Category Archives: Philosophy

Public Philosophy: Steve Simone Standup Storytelling

STEVE SIMEONE: “I think that as a society we’re really good at judging each other instead of loving each other. And if you look at the world now never in my life has it been so segmented. Everybody’s at each other’s throats. Like if you just walk down the street and smile, people are like, “Look at that prick! I wish he was dead.” Everybody’s so angry. Right? Old people versus young people, rich versus poor, black versus white, gay versus straight — everybody’s judging, judging, judging, judging. When deep inside? We’re just little kids that just want to hang out, love, and have some laughs. And here’s the great thing: the less you judge, and the more you love, you’ll stop judging yourself and you’ll start loving yourself, and you’ll be a source of that happiness for other people. So that’s what I’m here to tell ya. Stop judging and start loving, good night and god bless you.”

If you’ve read the above and listened to the clip, my guess is Steve would want to extend this generous offer posted on an Reddit AMA to you:

“Send me your clips to if you want. I would love to see them. If you’re ever in LA, please send me a message and i’ll put you on the guest at the comedy store, so you can see for yourself.”

Robert Greene: Mastery and Pop Drug Culture

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“In Western culture a particular myth has evolved that drugs or madness can somehow lead to creative births of the highest order. How else to explain the work that John Coltrane did while hooked on heroin – or the great works of the playwright August Strinberg, who seemed clinically insane. Their work is so spontaneous and free, so far beyond the power of the rational and conscious mind. This is a cliche however that is easily debunked. Coltrane himself admitted that he did his worst work while hooked on heroin.  It was destroying him and his creative powers. He kicked the habit in 1957 and never looked back. Biographers who studied the letters and journals of Steindberg discovered a man who was quite histrionic in public, but who in private life was extremely disciplined. The effect of madness created in his plays is very consciously crafted. Understand: to create a meaningful work of art or to make a discovery or invention requires great disciple, self-control, and stability. It requires mastering the forms of your field – drugs and madness only destroy such powers. Do not fall for the romantic myths and cliches that abound in popular culture about creativity – offering the excuse and panacea that such powers can come cheaply. When you look at the exceptionally creative work of masters you must not ignore the years of practice, endless routines, the hours of doubt, and the tenacious overcoming of obstacles these people endured. Creative energy is the fruit of such efforts and nothing else.”

Role Model to Superheroes: John Ridley ‘On Story’ (EP 1502)

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“The past, it is vibrant, it’s alive. You know there’s the old saws that ‘if you don’t learn from the past you’re gonna repeat it’. But I think more than just learning from the past is really understanding how we’ve arrived, as people, you know, we have – as difficult as it may seem, whether its in this country or around the world, um, you look at the arc of ‘us’ – and its been phenomenal. You look around this room, and you see, so many different kinds of people – you know, not that long ago we couldn’t come together like this. And talk like this. And share like this. That in itself is phenomenal.

So I think it’s one thing to say that history, you know – much like Baskerville’s, although that’s fiction – but it’s about making things relevant, so, it’s not just about swamps and bogs and things like that, but, it’s about feeling something in the moment about curiosity, about fear, about being thrilled – and those are the things in history that excite us, you know, it’s those moments.

Entertainment is an empathy machine. You know, we’re not here to just make pronouncements about things or to dictate. If that’s what we’re here to do the world would be that much more advanced in terms of where we are because there is so much in books and cinema and tv and things like that. It’s not about trying to dictate to individuals: here’s how you should feel, here’s how you should think, and here’s my big idea about the past. It’s about can you feel something. Can you put yourself in a place.

And these films that you see, about so many different subject matters – whether they’re of great importance or small delicate thesis, little pieces that just move you, and the people around you, and your gut clinches, your heart opens, your tears flow. That’s what we’re here to do. So, if we can take the past and make it present like you’re saying…if we can take emotion that seems like its coming from another side of the country, around the world, and make people in their space feel that same thing – that’s what I think we’re here to do.

Writing is unique in that there are amazing actors out there. Great actors but they have to wait for that story to come to them. Great directors have to wait for that story. The writer can go and write. You know, you can get up in the morning and it’s – not to go too far on tangent but it’s the difference between – read long time ago, someone said, “What’s the difference between Superman and Batman?”, and, the difference is you know that Batman – Bruce Wayne has to put on the costume to be Batman. Superman wakes up in the morning and he’s Superman. That’s it. He’s gotta put on a costume to be regular. And when you wake up in the morning as a writer you have the opportunity to be heroic, to tell a heroic story. In any way shape or form. And everyone else, as great as they are, as much as they contribute – as vital as they are – because you cannot do it without this team of people, you know, they’ve gotta wait for that story to come out there. So for all of those individuals who are writers, aspiring writers, you know its not about the check, it’s not about going to Hollywood, or, somewhere in Austin, or whatever – it’s about: wake up in the morning, saying, you know, I’m a writer. That’s it. I’m doin’ it.”

A Heartfelt and "Healthy Disregard for the Impossible" Larry Page at Zeitgeist 2012

“It’s often easier to make progress when you’re really ambitious, and, the reason is, you actually don’t have any competition – no one else is willing to try those things – and you also get the best people, because, the best people want to work on the most ambitious things. […] There’s tremendous things that are possible in the world through technology, and we have relatively few people in the world working on those things. We’re not developing a lot of new scientists and engineers. It’s probably well under one percent of the population in most developed countries… “