Leadership Lessons From The Great Books

Leadership Lessons From The Great Books #110 - Night by Elie Wiesel w/Ryan J. Stout and Libby Unger
00:00 Welcome and Introduction - Night by Elie Wiesel.
05:00 Book highlights loss of humanity by state.
16:39 Questioning beliefs, warnings emerged unexpectedly, very interesting.
22:46 Difficulty imagining unimaginable horror, yet hope thrives.
42:13 Bitterness from war and Holocaust in literature.
43:49 Choose awareness over bitterness, navigate challenges wisely.
01:03:08 Resilience in facing adversity and choosing good.
01:06:28 Debates on AI and identity among writers.
01:18:07 Podcast emphasizes need for mature leadership in politics.
01:30:15 Combatting antisemitism intellectually, spiritually, and physically.
01:39:34 Creating alternative media landscapes using social tools.
01:58:48 Gulag experiences shape beliefs and identities.
02:09:52 Failing to recognize cyclical nature of history.
02:14:07 Read, watch, and change to avoid evil.
Opening and closing themes composed by Brian Sanyshyn of Brian Sanyshyn Music.

Creators & Guests

Jesan Sorrells
CEO of HSCT Publishing, home of Leadership ToolBox and LeadingKeys
Leadership Toolbox
The home of Leadership ToolBox, LeaderBuzz, and LeadingKeys. Leadership Lessons From The Great Books podcast link here: https://t.co/3VmtjgqTUz
Ryan J. Stout
weekly podcasts on weekly poems

What is Leadership Lessons From The Great Books?

Because understanding great literature is better than trying to read and understand (yet) another business book, Leadership Lessons From The Great Books leverages insights from the GREAT BOOKS of the Western canon to explain, dissect, and analyze leadership best practices for the post-modern leader.

Because understanding great literature is better than trying to read and

understand yet another business book, on the Leadership Lessons from the Great

Books podcast, we commit to reading, dissecting, and analyzing the

great books of the Writers canon. You know those

books from Jane Austen to Shakespeare and everything else in

between that you might have fallen asleep trying to read in high

school. We do this for our listeners, the owner, the

entrepreneur, the manager, or the civic leader who doesn't have the time

to read, dissect, analyze, and leverage insights from

literature to execute leadership best practices in

the confusing and chaotic postmodern world we all now

inhabit. Welcome to the rescuing of Writers civilization

at the intersection of literature and leadership.

Welcome to the Leadership Lessons from the Great Books podcast.

Hello. My name is Jesan Sorrells, and this is the

Leadership Lessons from the Great Books podcast, episode

number 100 and n.

With our book today, a book that is widely considered

to be one of the cornerstones of

Podcast literature. It describes in lyrical

detail, as Man's Search for Turning by Viktor Frankl did, which we

covered on episode number 68 with Richard Messing, the

ways in which individuals, are gradually and

imperceptibly robbed of their humanity by

the state. During this month, we've

addressed on the podcast the idea of where a leader's moral

compass emanates from. And this book answers to other

questions, which actually probably come before that

question, and they are of equal importance.

What does a leader do to preserve his or her moral compass when

morality and character are effectively placed on the back

burner? And number 2, how can a leader rebuild a

destroyed moral center? The hard

earned lessons from the apocalyptic wars of the 20th century

that ended with atomic finality at Hiroshima and

Nagasaki seem to be losing their power to emotionally

scare us now in the early 21st century.

From Russia invading the Ukraine to China, saber rattling in the Writers

Pacific, the drums are beating gradually for an escalation

to worldwide warfare again, the, quote,

unquote, health of the state, according to the progressive socialist author

Randolph Fourth back in the day. The people,

the policymakers, pundits, politicians, and even the public tastemakers

pounding these war drums seem inured to the lessons laid

out so clearly in this book that we are going to cover today.

They are historically and generationally removed far enough from the visceral

nature of the horrors of the Holocaust, the rape of Nanking,

and the Ukrainian oligomer. Their

insistence that humanity stroll yet

again down the well worn path that leads eventually to

the clearing where these horrors lie. In light of this

book, reads like naive ignorance at best

and craven self serving manipulation at

worst. And this is why we need books like this and

conversations like the one we're going to have today in order to pull

all this apart and put it in its appropriate context.

Today, we will be exploring the clearing at the end of the

path, the weakness of a nihilistic worldview when

genuine totalizing evil manifests itself in the world, and the

utter banality of evil as we

cover night by Eli

Liesel. Leaders, beware of

tyrants. Unlike most people you know, they tend

to ruthlessly heap their promises.

And today in this journey, we will

be joined by 2 folks. You're going to hear 2 voices on the

podcast today. And of course, if you're watching the video, you're going to

see 2 folks on the video. And it'll be kind of a little bit of

a panel discussion today. So we're joined by,

our previous guest cohosts, Libby Unger

and Ryan j Stout. How are you doing

Ryan and Libby? How's it going? Great. Best day of my


Best day of your life to be talking about a truly

How are you, Jesan? Impactful book. How am I? Well,

it's it's, it's the merry month of June. Right? So we're

gonna we're gonna get into, we're gonna get into tonight. We're gonna get into Eli

Weisel. I had not read this book. I don't know

how I had, like, missed it, in all my time.

But it's one of those books that fourth of like your vegetables. Everybody tells you

that it's good to read or that you should read it. And of course it's

part of a much larger biography of Eli and his experiences in

the concentration camps, during world war 2 but it was a

book that I had not up until this point read and the version that I

have has an orper winfrey quote on the cover of it, and I try to

take usually, I take the Jonathan Franzen approach to an Oprah Winfrey quote on the

cover of her book, and I I run away from it.

But this book,

just like, east of Eden, will be

fine with or without Oprah. You know? Doesn't need Oprah to make

it any better. So

so yeah, it was, it was a very impactful book for me, and I hope

that it will be impactful for us today as we, as

we talk about it and pull it apart. And I'm gonna find out from you

all what you all thought of it as well.

So we're gonna open from night,

and we're gonna read directly from the book today. I don't think Eli would actually

object to us reading directly from the book. Book matter of fact, think you would

probably want us to. So we're gonna start early in

night here

and talk about Moishe the Beatle.

One day as I was about to enter the synagogue, I saw Moshe the

Beatle sitting on a beach on a bench near the entrance.

He told me what had happened to him and his companions. The train with

the deportees had crossed the Hungarian border. And once in Polish

territory had been taken over by the Gestapo, The train had

stopped. The Jews were ordered to get off and onto the waiting trucks. The trucks

headed toward a forest. There, everybody was ordered to

get out. They were forced to dig huge trenches. When they had finished

their work, the men from the gestapo began theirs.

Without passion or haste, they shot their prisoners, who were forced to approach the

trench 1 by 1 and offer their necks. Infants were tossed into the

air and used as targets for the machine guns. This took place in the

Galician fourth near Kolemy. How had he,

Moishe the beetle, been able to escape? By a miracle.

He was wounded in the leg and left for dead.

Day after day, night after night, he went from one Jewish house to the next

telling his story and that of Malka, the young girl who lay dying for 3

essays, and that of Toby, the tailor who begged to die before his sons were

killed. Moshe was not the same. The joy in

his eyes was gone. He no longer sang. He no longer mentioned either

god or Kabbalah. He spoke only of what he had seen.

But people not only refused to believe his tales, they refused to

listen. Some even insinuated that he only wanted their pity that he

was imagining things. Others flatly said that he had gone

mad. As for Moisha, he wept and pleaded,

Jews, listen to me that's all I ask of you no money, no Libby, just

listen to me. He kept shouting in synagogue between the prayer at dusk

and the evening prayer. Even I did not

believe him. I often sat with him, after services and listened to his

tales, turning Tom understand his grief, but all I felt was pity.

They think I'm mad, he whispered, and tears like drops of wax flowed from his

eyes. Once I asked him the question, why do you

want people to believe you so much? In your place I would not care whether

they believed me or not. He closed his eyes as if

to escape time. You don't understand, he said in despair.

You cannot understand. I was saved miraculously. I succeeded in coming

back. Where did I get my strength? I wanted to return

to Sighet to describe to you my death, so that you might ready yourselves while

there were still time life. I no longer care to live. I

am alone. But I wanted to come back to warn you.

Only no one is listening to me.

This was towards the end of 1942.

Thereafter, life seemed normal again. London radio, which we Jesan to every

evening, announced encouraging news, the daily bombing of Germany and

Stalingrad, the operation of the Jesan front. And so we, the Jews of

Cygnet, waited for better days that were surely soon to come.

I continue to devote myself to my studies, Tom turning the day, and kabbalah

at night. My father took care of his business and the community. My grandfather came

to spend Rosh Hashanah with us so as to attend the services of the celebrated

Rebbe of borscht. My mother was beginning to think it was high time to

find an appropriate match for Hilda thus past

the year 1943.

Eleazar Eli Weisel, born September 30, 1928,

died July 2nd 2016, was a Romanian

born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate,

and podcast survivor.

Wiesel's father, Shlomo, instilled a strong sense of humanism in his

son, encouraging him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, whereas his

mother encouraged him to study the Torah. Vaisel said his father

represented reason, while his mother Sarah promoted faith.

Vaisel had 3 siblings, older sisters, Beatrice and Hilda, and a younger

sister, Zipporah. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and reunited

with Weisel at a French orphanage.

Weisel was 15 and he with his family, along with the

rest of the town's Jewish population was placed in 1 of 2 confinement

ghettos set up in Szeged, the town where he had been born and

raised. In May 1944, the Hungarian

authorities, under German pressure, began to deport the Jewish

community to the Auschwitz concentration camp where up to

90% of people were murdered on arrival.

It's interesting that I'm reading this book now. I'm also reading another book, which you

will cover on the podcast a little bit later on this month or

perhaps maybe later on this year, Hannah

Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, a report on the banality

of evil. And when you read that book

about Adolf Eichmann's, trial in

Jerusalem in the 1960s, what you begin to realize is that the

Hungarians were the last out of all the European

countries to actually start solving the Jewish

problem. And, yes, they did it under German

pressure. They were unwilling to go as far as the

Germans wanted them to go. But the second

that the Germans told them that this was the direction that they were going to

be going in, the Hungarian authorities were all too

eager to start shipping their Jews to concentration


One other note about this book. Eli Weisel,

as an author, wrote a much longer version

of this. It's divided into 3 parts. So, night, day,

and then I believe the other part is dawn. And it's a much

larger book. And it took him, gosh, probably

about 10 to 12 years after he was

released fourth the concentration camps, to actually be able to

put some of the things in words that he had experienced

directly as a 15, 16, Jesan 17 year old.

His mother and his oldest sister or sorry, not his mother

and his youngest sister did not survive the concentration camps,

neither did his father, Shlomo. And the father's death

is described in brutal detail in night. And there's a

lot of details in here that are turning. And so we're going to cover some

of them today. So this is fair warning right at the beginning, that we're going

to get into some we're going to get into some stuff here.

But I want to put forth the first question to both Ryan and Libby, and

we can kind of bounce this question back and forth. I don't care who goes

first today. It doesn't really matter. Let's

talk a little bit about the literary life of Eli Weisel, the impact of Knight,

what you know about this book, what you heard about this book. Let's talk a

little bit about that just to sort of open here.

And any either one can either one can begin. At this point, you

know, I am fairly I I

travel around a lot. I'm just, you know, bitter. And

so books just show up in my book.

Book. It's, like, kinda has, like, a magnifying. Just like one day, I have no

idea how God their night was there. Just kind of in my collection of

books. And I moved to Cincinnati about two and a half years ago, and I

was like, this is probably a book I should read. And it's kind of like

what your opening statement was. I was like, you know, I I read the, you

know, the the I didn't really know much about it, fourth writer. And,

that's the book I read when I first moved in. And, I

yeah. As far as the, I love

how I love when writers can writers

so poignantly and so powerfully. Camu does that really well.

And and using the simple language and describing those, like,

grotesque scenes and almost allowing the the reader to kinda plug

in information as well. He's just providing us the the the specifics

of the the details Tom, you know, to give us, I believe, a necessary

insight into the capabilities

of, you know, humankind

Mhmm. On both ends of that. You know? So it's it's

you know? Yeah. I had not

read it. I, I am a Oprah

Winfrey fan.

My favorite book, the untethered soul, came from her,

and it started my own journey,

you know, to a whole another level. I think I'm on Libby

11.0or12.0 at this point, and she got me at,

like, 3.0. But I

think I avoided it because there was already so

much that we knew about the Podcast, and it was

just too much to take in. Mhmm.

And actually reading the book, it was very it was very

difficult. It brought me to tears, Tom many

times just thinking about what humans could

do to each other,

the honesty that he had as well, you know, as he

moved through the, you know, the camps.

You know, when you're in Maslov's pyramid of needs and you're all the

way at the bottom, all of us can

lose it's just about getting food.

Mhmm. Yeah. I I think they say after 3 days with no water, all of

us could turn to ferocity and that we're not

that far away from being feral ourselves.

But it was, yeah, incredibly

moving. It also was really hard to read in light of what

we've just experienced for the last 4 years.

And, you know, and not knowing knowing

knowing things weren't right, but not knowing

what truths to believe. Mhmm. And when

he wasn't believing beat you know, beetle,

and he was warning, you know, how many of those those

warnings do we get as well that, you

know, are false and we over index on believing are

true fourth are true and, you know, and we

don't and we don't believe. So it's kinda it's very

poignant for a lot of reasons fourth the last, you know, 4 years and

then, you know, in the last 6 months.

You know, what folks were warning about,

you know, kind of emerged and not from where you expected it to.

So it's, it's really inter it was very

interesting. I read the version that his wife,

translated, and so it was

it was, I don't know, like, 20 years 20 or 30 years after he wrote

it. And I I like that

the the, the description that he gave is as I

understand English better now, and so I can give

a little more flavor. Those are my words. Flavor to what

happened. But, it's powerful. I don't wanna read it again.

I think everyone should. I don't know why this book

touched me much more than any war books when you've or

movies. I am someone who covers my eyes in war movies.

So, you know, but I'm not brought to

tears, and this one brought me to tears thinking about what humans could do to

humans. And maybe it's because it's so close to our

history, and we know people touch I know so many people touched by

it. Mhmm.

It is written in a very clear, to Ryan's

point, a very clear, deceptively

simplistic language. There's not a lot of flowery

description, in this

in this narrative at all. Obviously,

autobiographical, obviously being driven by what he

directly experienced. Ryan, you're a writer

and you've done a fair bit of writing yourself. How hard

is it to like strip away and,

strip away. Sort of the

meaningless fluff. Right. And Olivia and I talked about those a little bit with

the sun also rises and with Henry's Hemingway, comfort Hemingway. But I'd

like to get your thoughts on this because as a writer, how do

you look at what Weisel has done here?

Stuff. Epic. Because I

a and I think it was 70 I've writers you a 75 word

sentence. Mhmm. And so being

direct is not really the strong suit of a writer

such as myself. I think that's where, like, maybe songs or

poetry comes in, something like that. But you can even twist words around

even more so. It's because it's just an abstraction and an abstraction and an

abstraction. It becomes this, you know, sort of, like,

flowery thing. Like, the the the kid, Halal, I was talking

about, earlier. He

had used to cry when he was younger uncontrollably.

And so it was, like, a really big deal when he's in school, roughly. He

can just cry and cry and cry. And so and he would talk about it

and I saw a video on his iPad and it was

him as, like, a 7 year old or 6 year old And he's like,

and now and he's getting his, like, crying under control. And he's like, and

now I'm gonna give you a tear. And he

closes his eyes and a tear runs down his face.

And I'm like, bro, I'm a pallet. You can't show that to me, dude.

So are you kidding? You're gonna give me a tier? Oh my goodness gracious.

So from that end of things, yes. It has. And that's just one simple

turning. And I feel like the writing too made it so visceral. It's like you

just hear this one thing that's so connected to you

know? And it's also so far away from what most

people can relate to is affecting our lives immediately. So it's it

is such a a horrible, horrible thing to to

even imagine and consider. Another thing that I thought

Yeah. I mean, it was really matter of fact. You

know, and he didn't he didn't over

it's what you would observe if you were just in it. Right?

Like, you wouldn't have time to be flowery either or think

about how you feel about it. You'd just be observing it,

and I think that was, you know, why it was so poignant.

You know, it didn't over it he didn't explain anything.

He just told you how he saw yeah. Really saw

it. The one of the other things I wanna we

talked about voice of the beetle.

I I was thinking of, like, kind of the sagacious Jesan. It's the

essays of the of the play, you know. It's the the fourth you know, it's

the the turning. And, and it was just and

then when we were talking Olivia, you brought up, like, what to sort of believe

and and tease and tether out. It's like

so it is difficult. You have this kind of clairvoyant saying, hey. This is

scumming. And it's like, yeah. That's a crazy person. How often do we just say

that's a crazy person and dismiss them, because

it's so kind of unrelatable, or just

fantastical at a particular moment. And and I made me think about how

animals are never, you never see, like, graveyards of

animals from natural disasters. There's this is clearly, like, the

holocaust is there's a spiritual malady turning, and I think that's

the, kind of the the

maybe the through line of what's happening currently,

this kind of the spiritual brokenness. And

and turning to be plugged into that

is is, I think, kind of a I think like,

so many of us could not imagine it. So if it's not in your heart

or your head to even imagine that

a human has that capacity, you would think that

they're crazy. Right? Like,

it I mean, I have bad thoughts, but I could never

they they would never fall in the the realm of what

he saw and experienced, like, what they did to babies and, you know, and

turning like, it's I can't even say it because it doesn't it

it I can't even fathom it. But that's why I

think people don't believe is because they, yeah, they can't believe

what they can't imagine. You know?

And then we have movies that just, you know, have you so far

detached from it being real that it just seems fantastical, and they

don't they didn't have movies fourth meaningful movies back then. But I

think if you can't imagine it, I also

think the reason he could have hope on the

other side is because he also saw true

goodness in humanity. Right? Even

with the evil, he saw the you know, he saw goodness, and so

there was enough from a goodness perspective to keep him moving

forward. Well, one of the things that we're

going to talk about today is and and, Libby, you kind of touched

on it. Ryan, you touched a little bit on it. And we are going to

address it. I mean, it is it is in our notes today to talk about

the resurgence of, antisemitism in our time,

which is disturbing to me, at a

at Tom multiple levels. And I

don't well anyway, we'll talk about that coming up here because there's no

possible way you could talk about this book without talking about antisemitism.

But I I like I said fourth, I'm also reading

Hannah Arendt's, you know, Eichmann in Jerusalem, writers, her

reporting on the trial of Adolf Eichmann. I'm reading this parallel at the

same time that I'm reading Knight. And one of

the challenges and, Jordan

Peterson talks about this sometimes, and it is a

it is a good point. He essays, if you can't imagine

yourself doing some of these things, then you

probably don't know though fourth own capacity for

evil. And he's a person

who came to social prominence

through psychologically wanting to solve the problem of

evil. And the Podcast, even

more so than Stalin's gulags, which killed far more people, by

the way. And Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote about this in the Gulag Archipelago

when I you know, we've covered that book on this podcast. But

the Holocaust strikes us at so much more of a visceral level,

even though Stalin stacked up way more bodies than Hitler. And

I'm not being facetious about that. Just this is just a issue. Tom.

Right. Just Mao right. Oh my gosh. Mao. Writers? Top 3

mass murderers of the 20th century. Right? And

and yet we are stunned into

silence by the Podcast in the West

anyway. Now in other places of the world,


what the heck? I'm gonna go ahead and go for it. Specifically in the

in the more Muslim or Islamic parts of the world, no one is

stunned into silence by the Podcast. It's either

dismissed fourth shrugged off fourth it's called a myth or it's called a

and we'll talk about this again coming up here in a little bit, a Zionist

conspiracy. And,

none of those dogs hunt for me, and I don't think they hunt for

any rational human being.

Weisel got to something in the human heart, which is a larger

thing that we're gonna talk about coming up here Tom, I think. Or not. I

know we're gonna talk about coming up here. He got to something that exists in

the human heart. And it starts with that. I

think that that lack of belief in the Cassandra, the prophet

that's going to tell you the future. Ryan, you called it clairvoyant. I

I prefer the, you know, the the the old Greek idea of a Cassandra,

or a canary in a coal mine. Moishe was a canary in a coal mine.

Right? And, you

know, I think one of the reasons why we're so

viscerally why people got so visceral over COVID in this country

was because we don't want to be fooled again.

We have this narrative in our head. And one of the things that disturbs me

greatly and concerns me greatly

have that seem to have that thing in their head. Right.

And I don't know if that's a failure of the education system. I don't know

if that's a failure parenting in a family. I don't know if it's a failure

of not reading these books. You know, I went to

Half Price Books to pick up my copy of Knight with

this specific cover, and there were, like, 50 copies

there. It's not like you can't get the information. It's not like you

can't read it. So I guess my question is,

how do we get more people to be touched by this? I mean,

I'm doing my part talking about it right now, but how do we get more

people to be touched by this?

You know, I feel it has to be sort of woven

somehow into the, like, current narrative of,

social importance and kind of probably abstracted in a

way. So it may enter as, you

know, as something about

the podcast, but it may be extracted into something else that doesn't even

be sort of alright. So do you know how the the the Proud Books started?

Mm-mm. It was a joke. It was a joke.

It was it was a, Gavin McGinnis is working at

this, studio, and, one of

their tech guys was this, like, 19 or 20 year old Jewish kid, and he

was he went to, like, op


We've been having trouble with Ryan's audio coming in and out. I know.

We'll see if he, we'll see if he comes back. Go

ahead, Libby. Yeah. I don't know this. I don't know the story of the Proud

Boys either. I don't. I don't either. Or how prominent

they are. That's the question that I also have.

You know, get oh, are you there? Oh,

good. Yeah. I'm gonna here. I'm gonna,


There we go. And so

this song came on and it was, like, the big encore song of the play

and it was you're a proud boy and and Gavin Gavin

McGinnis was just kinda teasing this dude, and we should start a club called the

Proud Boys. And so they would, like, go to bars and drink and just do,

like, dude stuff. And that was kind of that was it. And then Gavin McGinnis

would go on speaking engagements, Antifa would be there, and then, like,

he'd asked the Proud Boys to come and then it turning into what it turned

into, and he's been out of it for for a long time. So it started

off as a complete joke, and

it it spiraled into and so when we talk

about kind of, like, what to believe and this does not get fooled again, and

and if it's so pervasive that it could spawn something

something can spawn out of something so so tiny.

I actually think that speaks to something bigger about the abuse of

institutions. You know? So those who

tend to want power are those who should have it.

And, you know, so, I, again, I don't

wanna touch on the Proud Boys too much because I don't know enough about it.

But the idea being that it got popular based off

of one turning, and then like, kind of like BLM got

infiltrated too, with the Marxists.

You know? So, you know, does Proud Boys get infiltrated and then, you

know, taken somewhere it doesn't you know, that the original folks

didn't want it to go? You know? I have friends whose

kids are at Harvard, and, you know,

they, you know, they'll, you know, their

the different groups also got kind of hijacked. Mhmm.

And when you're that young, you don't know how to fight it,

or the import of it, you know, because you're still

in that I need to belong. I'm I'm fortunate that I've

always been allergic to tribalism since the age of

yeah. Since 3rd grade. But,

a lot of folks don't know how like, belonging

is so important to them, especially on the female side,

unfortunately. You know, they

they they get caught up in something, and they don't know how to get

out because their identity is so tied up

with, you know, what it previously was.

And they have friends now that are

promoting things they didn't believe in, but they don't wanna know not belong because

they may be the only outsider. You know? So you have so many different

human dynamics that are at play, but we do see

how a lot of positive institutions, like


you know, got taken over by those who you want to

use power for their own means. You know? And it sounds like

that was yeah. We know that happened with BLM. Yeah. We know that happens

with a lot. Yeah. We that happened probably with Proud Boys. You know,

so one of the ways to counter that is always trying to

localize things and keep things decentralized.

Well and one of the things and it's interesting you've mentioned, you mentioned Proud Books.

It's not necessarily what I would have gone, but it's interesting. I I actually just

listened to an interview with Gavin McGinnis.

I can't remember who interviewed him. It was a podcast interview with him because I

didn't know anything about him. Literally

nothing. Like, that's part of the world that I'm blind to.

And He's like the first hipster. Yeah. Right.

Yeah. Yeah. And and I listened to it, and I


not to be dismissive because, you know, ideas have

consequences. Right? And that's why we read we read the book.

And this ties into the conversation that we'll have a little bit later around antisemitism

as well. I want to be very clear I'm not being dismissive of the ideas

behind these kinds of thinkers, writers, and these kinds of people who are

putting themselves forth in the public era. And

2 things can be true at one Tom. And.

It's like looking at a bad copy of a bad Tom, Right. Like

the level of I don't want to say commitment. That's not it.

The level of. Trolling. Let me

let me yeah. That's the word I'm looking for. Trolling, gaslighting, that

that's evident in some of these of these actors' behavior,

Tom Libby, to your point, when they're trying to capture institutions for their own

for their own use. They're not serious about it.

Himmler was serious.

You know, Rudolf Hess was serious.

Reinhard Heidrick was serious. It goes without

saying that Hitler was serious. You know, these were grown

ups who had been through the First World War and had

you know, you can I was I was talking to my kid about the history

of the 1st World War, my my youngest daughter? And I said,

you know, you can you can say a lot about Hitler and you should, but

you cannot take away fourth the fact that he did something that was incredibly hard

in world war one. He was a runner and not all those people made it.

It was like 80, 90% death rate for readers.

And yet he didn't die, which is

weird. Writers. It's almost as if to the

spiritual piece that there were

some other things that had to happen in the world with that guy.

Writers. And this does not justify him Sorrells it, nor does

it dismiss anything that he, he, he did, But he was

a grown up. I listened to that interview with Mr.

McGinnis and I don't get the sense that he's a grown up. You're not behaving

like a mature individual. You're not behaving like you actually

understand that your words carry weight and meaning.

And by the way, the this is the problem I had with BLM too. You're

not behaving like you're a grown up. Like none of you could

carry Malcolm X's briefcase.

And yet you want to go around and scream about black nationalism, get the

hell out of town. You haven't earned it. You really

have it. You haven't earned it.

So that is the part to me that I kind of

struggle with a little bit in these types of conversations.

And so I think what gives weight and seriousness, what gives

maturity, gravitas, I guess, is the word that I'm looking

for to some of these ideas is exploring exactly

where these ideas go, which is the value of reading books like


I'm gonna jump back into the book. Ryan's gotta go do something. So

he's gonna log off for just a second. Well, not log. He's gonna mute mute

himself, and then he's gonna go do the thing he needs to do. And Olivia

and I are gonna keep talking here. Back to the book, back

to 9th by Eli

Weisel. There was a woman among us, a

certain missus Shachter. She was in her

fifties, and her 10 year old son was with her, crouched in a corner. Her

husband and 2 older sons had been deported with the first transport by

mistake. The separation had totally shattered her.

I knew her well. A quiet, tense woman with piercing eyes, she had

been a frequent guest in our house. Her husband was a pious man who spent

most of his days and nights in the house of study. It was she who

supported to the family. Missus Schacter lost

her mind. On the 1st day of the journey, she had already begun to

moan. She kept asking why she had been separated from her family.

Later her sobs and screamers became hysterical. On the

3rd night, as we were sleeping, some of us sitting huddled against each other, some

of standing, a piercing cry broke the silence. Fire. I see a fire. I

see fire. There's a moment of panic. Who had screamed? It

was missus Schachter Standing in the middle of the car and the faint light filtering

through the window, she looked like a withered tree in a field of wheat. She

was howling, pointing at the window. Look. Look at this fire, this terrible

fire. Have mercy on me. So I pressed against the bars to

see there was nothing, only the darkness of the night. It took

a long time, to recover from this harsh awakening. We were still trembling.

And with every screech of the wheels, we felt the abyss open being beneath us.

Unable to steal our anguish, we tried to reassure each other. She is

mad, poor woman. Someone placed a damp rag

on her forehead, but she nevertheless continued to scream, fire, I see a fire.

Her little boy was crying, clinging to her skirt, trying to hold her hand. It's

nothing, mother. There's nothing there. Please sit down. He pained me

even more than did his mother's cries. Some of the women

tried to calm her. You'll see you'll find your husbands and sons again in a

few days. She continued to scream and sob fitfully. Jews, listen to me,

she cried. I see a fire. I see flames, huge flames. It was as though

she was possessed by some evil spirit.

We tried to reason with her fourth to calm ourselves, to catch our breath,

and to soothe her. She is hallucinating because she is thirsty, poor woman. That's why

she speaks of flames devouring her. But it was all in vain.

Our terror could no longer be contained. Our nerves had

reached breaking point. Our very skin was aching. It was as though madness had

infected all of us. We gave up. A few young men forced

her to sit down then bound and gagged her.

Silence fell again. The small Libby sat next to his mother crying. I started to

breathe normally again as I listened to the rhythmic pounding of the wheels and the

tracks of the train racing through the night. We could begin to doze again to

rest, to dream. And so an hour or 2 passed,

another scream jolted us. The woman had broken free of her bonds and was shouting

louder than before. Look at the fire. Look at the flames. Flames everywhere.

Once again, the young man bound and gagged her. When they actually struck her, people

shouted their approval. You were quiet. Make that mad woman shut up. She's

not the only one here. She received several blows to the

head, blows that could have been lethal. Her son was clinging desperately

to her, not uttering a word. He was no longer crying.

The night seemed endless. By daybreak, missus Schacter had settled down,

crouching in her corner, her blank gaze fixed on some faraway place she no

longer saw us. She remained like that all day,

mute, absent, alone in the midst of us.

Toward evening, she began to shout again, the fire over there.

She was squinting somewhere in the distance, always the same place. No one felt like

beating her anymore. The heat, the thirst, the stench, the lack of air were

suffocating us. Yet all that was nothing compared to her screams, which tore

us apart a few more days, and all of us would have started to

scream. But we were pulling

into a station. Someone near a window read to

us, Auschwitz.

Nobody had ever heard that name.

When you read the stories of folks who have who survived the

holocaust, one of the things that

jumps out at you actually, there's 2 things, 2 big things that jump out at

you. I'm gonna talk a little bit about this idea with Libby and Ryan.

And we are gonna pull leadership lessons from Eli Weisel and

from Knight because there are lessons for leaders from this book.

One of the big ones I actually we actually just covered, which I

think is you have to know history and be mature

and be responsible for your ideas where they go,

clearing at the end of the path where they might lie.

I think another lesson for leaders is that

you're going to have 2 responses to things that happen to

you, 2 reactions. And,

they could be summed up, these 2 reactions can be summed up in a couple

of quotes. One that comes directly from Knight, another one that comes from,

Yitzhak Zuckerman. He was a Jewish resistance fighter and a

survivor of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

And it's a quote that stuck with me for many years, and I thought about

it when I was reading this book. He said, If you could lick

my heart it would poison you. The amount of

bitterness that he carried from the things that he saw happen to

him and the things that he saw happen to people that he loved. The

Warsaw ghetto uprising occurred in Warsaw, Poland,

And that was the one Tom, and it's actually talked about

in Eichmann in Jerusalem, that was one of very rare number

of times when the Jewish leaders did not

cooperate with the National Socialists in their own

destruction. One of the dis fourth disturbing things that you read about in

Eichmann in Jerusalem is just how easy it was for the Nazis,

the Germans, to get Jewish leaders to save

Jews that were of a certain social class and allow other

Jews to just go to Auschwitz.

In night, the second idea is there,

which is

expressed by a concentration camp member, that

Liesel was in a hospital bed next to in Buna

because he was transported around as many Jews were to several different

concentration camps. And at Buna he had to go into the hospital

until he was put in the hospital, and he was there next to, a fellow

concentration camp member. And, this

guy essays to him, I have more faith in Hitler than anyone

else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises

Tom the Jewish people.

You're going to have one of 2 reactions, right? You're either

going to drink from the cup of bitterness, and it's going

to be like consuming poison and hoping that the other person will die,

or you're going to be clear eyed, right,

about what you're actually going through and what's actually happening to you,

and you're going to figure out a way to navigate around it.

Right? There's challenges in our

time with genuine no. Not genuine. There's

challenges in our time of recognizing the difference between genuine

genuinely tyrannical acts, and commitments

and just political things, right, that are just happening in the moment.

How do we and this is the this is the question for Olivia and Ryan.

This is a heavy question. How do we

use a book like this to separate out

things, to to to slice and dice and

separate political rhetoric from genuine tyrannical commitments.

How do we use this text to raise our awareness?

There's a lot of talk about raising awareness, or at least there was a few

years ago. Okay. Everybody wants their awareness raised. All

right. That's not a sexy act because once your

awareness is raised and you're responsible for what you do with that awareness,

which we don't often talk about that part.

So how do we how do we and

I think Waisel was worried about this too. How do we how do we avoid

the cup of bitterness, And then how do we separate

momentary political rhetoric from a genuine tyrannical commitment?

From where I I feel like the Oh, go ahead.

Feel like a a political rhetoric is

to serve some other

ulterior motive or or be, I don't know, almost

like, you know, like the the propaganda of of spreading an

idea or something like that. Mhmm. In order to enact,

you know, the tyrannical,

hoped outcome. But, Libby, you were

saying? I was just gonna say, like, life is too short to

live with, you know, hate and bitterness. You know? I kinda

just reject that in my in my body. Mhmm.

You can be cautious. You can be vigilant, but

you don't have to hate

and or be bitter.

It, you know, I was really moved by

the fire premonition Mhmm. A lot.

And it actually takes me back to earlier in our

conversation when you were kind of alluding to a

spiritual awareness. Mhmm. Is that I think we yeah.

Animals feel it. We know it. You know,

I can feel darkness when I walk by it or drive by

it. You know, I think my dogs can

Tom, and it doesn't have a rhyme or reason

to it. I can just feel it. Mhmm.

But the ability,

to distinguish rhetoric from a true a

true tyrant. If for me,

again, the last 4 years, you can't have open

conversations and debate, and you can't

have arguments on the merits. You know?

That Tom me you know, those who are refusing

to allow that are the tyrants. Mhmm.

Right? If you're not allowing,

you know, debate on the merits and even

ugly ideas to be out there,

then you can never actually see the light as well. And those

who, shut down conversation

are the ones who are afraid most afraid of

losing control over their ideas and their way of

living. And to me, they're the ones who, you know, pose the

greatest threat. What is it? So

it's, you know, kind of like engaging spirituality as an active

way to to remedy all the informations.

And my sister said something to me one time

when I was applying for fourth job and I want an interview.

It's kinda, like, kinda gave it a lowdown on what was the exchange of ideas

that we had. And she's like, well and this is where,

having some sort of, like, spiritual practice comes in in

handy because if you have a series of Jesan that you live

by or a series of, like, moral compass, then the

decisions that I'm making are based through that filter and not through

anywhere else. It it it simplifies the

playing field and can, if, you know, if


accurately or effectively can, you know, can can really kinda

streamline in in, the decision making process. And

it's through, like, this this spiritual practice. And and I think it's

it is interesting. I was watching, watching

a physicist. Then he he said he was

talking about something being in 2 places at the same time.

Mhmm. Something that and so, yeah, you tell people that. And

even if you show them a picture, they're like, oh,

cool. But it's that idea that you were saying earlier,

Libby. It's like you can't wrap your head around. So I know that's the same

thing. It's not a that's not 2 different things. It's the

same thing on the it it's 2 places at one Tom,

and you kinda just go, okay. Because it's so far out aside of,

like, what most people can grasp in reality. And so that

plays into the fact of, like, the atrocities

of what humankind can do to each other. Mhmm.

I think the rhetoric also, when you

the othering and division, you know, like, living from a

spiritual place, there's love for all. Like, I

don't care, you know, what religion you have. I

don't care, where you grew up. You know, this this is

one of the reasons as a young child I was I just had the

instinct of not, liking organized religion.

Mhmm. You know? And I know this is writers and over said, but I had

the intuition at a very young age. You know, God would not

want us to kill other, you know, others

who didn't think like us. You know? And so,

Chris Cuomo has a really strong saying that I really like that

it's you know, when you feel positioning over principles or

dogma over principles, then you know that you have

the you're in the hands of some folks who may not have the

most positive intentions. And they may not be

aware of it, but you never know how far they'll go

to retain, you know, the position of being right or

in power. Yeah. So principles yeah. That's,

yeah, that's what I always gravitate to principles. Like, I belong to lots of

different groups, but I'm not dogmatic about any of them. And it's when,

you know, with the the principles of,

you know, love and empowerment and wanting Tom, yeah, Wanting

everyone to be become the best version of themselves, but empowering them to do

that on their own. Mhmm. You know? You know, for me,

it's, you know, always about the Sorrells. And, you know,

as long as you're not pushing folks out who aren't

completely dogmatic, that's a place that

feels like a a a a true spiritual

place. Or, but if you're pushing

people out who don't think like you, then you're in

a cultish and tyrannical you have you have that

ability to become tyrannical when

you're pushed too far. You know? And I the

escalation of words and the use of words, I think, is one of the problems

we're having right now. Yeah. Is that we've escalated

the point of all of our words actually have no meaning anymore. So

we we actually it's hard to determine rhetoric from reality.

Mhmm. Mhmm. Because everyone's Hitler. Right? Yeah, I was kidding. So it

says I'm tired. Snooze. Just put me on snooze. I don't wanna

hear about Hitler anymore. You know? I I

do. I mean, I I have been known to say in the past that,

you know, it's it's become

almost and and and it probably started happening probably about 20 or 30

years ago. It became real easy just to kick Hitler,

and that was just a stand in for all evil everywhere all of the time.

I don't think it was. I don't think it was. I think you underestimate

the Marxists. Yes. Yes. Never

right? Like, you used Hitler. You never were talking about those

who killed a 100,000,000. Right. You know, Mao and Solomon.

Right. And this is the this is why we're gonna talk

about antisemitism here in a minute. This is why I think the antisemitism

on the left in light of the

October 7th, intifada from the Palestinians

in Israel, has struck such folks

politically on the left by surprise.

I also think that I don't I don't wanna get back

to this idea of religion here in a moment because Weisel's

very interesting on this point. I also think

that Tom Ryan's point, 2 things can't be true at

the same Tom, and that tension between those two

things is what we're seeking to use language to

negotiate. And we're gonna do it badly. We're gonna do it

terribly, and that's why freedom of speech matters. You know, you need to have to

your point, you need to have bad ideas, you know,


Right? At a certain point, though and I and, you know, I've I've thought this

and I've never said it on this podcast before, but I'll say

it now. If you make

an idol of freedom of speech, your idol always eventually ends up judging

you and judges you judges you harshly. So you gotta

be careful what you put in that at the top of that hierarchy,

or what you worship or or what you what you allow to push your

religious observance. Speaking of religion,

Wiesel, you know, when he when night opens,

he says, you know, he's talking about beating Moisha the beetle. He

says, I was almost 13 and deeply observant. By day,

I studied the Talmud, and by night, I would run to the synagogue to weep

over the destruction of the temple.

One day, I asked my father to find me a master who'd guide me in

my studies of kabbalah or kabbalah. Sorry. You are too

young for that. Maimonides tells us that one must be 30

before venturing into the world of mysticism, a world fraught with peril. 1st,

you must study the basic subjects, those you are able to comprehend.

And it's interesting to watch how Weisel, who was deeply

observant, a deeply observant religious person,

How going through the concentration camp and the holocaust

process, And, again, I'm not minimizing

it, but going through that experience.

I won't say I I don't think it denuded him of religion,

but I think the organizational parts of it. I mean, he talks

about, you know, in the bet in the back end of the book, he talks

about how in the in the concentration camp, they,

believe it was Auschwitz, but it might have been Buna.

They celebrated Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And he

thought Tom what end? Why are we doing this? What book at

what we're in. God isn't hearing us. God isn't

god isn't talking here. There's no there's

no, there's no judging deity here.

You know? And that is one of the challenges.

I mean, one of the other books that I'm reading this month as well is

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's, leaders from prison. And Dietrich

Bonhoeffer was the Lutheran pastor, in

Nazi Germany who was probably the

most vociferous voice against Hitler,

coming out of, coming out of Lutheranism and coming out

Christianity. Then a lot of the Christian church, and this is a huge

black eye on the Christian church, not just the Catholic

church, the Christian church in Germany,

the Protestant church in Germany.

Did a lot to help Hitler out. Not a lot of folks stood up

and opposed what Hitler was doing. And Bonhoeffer was one of

those, all the way to the point where, I

believe, if I remember correctly, he was hanged,

in April of 1945. The Nazis executed him

in a concentration camp, and that was

probably, what, like 3 or 4 months before the concentration camp was, was

liberated by the Russians. And so

you know he took his principles all the way to the end.

We don't really talk about religion on this podcast. We'll talk about we talk about

theological stuff. We don't talk about the construct of religion very much, like,


all. Liza was a religiously observant Jew. I think we can't take that

away from him before the before the

holocaust came along and sort of restructured how he looked at that.

Orga's religion in our time in America

is well, has been

restructured. And I

and one of the one of the challenges for particularly churches in

America in our time is how to speak to culture

and how to stop things from happening. So

I mean, at a very practical level. Right? If you're a pastor reading,

you know, Knight, what would you

recommend? Either Olivia or Ryan, what would you recommend

that they take from this?

The the the when I think of this book, the what I the

image that I think of is him writers,

running in the crowd and falling asleep

and being asleep and running. Mhmm. And

talking about everyone is is

kinda communicating and shouting out if if people are kinda, like, lagging

behind. But also in the same sense, if

if someone fell, you have to keep going because if you stopped, fourth done too.

Mhmm. So that's,

you know, it's it that's that that age old thought experiment. So the

the train and the tracks and the 5 people to 1 and that sort of

turning. It's like you know but then it essays, you

know, it's just like the

the parachute on the plane. It's like, take care of yourself before,

you know, you need to be whole before you can take care of anyone

else. Mhmm. So, you know, kind of like

that at such a young age to to

keep going, like, in those

moments and not necessarily because he's he's debating,

you know, is he gonna sit there and debate in his head like, okay. This

is happening and kinda, like, look at from the outer space and look what's happening

on and and and kind of, like, strategically. Yeah.

Just the perseverance of of the it's kind of unconscionable

situations. Mhmm.

Hello so I'm gonna do some shelling here

and hopefully this will be a pause in

our riveting conversation for you. I have an

offer for you. My most recent book is 12 Rules fourth

Leaders, the Foundation of Intentional Leadership. It's available in

paperback, hardcover, or as an book on Amazon Barnes and

Noble Kobo, and any other place you order books.

Now in this book, I address the 12 leadership areas that I have found

leaders need to be the most intentional in to be the type of leader

followers actually want to follow. From

establishing a foundation of leading teams through managing conflict effectively

all the way through leading teams through change, knowing what to do and

why to do it can help readers, like the

ones listening to this show, become better leaders.

Look, reading this book and living it is like getting coaching fourth me directly

without having to pay my full coaching rate. Head on

over to leadership toolbox dot us. That's leadership

tool toolbox dot us, and scroll down the home page and click on the buy

now button to purchase in hardcover paperback and Kindle format

on Amazon, 12 Sorrells fourth Leaders, the foundation for

intentional leadership. And that's it for me.

Now back to the show.

For me, it's about the will to survive, you know, and how,

you know, innate innate and resilient, you know,

we are. You know, when you

have time for when you have time and safety, you can

intellectualize anything. But when you're

at that base, you know, the base of the pyramid of needs,

you know, your your desire to live

is just, you know, is dominant.

And I actually find something really,

inspiring about that. Mhmm.

You know, and, you know,

and there's no judgment to those who yeah. I don't have

judgment for those who can't move forward. Like, I don't know

how yeah. They they might have been pushing themselves

as much as they could, and for factors beyond their own, they you know, their

body couldn't move on or, you know, or whatever. But we are

incredibly resilient, and, you know, good will survive

and, you know, and evil will too. But

I choose to live on the good and

continue to express the words of the good.

Mhmm. But it's the power. It's just

how how strong that will is to survive for many people,

that you'll just just keep going. I just continue to think of him

underneath the bodies and trying to just breathe.

You know? And we have no idea

what we would do in a situation, like, if hearing your father crying

and wanting to be near you at his last breath,

but not wanting Tom yeah, but not wanting to call

out because you know that it's also your death Right? Like,

what would you do? I remember, was it in MASH,

you know, when the mother ended up suffocating her child Mhmm.

Because this child was crying Yep. And was gonna

give up everyone else. You know? We live in

a world right now that feel that

feels very safe and is intellectually dishonest

because they do not they're just well, they're into they're

playing intellectual games. No one knows what they would do,

you know, if push comes to shove, you know,

and, you know, where they where they that line is drawn

around, you know, how to

a to a situation. It's

situation specific. But it's just the resilience and that desire to

live and move on and not want to live in hate. You know, one

thing I've never understood is people who can celebrate someone else's death.

It doesn't matter how evil that person is. Like,

I don't choose I can't play God. I may want to put

them in prison. I may want to get them out of,

out of a position of creating power, but not celebrating

anyone's death. Yeah. Yeah. Well, when

I know. I I What are the well, what are the is awful, but I

don't celebrate his death. I blacked out of power. No. No. No.

No. No. No. That's not that's yes. I agree there. No.

No. No. What I'm where I'm going is, we live

in a comfortable and I'm not the first person to say this. We live

in a comfortable time. Right? For all the chaos,

psychological mostly, but even

financial, material I mean,

you know, you can go online anywhere, and you can read

about how young men and young women aren't getting married,

and the the marriage, dating family

dynamic is all screwed up for people under the age of, you know, 35.

Like you can read that everywhere. There's all these, hyperventilating thought

pieces about all the chaos that's going on down there in the dating market.

There are hyperventilating thought pieces written about artificial intelligence and large

language models and how they're gonna, you know, create

deep fakes and, you know, you fake the president and does this

and then do that. There's arguments online about

how and in real life about how,

well, the personal is political. Right? Our identity. I mean, we're

in the month of June, right? So, you know, we're going to, we're going to

make our identity a political act, whether it's a racial identity, a class

identity, a sexual orientation or sexual or sexual

identification identity. We're going to make that a political act.

And and the fundamental nature of books like

this, along with the Gulag Archipelago, and

a few others, is that it forces us to take

it forces us to move from things that are not

serious or, or fundamentally unserious to things that

are serious.


And that idea of just keeping going

that idea of persistence, but also

persistence in an actual position based on principle.

Right? So you talked about Chris Cuomo. Chris Cuomo was interesting

cat to me because he

he doesn't think that he did anything incorrect with

COVID. Right? He was the yeah. And and that's

fine. You're you're welcome to your cognitive dissonance. Right?

It's cognitive dissonance. Right? Yeah. You're you're welcome to your thought process. That's fine,

Chris. Mister Cuomo,

if I may. But I'm

also okay to not forget. I could

forgive, but I'm not going to forget. I'm not going to forget

what you and the other talking, chattering class

heads sit on CNN during that time. I'm not gonna forget the

caterwauling that was on MSNBC. I'm not even gonna forget the

things that were said on Fox. I'm not ignorant. The Internet is

forever. Well, fourth it's the closest thing to forever that we've got. Right? Yeah. You

know, that we've got currently. And so, you

know, words look. Should words

have consequences? Absolutely. That's the side

of a mature individual is you realize your words have consequences.

And if you're speaking for a place of principles

rather than a space of generating clicks, which by the way is

comfortable, then you're going to actually say things that are meaningful and that

matter. Otherwise, you're just gonna say stuff for

clickbait and you're adding to the unseriousness.

And so when something serious does come along that does need to be dealt with,

you won't have the language or the tools to be able to deal with it.

And that's what drives me crazy about the current moment we're in now. Like, materially,

we're the most comfortable people on the planet ever to

freaking exist in human history, and yet we are

unwinding spiritually.

And we don't have the words to describe why the unwinding is happening.

We've robbed ourselves of our own language. Just say I mean,

technology is just basically made it so you don't have to

move. And so how do you, you know,

how do you how do you, that's, you know, it's it's

how do you, you know, convince the rat that to take the next hit of

cocaine fourth the mouse. You know, you just it's it's

all it's all it's all it's all brain chemistry at this point. Neurotransmitters

writers just getting that hit and hit and hit and the positive

reinforcement of that or the negative reinforcement of that.

I mean, it's I don't know. Take it

turn it into an app. Trick people into,

like, take the lessons in

like, I just I can't help but think of I remember when

OxyContin really hit on the scene, and I forget

the politician's name, but it was in Massachusetts.

And it was really big, in the

country to to figure out laws

and the criminality of it and that fourth of turning. And so this

guy was like, hey. It was like a it was a, like, a no strikes

policy. You know? Go directly to jail, you know, pass

go, blah blah blah. And then,

6 weeks later, something like that, his son overdosed on It

was like, this is the greatest tragedy that the

world has ever seen. We have to change the laws and

change these are sick people. They so until it affected him

personally, he really didn't care. Right. And so,

you know, people and and I mean, people, it's not like

yeah. Tom I guess, to your point, yeah, how do you take your tragedy

seriously? How do you take the the the the thing that happened to

you that should've killed you or could've killed you and turn that into

the most, I don't know, the best thing that's ever happened to you?

Yeah. Everyone has a different, you know, red pill or

yeah. I'll call it just yeah. I'll be provocative or not.

But, you know, you have your own bottom. Right? And, you know,

everyone well, those in recovery have different

bottoms. We are in a

dopamine right now. Everyone is

kids are filled with dopamine. You know? All they do

is touch a button and food comes to them. And to your point,

yeah, the rat's not gonna stop asking for the Coke

until there's a moment that gets it out of its feedback

loop and and allows it to see something else Tom, you know,

to go chase. You know? And so what are

is that moment that's gonna break the pattern

that people are in so they can wake up? You know? For many,

it was October, you know, October 7th.

But what's that next kind of it's not

enough. What's that next moment? And

can we can we reset before we hit too

far of a bottom? Right. Can can and and

by the way, that's the job of leaders. The job of leaders is to be

fundamentally the people that say,

this is the line. This is what we're what we're

doing. You don't get to go any further than this. Oh, well, we wanna go

further. No. No. Well, we'll throw you over and find a leader

who can take us further. Okay. That's fine.

That's fine. One day, you know, you're you're you're Winston Churchill,

and you're on the back bench, and nobody wants to hear what you've got to

say about Hitler. And the next day, you're talking about the Battle of Britain,

and you're rallying the people. And then guess where Hitler or not. Sorry. Not Hitler.

Guess where Churchill wound up back at, the back bench where no one wanted to

listen to him. This is this is this is this

is this is this is this is the this is the price of leadership. Right?

The price of leadership isn't that you win a championship. It's not that you're Michael

Jordan. Very often, you get to be you you get to be the

leader. Writers? You get to be the leader. You get to be and then you're

you're back into obscurity. And we don't it's

not glory seeking. And I and that's probably the part that's driving me most

or easy Yeah. Is is in the example you're talking about with the with

Ryan, you know, the example you're talking about with the with the politician

with OxyContin. He's and I'm not saying that he wasn't tragically

impacted by his son's death. I think fourth sure he probably was.

That's the best solution he could could think of because that's the

only when everything well, you know, the only thing you got is a hammer, everything

looks like a nail. Got it. I understand. That's my bugaboo. Right?

I've I've got this podcast, and it's it's the hammer I use.

Right? I'm as guilty of it as anybody else. I am.

Right? And leadership fundamentally

is the act of going through that cycle and

ignoring the glory. If it comes, great.

But more likely than not, you're you're gonna wind up in obscurity on the back

bench, and people are gonna be like, I didn't like what you did. That's okay.

We held the line.

That's okay. Yeah. For me fourth me, I'm thinking about,

like, that will to survive, you know, of, you know, of

Eli's or even Beatles, Moisha,

it's, you know, it's that drive to

to tell the story too so it doesn't happen

again. Or so people are, what, are awake

and, you know, prepared so that it doesn't happen to them.

Like, that can be a significant enough draw as to help others

Yeah. With the message. You know, to the point

that, you know, our leaders, we have, you

know, the me generation being, you

know, our my parents' generation.

Yeah. They're still the me generation. It's like they're not you know, they

just wanna be liked, and our congress and our government is led by

me's, and they just want to be liked. And

we need folks who are okay. This is a theme that we've

had in all of our podcasts, hey, Son, is that you need to

be willing to make tough decisions. I don't wanna be liked. I wanna

be respected, and the person I wanna be respected by is myself.

Mhmm. Right? And did I make the right tough decision?

And too many people care about what others think.

And it's not that I don't care, but it's a tough love.

And we have too many spoiled children leading the you

know, leading all levels of society right now who have never

been said no. And they don't understand the consequences

or care about the consequences of their actions, and that's why the whole West Coast

is imploding. It was one of the my the friends

remember the 1st week or 2 being in school is like, oh my god. We

ruined these kids. I was like, oh my Jesus. Book. Everyone's,

like, just, like, pounding Jolly

Ranchers and hitting a computer, and it's just, like,

it's pretty wild. It but in all Tom take it okay. This is

gonna take a history. I think remaining open, like like, I had an

old sponsor in AA who's the district attorney. He said, I go

to every court case, giving 2%

to the other person because I don't ever wanna be in a situation where I

think I know everything, you know.

And about that the events, it it

runs it's kind of the end scene Tom feel the dreams I'm

always reminded of in these situations where you like, something's

there and and it's like you I

don't reframe certainty in such complex

writers. I would say it's probably, so the, you know,

the the guy in Field of Dreams, they're playing the game. They're playing the game

on the field with all the old timers that are ghost and invisible. And he's

been fighting with, you know, Kevin Costner the

whole movie to sell the the thing because the field, because of the farm and

blah blah blah. And then he finally sees the leaders. He's like, oh, you

can't sell this farm. This is a this is a magical place,

and it's been here the entire time. So

that. That. That. Well and

and and we'll go back to the book here because we gotta turn

the corner here. We gotta talk about a couple of other things, that are pressing,

upon this narrative. I will say this.

I one of the reasons why I do the podcast in

the way that I do it is because and I invite the people on who

I wanna, who I wanna talk Tom, is because

adults in the room are the thing that's missing. And and

we use that phraseology to talk about politicians who maybe

have reached a certain level of of chronological

maturity, or biological

maturity, but that doesn't mean that you're actually

the adult. You know? I know but I I know I I

I currently, the place I live in, average age is

55 to 75. I know a lot of I I I

then the very first weekend that we moved here, my wife and I went out

and, watched a 60 couple of 60 year

old men get tossed out of a bar for behaving like 19 year olds and

getting into a bar fight. Right. So chronological and

biological age is no indicator of being an adult. So

indicator of behaving in a mature and mature fashion.

Right. And I think the thing that we're missing when

we say we're missing adults in the room is we're missing that sense of gravitas.

We're missing that sense of position and and responsibility. We're missing that sense of, to

Libby's point being and doing and saying, and leaders on the

unpopular turning. So that a greater good can

occur on the other side of it. Speaking of

which let's go back to the book. I'm going to read

some pieces from this. It's a long section,

about well, about the camp. So back to the

book, back to night by Eli Weisel.

The camp looked as though it had been through an epidemic, empty and dead.

This is Buna. They had just arrived at Buna. It was a new concentration

camp, new for them anyway. Only a few, quote

unquote, well dressed inmates are wandering between the blocks. Of course, we first had to

pass through the showers. The head of the camp joined us there. He was a

stocky man with big shoulders, the neck of a bull, thick lips, and curly hair.

He gave an impression of kindness. From time to time, a smile would linger in

his gray blue eyes. Our convoy included a few 10

12 year olds. The officer took an interest in them and gave them

orders and gave orders to bring them food. We were given new clothing and

settled in 2 tents. We were to wait there until we could be

incorporated into work commandos and we would be assigned to a book.

In the evening, the commandos returned from work yards roll call. We began looking for

people. We knew asking the veterans, which work commandos were the best and which

block one should try to enter. All the inmates agreed.

Buna is a very good camp. One can hold one's own here. The most important

thing is to not be assigned to the construction commando. As if we

had a choice. Our tent leader was a German, an

assassin's face, fleshy lips, hands resembling wolf's paws. The camp's food had agreed with

him. He could hardly move. He was so fat. Like the head of the camp,

he liked children. Immediately after our arrival,

he had bread brought for them some soup and margarine. In fact

this affection was not entirely altruistic. There existed here a

veritable traffic of children among homosexuals I learned later.

He told us, you will stay with me for 3 days in

quarantine. Afterward, you will go to work tomorrow, medical checkup. 1 of

his aides, a tough looking boy with shifty eyes, came over to me. Would you

like to get into a good commando? Of fourth. But on one condition, I want

to stay with my father. Alright. He said I could arrange it for a

pittance, your shoes. I'll give you another pair.

I refused to give him my shoes. They were all I had left. I'll

also give you a ration of bread with some margarine. He liked

my shoes. I would not let him have them. Later, they were taken from

me anyway in exchange for nothing that time.

The medical checkup took place outside early in the morning before 3 doctors seated

on a bench. The first hardly examined me. He just asked, are you in good

health? Who would have dared to admit the opposite?

On the other hand, the dentist seemed more conscientious. He asked me to open my

mouth wide. In fact, he was not looking for decay, but for gold teeth.

Those who had gold in their mouths were listed by their number. I did have

a gold crown. The first 3 days went by quickly. On the 4th

day, as we stood in front of our tent, the kapos appeared. Each one

began to choose the many he liked. You, you, you. They pointed their fingers the

way one might choose cattle or merchandise. We followed our

kapo, a young man. He made us halt to the door of the first block

near the entrance to the camp. This is the orchestra's block. He motioned us

inside. We were surprised. What had we to do with music?

The orchestra was playing a military march, always the same. Dozens of commandos

were marching off in step to the work yards. The capitals were beating the time

left, right, left, right. SS officers, pen in hand, recorded the number

capoe Tom fallen. We fell into ranks of 5, and The capo yet

fall in. We fell into ranks of 5 with the musicians. We

left the camp without music, but in step, we still had the march in our

readers. Left, right, left, right. We struck up a

conversation with our neighbors and musicians. Almost all of them were Jews. Julie

Acapol with glasses and a cynical smile and a pale face.

Louis, a native of alland Holland, a well known violinist. He

complained that they would not let him play Beethoven. Jews were not allowed to

play German music. Hans, the young man from Berlin, was full of

wit. The former was a Pole, frantic, a former student in Warsaw.

Julie Eck explained to me, we work at a warehouse of electrical materials not far

from here. The work is neither difficult nor dangerous. Only IDEC, the capo,

occasionally has fists of madness, and then you better stay out of his way.

You are lucky, little fellows, at Hans smiling. You fell into a good commando.

Then they go I'm going to move ahead a little bit they, they

move through the warehouse, and they talk about

having a, a Jewish person as their leader,

named Alfonso. And then this, one day when

we had just returned for the warehouse, I was summoned by the block secretary.

A 7713. That's me.

After your meal, you'll go to see the dentist, but I don't have a toothache.

After your meal, Without fail. I

went to the infirmary books, and 20 prisoners are waiting in line at the entrance.

It didn't take long to learn the reason for our summons. Our gold teeth were

to be extracted. The dentist, a Jew from Czechoslovakia,

had a face not unlike a death mask. When he opened his mouth, I had

one had a ghastly vision of yellow, rotten teeth. Seated in the chair, I

asked weekly, what are you going to do, sir? I shall remove your gold

crown. That's all, he said, clearly indifferent. I thought of pretending to be

sick. Couldn't you wait a few days, sir? I don't feel well. I have a

fever. He wrinkled his eyes, wrinkled

his brow thought for a moment and then took my pulse. All right, son, come

back and see me when you feel better, but don't wait for me to call

you. I went back to see him a week later with the same excuse. I

still was not feeling better. He did not seem surprised and I don't know whether

he believed me yet. He was most likely was pleased that I had

come back on my own. As I had promised, he granted me a further delay.

A few days after my visit, the dentist office was shut down. He had been

thrown into prison and was about to be hanged. It appeared he had been dealing

in prisoners' gold teeth for his own benefit. I felt no pity for

him. In fact, I was pleased with what was happening to him. My gold crown

was safe. It could be useful to me one day to buy something, some

bread, or even time to live. At that moment in time, all that

mattered to me was my daily bowl of soup, my crust of

sale bread. The bread, the soup, those are my entire

life. I was nothing but a body, perhaps

even less a famished stomach. The stomach alone

was measuring time.

We're gonna turning corner here and talk about

one of the scourges of our day, an old,

old disease

An old, old disease that has now

come back For barely

educated Ivy League college students on the political left claiming that Israel is a

colonizing nation state and Zionism is, quote, unquote, racism.

The barely qualified Patriot Front shills on substacks squawking about

quote unquote Zionist conspiracies control the world.

Antisemitism has yet again reared its ugly old head

this time in America. The

idea, and this is my fundamental problem with both the right and the left

on this, but the idea that the Jewish people are simultaneously pulling all the

strings in the world, as well as victimizing populations in the Middle East

without cause while also claiming to be victims themselves

is a canard older than the protocols of Zion and

just as false.


I have a visceral response to antisemitism. It actually

makes my gut turning over. And I

think that's a sign that I'm still human. I still have a moral


I believe fundamentally leaders Christians, we are called

to protect Jewish people. Does that mean that we are called to advance

Jewish ideas or advance Jewish thoughts or

whatever? No. But there's a fine line between

critiquing and falling into everybody's ruling

the world everywhere nonsense. And

unfortunately, because we don't have a maturity of thought, like we just talked about in

our last section, And because we lack adults in the

room, we don't know where the line is. We don't know how to have these

conversations anymore. And this seems to have surprised

people on the political left in the United States fourth so than anybody else. I

mean, people on the political right are always getting lambasted,

from the Ku Klux Klan, where

the Ku Klux Klan to, you know, whatever is Ryan was talking

about, whatever, you know, the proud boys are doing all the way to the Patriot

front, you know, fleets, the right in America has

always been, been whacked with antisemitism, but the left.

Jesan, time, which seems to flummox them,

is when do you know if when the left has gone too far?

It seems to fundamentally flummox them. And partially, this is because

there's never enough Marxist revolution. Partially,

it's also they are ill educated on the fact of Stalin and

Mao and and the gulags

and Pol Pot

and the reeducation camps in China and

all this and and North Korea. My god, North Korea.

I mean, an entire nation state devoted to the actual logical

end of Marxism.

Stalin's gulags killed millions of Jews along with many, many other

people, And the political left has

never repudiated that. But they've also never

allowed that to be laid at their feet. Now they'll claim that they've repudiated

it, but yet and still you keep talking

about Marxist ideas. So if you

genuinely repudiated it, you'd probably not be talking about Marxist

collectivism. But I think there's something that we're we're missing here.

Yeah. Go ahead. What are we missing? Maybe maybe this Tom, it might

work. Right, the

old Kennard. We're smarter. You're

right. This is different. This is different. Yeah. We're better

people because we've got dopamine inducing

devices in our hands. We have to be better people. Right?

What do we do with this? Why is the shadow of antisemitism going along in

our culture? And what do we do to push back on this? How do we

punch this in the mouth? Like, every year, people talk about, oh, punch punch Hitler.

Like, people on the left were talking about that a few years ago. And I

was just like, what are we doing? What are we doing? Of course,

maybe, maybe this is, this is a, what do you call it, a

nemesis showing up to the political left? And a nemesis is always

sort of an equal and opposite reaction fourth something that happens for something that you

do when you go too far, when you go into an excess.

I don't know, but there's always a spiritual element to

antisemitism as we've been talking about also on this podcast as well as an intellectual

and fundamentally, of course, from reading night, a physical element.

There's a clearing at the end of the path with that with that crap.

So how do we push back against this? What what is what's our best practices

here? I know Libby likes best practices.

But I I like I like I I mean, I really appreciate,

this how how it is influenced the expression of art literature.

I mean, Vonnegut has a book on mother night

Mhmm. That's that's

that is, influencing and and and and,

it's kind of about the World War 2 in in in Nazi Germany.

I found this on the street walking by a

meter, like one of those kiosks that, park parking lot

meter Mhmm. And started. Oh,

mouse. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. There

is a better Yes. I love that. Yeah. That's, that's a great,

that's a great graphic novel. And and,

you know, the fourth of the

parables can be in any way, shape, or form. Mhmm.

And so our literature kind of always been her music is just can be my

been my go Tom. Or just being kind.

Going out of my way Tom be kind. Like, be being proactive

in in in our, you know, community.

I mean, how often you know, it's funny some comedians talk about, like, yeah, when

you're, you know, your kids, somebody would knock on the door, you'd have company.

You'd have, you know, you have guests. You your mom would get, like, the Entenmann's

or whatever. Mhmm. Take some coffee and hang out and talk.

Like, a Tuesday night, you're just having, like, friends, your fourth parents are

over and hanging out. And now it's like somebody knocks on the

fourth, everyone jumps in a closet, and it's like, who's

turning to who's, like, who's knocking at the door? Like,

suspicious suspicious. So So we we

we push back by building community is what you're saying Mhmm. And and

using art and literature. For sure. Building

community, we realize how much more similar we are than different.

Right? You know, unfortunately,

with this, you know, maternalism that's out

there right now, you know, if someone feels uncomfortable,

you know, we we wanna remove them from a situation as

opposed Tom, do you understand how your primitive brain that's been

wired for 1000000000 of years works, it

you know, if something's new, it automatically is on alert.

It doesn't mean that new is bad. You know? So

push through and live with curiosity

about your fellow humans, and you may you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I think I mean,

I I actually think humanity is really great. If,

you know, I've lived in all, yeah, all all

types of communities, you know, rural, urban, suburban,

you're rich, poor, you know, diverse, not diverse. And I

find, you know, humans actually are really

decent. It's our leaders who will tell us that

they're not. And I remember the first time I went to Europe in

1994, I went to France, and I've been told that the French

were awful. And I was like, oh my god. They're awesome. Like, they're just like

you and me, and we're not our government. And we need to, 1, remember, we're

not our government. You know? I think we're

too many countries and people like Israel.

The government is not necessarily representative of the people. We need to be

cognizant of that. I also

all all of my cultural references, you know, Bill Maher had a

guest on on Friday night that was saying yeah. That was,

the woman from The View is like, we just need people to be more educated.

And, yeah, and the guy, yeah, the guy,

was saying, well, how many movies and books can you have,

you know, about, like, the holocaust? Like, I

mean, it you we've had tons, and I think

what's wrong what's missing is the real root

cause is not being addressed. It's the Marxist you know, when

I listen to a lot of my friends on the left talk about it,

they try to send it back to the right,

or, you know, or or they

divert to another conversation. They can't Mhmm.

Fathom that they're

that, you know, that traditional

liberals, which are great, has been infiltrated by these,

yeah, by Marxist extremes. And the reason that we're

seeing, you know, the antisemitism,

it's that, yeah, that

because I can't the haves versus the have

nots. Mhmm. You know? So because they're in

positions of power, you know, and because of

the communities that they have, because, you know, they tend to support their

families, value education, value hard work, you know,

instead of copying them

and essays, these are the the things that are necessary to be

successful, we want to bring the oppressors, yep,

the the successful down. Yeah. The oppressor versus

the oppressor. Yeah. The oppressor versus the oppressed. Yeah.

And that's the Marxist ideology. And the fact that no one's

talked about, you know, Stalin and

Mao for decades. They only talk about Hitler has

been you can't underestimate the

power of rhetoric and the intentionality of it.

You know, look over here, not here. You know? Because

we're here. You know? And so

actually understanding a lot of the root cause and pushing that out

just like the right pushes out the the lunatics on

the far right. But if you don't understand some of the root

cause, and that you've been infiltrated

Mhmm. And willing to fight against you

know, fight your own. Like, the right voice fights its own. The

left rarely does. And you need to fight,

you know, to push the toxins out. But

So is is okay. So something occurs to me, Libby. I'm gonna

ask you this question here. I'm gonna direct this directly to you. Jeff.

One second. Yeah. Go ahead. Yeah. I'll hold on to my questions then.

So so the, it sounds like peer

review. And so what I'm listening to in this there's okay.

Okay. And there's who's the teacher in Portland State that just

did the fake paper? And then What's his name? Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. It is just like peer review. It is. But

and so we see what happened with peer review. So what is the intervention to

put in place for the thing that was the safeguard?

I don't know. It's the same, like, you know, FDA, people, yeah, people just

quit who weren't aligned with what yeah. With, yeah, the vaccine

mandated. You know,

corporate, you know, many of the reasons a lot of us opt out

of senior positions in corporate is because it's

just group think. You know? It's not about learning and creating and

building. It's about, you know, maintaining

maintaining status, maintaining, maintaining income.

It's not about building or creating. And

if you are a change agent, you will be ejected.

Right? You know? So the question is, how do

you change it? And I another theme,

you gotta build it from the outside in. You like, turning the

like, changing the institutions is just is

incredibly challenging. You have to do it outside in with

different different models. So

the question that occurs Like, 3rd parties. 3rd party. Yeah. Well, you well, you

okay. So you so you Or small businesses. It you know,

local community development. Alternative media landscapes,

like all of these all these kinds of Yeah. Going out on the long tail,

which, you know, we've knocked the Internet a couple of times here today,

rightly so, And we've knocked social media, rightly so,

but the benefits or the, the, the, the upside

of those tools and they are tools. And we'll talk about tools here in just

a moment when we turn the corner. But the upside of utilizing

using those tools is you are able to create an alternative landscape and

literature. Alternative media culture, or

even an alternative, an alternative

production culture. You talk about antisemitism

being this thing on the left, and this is directed to

Libby is I think you probably heard of this concept and even Ryan sort of

tapped into it with the idea of peer review. Peer review,

status, income, These are all

things that are, quite frankly, to borrow from Rob

Henderson, luxury beliefs. Right. And it's

not to say that people who are in the middle class or the working class

or poor, poor folks don't have these systems too. They're just set up

differently. Okay. Antisemitism has always

been hot among the academic elite, particularly the

academic writers. The academic elite that run Princeton Princeton and Harvard. I

mean, initially, those elite Ivy League universities were designed to keep

Jews out. And it was only after World War 2 that Jewish people

were allowed in. So the idea that there's this Zionist conspiracy

in the Ivy League that's spreading out Tom. Like, let's just

stop it. Okay? Because those

systems were designed by WASPs,

white Anglo Saxon protestants Tom keep Jews out.

Okay? Specifically, Jews and and and blacks and women. Those are the 3

big categories. And then Catholic, if you wanted a 4th category thrown in there just

for good measure. Okay. I know the history. I've actually read

the books. Okay.

History doesn't repeat itself but it does it does,

echo or rhyme. And so are we

just now at a space where this is now being taken

up now? This antisemitism, this new strain is just being

taken up as just another luxury belief by the elites, by

the people who run things.

Because it's not you'd I don't see people protesting

the Israelis doing whatever it is they're doing in

Gaza. I don't see some middle class

kid from, you know, some state

school protesting this. This is not the people who I hear yelling about

this. I'm instead hearing about this from some

undergraduate whose parents spent $250,000 on them to go to Columbia.

Because they don't live in the real world. Right. You

know? Yeah. Like, it's the same thing of, you know, why

Weisel, you know, survived the camps. He

just pushed through. He didn't have time Mhmm. To think

he's just surviving. Right? Right. They have time to think about

and over intellectualize. Like, I've lived in these intellectual circles,

and, you know, they think their thoughts are real

book because they thought it, and they can think it quickly, and they can make

correlations. They think it's real. They're so removed from,

you know, working with your hands, working close you

know, it Tom them, it's menial and not meaningful. Like, the intellectual

masturbation is, you know, masturbation is, you know, is what brings

turning. But it's also where all civilizations

find the their deaths, in the othering.

Like, just think of the French revolution, same thing.

Bolsheviks. Why is it in the

intellectual? Because they need to find something to solve for, and they just

I think they're guilt I personally believe, if you're asking me,

I personally believe that

the ease with which people had Tom material gain

leads to a concomitant decline in spiritual appreciation of

that gain. So the more you carry work for it or earn it, and

there's meaning and and that Right. It's the meaning in the

work. Right. Well, you see this in the 1st generation. Okay? So anybody family that's

wealthy in America, the very first generation, you you know this,

Libby. Yeah. And, Ryan, you've seen this. Right. They are Generations.

Right. Short sleeves are short sleeves in 3 generations. Sleeves. That's right.

Yeah. And so that first generation is religious.

Sometimes shockingly evangelist

evangelistic. They're they're they're, you know, they're the people who,

like, they go to church. They make the money. They align everything. Boom. They're ready

to go. Right? Their kids come in, and their

kids are, to my point earlier, about a bad copy of

a copy. They're a bad copy of the original.

Sometimes they keep the thing going. Most times they don't. And

then by the time their kids come around, that 3rd generation,

it's all gone. Right? The money has been spent on wide

women's song. We already mentioned cocaine. Don't have mentioned that again. But it's

already been blown through. Right? And now that 3rd generation is

back Tom, starting from scratch,

right, just to claw up something out of existence. Okay.

The really wealthy families, though, the ones who manage to get

past that 3rd, in some cases, that 4th or 5th generation of wealth

transfer. Right? I think the

reason that those and that's who we're talking about. That's what we mean as elites.

I think the reason why those folks are captured by these luxury ideas is because

and I I I I don't think it's any more complicated than this. Sometimes

Occam's razor is correct, and this is an Occam's razor situation.

I think those people are just bored.

I think they're bored. They're bored, and they lack creativity. They have

no they have no purpose. I mean, I remember at the beginning of the pandemic,

like, you have people not working. I'm like, there's

especially with small businesses being,

killed. It's like there's dignity and work. People don't want,

like, the whole concept of UBI. No. Yeah. People

want there's dignity and work. You know? I

and I'm gonna need something in it. Yeah. With that shirt sleeves to shirt

sleeves, what happens with the Jesan generation is they realize the money

doesn't fill you. It doesn't complete you. Right? Right.

You know, but they don't know, but they're told work isn't

is, like, where's this thing? I also think this is maybe a

Belmar, another cultural reference. But

concept of, like, where did the or maybe it was Vivek. I think it was

Vivek Ramaswami on Sean, Sean Ryan. And he was

talking about the concept of

retirement and how we're told, you know,

that you just need to work until you retire. Right? And but

most up until 21st century, people

didn't retire. They worked their full lives. Right. Like,

when you retire, then what? Like, live on the beach? Yeah.

That's fun for a little while, but there's

dignity in producing. So I do think there's something about the concept of

they're bored. Well and and I also And then they're and then they're

guilty about it and taking it out on you. Right.

Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. They're bored. Fourth actually having meaning in

your life. They're bored. They're full of resentment. They have a weird form

of envy. Like, we've talked about this on the podcast fourth, how

and I actually wrote a post about this recently on, like, my Facebook page

somewhere, about how fathers are responsible for for keeping

the envy machine in their children's hearts turned off. Because once that

is turned on, then anybody can tell them anything. And and the envy

machine gets turned on from social media. You know? It gets turned

on from, getting into the comparison trap with other

people's highlight reels. You know? The best thing you could do if

you're a 5th generation family with wealth is to

get that kid who's got wealth and put him to work

at, like, a lumber yard or something. Like, that's the best thing you could do

for that kid when they're, like, 14. But but and guess what? You

don't get to go to the lumber yard in your Rolls Royce. You get to

go to the lumber yard on your bike, and you're gonna go work. Right?

And I do think there are some families who understand that. I do think there

are some families who get that, but I think that they are in unsexy fields.

And so I think the the less sexy the field is where you make money

like, I met a I met a guy the other day who's, who's a coal

miner. Right? I never actually met a coal miner in real life.

And he's telling me all these great stories about coal mining in the

mountains and all of this. And, you know, he was like, this is really

hard book. And he's he's like, have you ever thought about being a coal miner?

And I said, that is not something that was ever offered to me as an

option on the plate. I mean, I knew people

coal miner? Right. Like, I knew people who did it. I now have met people

who have done it. I met somebody who has done it. But that was not

something and it's probably a little late for me. I'm in my forties now. You

probably don't want me crawling around underground turning to dig out bit Tom much

coal. It's probably not something you Amazing. In 2024, someone

asked that question. That's awesome. It's but right. But it's an awesome

question. Right? And so to overcome those

luxury beliefs, we have to give people, Libby, to your point, I think

material not only material meaning, but we and we don't understand

how material meaning and and and psychological meaning and spiritual meaning all linked together. We

have no clue. We're just beginning to pull apart consciousness. We we really don't understand.

But all those things do link together somehow, and they create the fundamental

structure of reality, the Dyson sphere of reality that we're all trying

to hold together out here. Ryan, any thoughts before

I turn the corner here?

No. I don't think so.

Alright. It's this this this this was this

well, yeah. I do. Now that I looked out of

my notes. Talking talking about talking about

the, the writing, the simple writing. So just just

essays things that are that readers such an

image and are so simple and are really, really beautiful. He describes

someone as having an assassin's face. Mhmm. Now I don't know an

assassin. Do you know any assassins? No. Do you know what that

means? Do you do you know an assassin's face when you

see one, though? You know? Our very

skin was aching. Mhmm. I

can't, like that's a that's a pretty that's pretty

dark if your,

your skin is aching. A face not unlike a death

mask is how he described the

dentist. And there was a weird compassion. And so I wrote down

the human condition also. And

so when there's a he essays, I don't feel well. I don't feel

well. There's something in the dentist that essays,

yeah. You know what? He sees the kid as a kid fourth he sees someone

he may see him for what he is at that moment. Like, someone stuck in

this horrible position with a gold tooth, and he

doesn't feel well. And so you know what? If he says he feels crappy, I

don't wanna make him feel any crappier. Mhmm. And that's

that's kind of like a a ray of light in the in the

darkness. And I'm sure that wasn't the dentist's intention,

but it's almost like like Libby saying, turning about,

like, life's purpose is to continue can city living. That's why you pick

up a board and you'll see, like, a tiny piece of grass growing, and it

hasn't seen light in forever. So, yeah, I that's

just kind of a thing. So that's my, I'd

say, final thoughts. Alright. Well, back

to the book. Podcast little bit here.

Last piece of night here by Eli Weisel. So we're gonna turn the corner.

We're gonna start talking about solutions to problems because on this podcast,

this year and and probably next year too, because we're we're

we're opening up a can of worms on a lot of big problems, not just

on this episode, but on on other episodes. And so we're going to talk

about solutions to problems that Eli

Weisel has postulated to us in night and

that challenge us as leaders. So back to the book.

The summer was coming to an end. The Jewish year was almost over on the

eve of Rosh Hashanah, the last day of that cursed year, the entire

camp was agitated and every one of us felt attention after all this was a

day, unlike all others, the last day of the year. The word last has

an odd ring to it. What if it really were the last day?

The evening meal was distributed and especially thick soup, but nobody touched it. We

waited to we wanted to wait until after prayer.

On the apple plots surrounded by electrified barbed wire, thousands of Jews,

anguish on their faces, gathered in silence. Night was falling

rapidly, and more and more prisoners kept coming from every book, suddenly able to overcome

time and space to will both into submission.

Who what are you, my god? I thought angrily. How do you

compare to the stricken mass gathered to affirm to you their faith, their

anger, their defiance? What does your grandeur mean, master of the

universe, in the face of all this cowardice, this decay, and this misery? Why do

you go on troubling these poor people's wounded minds, their ailing bodies?

Some 10,000 men had come to participate in a solemn service including

the Blocoteste, the kapos, all bureaucrats in the service of

death. Blessed be the Almighty. The voice of

the officiating inmate had just become audible. At first I thought it was the wind.

Blessed be God's name. Thousands of lips repeated the benediction

bent over like trees in a storm. Blessed be God's name?

Why but why would I bless him? Every fiber in me rebelled

because he caused thousands of children to burn in his mass graves, because he kept

6 crematoria working day and night including Sabbath and the holy days,

Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death. How could I say to

him blessed be thou almighty master of the universe

who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night Tom watch as

our fathers, our mothers, our brothers ended up in the furnaces? Praised be thy

holy name for having chosen us to be slaughtered in thine out on thine

altar. I listened as the inmate's voice rose. It

was powerful yet broken amid the weeping, the sobbing, the sighing of the entire,

congregation. All the earth and the universes are gods.

He kept pausing as though he lacked the strength to uncover the meaning beneath the

text. The melody was stifled in his throat. And I,

the former mystic, was was thinking, yes, man is stronger, greater than God. When Adam

and Eve deceive you, you chased them from paradise. When you were displeased by

Noah's generations, you brought down the flood. When Sodom lost your favor, you

caused the heavens to rain down fire and damnation. But look at these men

whom you have betrayed, allowing them to be tortured, slaughtered, gas, and burned. What did

they do? They pray before you. They praise your name.

All of creation bears witness to the greatness of God.

In days gone by, Rosh Hashanah had dominated my life. I knew that my sins

grieved the almighty, and so I pleaded for forgiveness. In those days, I fully

believed that the salvation of the world depended on every one of my deeds and

every one of my prayers. But now I no longer

plead for anything. I was no longer able to lament. On

the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the Accused. My

eyes had opened and I was alone, terrible alone to the world without God, without

man, without love or mercy. I was nothing but ashes now, but I felt

myself to be stronger than this almighty to whom my life had been bound for

so long. In the midst of these men assembled for prayer, I felt like an

observer, a stranger. The service ended with

Kaddish, each of us reciting Kaddish for his parents, for his children, and

for himself. We remained

standing in the awful books for a long time, unable to detach ourselves from this

surreal moment. Then came the time to go to sleep, and slowly the inmates returned

to their blocks. I thought I heard them wishing each other a happy

new year. I ran to look for my

father. At the same time, I was afraid of having to wish him a happy

new year in which I no longer believed. He was leaning against the

wall, bent shoulders sagging as if under a heavy load. I went up to him,

took his hand, and kissed it. I felt a tear on my hand. Whose was

it? Mine? His? I said nothing, nor did he. Never before had we

understood each other so clearly. The sound of the

bell brought us back to reality. We had to go to bed. We came back

from very far away. I looked at my father's face, trying

to glimpse a smile or something like it on his stricken face, but there was

nothing. Not the shadow of an expression. Defeat.

Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, should we feast? The question was hotly debated. To

fast could mean a more certain or rapid death. In this place, we were

always fasting. It was Yom Kippur year round. But

there were those who said we should fast precisely because it was dangerous to do

so. We needed to show God that even here, locked in hell, we were capable

of singing his praises. I did not

fast. First of all, to please my father who had forbidden me to do

so. And then there was no longer any reason for me to fast. I no

longer accepted God's silence. As I swallowed

my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion,

of protest against him. And I nibbled on my crust

of bread. Deep inside me,

I felt a great void opening.


There's a book called Case for Life. Yes. Go ahead, Case for Life. I was

gonna bring that up. Yeah. Go ahead. And

and I was readers, I was working at a coffee shop, and this couple was

sitting outside. Oh, there's 2 dude yeah. There's couple sitting outside. And this guy,

Mike, who helped me buy my car, and he was a devout Christian. You know?

Mhmm. And, he was like, oh, you're reading that book. It wasn't a

couple. It was just him. You're reading that book? I said, yeah. He goes, so

it it proved to exist. And I was like, doesn't matter.

And And he said, what do you mean? I said,

like, if someone proves that he didn't, I'm not gonna, like, kill

you because now it's you know what I mean? Like

Yeah. So the the

something to relay

any a a positive it's like the intention and the

practice is the intention to distract from

whatever the brain is currently

pressed up against in order to, like, rewire

it in order to, like, safeguard through uncompromisable

situations, essentially.

Well and and Waisel hits on something that, Solzhenitsyn hit

on at the Gulag Archipelago, where he talked about how

there were people who went into the Gulag as rock Libby

Eastern Orthodox Christians in Russia. And they came out

to paraphrase from while not to paraphrase, but to quote from Weisel with a

great void that had opened up inside of them because of the things they had

seen. And then there were people who

I would, I would, I would maybe categorize them as Sam

Harris, atheists, you know, because it's cool and intellectual.

And to be atheistic now, because it's easy and comfortable, it

doesn't cost you anything other than maybe a little bit of social

approbation from certain geographic sectors of the country who you don't care about anyway.

So what the hell do you care? You get all the right claps from all

the right people, so it's easy, but those people went into the Gulag

and some of them were true believers in Marxism. Speaking of that,

and they wound up actually coming out,

believing in God. And so

Weisel is onto something here. Like, there's a journey, right, that he

went on. And I think

I think about this as a person who tries every

day to be the best Christian that I can be. And most days I miss

the mark. Most days I fall into Amartya, which is sin.

I miss the mark. It's an archery term. That's all sin

means. And

just because and this is the point of Jesus.

Just because you fall into sin doesn't mean that god has forgotten you.

It doesn't mean that god has stopped talking. It

just means that the the void or the the the

gap, the chasm between you and him is is

is or you and it if we wanna frame it without being

without gendering it in our era, is

wide. Right? The void is wide between you and being.

And so I read that section right there and it struck me that out of

Libby talks about the book, you know, bringing her to tears. That part right

there, that entire section right there struck me so deeply.

Judaism is a fascinating religion.

And and the the the day of having having days for

atonement. Right? Having days for New Years.

I love that idea, writers? Where there's going to be a

day where you're going to like you're going to talk about all the ways you've

missed the mark. You're gonna ask for forgiveness. And yes,

that can turn into religion. And yes, that can become rote. And yes, that could

become performative. And it and it has for many Jewish

people. They're not immune to that,

but there is value in

that performative act. I don't know where

the value lies because who knows what's in a

man's heart. Right? But there's value in

that even in the midst of, and this is what he was

hitting on here, even in the midst of hell,

even in the midst of hell. We're told

in the new testament that the demons know the name of Jesus.

They know the name. That's that's what we're told.

That is fascinating to me. That is fascinating. They

don't worship Jesus, but they know the name. It is interesting. You know? You

talk about you're talking about, like, rock bottoms earlier. Mhmm. It sounds

like his his, you know, his

spiritual rock bottom. And

something else, we're talking about solutions and and this

because the Internet is and we talk we talked about this, has made

so many people an expert. Mhmm.

It's difficult to remain teachable, and so turning teachable,

we did talk about that earlier, but but still still just remaining teachable in situation,

I think, is so much is so important. It's still kinda, like,

approach something with an open mind and and and how, you know,

how is you know, and then how do we do that?

Yeah. You know? And that so that's that is,

Libby, on your point of, like, starting the outside in. It's

like, well, that happens from how you raise your children.

I'm sure how you raise your children, Hassan.

You value remaining teachable. And

so and you're a great teacher. And so I think with great

teachers, you're you're probably cultivating good students.

And not only students for educational and academia, but students alike because

we all have to get through it. And so,

you know, I think remaining a a book example and, you know, not

wasting a rock bottom Mhmm. Is,

you know, is a is a I don't know what

potential path to solution or a solution. And

it has to come down to the individual because and you gotta heal yourself before

you can go to anybody else. So Yep.

Libby, final thoughts, solutions to problems. I mean, I

I do think, you know, the the analogy that

you were using earlier on or reference

Tom Schulz and Nietzsche and those

intellectuals who went in atheist and came out believing.

I you know, you've seen a resurgence of

yeah. Libby won't say religiosity because that yeah.

That's a movie that counters religion. But

focus on more organized religion or community based religion.

I think we yeah. Many did hit a Tom.

But I think what I can always

speak to myself, you know, when I hit my bottom

and I decide I chose life over death, You know, once you know how

close you are to death and that you're choosing life,

like, you you don't like, I I know there's something

greater than myself. I don't know what it is, but I'm

powered by it. Mhmm. And I don't have certain I

don't have certainty about life. I live with a very curious and

open mind. I think you, I actually,

one of the reasons I went into that dark cauldron

was because I was curious and interested about life, and that

was you know, others tried to shut that out, and have you

only live a certain way or be a certain way, and that wasn't, you know,

true to my essence. And when I think about,

what Weisel was saying, you know, is he was

praying to a god, but what he

really felt was he actually touched the true

essence of spirituality and not the intellectualization of

it. Yep. And once you know, I I can say that, you know,

with, like, Russell Brand, you know Mhmm. And others. It's

like you get to that point where it's not words. You actually

have felt the essence of it, and there is something greater than yourself.

And it actually allows a freedom,

and safety, to love and to be open and to

be curious because you know what the alternative is, and

it's not a place worth living in. Yeah.

It's like a lot of places, I read a quote on a Starbucks cup many

years ago that said there's freedom and commitment.

That's what Tom maybe remind me of is, you know, what

you just said, Libby. Yeah. It is. It's kind of like,

discipline is freedom. Yeah.

Jocko. Jocko. Jocko's showing up here at the end of the podcast.

Good idea. Open through.

Yeah. You know?

The Holocaust is a serious subject, and and Yeah. And Wiesel is

a serious writer about that.

And this is a serious book.

One of the problems that we have to solve or is

how do we get people to take the lessons of history seriously?

And I think it's really hard because we live in a world of

robotics and artificial intelligence and putting people into orbit

and instantaneous communication and reusable rockets. These are all a

thing. And yet with all our stuff,

we are blind to the facts of human nature, Right? We're

blind to jealousy and envy and vanity and pride and lust for

power. And the big one, fourth, is still ruled

a human heart.

There's a great quote that was in the the graphic novel Watchmen

by Alan Moore. He quoted from Albert Einstein. I love this

quote. When I think about the Holocaust, I think about this.

He says, and I quote, the release of atomic power has

changed everything except our way of thinking. The solution to

this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I

had known I should have become a watchmaker.

Albert Einstein was correct. By the way. A guy who barely

avoided going to Auschwitz himself.

Then they would they would have. The Nazis would have burned him up in a

crematorium in a second.

The release of any kind of power, whether it's the power

to wield control through laws

and regulations over other men, because you don't like them fourth the

power to make some sort of clickbaity headline.

That kind of power. And the postmodernists are correct on

this. The power relationships do change everything, but they

don't change our way of thinking.

We've never come up with a technological solution for the human

heart and we never will.

I feel fairly I I I can I feel comfortable

in ontological certainty on saying that?

And it's okay if I'm wrong, if I'm wrong on that one. Fine. I'll I'll

accept being wrong on that, but I'll I'll take the ontological

Pepsi challenge on that. I mean, I I just love what you

said, the quote, if you lick my heart, you'd be turning you know, that was

that's another that that quote is so unreal, man. It's unbelievable.

Yeah. It's it's I think about these

things oh, and I think about history and I

think about the cycles of history and I think about how we fail to

appreciate the cyclical nature of history, we get diluted by progress

and we forget that there's all these old energies in the heart.

Right? All these old energies inside of folks.

And I'm really concerned,

that we've abandoned our access, not not abandoned the

language, we've abandoned our access to the language of the

near religious to describe the things that we see and experience.

We try to use psychological language because psychology is a secular

religion, but it's it's it's so thin on the ground. It

doesn't get to the heart of what we actually want to say about the

experience. I I

actually think it it goes deeper than that. I think people aren't in touch with

their own feelings Yeah.

With their own feelings. Yeah. So that, you know, everything is about

external external validation or numbing.

Mhmm. So people don't even have access to really how they truly feel.

Yeah. So Tom have the words to

express it, all they get are the signals of fear

and or numbing.

You know? But I I the

solution for me is just continue to model Yeah.

Healthy living. You know, what does it mean to have a healthy

body, mind, and spirit? A living life, like, you

know, happy, joyful,

curious, and building and creating. You know,

it's easy to destroy and be judgmental.

Yeah. And that can feed your your need to feel

powerful, but, you know, your heart is

feeling empty. And how are you? You know, those who live like that, what are

they doing to numb? Yeah. Because their heart is hollow or

feeling hollow. I would just

continue to just continue to model fourth outside in. I know

there's lots of people who want

what we've what you've got, you know, from a curiosity

and, you know, freedom of expression and,

living an empowered life. You know? There's a lot of people who want that.

They just don't know how to to access it. You know, so

Tom be available to those who want it. But it's gotta be outside

in, decentralized, starting at your local

community. That's

awesome. It makes me think of, like, how Ayahuasca has become

popular in in Hollywood, and and it's like we want the

immediate like, you're searching you you're you're going

you're going through all this trouble to get the thing

that you can do just sitting in your chair.

And, like, the immediacy of that, like, I want my spirituality be spiritually healed right

now. I wanna go Tom South America. I wanna do some ancient thing and drink

some thing and throw up and be like, I talk

to the people, and now I'm better.

Right. Yeah. People can't just sit

still, you know, and actually feel. Right?

Turning off all of the turn off everything. Yeah. Stop

putting stuff in your body, you know, physically and

spiritually, and just you have the answers. You just have to

go within, and that can be uncomfortable.

We don't like being uncomfortable. We don't like being uncomfortable. No. We

don't. But you know but you know what? The the lessons of history I mean,

history is supposed to make us uncomfortable. It's supposed to feel

bad. You know, it's supposed to you're supposed to feel

well, no. Shame and guilt are

signals that at the root,

there is something else going on. And if we get caught

in a shame or guilt spiral, that's a different kind of thing.

But when I read night or when I read, I come in in Jerusalem,

or when I read letters from prison by Dietrich Von Hoffer, or

when I read mouse, right.

Or when I watch,

movies or films Tom your point, the Bill Maher guest, how many more movies or

films do we need? Right? Well,

it's not how many more we need. It's how long is it

gonna take for us watching the ones we've already got to

actually internalize the Jesan? Not so we don't do it

again, but so that we recognize that we have to change.

We, but we need to go on a journey to changing our hearts,

not a journey to make our movies better, not a journey to make our literature

better, not a journey to make our technology better, not a journey, even to make

our leadership better, but a journey to make our hearts better.

People talk about epic journeys, right? Epic hero journeys. That's an epic hero's

journey. And if you can go on that journey

using the path of history and literature and books

and yes, even technology.

Well, maybe maybe we could

avoid maybe we could

avoid or at least ameliorate the next great evil

that's that's gonna come from human hands.

I'd like to thank Libby and Ryan for coming on the podcast today. This

was a hard book to get through, and you'll see it on the video. It's

a hard book to get through, and you'll probably hear it in our voices.

But this is the point of doing these kinds of shows.

So, I hope that you enjoyed listening today to the Leadership

Lessons fourth Great Books podcast. Once again, thank you to Libby and Ryan for coming

on. And with that, well,

we're out. Thank you for

listening to the Leadership Lessons from the Great Books podcast today.

And now that you've made it this far, you should subscribe to the

audio version of this show on all the major podcast players,

including Apple iTunes, Spotify, YouTube Music, and

everywhere else where podcasts are available.

There's also a video version of our podcast on our YouTube

channel. Like and subscribe to the video version of this podcast on

the Leadership Toolbox channel on YouTube. Just search for Leadership

Toolbox and hit the subscribe button there on YouTube.

And, while you're doing that, leave a 5 star review if you like

what we're doing here on Apple, Spotify, and

YouTube. Just go below the player and hit 5 stars.

We need those reviews to grow and it's the easiest way to help grow this

show. And tell all your friends, of course, in

leadership. By the way, if you don't like what we're doing here,

well, you can always listen to another leadership show. There are several

other good ones out there. At least that's what

I've heard. Alright. Well,

that's it for me.