Ep234 – A Prepper’s Guide to the #Jobocalypse


With the sounds of Bryan’s offspring gently playing in the background, Bryan’s thoughts turn to how to prepare the progeny he has sired from his loins for a world of constant technological disruption. Obviously, Bryan has already prepared them for the apocalypse. They’re both proficient in using compound bow and dressing their own kills. They can also strip a firearm and set a bone. And thanks to Bryan’s beautiful wife they have (like Alexander the Great, the Comanche, Mongol warriors and slightly foppish aristocrats) they have been rigorously trained in equestrian. These are basic skills that every Callen must know.

But what if the apocalypse doesn’t happen? What if society more or less continues as is and Bryan’s children rather than stalking deer through the shattered wreckage of our civilization and leading conquering hordes on horseback instead find themselves getting jobs. What jobs can they get and how should he prepare them for that?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, turns out to be a question we should all be asking. We are in the middle of a #Jobocalypse and it’s only going to get worse. While Donald Trump told a great story about jobs going overseas and the coming back, it’s not a very good reflection of what’s actually been happening. Instead, the shift of jobs overseas was made possible by improved technology. You can’t have a call center answering calls half a world away if you don’t have good telecommunications technology. You can’t manufacture goods in China for sale in America unless shipping technology is so good, cheap and efficient as to make it economically viable. The Donald can bring some jobs back but the greater force at work here is that much of routine work is being and will continue to be automated out of existence. If your job rests on doing routine tasks, then it can be done by a robot or software. Automated cars and trucks, accounting software, McDonalds self-service kiosks and computer programs that trade stocks and write increasingly complex legal contracts are all just some of the ways in which life-long careers can be either disrupted out of existence or change so massively as to be unrecognizable. The defining feature of the future is the need to constantly adapt and that is not something that the world has been prepared for. To reform an educational system, you first need to reform the understanding of the voters. That’s the core challenge. Using the internet to empower people to take charge of their own educations. And that is what Mixed Mental Arts and The Straight-A Conspiracy are all about.

As WhatUpO recently wrote on the Mixed Mental Arts subreddit:

“I found MMA through the JRE and was hooked from the first episode I listened to (the Jordan Peterson episode I believe). The discussions had on the podcast about culture and learning are captivating not only because they are full of interesting info but because of how genuinely the ideas are presented. Today’s entertainment/news realms only seem to deal in absolutes. MMA’s “you don’t have to believe us – look for yourselves” approach is a breath of fresh air to say the least. I’ve listened to all of the past podcasts and I’m just now discovering these extra resources that have been set up (the blog, this sub and the website) and I’ve begun diving into the books in the reading list so this won’t be the last you hear from me!”

Bryan Callen and Hunter Maats do not have all the answers. We do, however, have relentless faith in the wisdom of crowds. There’s nothing that a random group of humans can’t figure out if they all bring their minds to bear on the problem. And, now, it seems that is happening. People like Martin Totland in Norway and Cate Fogarty in LA are contributing blogposts. Sandy Bagga in Canada has set up a subreddit and Chris Reid in New Zealand has populated it with threads. Matt Maurer and Matt Madonna have built a way better website than the TERRIBLE one Hunter made. And all of this has been done by people (who like Bryan and Hunter) are not in it for the money. And Nicole Page Lee has connected Hunter with the similarly-minded Argument Ninja and helped design t-shirts and pressure Hunter to make them. Individually, none of us can solve the world’s problems. Together, we can draw together people from all over the world who can do a better and better job of figuring it out. The key to doing that is the same as the key to thriving and surviving in the wake of the #Jobocalypse. Every day, we wake up and we put the white belt back on. We approach the world with a Beginner’s Mind and make whatever progress we can make and learn whatever we can trusting that if we keep evolving then it will all add up to measurable results and lives changed for the better.

We’ve made some crude knowledge bombs with these podcast episodes and blogposts. Now, it’s time to make better knowledge bombs that can empower the Mixed Mental Arts community to go out there and be #IntellectualTerrorists. We want to make videos so short, so tight, so powerful and so thought-provoking that you can drop them on your Facebook feed, twitter feed or all around the internet and blow people’s minds. We want to make a simple set of videos called #CultureMatters. To do that, we need to raise money on Patreon. We work for free but equipment costs money and so do quality editors. For $10,000, we can produce those ten #CultureMatters videos that can set the internet on fire. We can make millions of people take the red pill. This is now the work of Mixed Mental Arts to keep refining better and better tools to diffuse innovations. You can contribute money as Bryan has by paying for renting the studio and Hunter has by paying for the first version of the blog. You can contribute skills like Matt Maurer and Matt Madonna. You can make connections like Nicole Lee Page. You can write blogposts like Martin Totland. You can challenge Hunter to look at blindspots you think he’s avoiding like @mazz77a and Ro’ee Orland. Or you can set up your own dojo like Leland Chandler IV. Yes, you can set up your own dojo. In fact, we hope you do. Mixed Mental Arts doesn’t belong to us. It’s an approach to thinking just like Mixed Martial Arts is an approach to fighting. The goal is to have thinking styles compete and test each other. Bryan Callen and Hunter Maats want competition. We want to be forced to raise our game. Do it. Show us how it’s done. Beat us at our own game. Mixed Mental Arts will evolve in the exact same way as Mixed Martial Arts.

The best is yet to come. We’re just getting started. That’s what the Buddhist monks knew that we’re only just rediscovering. It’s all about putting the white belt back on every single day.

Right after being born in Saudi Arabia, I was taken to the Callen house. Since then, Bryan and I have travelled the world with our Citibank fathers and somehow ended up in LA together. There we’d run into each other at family gatherings and do something that no one else in LA seemed to be doing: we talked about books. Since Bryan was kind of a big deal, Hunter and Bryan hatched a scheme to use his podcast to get on their favorite authors and professors. Out of that evolved Mixed Mental Arts and this tribe. For me, the marriage of entertainment and education is a return to how things used to be before our culture split story into two separate things. It’s exciting to be able to build on the work Katie O’Brien and I did for The Straight-A Conspiracy and expand it out to every area of life. While I play a series of roles in the Mixed Mental Arts community (including Shitty Dutch Uncle and Bryan’s #1 fan) my favorite role is as Toto who pulls back the curtain and let’s the world see that there are no wizards…only men and women who try and puff themselves up to seem important.

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