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Unlatched Mind

Arts & Culture Podcasts

The Unlatched Mind podcast is a long form discussion on topics including neuroscience, morality, behavioral science, religion, artificial intelligence, psychology and philosophy. Host Vinny Vallarine introduces listeners to guests and experts on these, and other topics of interest.


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The Unlatched Mind podcast is a long form discussion on topics including neuroscience, morality, behavioral science, religion, artificial intelligence, psychology and philosophy. Host Vinny Vallarine introduces listeners to guests and experts on these, and other topics of interest.




Ep 63: Noam Shpancer, Ph.D. | Culture, Social Media, Personal Responsibility, and Mental Health

Dr. Noam Shpancer joins Unlatched Mind to delve into the complex interplay of technology, mental health, and personal responsibility. Dr. Shpancer, a clinical psychologist and professor, provides valuable insights into the challenges posed by the modern digital landscape, particularly concerning the mental well-being of young people. Our conversation began with an exploration of how excessive choices, a byproduct of advanced civilization, can paradoxically lead to dissatisfaction and stress. Dr. Shpancer introduced the concept that having too many options can often result in decision regret, as we are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices we face in various aspects of life. One significant contributor to this phenomenon is the proliferation of technology, particularly smartphones and social media. Dr. Shpancer pointed out that the introduction of cell phones coincided with rising levels of anxiety and depression, suggesting a potential link between technology use and declining mental health. He explained that heavy users of social media are more susceptible to negative mental health effects, as the platforms are designed to maximize user engagement by presenting extreme and agreeable content. Our conversation then shifted to the broader societal context, emphasizing that the responsibility for addressing these issues should not rest solely on individuals or parents. Dr. Shpancer highlighted the need for both top-down and bottom-up efforts to create a healthier technological environment. While individuals should be empowered and educated about responsible technology use, there must also be societal regulations and rules governing technology usage in specific contexts. Just as smoking was made uncool through social pressure, similar tactics can be employed to reduce excessive phone and screen time. Furthermore, Dr. Shpancer likened the challenge of moderating technology use to managing other aspects of life, such as food consumption. Both technology and food are essential for survival, but excessive use can be detrimental. He advocated for finding the right balance and purpose in technology use, just as one would with food. Technology can be a valuable tool for business, education, and connection when used mindfully. Throughout our conversation, the concept of "dial issues" was introduced. Dr. Shpancer explained that many challenges in life are not binary "switch issues" but rather dial issues. This means that moderation and finding the right level of use are essential, similar to adjusting a dial to control light or volume. We should aim to dial down our technology use to a functional level while considering the purpose and type of our usage. In summary, Dr. Noam Shpancer's insights shed light on the challenges posed by technology in the modern world, particularly its impact on mental health. Our conversation underscores the importance of striking a balance in technology use, combining individual responsibility with societal regulations to create a healthier technological environment. Ultimately, technology can be a valuable tool when used mindfully and purposefully, contributing positively to various aspects of our lives. Checkout Noam's work at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/noam-shpancer-phd and https://www.otterbein.edu/faculty/noam-shpancer


Ep 62: Ryan Michler | Embracing Resilient Masculinity and Spiritual Growth

Ryan Michler is the founder of Order of Man, and he's doing some fantastic work helping men become better leaders in their lives. We delved into the concept of resilient masculinity and how it's essential to embrace our roles as men in today's world. We discuss the challenges modern men face and how we need to navigate the changing landscape of masculinity. Ryan emphasized the importance of understanding that being a man doesn't mean suppressing emotions, but rather learning from them and responding appropriately. We also explored the impact of social media and how it affects our perceptions of success, happiness, and self-worth. It's crucial to avoid the comparison trap and focus on our individual journeys rather than trying to measure up to others. Ryan shared his thoughts on personal responsibility and the need for men to step up and take ownership of their lives. We agreed that playing the victim only hinders growth, and real progress comes from taking control of our destinies. We touched on the significance of community and how surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals can positively influence our personal growth. Ryan's perspective on building connections and bonds with others resonated deeply with me. Our conversation also veered into the topic of faith and its impact on our lives. Ryan shared his spiritual beliefs, and I found it inspiring how his faith shapes his outlook on life, giving him an eternal perspective on his actions. Stoicism was another subject we explored, and it was fascinating to see how it aligns with many biblical principles. We discussed the idea of not letting emotions dictate our actions and using them as a factor in decision-making rather than reacting impulsively. Throughout the episode, Ryan emphasized the need for humility and self-awareness in personal development. It's essential to acknowledge that we all have room for growth and that our actions and choices matter in shaping our lives. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with Ryan , and I highly recommend checking out his work at orderofman.com or at Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ryanmichler. So, be sure to listen to the full episode and get inspired by Ryan's insights on embracing resilient masculinity and achieving personal growth. Listen & enjoy!


Ep 61: Dr. Ginger Campbell, MD | Certainty, Bias, Intuition, and Open-Mindedness

Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Campbell is a physician, author, and science communicator. She is the author of “Are You Sure: The Unconscious Origins of Certainty” and she is a member of the Podcast Hall of Fame (2022). Dr. Campbell began podcasting in 2006 when she launched two shows: Brain Science and Books and Ideas. Brain Science is still going strong and is widely regarded as the best podcast about neuroscience. Dr. Campbell spent over 20 years as an emergency physician in rural Alabama. In 2014 she went back to the University of Alabama in Birmingham where she completed a Fellowship in Palliative Medicine. She now practices Palliative Medicine at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Birmingham, AL, where she enjoys both patient care and teaching residents, fellows, and medical students. Ginger joins Unlatched Mind to discuss various topics related to neuroscience, consciousness, decision-making, intuition, beliefs, and personal experiences. We touch upon subjects like the limitations of artificial intelligence, the complexity of the human brain, the role of intuition in decision-making, the importance of open-mindedness, the power of personal narratives, and the significance of embracing a big story in life. Ginger shares insights from her own experiences, including her participation in vision quests, and emphasizes the value of showing up in life and cultivating a larger story for oneself. Find Dr. Campbell’s Podcast at brainsciencepodcast.com and follow at twitter.com/docartemis, facebook.com/docartemis, and linkedin.com/docartemis


Ep 60: Dr. Mike Brooks | ChatGPT, ChaosGPT, and Government Oversight

In this episode of Unlatched Mind, Vinny and Mike Brooks discuss the importance of realism over optimism when it comes to AI and the need for regulatory measures. They explore the concept of evolutionary mismatch and how our brains are ill-equipped to handle the rapid advancements of AI due to our hunter-gatherer evolutionary history. The exponential growth of technology is highlighted as a key factor that contributes to the lack of concern or understanding about the potential risks of AI. Mike Brooks shares his series of blog posts that aim to raise awareness and initiate crucial conversations about AI's impact on society. They emphasize the need for a balanced approach, combining hope and realism, to ensure the development and regulation of AI align with our values and long-term well-being. With warnings of A.I. coming from Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Nick Bostrom, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, and even Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, there are no doubt potential scenarios to be concerned with in the very near future. In this episode, they delve into the specifics of Mike's blog post, "Regulate AI Now: Using Our Voices to Safeguard Our Future," focusing on the challenges and potential solutions related to AI regulation. Check out Mike’s work at https://www.drmikebrooks.com ***Episode description written by ChatGPT 3.5


Ep 59: Dr. Mike Brooks | Is the Artificial Intelligence Dystopia Inevitable?

Mike Brooks, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and a licensed specialist in school psychology in Austin, Texas. He has expertise in positive psychology, life balance, the needs of children and teens, and effective parenting practices. He also uses wisdom traditions, including Buddhist psychology and Stoic philosophy, to help clients live richer, fuller lives. With a long-standing interest in how technologies such as video games, smartphones, and social media affect our daily lives, Brooks is also the lead author of Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in a Hyper-Connected World. Mike joins Unlatched Mind to discuss the pending dystopian reality driven by the explosion of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. Check out Mike at https://www.drmikebrooks.com.


Ep 58: Steven Kotler | Master Aging with Flow Science

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance. Steven is the author of eleven bestsellers (out of fourteen books), including The Art of Impossible, The Future is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold and Abundance. His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 50 languages, and has appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, TIME, and the Harvard Business Review. Alongside his wife, author Joy Nicholson, he is also the co-founder of The Buddy Sue Hospice Home for Old Dogs, a canine elder care facility, and Rancho de Chihuahua, a dog rescue and sanctuary. Steven joins Unlatched Mind to discuss his newest book, Gnar Country. In Gnar Country, Steven shows there is no age limit for peak performance and our best years are still to come! Checkout Gnar Country at https://www.gnarcountry.com and connect with Steven’s work at https://www.flowresearchcollective.com or https://www.stevenkotler.com.


Ep 57: Addiction & Your Higher Power

Peg O’Connor, Ph.D., is a Professor of Philosophy at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Her training is in moral philosophy, feminist philosophy, addiction studies, and the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. She believes that philosophy helped her to get and remain sober. Avoiding Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for the first 20 years of her sobriety because of the concept of a “higher power,” she is focused on using some of the great canonical thinkers in western philosophy to illuminate dimensions of addiction. She further shares this in her new book, Higher and Friendly Powers: Transforming Addiction and Suffering. Dr. Peg O’Connor is a recovering alcoholic who maintains that Philosophy got and helped her to stay sober. For the last twelve years, she has shifted the focus of her work to using some of the great canonical thinkers in western Philosophy to illuminate dimensions of addiction. She understands addiction as a meaning of life problem and no discipline is as well suited as Philosophy to address meaning of life questions. In Higher and Friendly Powers, Dr. O’Connor addresses an audience much like herself: those in recovery who have struggled with the Christian-centric God at the heart of AA. She brings our attention to a little-known fact: the term “higher power,” a touchstone in the twelve steps of AA, was coined by William James, philosopher, psychologist, and intellectual giant of the early 20th century. Find Dr. O’Conner at http://pegoconnorauthor.com Video Clips of this episode: https://www.youtube.com/c/unlatchedmind


Ep 56: Moral Injury

Philosopher, emerging public intellectual, and the Director of Great Philosophical Problems, Dr. Timothy Shaw joins the show. Dr. Shaw has undertaken original research into how existential concepts impact and are reflected in the psychological distress models of the “Signature Wound” of contemporary war, Moral Injury. Moral Injury is the damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress one’s own moral beliefs, values, or ethical codes of conduct. Moral injury can occur in reaction to a traumatic event in which deeply held morals or values are violated. The resulting distress may lead to PTSD, depression, and other disorders in which feelings such as guilt, shame, betrayal and anger are predominant, although these feelings may occur in the absence of a formal disorder. Although most research that has been conducted has focused on military Veterans, moral injury can occur outside of the military context. In this episode, we discuss: Chomskyorigin and use of nuclear weapons Nuremberg trials


Ep 55: Extracting Strength from Struggle

Joel Green is CEO of Pro Level Training, the National Director of Nike Sports Camps, a former professional basketball player, and a renowned motivational speaker. After retiring from his career in professional basketball, Joel Green founded Pro Level Training (PLT), which has become a 7-figure company. In addition to running PLT, Green is also the National Director for Nike Sports Camps as well as an accomplished speaker. He was honored to speak to thousands and deliver his own TED Talk. Joel Green’s unique differentiator in business and as an individual, is his ability to see life objectively from multiple vantage points. Unfortunate circumstances as a youth helped to groom and refine Joel into adulthood. Growing up in an abandoned home and seeing both sides of life has really helped him to connect with people over time. A thought leader in the motivational category, Joel Green has a B.A. in Psychology from Rider University, which has helped to fuel his ambition to inspire others. He has developed a reputation for personal excellence and motivational talks that contribute tangible advice for attaining desired goals. Many of the messages he has delivered on are conveyed in his first book, Filtering: The Way to Extract Strength from the Struggle, is available now. In addition, Green is a professional sports and fitness model and actor, and he has been featured in commercials, ads and on television. Most recently he was the face of Cheez-It crackers Celebrity Crunch Classic campaign, in which he was solely featured on millions of snack boxes. Green is known for setting very ambitious goals for himself, most recently his own challenge of reading 30 books in 30 weeks. He has unflinchingly put in 18-20-hour workdays with great joy to make his dreams a physical manifestation. He attributes his work ethic to his unwavering faith and his passionate desire for excellence – both of which have allowed him to overcome many difficulties and life challenges. Learn more about Joel Green at http://www.joelbgreen.com Video clips of the Unlatched Mind Podcast can be found at https://youtube.com/c/unlatchedmind


Ep 54: The China Threat

Former Air Force Chief Software Officer, Nicolas Chaillan was the Special Advisor for Cloud Security and DevSecOps for the U.S. Department of Defense. Mr. Chaillan is recognized as one of France’s youngest entrepreneurs, has founded 12 companies and has created and sold over 180 innovative software products to 45 Fortune 500 companies. Mr. Chaillan is also recognized as a pioneer of the computer language PHP. Nicolas joins us to discuss the state of the U.S. Defense Department and the threat of the Chinese Communist Party. Check out https://www.learnwithnic.com to learn about the massively informative and tactically relevant "Learn with Nic" technical learning platform, just recently launched! Video clips of the Unlatched Mind Podcast can be found at https://youtube.com/c/unlatchedmind


Ep 53: Philosophy, Entrepreneurship, and the Metaverse

Po Chi Wu, Ph.D., is an active advisor/investor supporting startups at SkyDeck, the accelerator/incubator program at the University of California at Berkeley. He has taught entrepreneurship at several universities in China and Hong Kong. Po Chi joins Unlatched Mind to discuss entrepreneurship, philosophy, blockchain, NFTs, the Metaverse, and how the next generation and technology will impact each other.


Ep 52: Falling to Grace

When prominent psychologist Dr. Howard J. Rankin, Ph.D., has his license permanently revoked for a brief consensual encounter with a former client, he has to learn to deal with the fallout including, shame, humiliation and disgrace as well as fake news and haters. Howard J. Rankin, Ph.D., joins Unlatched Mind to discuss his redemption after making the single biggest mistake of his life. https://www.drhowardjrankin.com


Ep 51: Can’t We All Just Get Along?!

Jeremy Sherman, Ph.D., MPP, is a social science writer/researcher with a Masters in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in evolutionary epistemology, which simply means a focus on how different kinds of organisms make an interpretive effort. Dr Sherman joins us to discuss the real reasons why we struggle to get along with one another. You can find Jeremy at https://jeremysherman.com


Ep 50: Radical Candor

Amy Sandler is the chief content officer at Radical Candor, where she also serves as a Candor Coach and is the host of the Radical Candor podcast. She has shared Radical Candor around the world, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, in industries ranging from aerospace to technology, financial services to franchising, and education to healthcare. Amy has trained tens of thousands across a spectrum of roles, from seasoned CEOs to individual contributors just starting on their career path.


Ep 49: The Male Mind

Jett Stone, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the mental health of men. In this episode, we take an honest look inside the minds of men to get an idea how a man’s thoughts affect relationships, family struggles, work-life balance, and everything in between. Check out some of Jett’s content at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/jett-stone-phd


Ep 48: Was ‘Don’t Look Up’ an Important Film?

David Kyle Johnson, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at King's College, PA, and also produces philosophy courses for The Teaching Company. Kyle specializes in critical thinking, metaphysics, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of science. In this episode, Kyle joins Unlatched Mind to discuss whether the film ‘Don’t Look Up’ is an important film and why we should not look at it simply as a satirical ‘popcorn film’. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/david-kyle-johnson-phd https://www.youtube.com/c/UnlatchedMind?sub_confirmation=1


Ep 47: Smart Technology for a Better Future

Dr Jacques Ludik is a smart technology entrepreneur, AI expert, founder of multiple AI companies, author, AI ecosystem builder, and award-winning AI Leader with a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence (Computer Science) and 25+ years' experience in AI and Data Science and its applications. Jacques joins Unlatched Mind to discuss his new book Democratizing Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Everyone. You can find Dr. Ludik at https://jacquesludik.com


Ep 46: Internal Family Systems

Adena Bank Lees is a licensed clinical social worker and a board-certified expert in traumatic stress. She is an internationally recognized authority on trauma related to childhood sexual abuse, in particular Covert Emotional Incest (CEI). Adena’s work has helped thousands of therapists effectively support clients recovering from the emotional and spiritual wounds of childhood sexual abuse and other traumas. Adena’s work and contact info can be found at https://adenabanklees.com.


Ep 45: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Jennifer Faust is the founder of Faust Global Partners, an international business, finance, and investment advisory firm. Through Jennifer’s personal story, we discuss what ADHD is and the misconceptions surrounding the diagnosis. We amplify how, with proper diagnosis and treatment, children with ADHD have very real advantages as compared to their peers! You can find Jennifer at faustglobal.com, on Instagram at “findingfocus_adhd” and Facebook at “Finding Focus: ADHD Families”.


Ep 44: Faith, Society, and the Human Experience

Dr. Gregg Henriques is a Theorist, Scholar, Teacher, and Clinician. Gregg joins Unlatched Mind to discuss the impact of faith, community, and core values on the human experience. We consider our response to the pandemic, our partisan nature, religion, and the destructive ways social media incentivizes fake personas. We also discuss our economic systems and how they continue to pull us further and further away from our intrinsic values. Check out Gregg at https://www.gregghenriques.com