Leafbox
Leafbox Podcast
Interview: Josh Mitteldorf, PhD
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Interview: Josh Mitteldorf, PhD

The Convergence of Science and Spirit: A Journey Through Aging, Consciousness, and Beyond with Dr. Josh Mitteldorf
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Josh Mitteldorf, is a science writer, researcher in biology of aging, and poet, with a rebellious spirit and persistent curiosity. His interests span all the biggest topics in current affairs, as well as eternal questions of the human condition. Who is behind the pandemic and other assaults on humanity? Why do ETs look like us? Can the future reach back in time to cause the past? Are there transformative technologies, available to a select few that have been withheld from the public?

Dr Mitteldorf earned a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania. He has written a popular book and an academic book on the biology of aging. His websites include Aging Matters Blog, Experimental Frontiers, the Daily Inspiration, and Unauthorized Science. His forthcoming book includes a sonnet and graphic for each of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching.

Dr Mitteldorf lives in Philadelphia, where he teaches a weekly yoga class and plays in chamber music groups and a community orchestra. His two daughters were adopted from China in the 1980s, breaking diplomatic ground for a wave of Chinese-American adoptions in the following decades.

The interview delves into both his biographical and psychological past, unveiling the complex and multifaceted life of Dr. Mitteldorf. He seamlessly blends science, spirituality, and a profound sense of social responsibility in his pursuit to enhance the human experience.

The episode concludes with a poem reflecting his belief in the interconnectedness of all beings. Listen for the threads that tie together the spiritual, scientific, and activist pursuits of this extraordinary individual. 

Photo Credit: Josh Mitteldorf


Time Stamps

(01:40) Intro 

(04:16) Connecting the Threads of Josh’s Work - Buying Freedom

(07:31) Graduate Studies Berkeley, Life in Taiwan and Return to the US

(13:38) Caloric Restriction and Interest in Evolution Biology

(20:28) Predator / Prey Model and Evolutionary Basis for Death

(23:35) Thoughts on Anti-Aging Communities and Options

(26:42) Transhumanist Movement / Materialist World Views/ Post Materialist Physics / Consciousness 

(32:49) Spiritual Awakening / from Secular Jew to Quaker to Yoga

(37:55) Political Awakening / Work on Election Integrity 2004 / 9-11

(44:15) Confidence and Group Dynamics

(49:16) Eye Of the Storm / Collective Unconscious

(52:02) UAP / UFO Phenomenon / Unauthorized Science 

(1:01:44) Poem: Intersubjective Bootstrap


Transcription (AI Transcript - please excuse any mistakes in transcription!)

Leafbox:

Well, first thing I was going to, before we start the interview, I think, when did you start growing this beard? I think every other video I've seen. You haven't had a beard? Is that a new thing or just something that's come this year or

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Two years ago I was in the hospital or I was hit by a car.

Leafbox:

Yes I read about that.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Nobody was shaving me for the month. I was in the hospital and I asked my girlfriend, should I keep it or shave it off? And she said, keep it.

Leafbox:

I think it looks good. It looks very dignified.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I don’t want to look dignified.

Leafbox:

Rebellious. Then I'll say Josh. Oh good. I think,

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Oh good. I think!

Leafbox:

Right before I sat down, I think I finally connected some the threads in your work. So I reread that poem that I shared with you and I love poetry. I read poetry and I'm happy that you write poetry.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Which poem was that?

Leafbox:

This is the poem about an inquiry into the texture of experience and the plausibility of reincarnation. I think you wrote this back in 2012 or 15, 2015. It says, and it's your, I don't know what type of meditation practice you're doing, but it almost felt like a vipasanaesque analysis and sitting, I went to look at your blog again, undisclosed or unauthorized science and then your aging work. And it's all an attempt, at least my reading of what you're doing.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

You mean there's some coherence inside?

Leafbox:

I feel as a meditator as well that you're trying to use the sensory gates to understand this consciousness. So I don't know if that is what you're trying to do or what you're thinking about or what you're writing about, but maybe you can just respond to my reading of your poem.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

That sounds right. I have a relationship to vipasana. My meditation practice is looser than that, but Vipasana is certainly a deep source for me. Years and years ago, I used to go to the Insight Meditation Society in Barry Mass when I lived in Boston, paid attention to so many teachers over so many years.

Leafbox:

When I read your poem, I really felt like you were having that meditative practice of trying to open the gates and rereading your more recent writing. It just, everything starts seeing like you're just trying to understand the gates and you have a non-reactivity to what the gates are entering. So other writers tend to criticize or impose meaning. So I must congratulate you on your writing, so maybe we can start from there. And Josh, for people who don't know who you are, how do you describe yourself? Usually I would say you're a writer, researcher, but how do you consider yourself?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Usually people ask me, how do you make a living? And I say, I don't. Nobody will pay me to do the kinds of things that I do. And if I have a little bit of money coming in from my family, from social security, from savings, better use could I make of it than to buy freedom. Freedom to write about what I want to write about, to read what I want to read, think the thoughts that I like to think to pursue the activities that are meaningful to me. There was a time in my life when I tried to make money and it was a disaster. Both you made people feel bad around me and didn't make any money and I've been happy. That was in the early 1990s, I started a software business. I was a computer programmer. You would think that that would be a way to make a steady living, but both because of who I am and because the timing was a timing that when computer programming was in a transition, I don't know.

That's not a big part of my life. Who am I? I started out as a scientist. I took a yoga class when I was in grad school in Berkeley in the early seventies and it had a deep effect on me. And since then it's come together that the meaning of my life is to find a reconciliation between the scientific worldview and the mystical worldview. Other things I'm interested in are classical pianist. Probably the most influential and unconscious thing that I've done over my whole life was that in the mid 1980s, my wife and I weren't getting pregnant. She was worried, what are we going to do? Let's, she brought home a pamphlet to adopt a baby from Korea. I said, well, I don't have any connections to Korea, but I speak Chinese, I have lots of Chinese friends. Let's adopt from China. Neither of us had any idea at the time that that was impossible, that nobody had ever done it before. But we ended up breaking diplomatic ground, adopting the first baby from China. My daughter is number one.

Leafbox:

Where do you think that, you said that Berkeley, you took that yoga class, but do you think there was a moment before that that you were going against the grain, A feeling of trying to look for truth or trying to find, I am curious where that discipline.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Yeah, I've been a rebel all my life

Leafbox:

Where does that come from?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

In my high school, I never obeyed the rules. So there's an ordinary streak in the anti-establishment. And then of course I came of age in the Vietnam era. It was a heady time. People my age, 19, 20 years old thought that our generation was going to change capitalism. We were going to change the culture, women's rights, peace. I never got into drugs, but drugs were part of that movement. And then our generation produced Bill Clinton and George Bush. It's been a big disappointment ever since the time. It was the age of Aquarius and it belonged to us.

Leafbox:

Josh, you said that you studied at the graduate level at Berkeley. I think it was astrophysics, right. Tell me about that research and then I also believe that you went to Taiwan during that time. What was that experience and how does that fit into everything?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

It was a confusing time for me. On the one hand, I was good at physics. It's what I had been trained to do from early on. My father always wanted me to be a scientist. It felt natural to me to be a physicist. And the understanding came easy to me in a way that I know it didn't come easy to most other people. So I was a physicist. On the other hand, the culture was pulling in the other direction. Transformations in Berkeley centered at the time about social movements, about peace and yoga was part of that. So I felt torn. I also had no social skills. I had the good fortune to have one of the assistant professors mentored lovingly by a young assistant professor from India. So it was great when Ram invited me into his group The year after that, I had a wonderful year working with him.

We did several projects that felt really good to me. And then he didn't get tenure looking all over the world, where can you find employment? He ended up at Max Plunk Institute in Germany. I had no connection to Germany, no sense I was going to do that. So I really languished, I didn't know what to do. And I dropped out of school, went to live in Taiwan for a while. It was a place where nobody would ask Why did you drop out of grad school? They were just happy to be acquainted with an American that you couldn't go to China, went to Taipei where there was lots of opportunity to learn. Chinese cemented a strong connection to the Chinese people and culture. And

Leafbox:

Then during that time, you returned then to finish your PhD, tell me about the life period.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

After I returned to America, I was at loose ends. I had a girlfriend who had another boyfriend while I was gone. I was heartbroken. I flew to Boston. So she had been with me in Berkeley, but she graduated and went to Boston for grad school and I flew to Boston just to be with her because she was the closest thing I had to stability, connection, a reason to be. So I moved in, I moved to Boston to be with her and my college roommate had been working at a school for emotionally disturbed kids and he told tales of just how much he learned from it and how challenging it was and how it pushed him on all kinds of levels. And as I said, I can't go to a job interview. I don't have the skills to go for a job interview. I don't have the whatever it takes in the danien to be able to walk into a job interview with confidence.

I ain't got it. So my college roommate handed me the job that he had had at this private school for emotionally disturbed children in the suburbs of Boston. That's where I went when I came back Taiwan after that I was a piano teacher for several years and slowly drifted back into physics. I got a job in a think tank as sort of a summer intern where again, you didn't have to apply for it, didn't have to interview because it was just a summer internship. But they loved me and they offered me a permanent job. So now I was doing physics full time and everybody who had a degree was doing the same thing I was doing, but had more freedom and more status, slowly gravitated back toward grad school. And I married a Philadelphian, we remet at our 10th reunion. She still is a civil rights lawyer in Philadelphia with deep roots. Both of her grandfathers were prominent lawyers in Philadelphia. She grew up, she says black sheep of the Ballad family. She went to work for the other side representing employees in civil rights cases when everybody in her family was working for the establishment. Highly paid corporate lawyers. I was deep in love with her and I came to live in Philadelphia and went back to grad school at University of Pennsylvania while I was here, finished my PhD.

Leafbox:

So I'm just trying to understand your personality because there's a looseness and shifting and unanchored base. When do you start feeling, because your writing is quite anchored, I feel you have a confidence in your openness to approach ideas. So does that just come from that rebellious nature? When do you feel like you're starting to ground yourself? The longevity anti-aging work is very rooted feeling. It doesn't feel loose. So where does that shift start to come for you?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

It's interesting that you should ask, and I don't know how to relate to the idea of rooted, but I've had a lot of intellectual self-confidence all my life. And I was at the top of my class and when I was in junior high school and high school, just way ahead of anybody who had graduated from that high school and any of the teacher's memory. So I had an intellectual confidence in myself from very early on combined with complete, I was a basket case socially or anything involving human relations. Took me a long time to have a girlfriend. I didn't have a girlfriend until I was what, 23 years old. But the sense that I could think the confidence in my own ability to solve problems and to think scientifically. I've had that since I can remember.

Leafbox:

Do you think that combination of the un-anchored social part and then the confidence in the intellectual allows you to approach topics from a unique angle or kind of against dogma or just fusion comes into play and how you approach information?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I don't feel like I'm socially a basket case anymore. I've advanced a little bit from that. When I was married, I had a high performing wife and I was like a house husband. Taking care of the kids was really important to me. Professional things that I did sort of on the side a lot like a housewife of the 1950s. I think part of the reason for the divorce was that I was outgrowing that I was starting to act like women act when they're confined in the home and have more in them than that. Around that same time I had this experience of reading an article in Scientific America, Richard Weiner describing research, caloric restriction. The less you feed an animal the longer it lives. And I'd been afraid of death my whole life. I'd been trying to eat healthy my whole life. And what's this that you're getting all the nutrients into you isn't what it's about.

Starving yourself is the way to a longer life. And this was just so counterintuitive. I thought deeply about what could this mean. It became clear to me in the moment that I read that article that anything the body can do when it's starving could do the same thing if it is fully fed. So that alone implies that getting old and dying is a choice that the body is making and a choice that the body is making means that it's an evolutionary program. We are programmed to age and die. And I concluded that just from the caloric restriction information, 1996, I think it was that I wrote this up as a monograph cited evidence loosely, but the idea that this proves that we're programmed to die and that evolution we're evolved to have finite lifespans, and I sent it out, I found a listserv of evolutionary biologists sent it to about a thousand evolutionary biologists, and I think the internet in 1996 was text-based.

There was no spam. Can you imagine? There was no spam. So when I sent this out to a thousand evolutionary biologists, I had dozens of responses. People read it and wrote back to me and they were very kind and very condescending and they said, no, you don't understand. Evolution doesn't work that way. You should read the work of George Williams. He'll explain to you that it's not possible for, it's not possible for aging to be an adaptation because that would require group selection and only individual selection, not group selection is the way evolution works. And I got all the letters, said the same thing, and I scratched my head And what's this about and why does it require group selection and why is group selection bad? So I was interested and I spent a year going back and forth to the Penn Biology library. I had graduated from Penn and physics, but I spent a lot of time in the Penn Biology library.

Of course I read the book by George Williams Adaptation and Selection, which everybody had recommended to me at the end of the year. I got it. I got why it requires group selection for aging to evolve. I got why they thought group selection doesn't work, but I continue to believe that the evidence is that aging is adaptive, that the body is choosing to die. It's not something that happens to us, it's something that the body is doing to itself. So I thought, this is great. This is a problem that has my name on it. How many times has there been a place when the scientific community as a whole has just gone off in the wrong direction, followed their theory to a wrong conclusion? As I said, a problem that has my name on it, my job is to reconcile the theory of evolution with the observed fact that aging is an adaptation that the body chooses.

It was really exciting. It motivated me, it pulled me into the field and it was an intellectual challenge because one of the skills I have is computer modeling came naturally from my work in physics. So I did computer modeling of evolution and evolutionary ecology and can I make it work that aging emerges as an adaptation and I couldn't. For five years I kept coming up with one model after another and the models kept doing exactly what these evolutionary theorists said they would do. And aging was if there's an aging version and a non aging version, the aging version was always eliminated. The non aging version was better adapted and drove the aging version to extinction. So for five years I was playing with the theory and trying to reconcile it with the biology, which I knew it was the greatest intellectual challenge I've ever taken on.

And I look back now and think how naive I was to think that this is the only area in science where the experts have all made a mistake and where there's an opportunity for somebody to come in and be a heretic the way I enjoy being a heretic. In the years since then, I've realized there are so many places where science has its head up its ass and where they're just clinging to the theory because that's what they're paid to do and where the experimental evidence flies in the face of the theory, but nobody wants to look at that.

Leafbox:

Josh, how did you reconcile those, the evolutionary and the aging? If you could discuss your own evolution and how you view the aging issue. I know that you've evolved the telomeres and the signaling systems and you've written about it on your blog.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

The breakthrough came from the student. I have a friend Rory Wilensky, who invented the net logo programming language and he had a student named Damien Sentola who did a model of predators and prey in his models of predators and prey. The predator's reproduction is limited by the prey population, not by how fast they can reproduce. They can't reproduce any faster than the prey population is reproducing. If they wipe out the prey population, they're gone. If they reduce the prey population, then their kids aren't going to have enough to eat. So Damien told me about the great success he had had in this in modeling aging in the context of predator and prey. And I ignored it for a while because, oh, it's just a student project and he must've made a mistake. But after a few months I did eventually reproduce it myself and that was the breakthrough.

And at that point I thought I understood something about group selection and about aging that what ties the group together in the case of animals, not plants, but in the case of animals, every animal population depends on either a plant or another animal population that they have to eat and there's nothing in it for them to eat faster, to consume more so that they can grow their benefit, their genes, the fact that there's a common prey population ties the whole predator population together. They have a community of interest because if they don't take care of this prey population, their grandchildren are all going to starve. So that to me became the to group selection. And I still believe that all group selection eventually boils down to having community interest in preserving the rest of the ecosystem. Usually it means preserving the prey population. When I mentioned this breakthrough to my mentor in group selection, David Sloan Wilson, he said -- 'oh, yes. Michael Gilpin wrote up the same idea in 1975' at a time when the evolutionary community was really NOT ready to take his message in.

Leafbox:

That's interesting, Josh, because some of your writing becomes ecological as well and your concern with population issues and ecological management, which we

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Can, you think the humans aren't doing a good job of preserving the other species that we depend on. That's a unique idea.

Leafbox:

Well, before we go there, I wanted to, you wrote the book, I forget the title, the aging book. That's when you actually applied practical solutions for people to extend life

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Cracking the Aging Code. Correct. In combination with Dorian Sagan,

Leafbox:

What was the response to that book? What have you changed from now? I think you're one of the first at least Western kind of pushing that biohacking longevity along with a gray. And maybe tell me about that movement and how you've changed or how you reflect on that period.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I don't think I was the first and there's, there's some implication from this evolutionary understanding of aging that helps you choose strategies for living a long time and staying healthy. There are lots of biohackers out there. I don't feel like I have a corner on that market at all. I have a few suggestions. I think it's a wide open field. Part of the reason that it keeps so many different people busy is that there is no answer. This is the best diet, this is the best exercise program. No, it varies from person to person and the best diet for you isn't going to be the best diet for me. So there's plenty of room for lots of people to propose alternatives. And if you ask me what's the best way to live for a long time, I'd say experiment in yourself. Try different patterns of socializing, of exercising, eating, and be enough in tune with your body that you get the feedback and you can start to judge what's working for you.

Leafbox:

What do you think of just contemporary aging, anti-aging community? And I'm just curious if you have thoughts on the transhumanist movement or more naturalist approaches to anti-aging and

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Yeah, so many different ideas. Where do we start? When do you want to start with that one?

Leafbox:

Well, I think your own, you said you're very fearful of death, I think you said, right? Or were?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I was, and I've outgrown it. It's been a great gift.

Can just to my meditation practice, I came to have really a heart-centered belief in reincarnation that is matched by the evidence you read books about starting with the in Stevenson way back in the 1980s, documenting these cases of children who remembered their past lives and now there are several American authors who've collected cases like this, undeniably kids remember something that sure didn't come to them in the womb and it's verifiably connected to some other person's life a few years earlier.

Leafbox:

I mean, you're starting to go into the more esoteric, which is great. But before we go there, maybe we can talk about your general thoughts on kind of the transhumanist energy behind some of these anti-aging individuals or movements or how you feel that ties into the, I mean on the other end there's kind of people who are really concerned about population growth, the malthusian view of the earth and population. So just how you fit into the contemporary movement. What's driving these people in anti-aging studies and what you think they're doing right or wrong or where they're going.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I was an early advocate and I felt early. I was invited into the transhumanist movement and I accepted with gratitude and was enthusiastic about the early transhumanist movement. Since then, I've become very worried about the direction that the transhumanist movement is taking, particularly the great reset ideas, the eugenic threads that are running through transhumanism that I'm just really uncomfortable with. So that's an outline. A central idea is what's the relationship? This is the biggest problem in science I believe. What is the relationship between consciousness and physical materiality? The most common view, I call it the standard Western scientific view, is that consciousness has something to do with computation. The brain is a computer and when you put enough computational complexity in one place, you get self-reflection in a way that Douglas Hofstadter described very explicitly. But everybody else is really thinking the same thing, but not as clearly as Douglas Hofstadter made the case 20 years ago.

Consciousness is an epiphenomenon of computation. A computer that's sophisticated enough to form a model of itself graduates into consciousness. I think that's wrong. Maybe it comes from my meditation practice, maybe it comes from analytics, maybe it comes from acquaintance with the vast literature of parapsychology in which brains don't explain everything that the human mind is capable of, that there's information that comes into us that's extrasensory. There's memory that's formed when the brain is in a near death experience when the brain is flatlined. There's no electric activity in the brain and yet the person has awareness, not just memories of that time, but is aware of what's going around them and in some cases, aware of things that happened far away, say they traveled to astrally while they were clinically dead. So I believe that there's not just a meditation, not just a basis from introspection and meditation for the view that consciousness is not generated by the brain.

Consciousness is bigger and maybe consciousness precedes physical matter. Consciousness is the ground of being. As Amit go, Swami is fond of saying the fabric of reality is consciousness and matter builds on that. So I'm more comfortable with that idea and I think there's evidence for it. The transhumanist movement is very much rooted in the idea that humans are animals and animals are machines. Biology is just mechanical. Like any other very complex machine. The brain is a computer and people talk about merging a computer with the brain and they talk. The most diluted, I think, and misguided is when people talk about uploading their consciousness to a computer. Well, I'll die, but that's okay because all of my thoughts and my consciousness will be inside a computer. I think that's completely misguided. Your consciousness lives in consciousness, space, your consciousness. It's primary awareness. It's the most fundamental part of human experience is knowing that you exist, having this experience, this light that's inside you, that's consciousness from moment to moment.

And it exists when you're not thinking it exists when you're thinking and when you're not thinking. It's a primal awareness that's quite apart from computation or from brain function. Even if you could produce a computer that completely accurately emulated all the behaviors of a human being, it would not be conscious. You would not have this light going on. There wouldn't be anybody home inside. When I say I look in the eyes of a dog and I know there's somebody in there, somebody to relate to. I even see pictures of movies of a worm squirming or of a parmeciumbeing entrapped, engulfed. I have a favorite video of a parmecium engulfed by an amoeba panicking when it realizes it's being digested. Let me out of here, let me out of here. There's some consciousness there. There's a being in there I can relate to. There's a poem by Robert Frost about spec on a piece of paper, which he realize is a mite that's crawling across the paper, speculates what it's like to be that mite. So I believe that living things are connected to consciousness. Consciousness is inside them. I don't think that computation is the basis for consciousness and that's really a big thing that separated me from the transhumanist movement.

Leafbox:

What was your spiritual upbringing, what your current spirituality is? I think I've heard you talk about the Dao. Maybe you can tie those three parts together. What religious background do you have?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I was raised a secular Jew, so my family was Jewish. My parents were not religious, my grandparents were religious. My parents dragged me to Hebrew school so that I could have a bar mitzvah and they said, you got to do this. It's for your grandparents. And I did it because they were right. My grandparents really would've been very disappointed if I didn't have a bar mitzvah, but my heart wasn't in it and I was writing atheist essays while I was in high school, how evil religion is and how it's just a way to manipulate people, the delusion of God. I was very much in the Dawkins school at that time of my life. I was 23 looking for a summer job and found a job at a Quaker nudist camp in Vermont called Farm and Wilderness Camp where I was the waterfront director and I was hired at the last moment.

It was the first time I felt part of a community. It was a wonderful experience for me. The summer of 1972, Quaker meetings were an integral part of camp life. 15 minutes of sitting quietly. Sometimes people would stand up and say something, but there was a lot of just sitting quietly. So at that time I took to sitting on the ground with my legs crossed. The kids would come up to me afterwards and say, is that yoga? And I'd heard the word yoga, but I didn't know what it was. And no, it's just me sitting with my legs crossed seemed more comfortable than sitting on the bench. We were sitting outdoors in a circle. This is a very back to nature, camp farm and wilderness camps in Vermont. I still feel connected to them. I sent my kids there when they got to be of age. It's an important community to me. So I returned to grad school in the fall after that, and yoga was a B in my bonnet. And when I saw an ad for a yoga class, I said, well, I'm going to try that, see what it's like. And it was a complete revelation to go into this class, physical exercises, just do this with your body, but then pointing me to, and you're going to feel this way and maybe this kind of thought is coming into your mind.

I was hypnotized. I felt like I had a body for the first time in my life. It was as if before that I was just a disembodied brain and now somebody was teaching me, you have a body, your body is speaking to you. You can speak to your body. Spirituality began to grow in me from that first yoga class, Sharon Satan became Sharon Campbell when she got married that year, she may still be teaching yoga for all I know. She was up to a few years ago. She was my first yoga teacher and she gave me this great gift of planting a seed spirituality inside me. And after that, I've had a daily yoga practice ever since 1972, and I've been teaching yoga. I've been teaching one class a week since 1977. I started teaching yoga. It just means a lot to me to give back this gift, this experience.

Leafbox:

And do you think that spiritual openness is what kind of distinguishes you from the transhumanists? They seem to be, like you said, de spiritualized, right? They're trying to upload into the singularity and some of your writing you're talking about maybe connecting back to the anti-aging. I mean this might seem like a jump, but you talk about things that the rich and powerful are doing that's different than the rest of the community, and maybe this goes into the more conspiratorial, but maybe we could start discussing where those threads of the kind of transhumanist des Spiritualized agenda are coming from and what they're doing and how you're looking at that maybe from a spiritual battle or a spiritual duality or you talk about parapsychology all, it starts starting to blend together, so maybe we can go there if you want.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

My political awakening started in the 2004 election when I was a statistician for a rum group of people who were finding deep evidence that the election had been stolen. That was radicalizing to me. Not that the election had been stolen, that was interesting enough, but that when we took our evidence to the New York Times, the New York Times did not want to hear about it. They,

Leafbox:

Sorry to interrupt Josh. This is the second election of George Bush, is that it

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Bush versus Kerry. It's all on electronically and with computers in Ohio. It came out later, the story you can read how Govtech solutions in Tennessee was the backup computer for the computer that counted the votes in Ohio, and the Ohio computer was swapped out for the Tennessee computer in the middle of the night and the Tennessee computer had a back door to the bush White House where Karl Rove was switching votes by hand. This is all it's well documented but kept quiet. It's actually in the back pages of the New York Times if you look for it, but it's not an reality that's acknowledged to this day. The big radicalizing thing was realizing that we took our story to the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party, even though these were Republican stealing votes from Democrats, they didn't want to have anything to do with this and neither did the New York Times, which is supposed to be a democratic newspaper.

And that was my first inkling that politics is not the way it's portrayed to us. And it was actually a year and a half later, 2006 that I finally latched onto the physical evidence that nine 11 was not as it had been portrayed to us. And that was a real turning point for me to realize that all of the newspapers I had counted on, I was a left-leaning liberal. So the nation is really where I got my political news. I read the New York Times regularly, I listened to NPR and all of them were in complete denial. They were following the Bush administration's narrative about what had happened on nine 11, and I finally had to admit myself that it was physically impossible, the story that buildings don't fall down in that way. No building that's been hit by an airplane has ever come down at all, let alone come down all at once in at free fall speed as if, so my physics background, I finally allowed the physics background to prevail and say, look, the story we're told is impossible and I have to start doubting what I read in the newspapers and what I hear on the radio, and that's what's gradually led me to a radical political view that we're being lied to.

There are people who know all this and they're perpetrating these atrocities like 9-11 like covid to keep us scared and they'll keep doing it until we rise up and say, we're not going to let you do this to us anymore. I think there's a major cultural shift that's happening.

9-11 was a big cultural event, but it didn't affect people's everyday lives. It affected airplane travel school shootings. There was more of a police presence, but nothing like what happened with covid years later where we were locked down. The whole economy was shut down. People were afraid of inviting their neighbor over for dinner. Covid was used to change our everyday life in a way that nine 11 was not. Nine 11 was used to pass the Patriot Act and to give central authority and police powers to a corrupt government. But it wasn't until 20 years later, COVID really changed our everyday lives. We're at a crucial time in human history where either we're going to be enslaved by a central world government that surveils our every move controls what we can buy with our money. Digital money is completely trackable and like your politics, they can take it away. In China, there's already a system like that, a social credit system. Either we're going to go in that direction or people are going to wake up and take back our communities, take back our power, take back our democracy, take back the constitution, a glorious day when the billionaires are overthrown and really there will be enough to feed and house all of us.

This is a bountiful earth and we can all live in comfort if there's no greed and if there's no predatory class that's leaching our work and our resources for their benefit.

Leafbox:

When you sent your email out to the listserv of the evolutionary biologists, obviously that parallels to your efforts and I guess your vote information against the New York Times that heretic nature. How do people respond to that? I'm just curious, how do you keep assured on, is it because you have a physics background that's rooted in kind of a reality or how do you build and maintain that intellectual

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Confidence? I'm stubborn and I'm intellectually arrogant and it works against me sometimes, but mostly it works for me. I've learned to be open-minded, learned to listen to people unless they're spouting what they heard on the radio that I've heard this a million times before. I know why I disagree with it, but genuinely new ideas. I've disciplined myself propensity to look for the places where the establishment has it wrong and to correct them. That's a theme that's been running through me all this time. So just to go back to the evolutionary biologist in 1996, I wrote up what I had after I finally figured it out that it has to do with the Predator pray dynamics, and this is the key to group selection. I had a paper that I submitted to Journal of Theoretical Biology in the year 2001, I think it was. I finally felt that I understood the problem well enough to explain it to evolutionary biologist Journal of the Biology refused to review my paper. I got a one sentence review back that says JTB shouldn't touch this topic with a 10 foot pole. That whole review, that was peer review. So it's gratifying for me to realize that group selection has come a long way, that there are many prominent biologists now who believe what I believe that aging is an adaptation that we're programmed from natural selection to die for the sake of the community, not for the sake of the individual. There are many, many people who believe that it's still a little bit taboo. It's not the majority. It gives me faith in science that science has moved in the right direction this time and it makes

Me feel secretly proud that I've been part of this revolution. The whole way that the community sees aging is very different now than it was 25 years ago, and I can get my papers published, I can get them reviewed in Journal of Theoretical Biology, and I've got some respect. I don't have the recognition, oh, Josh Middledorf, he is the one who made us realize that aging is adaptive. I don't think that's ever going to happen and I don't need that. It's enough for me to secretly know that I had a lot to do with this revolution. I was in there at the ground floor.

Just to finish up the thought that I had before, so we’re at this knife edge. Are we going to go into totalitarianism or are we going to go into a new decentralized utopian future, the more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible? As Charles Eisenstein says, and there's where it connects to my spirituality. I feel that we're being guided by a larger force.

I don't think it adds anything to call that God. Maybe it's closer to call destiny. Maybe there's a direction to history and to evolution that brings all of our souls together. I don't think that we're headed for a time of slavery and a new dark age. I think we're headed for a very stormy time leading to liberation, and I can't justify that by a political analysis or we have the power to do it. Our force is going to overcome the force now I just feel that the help will come in just the right way and this miraculous, this transformation will be given to us if we all work for it.

Leafbox:

Well, I was going to just say that the parallel I see Josh, is that in your evolutionary model, the community takes care. The individual has to die or maintain itself and go in the right direction for the benefit of the entire community. So I agree with that view personally, I think there's more of a great awakening. Personally I see it, the informational battlefield is becoming very destabilized and I think people are, the hyper normality of it becomes difficult for people as it destabilizes, but that is flooring down. So I'm curious. It's interesting how you can maintain that confidence in a world that's definitely wavy growing instability in terms of just understanding information. Oh yeah, it's

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Eye of the storm. The eye of the storm. I think that the world is very different from the world that's been painted for us both politically and scientifically. The idea that consciousness is at the heart of physics is certainly nowhere in conventional physics now, although there are people calling for a post materialist physics, there is a movement within science to do that, and there's certainly a movement for a great free set. Instead of the great reset, there's plenty of political opposition, political organizing to create a decentralized and free alternative future. So those movements are happening. It's not going to be comfortable for anybody to realize as the reality comes out that we've been pawns in a game played by extraterrestrials mind has been shaping history collective mind. The collective unconsciousness has been shaping history in ways that we never imagined when we were thinking more traditionally about the forces that the political and military forces make things happen.

I think it's going to be really, really uncomfortable. I don't know what the new reality is going to look like. The core of my practice is just to keep open and to say, I expect the world is going to turn out to be very different from everything I've understood all my life, and I don't know what it is going to look like, but my practice is to be able to keep open-minded so as these revelations come, I can be part of a community that makes sense out out of the new reality that's gradually presented to us.

Leafbox:

Josh, you went over two very interesting topics very quickly. The first being the UAP alien, I would call global Mind. Maybe you could explore those two theories. I'm not so familiar with the first one. The other one sounds more of a Buddhist kind of. Yeah. What are those? Maybe you can talk about your third blog, the Unauthorized Science and where that fits into your mean making and your more esoteric and more controversial views

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

For all of our lives flying have been the stuff of diluted people believe in flying saucers. They're crazy in one way or another, and now we have government acknowledging we have the New York Times presenting stories of UFOs with a straight face, all the evidence, all the competent and sane people who have been reporting UFOs for decades. Suddenly we start to realize, gee, they saw something we weren't seeing. They were right, but what is this phenomenon? Is it extraterrestrial or I don't know that this is necessarily beings from another planet. They look an awful lot like humans.

Other races living underground as in HG Wells' time machine novel. Are there branches of human evolution that produce these extraterrestrials? Is their technology physical or is their technology at least half mental? They're able to travel faster than light and be in more than one place at a time because they've merged mind and machine. I think there's reality in the U Ffo phenomenon or UAP phenomenon. I think that our history has probably been shaped by beings that are not what we traditionally call human, whether they come from out of space, it may be, or it may be that we have some kind of common origin, or it may be that our relationship to physical reality is different enough so that that question is not as clear cut as it would seem in our present way of thinking. I think this is coming out. I think that maybe in the next months, but certainly in the next few years, it's going to become clear what this phenomenon is all about and who these beings are, and do they have a different relationship to physical mechanical reality than we have.

Leafbox:

Josh, do you ever think the UAP is just a government propaganda device to augment their capabilities to suggest that we need a stronger air force or space force.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Absolutely. That's part of it. There is more disinformation and more misleading information being deliberately directed in the field of UFOs than any other field, and yet I don't believe that that's the whole story. I think there's a core, there is also something happening. Why do I believe that? Because of all these pilots that say routinely, every other time I'm up there, I see something flying that I can identify because of people I know who have had encounters with alien beings because of John Mack, the Harvard professor of psychiatry who started out in the 1990s saying, what kind of psychosis would make people think that they're being abducted by space aliens? And he spent 10 years talking to these people, and at the end of 10 years, he wrote two books saying, the reason they're saying that is they were abducted by space aliens. Yes, there's a lot of government propaganda trying to mislead us, but it's not the whole story. There's also something really strange going on. It's going to transform our view of who we are and how the world works when it finally comes out.

Leafbox:

Josh, I was going to ask you if you ever speak to religious philosophers or religious scholars about the parallels between people, magical elements, fairies, witches, and how people in destabilizing complex times create answers to phenomenon? So I'm just curious how you fit in or if you think many of these ideas are just kind of new religious movements, if the UFO is potentially.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Recently, I've been reading Jacques Vallee, who was the classic proponent of that idea. He says that UFOs of the 20th centuries version of leprechauns, it's coming from the same place. He's not denying that it's real, but he's saying that the relationship between the mythical these spiritual beings and physical reality is not as clear cut as we think that there's crossover between a world of spirit and a world of matter, and he says UFOs are one form that that can take. I don't think that explains everything, but I think there's truth in that enough that I've spent a lot of time listening to Jacques Vallee.

Leafbox:

Josh, can you tell me a little bit about your research and work with the, I think the breakaway, what is it called, breakaway civilizations and kind of the dumbs and all this secretive? Yeah, just where this parallel world do you think is potentially, I mean, it's so out. I

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Think this conversation has gone so far and in so many different directions. If it's okay with you, I'd like to break here and we'll come back and do another interview, and there are plenty more directions to go. In the meantime, I'm really grateful for you connecting with so many different aspects of me and being interested in my biography.

Leafbox:

No, I think it's very important because one, I think it's honorable to keep a intellectual confidence when the forces of information are against that. Either you can be stubborn or wrong, but I think you've been proven right with possibly with your evolutionary theories and some of your aging research. So I think that's a model to replicate, and particularly when I listened to another interview, you were saying trading freedom for some of the economic benefits. I think that's interesting to understand how that fits into a narrative view. Yeah, Josh, I mean, there's so many topics you write about, so I'm trying to fit them all into one, but I'd love to do another.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Sure, yeah, I really would like schedule another time at your convenience.

Leafbox:

My last question, Josh, 

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

I’m exhausted for now. No, no. 

Leafbox:

Josh, my last question is, is there anything specifically you'd like people to know about what you're working on right now or what's the best way for people to find you or, I mean, I'll link obviously to your sites and whatnot, but is there something you're particularly thinking about right now?

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

The daily inspiration is a project that I started when I first became depressed about the state of the world after this, realizing that elections were stolen and the Democratic Party didn't want to do anything about it, I started saying, alright, instead of engaging with the news, I'm going to write something, find something inspiring and put it on a webpage once a day. And I started doing that in 2005. I'm still doing it 19 years later, and it's not quite as regularly every single day, but it's the most consistent project I've ever done. All my poetry is in there, and anything that I find inspiring from day to day is on daily inspiration.org, daily inspiration.org, and then there's middledorf.substack.com is where I do the unauthorized science work. My aging work is on science blog, josh middledorf.scienceblog.com, and occasionally my stuff gets picked up by others. I was honored when the Midwestern doctor picked up my graph showing that the vaccines are not protecting us against Covid. That was just published yesterday and I was thrilled. Occasionally, Robert Kennedy's cite the Children's Health Defense, picks up my work and I'm published there and proud to be associated with 'em. And yes, deep underground military bases, breakaway civilizations. I think there's evidence that there are technologies known to some humans that are unknown in the conventional scientific literature and with the UFO stuff that's going to break into our conventional reality and have a transformative effect. So that, that's a good topic to begin with. Next time. I have a poem I could read. You want me to do that or?

Leafbox:

Yeah, that'd be wonderful. Yeah. We can close with a poem.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Close with a poem, the Intersubjective Bootstrap.

If all life is a dream, is it your dream or mine?
And why should our two worlds agree?
An answer avails if we’re both The Divine,
At our source, I am you and you’re me.
Though it seems that we’re separate (I trust you’ll concur
It’s a stretch to conceive “one great soul”)
Still, we sense there are times when our boundaries blur
Our designs coalesce as one whole.

If together we’ve dreamed up this life, with its flaws
And its numberless wonders untold,
Might we rein back our species to mind Nature’s laws,
Who can say what new worlds will unfold?
We might harness the power of resonant thought—
We might dream exploitation to cease.
Once we own all the battles that e’er man has fought,
Are we ready to co-create peace?

Leafbox:

Wonderful. Josh, thank you for dreaming with us and just sending you a lot of metta. Thank you very much for your time and for your efforts.

Josh Mitteldorf PhD:

Oh, I'm just so flattered that you reached out to me and that you're interested in all these different aspects. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Bye, Robert.

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