Jordan Bates 14 min read

25 Podcasts That Taught Me More Than My Entire Formal Education

Philosophy conversation culture

25 podcast episodes that taught me more than my entire formal education future thinkers rebel wisdom
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

— Plutarch

The Internet is the greatest educational resource ever devised.

For the curious student of life, humanity’s entire library of knowledge and wisdom now lies at one’s fingertips.

This is a miracle.

The Internet is also a test of wisdom.

For the wise, the Internet is the Library of Alexandria x 1,000,000 and the most empowering, world-connecting, prosperity-creating tool in human history.

For the unwise the Internet is a maddening black hole of triviality, outrage, and distraction…

dangers of pornography

What the Internet is for you—and what life itself is for you—depends entirely on where you put your attention.

Your attention is your most valuable resource; what you pay attention to is creating your future.

If you wish to use the Internet to level up your mind and life, podcasts are a godsend.

A great podcast episode compresses massive insight into just one or two hours, and you can listen while cooking, driving, exercising, cleaning, etc…

To help you tap into the Internet’s mind-upgrading potential, I’ve assembled a list of 25 podcast episodes that taught me more than 17 years in school.

Before we get to those, however, let’s take a closer look at how the Internet is revolutionizing education…

Why the Internet Will Massively Disrupt the Education Industry

The global ‘education’ system is ripe for a massive paradigm shift.

Just as “software is eating the world,” as Marc Andreesen famously put it, the Internet is eating and will continue to eat education.

Free or inexpensive online education will gradually replace much of the present education infrastructure.

And the sooner the better.

University education in the USA now costs tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is a criminally dystopian bubble that renders the entire university system ripe for disruption.

And the education system for children and adolescents is similarly doomed. This system is a relic of the Industrial Age when most people just needed to be trained to obey authority and perform rote, repetitive tasks. It’s basically a system designed to crush creativity in favor of conditioning human beings to slot into robotic roles in factories.

Ponder this: Why are we locking playful children indoors for 8-12+ hours per day and forcing them to perform endless ‘homework’ and ‘tests’—assignments that primarily test for diligence and memorization—that simply get ‘completed,’ ‘graded,’ then thrown away?

This sounds soul-crushing and depressing as fuck; it’s no wonder many children instinctively rebel against these strange child-prisons masquerading as ‘schools.’

This setup was not devised to nurture children’s innate curiosity, passion, creativity, and excitement; rather, it was devised to break these qualities down, gradually producing ‘well-adjusted’ citizens who will accept a ‘career’ filled with endless assigned tasks that closely resemble ‘schoolwork.’

Thankfully, the economy has changed and continues to change. Increasingly, repetitive tasks are being automated.

To thrive in today’s economy and the economy of the future, the best thing you can do is cultivate your organic curiosity and creativity, as well as learn how to self-educate, self-motivate, problem-solve, and be adaptable and innovative.

In other words, self-actualization, rather than self-stagnation, will be increasingly selected for by the sorta-Darwinian global economy.

This is ultimately a great and beautiful thing; more and more people are being summoned to become who they truly are—fully actualized.

But it also requires seismic cultural paradigm shifts—major shifts in how people think about education and ‘work’—and humans in general are not good at snapping out of ideological paradigms with decades or centuries of momentum. So in some ways it’s a rather slow and painful transition. As always, many humans will cling desperately to the obsolete paradigms of the past.

This opens up a golden opportunity for those who are able to quantum-leap into the new paradigm more rapidly:

The sooner you realize the Internet has empowered billions of people with godly capacity to self-educate and gain most any skills/knowledge, the sooner you can start learning whatever excites you, transcend Industrial-Age ‘work sucks’ ideology, and start manifesting a life in which your skills/knowledge allow you to engage in meaningful, aligned, exciting, self-actualizing work-play.

If you have a high-speed Internet connection, this potential is right at your fingertips. Most are simply too attached to outdated stories to be able to see that our world has fundamentally changed. Possibility and opportunity now abound for the great mass of humanity, to a degree that transcends most historical humans’ wildest imaginings.

The key to unlocking this possibility and opportunity is education: Falling in love with learning, becoming a lifelong learner.

Preserve or reawaken your natural curiosity at all costs.

Many forces conspire to stamp it out of you.

Do not let them.

Keep questioning and learning. Be fascinated.[1]

This is the key to adapting and thriving in changing conditions.

And this is the key to various forms of fulfillment and liberation…

25 of the Best Podcast Episodes of All Time

Which brings me to… 25 of the greatest podcast episodes I’ve ever encountered.

These episodes gave me Everests of useful gems of insights and upgraded my mental software in countless ways.

They’ll bring you up to speed on humanity’s present global situation and give you a lot of valuable scaffolding in many areas, most notably psychology, spirituality/meditation, philosophy, human group dynamics, economics, self-healing, the shadow of Western civilization, modern life, and self-actualization/self-transcendence.

1. Daniel Schmachtenberger on Humanity’s Phase Shift — Rebel Wisdom Podcast

Mr. Schmachtenberger is going to make quite a few appearances on this list. He’s a visionary, polymathic genius with his fingers pressed firmly to the pulse of the zeitgeist. Listen to Daniel and feel your brain evolving toward Galaxy Brain in real time. This Rebel Wisdom episode is perhaps the best introduction to his work.

2. Naval Ravikant on Investing, Making Decisions, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life — The Knowledge Project Podcast

One of the greatest podcast episodes of all time. This might be the most valuable episode on the list, honestly. Naval Ravikant is a brilliant, wise, erudite investor/entrepreneur with a knack for compressing loads of insight into a few easily digestible words. Ignore this episode at your own peril. ^__^ I recommend following it up with Naval’s interview with Joe Rogan, as well as Akira the Don’s album featuring Naval, How to Get Rich: Vol 1.

Naval Ravikant

3. Charles Eisenstein on Living in the Space Between Stories — Future Fossils Podcast

Those who read HighExistence likely know that we adore Charles Eisenstein. He’s another visionary thinker / cultural physician expertly diagnosing the ills of the global Western-consumerist monoculture. The dude simply gets it; he sees/feels humanity’s present transition in his cells and beautifully translates his understanding into relatable prose. For the love of Nature, read and listen to Charles Eisenstein.

4. Daniel Schmachtenberger on Winning Humanity’s Existential Game — Future Thinkers Podcast

Another mega-enlightening conversation with Daniel Schmachtenberger, this time on the ever-wondrous Future Thinkers Podcast. On the ways in which we need to redesign global civilization in order to avoid self-decimation and flourish into the far future.

5. Pema Chodron on How to Practice Buddhism and Meditation to Transform Your Life — Faith and Reason with Bill Moyers

Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun, a wonderfully wise woman, and the author of one of my favorite books: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. She has a beautiful knack for translating timeless Buddhist insight into practical, no-bullshit wisdom for navigating the ceaseless ebb and flow of internal states. Thank you, Pema.

pema chodron quotes
Pema Chodron

6. Jordan Hall on Collective Intelligence During Global Collapse — Future Thinkers Podcast

Jordan Hall is another one of the living humans I’m presently paying the most attention to. He and Daniel Schmachtenberger are close friends and co-founders of Neurohacker Collective, a futuristic organization dedicated to innovating safe, healthy supplements for cognitive enhancement, life-extension, and more. Hall’s insights on the present moment are persistently lucid and illuminating; I consider him another must-listen thinker. If this resonates, be sure to listen to Part Two as well.

7. Dennis McKenna on Plant Medicines as Catalysts for the New Paradigm — The HighExistence Podcast

A couple years ago we had the opportunity to sit down with Dennis McKenna, brother of the late entheogenic luminary Terence McKenna. Dennis is one of the most brilliant OG scientists and psychedelic researchers on the planet, and in this conversation he waxed philosophical on the role of Ayahuasca and other plant medicines in catalyzing the planetary paradigm shift humanity is being summoned to undergo.

8. Charles Eisenstein and Daniel Schmachtenberger on Restoring Humanity — Neurohacker Podcast

Remember that one time two of my favorite living humans sat down and had a luminous conversation?! Yes. This.

9. Daniel Schmachtenberger and Charles Eisenstein Discuss Self-Terminating Civilizations — A New and Ancient Story Podcast

Remember the time they did it again?! Marvelousness. :))

charles eisenstein usa presidential election donald trump hillary clinton
Charles Eisenstein (Source)

10. Charles Eisenstein and Rupert Sheldrake on the Limitations of the Current Scientific Orthodoxy — A New and Ancient Story Podcast

If you’re unaware, Rupert Sheldrake is one of the most courageous renegade OG scientists on Earth. He was a friend and collaborator of Terence McKenna. He is extraordinarily lucid in discussing the limitations of the present scientific orthodoxy and his work has focused on unifying science and spirituality by employing the scientific method to study ‘fringe’/’paranormal’/’woo’ phenomena typically dismissed by mainstream science. He even has a banned TED Talk.

11. Eckhart Tolle on Gateways to the Present Moment

Eckhart Tolle is a bullshit-obliterating laser beam of clear perception when it comes to meditation, mindfulness, spirituality, transcending the monkey mind, and finding inner peace. I love the man, and this is a phenomenal introduction to his work that you can listen to time and time again. Not so much a podcast, this is more like a collection of a few potent guided meditations laced with spiritual epiphanies. If this resonates, follow it up with his incredible book, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenmentone of my all-time favorites.

12. Ken Wilber on Jordan Peterson and the Evolution of Thought — Rebel Wisdom Podcast

Ken Wilber is one of the most influential and innovative philosophers alive today, well-known for pioneering the philosophical school called Integral Theory. Wilber’s philosophical framework is extraordinarily useful/fascinating, and this episode showcases him exploring the work of Jordan Peterson through an Integral lens. Mind-blossoming. Consider pairing this with a hot bath in the work of Robert Anton Wilson.

13. Rupert Sheldrake and Russell Brand on Integrating Science and Spirituality — Under the Skin Podcast

More spectacular Sheldrake, this time in conversation with the wily, sharp, and ever-entertaining Russell Brand.

14. Tristan Harris and Sam Harris on What Technology is Doing to Us — Making Sense Podcast

Though Sam Harris has his (hyper-rationalist / reductively anti-religious) blindspots, his podcast was my favorite for a long time, for good reason. He’s remarkably lucid on many subjects and is a fantastic interviewer. This episode with ex-Google design ethicist and clear-eyed genius Tristan Harris is mega-relevant to all Internet-age humans, as it explores the insidious underbelly of social media, why technology is being engineered to be addictive, and more.

15. David Hawkins on Letting Go of the Obstacles to Enlightenment — Oprah Winfrey Radio Show

These 26 minutes are a sublime introduction to the divine mind-soul of David Hawkins, a human for whom I possess immeasurable gratitude. Hawkins’ book Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender hit me like a spiritual lightning bolt when I read it earlier this year, occasioning an enormous paradigm shift in my reality. I wholeheartedly recommend his work, and this is an excellent place to start. Perhaps pair this one with a bit of Alan Watts and Joseph Campbell for good measure.

16. Ken Wilber and Daniel Schmachtenberger: Can Integral Theory Transform Civilization and Save Humanity? — Neurohacker Podcast

Ken Wilber. Daniel Schmachtenberger. Need I say more?

Daniel Schmachtenberger Qualia Neurohacker
Daniel Schmachtenberger

17. Euvie Ivanova, Mike Gilliland, David Fuller, and Alexander Beiner on the Intellectual Deep Web — Rebel Wisdom Podcast

In this fascinating conversation, the hosts of two of my favorite podcasts—Future Thinkers and Rebel Wisdom—get together to discuss the shortcomings of the loose intellectual conglomerate known as the Intellectual Dark Web, and why an even more paradigm-transcending ‘Intellectual Deep Web’ may be necessary. They discuss a mountain of other fascinating stuff too. If you follow Future Thinkers and Rebel Wisdom, you know that both have done an excellent job making sense of the wacky world of 2019, so it’s truly a treat to see their stories intersect, meld, synthesize, and (at times) clash in real time.

18. Will MacAskill and Sam Harris on Being Good and Doing Good — Making Sense Podcast

Will MacAskill is one of the founders of the Effective Altruism movement: A movement that employs data, research, and rationality to determine the most effective charities and ways of helping the world, in order to optimize humanity’s philanthropic resources. In my view the EA movement has some definite ideological blindspots, yet I nonetheless find it highly valuable, inspiring, and worth knowing about.

19. Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan on Ideology, Mythology, and the Shadow — Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

Jordan Peterson, more than anyone else we’ve ever highlighted on HighExistence, has caused many of our fans and followers to freak out on us. Many people are extraordinarily angry at this man, for reasons which I suspect relate primarily to the fact that he’s very good at telling people to stop playing the victim and start taking responsibility for their own lives.

Do I agree with everything he says? Of course not; I don’t agree with everything anyone says, myself included. Do I think he is a wise man with many valuable insights? Definitely. Watch this with a Beginner’s Mind and decide for yourself. I especially love how Peterson has revived Carl Jung in the cultural dialogue. Shoutout to Joe Rogan for being one of the greatest interviewers of all time and a notably reasonable, wise, down-to-Earth human being.

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

20. Daniel Schmachtenberger on Phase Shifting Humanity — Future Thinkers Podcast

I know, I know, a lot of Schmachtenberger, but I just have to slip in one more classic conversation with him. Shoutout to Mike Gilliland and Euvie Ivanova for this outstanding interview.

21. David Chapman on Stages of Maturation, Dzogchen, and the Future of Buddhism — Imperfect Buddha Podcast

David Chapman’s in-progress hypertext book Meaningness is one of the most remarkable and elucidating texts I’ve ever explored. Chapman is an ex-AI scientist who took a deep interest in Dzogchen Buddhism and Robert Kegan’s model of human development, synthesizing these two fascinating areas of study to birth a deliciously clarifying model of reality and meaning-making.

22. David Chapman on Pattern and Nebulosity, Meta-rationality, and Robert Kegan’s Model of Human Development — Deconstructing Yourself Podcast

More wondrousness from the mind of Mr. Chapman. Did I mention he is one of the key thinkers associated with meta-rationality/post-rationality, a movement/group that seeks to transcend the pitfalls of rationalist ideology while integrating its gifts?

23. Jordan Peterson, Bret Weinstein, and Joe Rogan on Evolutionary Psychology and Humanity’s Present Situation — Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

Ooohhh, this one’s a treat. Rogan, Peterson, and renegade evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein co-mingle their worldviews in a mind-melt of epic proportions. Follow this up with Rebel Wisdom’s exceptional documentaries on the Jordan Peterson cultural phenomenon.

24. Lewis Bollard on Ending Factory Farming in Our Lifetimes — 80,000 Hours Podcast

It’s well-known that the factory farming industry has a rather disgusting shadow that manifests as inhumane practices at many factory farms. Rob Wiblin expertly conducted this interview with effective altruist / factory-farming expert Lewis Bollard, bringing together what is likely the most lucid and eye-opening discussion of factory farming on the Internet.

25. David Fuller on the Story of Rebel Wisdom — Emerge Podcast

As mentioned previously, Rebel Wisdom is one of my favorite podcasts. Its host, David Fuller, is one of the best interviewers I’ve ever seen and has a fantastic gift for illuminating our presently-unfolding earthly reality via deep insight and narrative. Here he’s interviewed by Daniel Thorson, brilliant host of the marvelous Emerge Podcast. This is a gorgeous conversation.

Bonuses: Transcending Rationality and Embracing the Mystery // Spiritual Narcissism and the Shadow — The HighExistence Podcast

Finally, I humbly submit two conversations in which I had the good fortune to participate, both of which contain many fundamentally important pieces of my present worldview. The first, with my eloquently insightful colleague Mike Slavin, dives into the process of accessing trans-rational forms of human intelligence and intuitively aligning oneself with the Flow of Being. The second, with my sagacious colleague Jon Brooks, explores psychedelic narcissism and the shadow of the global spiritual community. Thank you for listening.

jordan bates and mike slavin discuss the limits of rationality podcast

Mike Slavin and I : )

That’s All, Folks

I believe this list, if explored in its entirety, has the capacity to occasion a number of full-blown paradigm shifts, launching you into an entirely different reality that is immensely fascinating and overflowing with possibility.

My hope is that something you find here acts as a spark, (re-)igniting or further fueling your flame of child-like curiosity, catalyzing a process of earnestly following what excites and intrigues you.

“I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

Joseph Campbell

To follow your excitement is, I think, one of the primary existential keystones of human existence. Nothing will shift and enchant your reality more rapidly than following your bliss and finding the others who are already living in the sort of reality that excites you.

So as you listen to these episodes, pay close attention to what happens inside of you. When you hear something that gives you tingles, makes your eyes light up, or occasions an epiphany, make note of it and allow it to act as a signal pointing to an area in which to dive deeper.

Treat your excitement as a signal from your soul-level Self pointing to the path you most deeply wish to follow, and see what happens.

In my experience, when one follows these signals with courage and pure intention, doors indeed open where you didn’t know they would be. “Nature loves courage,” as Terence McKenna put it. The Cosmos meets you halfway and things begin to flow in a way that is only possible when you’re aligned with what excites you.

follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where only walls where

I’m not asking you to believe me. Believe nothing. Beginner’s Mind is key. Embrace not-knowing.

Consider simply testing this for yourself to see what happens. Follow your genuine excitement and curiosity. What do you have to lose?

We’re all rapidly turning to bone dust.

The life you’re living now is but a momentary spark in the Great Bonfire of Being.

While you’re here, why not try to do that which makes your Soul glow?

Something to ponder…

Whew, what a wild ride through the Cosmos this is.

Best wishes to you always, friend.

Love, Joy, Peace, Freedom, Strength,

If you appreciated this, I recommend reading:

Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors Where There Were Only Walls

How to Escape the Rat Race and Live a Radically Free Life.



[1] I recommend learning the fundamentals of personal finance, entrepreneurship/ethical wealth creation, marketing, investing, writing, nutrition/exercise, Jungian shadow work, the blindspots of Western medicine/education/culture/etc., self-care/self-healing, trauma healing, (evolutionary) psychology, spirituality/meditation, self-development/self-transcendence, philosophy, economics, the historical effects of dogma and hyper-tribalism in human groups, the traps of the modern world, and the state of global civilization in the 21st century.

These are keystone/high-leverage areas of study that will do a lot of heavy lifting for the rest of your life, improving the quality of your existence in myriad ways. Many of these topics are addressed in the above list of podcasts. Funny how most of these things are not taught in primary schools, eh?

Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates

Jordan Bates is a lover of God, father, leadership coach, heart healer, writer, artist, and long-time co-creator of HighExistence. —

Dive Down The Rabbit Hole

Sign up to receive our free weekly newsletter and never miss out on new releases.

No spam. Ever.

Related Posts