Laughing, Learning, and Loving: Behind the Scenes of The Daily Show
with Warren Farrell and Corey W. deVos

In today’s cultural climate, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to talk about complex things in the mainstream media without being reduced to a caricature or a talking point.  This is one of the things that makes The Daily Show so extraordinary—it walks the line between laughter and learning in a really fascinating way, often using irony, snark, and cynicism as a “trojan horse” for authenticity.

Warren Farrell was recently featured on a controversial segment of The Daily Show, in which he, the very notion of male inequality, and “men’s work” as a whole were hilariously lampooned by Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee (watch the full five-minute clip on the right).  This clip has caused a bit of a stir in many online communities, drawing fire from almost every conceivable angle, from “why does The Daily Show hate men?” all the way to “when will men just stop whining and learn how to man up?”

Instant Insight

  • Warren knew from the beginning that The Daily Show was going to lampoon his work and “men’s issues” in general, but did it anyway with good humor and humility.
  • What makes us learn is very often the opposite of what makes us laugh. The Daily Show frequently tries to do both.
  • A total of four hours of interview footage was shot with Warren, only about 60 seconds of which made it into the final clip.
  • When we say “men don’t have as many options as women in today’s world” we are not just talking about economic or political realities, but the interior dimensions of family, emotional availability, and the pursuit of genuine happiness.
  • Samantha Bee was not just satirizing men in this clip, but also women, by playing the role of an “unevolved” or “unliberated” woman looking for a stereotypically macho, beer-swilling guy.
  • In today’s American pop culture climate, white men are the last group we are allowed to make fun of.
  • Tracking men’s progress in the private sphere is somewhat different than tracking women’s progress in the public sphere, because it is much more difficult to quantify interiors and “quality of life” indicators.

Warren was kind enough to share with us his own reaction to the sendup, the first public response he has offered since the clip aired nearly three weeks ago.

What follows is an intriguing and highly entertaining discussion about what it was like to be interviewed by The Daily Show, the many levels of humor at play in the clip, and a clarification of many of the points that ended up being turned into punchlines. Furthermore, Warren reminds us how important it is to live our lives adventurously and to be able to laugh at ourselves at all times—even when we see ourselves being skewered on national television.

At its best moments, The Daily Show fully lives up to, and even adds to, the rich legacy of satire that Jon Stewart’s desk rests upon.  We look to comedians to see what others might not see, to say what others cannot say, to hold a funhouse mirror up to reality—reflecting the truth by distorting the facts, releasing us from the absurdity of existence into the tonic bliss of laughter.  Which is really the only sane response to being human, isn’t it?

Considering the controversy and even outrage this clip provoked throughout many online “men’s group” communities, this might be the most important lesson of them all: hold everything lightly; especially the stuff you take most seriously.

So sit back, watch this clip, and just let yourself laugh for a few minutes. When you are finished, take a listen to Warren’s response below for a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes, behind the controversy, and beyond the laughter.

Click here to see the Daily Show clip.

Listen to Dr. Warren Farrell’s Response

Right click to download
Duration: 44 minutes


Does Quantum Physics Prove God?

with Corey W. deVos and Ken Wilber

This conversation sheds clarity on a very confused notion in the area of spirituality today—namely, the “tao of physics” and all its variations, as exemplified by the recent film What the Bleep. So what relationship, if any, does God actually have with quantum physics?

“In terms of actual real physics or actual real mysticism, they were incorrect on both counts. And the marriage of bad physics and sloppy mysticism has been a nightmare….” -Ken Wilber

Does quantum physics prove God? This question has to do directly with the relation of modern quantum physics and spirituality. In effect, does modern physics prove God? Does the Tao find proof in quantum realities?

Ken Wilber’s answer: “Categorically not. I don’t know more confusion in the last thirty years than has come from quantum physics….”

Ken goes on to outline the three major confusions that have dominated the popular (mis)understanding of the relationship of physics and mysticism.

#1: Your consciousness does not create electrons. Unlike Newtonian physics, which can predict the location of large objects moving at slow speeds, quantum physics only offers a probability wave in which a given particle, like an electron, should show up. But here’s the funny thing: it is only at the moment that one makes the measurement that the electron actually does “show up.” Certain writers and theorists have thus suggested that human intentionality actually creates reality on a quantum level. The most popular version of this idea can be found in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?!, in which we “qwaff” reality into existence.

Ken suggests this is both bad physics and bad mysticism. As for the former, in his book, Quantum Questions, Ken compiled the original writings of the 13 most important founders of modern quantum and relativistic physics, to explore their understanding of the relationship of physics and mysticism. Without exception, each one of them believed that modern physics does NOT prove spiritual realities in any fashion. And yet each of them was a mystic, not because of physics, but in spite of it. By pushing to the outer limits of their discipline, a feat which requires true genius, they found themselves face to face with those realities that physics categorically could not explain.

Likewise, none of those founders of modern physics believed that the act of consciousness was responsible for creating particles at the quantum level. David Bohm did not believe that, Schroedinger did not believe that, Heisenberg did not believe that. That belief requires the enormous self-infatuation and narcissism, or “boomeritis,” of the post-modern ego, and Ken goes into the possible psychology behind all of that.

#2: Quantum vacuum potentials are not unmanifest Spirit. The immediate problem with the notion that certain “unmanifest” or “vacuum” quantum realities give rise to the manifest world, and that the quantum vacuum is Spirit, is that it immediately presupposes a radically divided Spirit or Ultimate. There is Spirit “over here,” manifestation “over there,” and it’s only through these quantum vacuum potentials that Spirit actualizes manifestation—with Spirit set apart from manifestation.

As the great contemplative traditions agree, true nondual Spirit is the suchness, emptiness, or isness of all manifestation, and as such leaves everything exactly where it finds it. Nondual Spirit is no more set apart from manifestation than the wetness of the ocean is set apart from waves. Wetness is the suchness or isness of all waves. By identifying Spirit with quantum potential, you are actually qualifying the Unqualifiable, giving it characteristics—”and right there,” Ken says, “things start to go horribly wrong, and they never recover. These folks are trying to give characteristics to Emptiness. They therefore make it dualistic. And then things get worse from there….”

#3: Just because you understand quantum mechanics doesn’t mean you’re enlightened. Physics is an explicitly 3rd-person approach to reality, whereas meditative, contemplative, or mystical disciplines are explicitly 1st-person approaches to reality. Neither perspective is more real than the other, but each perspective does disclose different truths, and you cannot use the truth disclosed in one domain to “colonize” another. The study of physics, as a 3rd-person discipline, will not get you enlightenment; and meditation, as a 1st-person discipline, will not disclose the location of an asteroid (or an electron). The “content” of enlightenment is the realization of that which is timeless, formless, and eternally unchanging. The content of physics is the understanding of the movement of form within time, i.e. that which is constantly changing. And if you hook Buddha’s enlightenment to a theory of physics that gets disproved tomorrow, does that mean Buddha loses his enlightenment?

Ken goes on to suggest that what might be influencing quantum realities is not Suchness per se, but bio-energy or prana, which may be the source of the crackling, buzzing, electric creativity that so many theorists have tried to explain at the quantum level. Of course, it remains to be seen exactly what further research does and does not support.

Listen Now.