Uncommon Knowledge: Peter Thiel on The Straussian Moment

Peter on his essay The Straussian Moment: Instead of violent wars there could be violent video games. Instead of heroic feats, there could be thrilling amusement park rides. Instead of serious thought, there could be intrigues of all sorts as if in a soap opera. It is a world where people spend their lives amusing themselves to death. [6:44]

Advice Peter would give to the 18-year-old version of himself: Think a lot harder about the future. Don’t think of education as a substitute for the future. Try to think concretely about what you want to do. There is something about the tracked educational system - it gets packaged as a form of thought. But it’s a substitute for thought. It’s a substitute for the future.  [44:10] 

You probably don’t want to do the things that are hyper-competitive that everyone is doing. [44:44]

[A good question to ask yourself] What’s a good career that other people aren’t pursuing? The politically incorrect career is petroleum engineering. It’s super lucrative. For ideological reasons, not enough people go into it. [45:21]

At this stage of your life, what are you trying to accomplish? It sounds too ambitious and grandiose but I would like our society to get back to the future. To get back to a society that is progressing in all these important dimensions. [46:11] 

The future arrives. It will be different from the present. If we don’t think about it, it is much less likely to be a good future than if we worked to craft it. [46:50]

Full video here