169 - Why We’re Dumb: How to Think in the 21st Century with Tim Urban

Society is off track. We all feel it. What’s wrong? How do we fix it without throwing out all the good parts? We brought on Tim Urban to help us answer these questions.
Apr 30, 20231 min read

Tim Urban is a blogger, writer, and illustrator, who is best known for his blog "Wait But Why.” Started in 2013, “Wait But Why” covers various topics, from science and technology to social issues and human behavior. Tim recently wrote a book titled: “What's Our Problem?: A Self-Help Book for Societies,” which Ryan and David think offers a roadmap for the tribal crypto communities battling in the Web3 landscape.

In today’s episode, Tim covers many questions, but the overarching ones are:

1) Power Games vs Liberal Games

2) The Importance of Liberalism to Crypto protocols

3) How to find out whether your crypto tribe is a low-rung echo chamber, or high-mind idea lab

4) Why we MUST solve this problem in order to survive as a society

And of course, we had to ask him if AI is going to come kill us all…? Tim’s answer puts things into perspective.


0:00 Intro

7:48  Why Are We Angry?

8:53 Defining Liberalism

17:09 Liberal vs. Power Games

29:45 Modernity, Liberalism, Institutions, & Norms

42:32 How Radical is Crypto?

46:29 Crypto and Tim’s Radical Levels Pyramid

51:05 Steelmanning the Liberalism Argument

1:03:31 Higher vs. Primitive Mind

1:13:51 How to Ascend the Ladder

1:19:50 Low Wrung Thinkers, Social Media, & Society

1:25:05 Tim’s Thoughts on AI

1:32:00 What Gives Tim Hope?

1:35:20 Closing & Disclaimers


Tim Urban


Tim’s Blog


Tim’s New Book


Not financial or tax advice. This newsletter is strictly educational and is not investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any assets or to make any financial decisions. This newsletter is not tax advice. Talk to your accountant. Do your own research.

Disclosure. From time-to-time I may add links in this newsletter to products I use. I may receive commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. Additionally, the Bankless writers hold crypto assets. See our investment disclosures here.

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