This interview is part of a series discussing mandates, restrictions and censorship with musicians and music fans—read more of these interviews here.
Dr. Mark Changizi is a theoretical neurobiologist, entrepreneur and author.
He has written several books on his research, THE BRAIN FROM 25,000 FEET (2003), THE VISION rEVOLUTION (2009) and HARNESSED: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man (2011).
His latest book Expressly Human: Decoding The Language of Emotion is available for pre-order now and will be out in July of 2022. If you are not following him on twitter or instagram already, I highly recommend it.
Music For All: I found this video you made in December of 2020 "Bring back the music of life. Moment 59." really refreshing:
In 2020, it was difficult enough to find people sharing any rational thoughts, let alone with a focus on the culture. I worked in music and had been attending several live performances a week in NYC prior to March of 2020, and was devastated when performance abruptly ended. How do you think our society got to the point where musicians were scared to speak up in their own best interest or in defense of the importance of music? I feel like so much could have been avoided if the music had just kept going.
Dr. Mark Changizi: Agreed. I knew a few musical artists on our side, but most seemed to fall into the hysteria. It's one of too many examples showing that whether you're for the (irrational, harmful) interventions is NOT about whether you're personally gaining from it.
In hysterias like this, people believe what they're doing is right, and they are willing to sacrifice a LOT for it.
"Follow the money" is terribly naive and unhelpful advice in these situations:
By the way, the video you mentioned above, "Bring back the music of life. Moment 59", is about why we like music. Well, THIS one here is why we like LIVE music, and its connection to face masks:
We've been focusing so much on talking about freedom of speech and expression — but I hadn't even considered how none of that matters if a society isn't tolerant, as you've pointed out. Have you identified any events that caused this shift away from tolerance as a society, especially in the arts?
Certainly it's not new with Covid. It seems to have accelerated significantly.
Roughly, Leftists are twice as intolerant as the Right. Let that sink in. That’s not quite the meme you’re told by the main stream media.
And it’s getting worse.
But, over the last decade there's been a trend that folks on the Left have been getting less tolerant to free expression.
And the younger appear to be more intolerant.
The younger groups are MUCH more frightened to go out without a mask, and yet the younger groups have a couple orders of magnitude less risk than those of the oldest age bracket.
And that makes sense, because this isn’t about actual rationally justified fear based on risk, but, rather, perceived fear, unhinged from actual data.
And, now we have polls like this...
How would you summarize your goals with your FreeX Free Expression Group project?
The upcoming book — Expressly Human — is on the origins of emotional expressions. Why we have them, how they work, which ones we have, how they're related, etc. AND, how they serve to undergird society's ability to find its way toward the truth over time. But Expressly Human just begins to get at the societal level stuff. ...the reputation networks we rely on.
Our research at FreeX focuses entirely at the society level. How is it supposed to function when free expression is working correctly? And what are the many ways in which can malfunction? ...which can make hysteria more likely. And how can social networks and/or people be "fixed" to help them function better, and more safely, without centralized control. AND what sorts of universal ways do societies veer toward totalitarianism and the treatment of out-groups.
e.g."Cooties Drives the Covid Cult's Beliefs. Moment 128.":
Do you have any thoughts on how we can bring back live performance? Do you think the existing cultural institutions are worth saving?
We have to defeat the mask mandates. The whole point of going out is to be social. And the whole point of watching live music is to let the human emotions wash over you. Face masks disconnect the crowd. Unplug it. And many of us simply don't enjoy the experience.
On cultural institutions being worth saving, if you're referring to live music venues, I think it would be helpful to disconnect the arts from the State. Historically most folks and I would have justified it for the obvious reason that one doesn't want the State saying what's art and what's not. Bad, bad, bad.
But, Covid hysteria has taught us that an even deeper reason to have live music be independent is so that, if there's a moral panic, the masses can't enforce their arbitrary moral prescriptions on all the art venues. Maybe some, but with greater independence comes greater variability in how venues would respond...and a greater chance to survive society-wide moral panic.
Thank you for reading!
We're thankful for Dr. Changizi's research and commentary. He validates our suspicion that live music is extremely valuable to humans and should not be regulated, discouraged or prohibited.