"Ubiquitous Psychopathology" with Daniel Schmachtenberger

"Ubiquitous Psychopathology" with Daniel Schmachtenberger

In this episode, Daniel Schmachtenberger joins Scott Andrew of Project Sanity and addresses how the current civilization model generates sub clinical mental disorders in nearly everyone who participates with it.

Ep 17 VIDEO PREVIEW - Daniel Schmachtenberger speaks about macro socio-economic factors and sustainability dynamics relating to the present global civilization model in the context of existential angst.

Full Episode:

Ubiquitous Psychopathology is the first extended episode of Project Sanity's Feb 2018 Social Vaccine series of weekly extended episodes.


As individuals and as societies at large, we adapt to and shape our environments. Presently, the systems we have created are conditioning us in ways that are grossly misaligned with our overall well-being. This correlates with a widespread impairment of healthy psychological functions and empathy. We discuss how institutions, economic structures, and social environments are fine tuned to concentrate power and maximize profit, unaccountable to the externalities. We illuminate the mounting pressures of existential and catastrophic risks, along with our sense of the consequences. We consider that this ubiquitous unwellness is the result of multiple factors, especially the perpetuation of strategies that perversely incentivize or justify harmful behavior and that confound our sensemaking. We touch upon meaningful ways to reconnect and build back our agency. 

In This Episode:

  • Ubiquitous misinformation 
  • Defining sanity 
  • Collectively suicidal behavior 
  • Social power structures
  • Conditioning abuse of power
  • Mental unwellness across the scale
  • Loneliness & addiction cycle
  • Social Media is antithetical to wellbeing
  • Macroeconomics tied to perverse incentive
  • Existential angst 
  • Collapse of a globally interconnected infrastructure 
  • The war on sensemaking
  • Reversing the damage of traumatic conditioning
  • Homelessness and turning off empathy
  • How can we reverse the conditioning 
  • Rejection of the body, in the legal system
  • Restoring individual and collective quality of life

Show Notes:
0:00 Intro
4:45 The importance of seeing reality with as little distortion as possible
7:34 Examples of environmental casualties of industry
8:15 Can we call the thing that we are doing civil?
10:16 The feedback of societal conditioning and adapting to a damaged world
12:47 Where power is concentrated, power is abused
15:05 A look at mechanisms of widespread psychological dysphoria
18:11 Social media’s addictive attention maximizing algorithms
20:45 Hyponormal environments & susceptibility to hypernormal stimuli
24:43 Perverse incentive in media, food industry, pharma, & military
34:44 We are under-responding to very near-term profound risks & global issues
36:25 A fundamentally different conversation than people “catastrophizing”
40:35 A scenario where we have decentralized exponential/catastrophic tech
41:33 The context that can create ubiquitous individual psychopathology
44:02 A way forward; conditioning a virtuous cycle of resilient healthy behavior
54:39 What are the right ethical approaches to macro dynamics?
57:48 Engaging in meaningful connection and problem solving as individuals
1:03:11 Trust and mistrust when information integrity is broken down
1:08:05 In a well world we would not be able to step over a homeless person
1:09:05 An unhealthy relationship with body image and shame
1:11:36 Law, nudity, and victimless crimes
1:18:53 Authentic relationships, a starting point to evolving in healthy ways

Mentioned In This Episode:



Daniel helped co-found the Neurohacker Collective, specifically focused on the research and product development process. In addition to his central interests related to social systems, he has had a long term interest in integrative medicine and human health.
Daniel is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.

The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal.
Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.
Motivated by the belief that advancing collective intelligence and capacity is foundational to the integrity of any civilization, and necessary to address the unique risks we currently face given the intersection of globalization and exponential technology, he has spoken publicly on many of these topics, hoping to popularize and deepen important conversations and engage more people in working towards their solutions. Many of these can be found here.

1 Comment

  • Allisin Gillott
    As a physicist right near Silicon Valley, I have many opportunities to work for companies that are not aligned with my higher guidance. Many people wonder why I am not using my degree and do not understand the moral obligations that I feel necessary in order to contribute to the betterment of society. I have faith that my opportunity is coming. This man speaks volumes of truth, bless his soul. #FaithInHumanity #RiseUp
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