situation relative to your own growth and development. As you mentioned, they didn’t have the Adderall for you when you were young but would have been given to you now because you were just hard. You are just probably where: he doesn’t focus, I don’t think he’s smart, know some of these unfortunate understandings we have of highly intelligent individuals. But you seem to find your way through that. So, let me ask you this, what was the most “aha” moment for you in all of this research that brought you to this to this point of understanding? What would you say that was?
Tom Beakbane [00:35:37] I started writing the book in nineteen ninety-eight, like the first version of the book, and it was going to be a manual for my marketing company, and it was going to be called “Total Quality Communications”, and it was designed to use some of the same principles that were being used in manufacturing. It was supposed to be fairly simple and straightforward, and I was hoping to get it done in like a month or two or three. And the first chapter, I guess I recount how I went through this mental unraveling because I started looking at what was in the most up to date marketing textbooks. They just didn’t make sense with what I was having to do every day in my company, I was running a fairly large and successful computer graphics company. We were one of the first to get into that whole market. So, I became obsessed with trying to actually use the discoveries that were being conceived by neurophysiologists and psychologists and so on. So, after three years, I’d written a book and it was a it was a nasty little it was nasty pig book. It had eight hundred references. It was basically a tear down of established ideas, just a critique of everything that I’d read that I didn’t agree with. And of course, it was completely unreadable. So, I guess you could say that was the “aha” moment. But then, I just started to employ some of the techniques in doing seminars and doing lectures and in my business, so it was a long process, a very long process. It’s a long way off for me saying, there are hundreds of “aha” moments. I guess the two or three sort of big ideas in the book that are genuinely not derivative of what I’ve read. This whole idea of bottom up and how you can actually apply that everywhere rather than top down, and in order to make sense of that, you really have to understand history and the history of science and philosophy. And as you can tell, I’m a little bit knowledgeable about a lot of different areas. And so, I can sort of see how this one principle of Bottom-Up thinking can be applied everywhere, including how cells work and what’s happening in the human brain. Another aha moment is, I suppose was what consciousnesses is and figuring out, OK, I’ve got a little video I just published a day or two back on, you know, how ancient animals like five hundred, six hundred million years ago actually started to evolve the building blocks of consciousness. Now, that’s something I have not read anywhere. I’ve had quite a few very smart, knowledgeable people look at that video, and I’ve been expecting them to sort of start shaking their heads and say, Tom, you’re completely crazy that they haven’t liked it. Because it basically destroys a lot of established dogma, but no one’s actually been able to come up with a reason that’s wrong. So, understanding consciousness, that was a big thing. The whole idea of consilience is here, that the unity of knowledge that this fellow, Edward O. Wilson, who’s a Harvard prof, wrote about in I guess nineteen ninety-eight, he could see how physics and chemistry were merging together with archeology and evolutionary biology and so on, and how eventually scientists could understand the humanities and art and religion and explain it in a very scientific way. On a big “aha” moment for me is like actually scientific ways of thinking are not how the brain works, funnily enough. So, if you use the science to understand how the brain works, you realize that science is replete with quite a few fantastically useful ideas, but it’s not completely founded on a rock-solid foundation of objectivity. So, it’s a long way of saying lots and lots and lots and lots of ideas. It’s been quite painful for me.
Larry Olsen [00:40:13] You know, I thought what you sounded I could tell by reading it is that as the audience will when they get your book, why you were so successful in marketing, because you understood human behavior and what got people’s attention and why. You also talk a lot about the point. And I wanted to kind of bring that up because I can see where that could contaminate a lot of researchers. If they’re trying to prove something, they’ve got a point. So, to me and you didn’t bring this up, but I kind of utilize this concept of the reticular activating system as something that only allows ourselves to see that which we determine is significant. If I’m looking for red, it’s all I see. Are the cones that pick up the color? Of my cones apparently can pick up seven million different colors and yet all I could see was red. How come? Because you said look for red. How many opportunities did I miss that way? And that’s what I got in your book about the point is that it makes it easy for people to understand when we’re we have a point in mind. But we also have to be careful, by the same token, that the point doesn’t blind us to information that could even enhance our understanding even better, which is what I found your book doing for me. I had to let go of some things, but I didn’t have to let go of optimism. I didn’t have to let go of faith. I didn’t have to let go of being able to imagine a greater Larry than the one that I am today. I didn’t have to let go of any of that. But now I recognize, because of you, and I thank you for this, that there is substantiation to that, that there are reasons behind it that aren’t necessarily mystical. They’re based on scientific fact, but scientific fact that isn’t prejudging what the outcome should be. Does that make sense?
Tom Beakbane [00:42:27] It does, and it’s beautifully expressed. And boy, you brought on a lot of different points there, so I’m not quite sure how to riff off that.
Larry Olsen [00:42:36] But I think the point the point is.
Tom Beakbane [00:42:40] But what’s your point?
Larry Olsen [00:42:41] The point is how important it is to have a point in anything that you do. It’s like waking up in the morning. What’s the point? And if I’m going to see how the day goes. That can be a very unproductive kind of day.
Tom Beakbane [00:42:55] Yeah, and every little interaction you have with people, every sentence that you utter, every picture that you paint, every note that you play has a point or should have a point. If it doesn’t have a point, then people are just going to roll their eyes and you’re not going to be a very engaging person. So, it’s a good idea to figure out your point and you can’t arrive at points scientifically. So, it’s really oversteps its legitimate territory and boundary. If it’s there to define policy like public policy and one’s goals in life and whether or not you should be who knows what, researching noxious viruses or creating atom bombs or whatever it is. Science isn’t there to judge whether those have a good point. It’s for the human part of us, the suits, the mystics, the public policy wonks, the politicians, if we can trust them to figure that out. And the sense makers, all the people that are now trying to orient society in a more productive, constructive direction. So, yes, yes. We need to a point. We need to recognize that sometimes other people’s points aren’t honorable you know, just because someone’s an authority you’ve got to look at like why they’re behaving the way they are and professing to be the person that they are. You really have to look at that, the actual behavior, rather than what they say, because you can tell I’m extraordinarily skeptical about everything and I think everyone should be. Yeah, everyone should be fighting for their own corner and an honorable and positive and productive manner.
Larry Olsen [00:44:54] Absolutely. I see you as an optimistic skeptic, because just your smile, I mean, you just have an infectious attitude about you and it’s not negative. Even if you may think your information can be it. But it’s all relevant, isn’t it? It’s all based on what someone else is attempting to prove and why do we need to prove anything anyway? Why don’t we just find out what’s going on and then have it make sense relative to what our own sense of what’s valuable and what isn’t. Your point in the book is how to understand everything. I mean, it’s very clear on the cover. You know, I had promised you when we started this that we would have a point and the point was to open our minds. Correct. Yet there’s just I’m just like a kid in a candy store talking to you, and I just want to go about it. What about this? What about this? And I apologize if I haven’t let you finish an idea, but I hope that the listeners, I know the listeners are going to be as curious as I am and want to grab that book and want to look at your videos and want you to become of their part of their consciousness because you are a change agent and you’re an influencer. And I believe your influence is in the right direction, at least from my understanding. And so, what would you like to share with our listeners who are going through many different things in their lives? You know, Google just today announced that they’re going to come up with, there were three magic words that they came up with. I don’t know if you read that or not. It was flexibility and choice. And this they’re pontificating is now going to be what the other corporate companies are going to be up against, is that people want flexibility, they want choice. And so some are going to choose to come to work. Some aren’t. And I I think that’s something that you offer in your understanding. But with everything people are going through right now and in a lot of it is uncertainty. And I know you can’t predict anything necessarily other than we will continue to evolve.
Tom Beakbane [00:47:19] I hope so.
Larry Olsen [00:47:21] Yeah. Well, as long as we don’t blow ourselves up or get the planet to extinguish us so it can be healthy again. What do you, what would you share with them as a takeaway to help them become better open minders, if you will?
Tom Beakbane [00:47:40] OK, that’s a marvelous way to bring this whole matter to a close. One of the reasons I wrote the book, in fact, the main reason I wrote the book, because I sort of got going on it again at the beginning of the lockdown and I was just very concerned about what I wasn’t reading in the newspapers and seeing on TV and how everything was fractionating into these sorts of tribal divisions. And I have to say that I think that it’s as a species, we’re very short sighted. We don’t realize just how many times civilizations have collapsed. It’s not a nice thing to think about as to how we can fractionate into extraordinarily horrible and violent behavior. So, I don’t want to come over as being negative. But I do believe that it’s very important that the people who think that they know everything, realize the facts of how their mind works, which will make them more humble so that we are able to discuss whatever. So, when you mention Google, I mean, I am frankly petrified that the big tech companies, for reasons that are largely honorable, you know, get rid of hate, get rid of the crazy ideas, but they are going to shut off free speech. And when that happens, the heart and soul of the United States is going to be chewed out. And honestly, it’ll be the start of the end, so. I didn’t mean to end up in a bleak spot because you’re so upbeat. But what’s so important is that each of us is able to discuss complex ideas that we don’t necessarily understand. But whatever it is, climate change, black lives matter, vaccines, creationism, UFOs, it doesn’t matter. No matter how crazy that idea is, we should be able to do what you’ve been doing, which is show genuine curiosity about my strange journey. And if we can do that, we’ll be able to come together as a society, as leaders, as organizations, and have more productive, happier, fulfilled and stable lives. And I really, I’m so desperate that my two girls and the future generations can live together and build something better than what we’ve had and not destroy it.
Larry Olsen [00:50:38] Yeah, very well put. I couldn’t agree more with you, it is sobering, a lot of things that are going on in our society. I think this is why it’s so important that each and every one of us, not necessarily put our line in the sand, but be willing to speak up in a discourse that doesn’t shut people down, doesn’t come from anger, it comes from understanding, and it comes from helping others through communicating with one another. Whether it’s a spouse who didn’t get their way. And sometimes it’s so important for us to be right. Whether it can cause us to fail is immaterial, at least I was right. And to be able to, as you say, be grateful and humbled that this miraculous thing called life we’re participating in to begin with. I mean, what the sperm had to do to get to the egg, you know, makes a lottery look like you’re going to win it every time. Right?
Tom Beakbane [00:51:42] You’ve got to put a lot more effort in getting up for breakfast.
Larry Olsen [00:51:45] Exactly. And that’s what’s so refreshing about what you do and who you are. And as I mentioned, I am humbled by the work and the time and the energy and insights and hours and hours and lack of sleep that you spent to be able to deliver this to us. And for that, I’m very grateful. So, I thank you.
Tom Beakbane [00:52:08] Thank you so much. You’re an honorable man and you try and spread good. And I like being with people like you.
Larry Olsen [00:52:17] Thank you. I hope this is just the start of our journey together.
Tom Beakbane [00:52:21] Well, thank you so much, Larry.
Larry Olsen [00:52:22] You’re welcome. Well, enjoy your tennis game. And for all of you out there, I want you to remember again, wherever you are, you are exactly where you need to be right now. And you’re the one who can make the difference. And if you find out you don’t like where you are, you need to do something about it. Remember to come from creating an environment where others around you will be successful. And when you take care of yourself first, all of us have an opportunity to be blessed by your growth and your magnificent. So, I thank you. And once again, Tom, it’s been it’s been an honor and I wish you all the best and look forward to our next opportunity together.
Tom Beakbane [00:53:03] Great pleasure.
Larry Olsen [00:53:04] Thank you so much. Take care, everyone. We’ll talk to you next time.
Narrator [00:53:09] Thank you for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, we ask that you please subscribe and share with your friends and associates, connect with Larry and gain insights on turning desperation into prosperity, how to get the attention of others for advancement and quality relationships, and learning what it means to be truly open minded to what’s possible for you and your adventures ahead.
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