HERESIES — Exploring Animal Communication, Cloning Humans, The Dangers of The American Dream, and More (#677)

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show. I’m very excited to publish this episode. This is an experimental format, and we are calling it HERESIES.

The objective of this format is to encourage and celebrate independent thinking.

Please enjoy!

Bios of the co-hosts and guests:

Kevin Kelly (@kevin2kelly) helped launch and edit Wired magazine. He has written for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among many other publications. You can find my most recent interview with him at

He is the author of the new book Excellent Advice for Living: Wisdom I Wish I’d Known Earlier. Other books by Kevin Kelly include Out of Control, the 1994 classic book on decentralized emergent systems; The Silver Cord, a graphic novel about robots and angels; What Technology Wants, a robust theory of technology; Vanishing Asia, his 50-year project to photograph the disappearing cultures of Asia, and The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, a New York Times bestseller.

Kevin is currently co-chair of The Long Now Foundation, which is building a clock in a mountain that will tick for 10,000 years. He also has a daily blog; a weekly podcast about cool tools; and a weekly newsletter, Recomendo, which is a free, one-page list of six very brief recommendations of cool stuff. He is also a Senior Maverick at Wired. He lives in Pacifica, California.


Noah Feldman (@NoahRFeldman) is a Harvard professor, ethical philosopher and advisor, public intellectual, religious scholar and historian, and author of 10 books, including his latest, The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America. You can find my interview with him at

Noah is the founder of Ethical Compass, which helps clients like Facebook and eBay improve ethical decision-making by creating and implementing new governance solutions. Noah conceived and designed the Facebook Oversight Board and continues to advise Facebook on ethics and governance issues.

Noah is host of the Deep Background podcast, a policy and public affairs columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, and a former contributing writer for The New York Times. He served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and subsequently advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of Iraq’s interim constitution.

He earned his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard, finishing first in his class. Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a DPhil from Oxford University, writing his dissertation on Aristotle’s Ethics. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School and clerked for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court.

He is the author of 10 books, including Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem—and What We Should Do About ItWhat We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation BuildingCool War: The United States, China, and the Future of Global CompetitionScorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices; and The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President.

His upcoming book is Bad Jew: A Perplexed Guide to God, Israel, and the Jewish People, which is currently available for pre-order.


Maggie Spivey-Faulkner is an anthropological archaeologist and practitioner of Indigenous archaeology, currently working as an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta. She also serves as an assistant chief of the Upper Georgia tribal town of the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek, a state-recognized Native American group in South Carolina. Her work focuses on using anthropological data to upend harmful misconceptions of Native American peoples embedded in public policy, science, and the public consciousness.

Maggie was raised in a tight-knit extended family in rural Hephzibah, Georgia. She is an international fellow of The Explorers Club, a former junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018 and her A.B. from Harvard College in 2008. 


Joshua L. Steiner is a partner at SSW, a private investment firm, and a senior adviser at Bloomberg, L.P., where he was previously Head of Industry Verticals. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Steiner co-founded and was co-president of Quadrangle Group, LLC, a private equity and asset management firm. Before co-founding Quadrangle, he was a managing director at Lazard. From 1993 to 1995 he served as chief of staff for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

He serves on the boards of Yale University, the International Rescue Committee, and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Steiner received a B.A. in history from Yale and an M.St. in modern history from Oxford University.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the conversation on YouTube here.

Brought to you by Wealthfront high-yield savings account, AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement, and Helix Sleep premium mattresses.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#677: HERESIES — Exploring Animal Communication, Cloning Humans, The Dangers of The American Dream, and More

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • [11:34] Defining “heresy.”
  • [14:22] Josh’s heresy: We need to teach listening over talking.
  • [32:48] Noah’s heresy: Constitutions are overrated.
  • [55:01] Maggie’s heresy: American middle-class culture is ruining everything.
  • [1:14:54] Tim’s heresy: We’re on the cusp of meaningfully communicating with animals.
  • [1:35:23] Kevin’s heresy: Human cloning is OK.


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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16 Replies to “HERESIES — Exploring Animal Communication, Cloning Humans, The Dangers of The American Dream, and More (#677)”

  1. Tim- This is one of the best and most memorable podcast episodes I’ve heard in a while. I love the format and the “heresies” prompt will endlessly spawn new and intriguing discussion.

    What I’m about to say may be a heresy given your listener demographics, but in keeping with the theme, here it goes:

    I think this show will be a success but would be stratospherically more compelling (and more profound, layered, true-to-life, fiery, complex, and illustrative of our humanness and society) if one of the primary hosts was a woman. Not because it’s the PC thing to do, but because a female voice will dramatically change the game for the better in all ways possible.

    On that note, Maggie made this episode better in all ways possible.

  2. Love the Heresies format! Interesting and courageous.
    This first episode made me think of a heresy that I am dying to hear contemplated in the public discourse.

    I think that the pursuit of radical life extension is profoundly immoral. And the concept has been inadequately examined.
    I’m talking about the quest for immortality, but I think I also mean the 30-50% increase in longevity that us WEIRD people have already achieved in the past hundred years or so.
    I would like to hear public intellectuals and technologists ask themselves “do I want EVERYBODY to live radically longer?” “Do I want my parents to live forever?” “Do I want my boss at this firm to live forever?” “Do I want to live forever if most of my loved-ones do not?”
    And I would like to hear discussions about the implications of lives being radically extended, with or without proportionately extending the timeframe of childhood, female fertility, careers, etc
    My heresy is that the individualistic pursuit of life extension is both unwise and immoral. It could amount to an inter generational crime.

    And further to this, perhaps a separate heresy, the general “safety-ism” of our WEIRD culture has the same implications.

    I hate to come off as a moralist, but I haven’t heard these sentiments expressed in public, so I want to be provocative and clear. Am I the only one who thinks these things? Or do most people?

      1. I think you’re right Ray. In the current state of affairs no one could stop anyone from taking a treatment in order to live radically longer. But I can “say” something. And I’m worried about us sleepwalking once again into a profoundly altered humanity. As we have done recently with, for example, widespread social media adoption. I don’t like restrictions on behavior any more than I suspect you do, but I’d like to see more conversation and reflection prior to adopting history-changing technologies. That’s why I liked this new format so much! And why I appreciate you picking up my thread.

  3. Wasn’t sure where it was going when I logged on, but loved every minute of it! Very interesting group of people in the room. Put together my list of heresies on my walk today.

  4. WTF is this the Tim Ferriss show!?.
    Tim Ferriss is unstoppable.
    Episode 677.

  5. Like the new format very much. My heresy is that life is not about longevity or happiness – although I have no issue with either – but creativity. We are not humans with a soul, but an eternal soul having a human experience (one of many) to learn how to be creators, given the “fate” we were born into as the palette for our creative endeavors.

  6. Tim – I quite enjoy the heresies approach and your ongoing experimentation-in-all-things. This format was more energy to pay attention to: not a bad thing just a note to say please don’t stop doing the one-on-one interviews too.

    Two topics on my Tim Ferris interview wishlist

    A heresies conversation around the topic of sleep and dreaming putting together Dr. Matt Walker + Dr. David Eagleman and having them talk through their differences and theories around why we dream alongside some people who disagree with them both. Could be fun to throw a psychadelics expert or an indigenous elder in the mix.

    A one-to-one interview with a biomimicry expert like Janine Benyus or Dayna Baumeister and/or materials scientist like Anna Ploszajski. Then later a heresies format talking through different paradigms and belief frameworks that putting wildly different viewpoints together: could be especially fun to put biomimicry in the mix with a mycopunk, an AI expert, or an economics person.

    Your work is remarkable, I’m incredibly grateful you’ve chosen this path 🌌

    1. You never know what the lesson is going to be when listening to an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show.

      For me, it was Maggie explaining how when someone tells you something or shares something with you, you share something back and show that you understand. As a form of bonding.

      I have been beaten up so many times over the years for just that behavior. Been accused of being selfish, pulling the spotlight back on myself. It has been a tough lesson to learn to not do that.

      Thanks Maggie. I am not crazy. Don’t know where I picked that up, probably from my parents. I grew up in California, and I certainly didn’t learn it from anyone round here.

      Another thing I do – midday meal is dinner and evening meal is supper. Get a ton of grief on that one.

  7. I love the concept of this show. One heresies to discuss is the historical development of religion; the other marriage. Do another one please

  8. Long time listener (i.e. listened to all of your previous podcasts over the last year and read tools of titans, Tribe of mentors, and 4-hour work week) I felt compelled to leave a comment and be more involved in your community. This discussion reminds me of deep conversations I used to have with my colleague (and best friend) during my PhD. We would have these deep, argument centric, smash up sessions where we would move between fractalising and re-constituting ideas/beliefs mainly centered around scientific hypotheses but also life lessons as well. Although you are sort of, on the surface, just sharing your opinions and beliefs, I can hear in your voices the same deep considerations, re-evaluation and sublime interest. I think this new format is absolutely phenomenal as it shares with the world how great minds operate in practice. My deepest and humblest gratitude to everyone for sharing their heresies in open discussion. Please, keep them coming.

  9. My heresy is that consciousness, even sentience is a spectrum (like the senses of vision, hearing etc.) EVERYTHING is conscious and we humans are actually on a limited section of the spectrum, while believing we are at some kind of pinnacle. Just as we cannot see as insects or birds do, or smell as a dog does, we cannot perceive what is beyond our spectrum.

  10. The earth is flat, mars = devon island, and NASA’s “satellite” imagery is all from weather ballons and plane flyovers.
    Now THAT is a heresy!
    But once you know, you know.