Eric Fisher and Consciousness, Societal Expectations and Silicon Valley

CJ sat down with Eric Fisher. Eric and CJ grew up together in Newtown, Connecticut and have known one another since about the fifth grade. Eric attended the University of Pennsylvania for Digital Media Design and moved to Silicon Valley to work at Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook. When he realized he wasn't happy in that career, Eric started moving around the country living in different places for only months at a time to experience life without being tethered to a specific place. Now Eric resides in Boulder, Colorado and his work is designed to help people find true consciousness and self-awareness. His work can be featured at HighExistence and TruePlace. Enjoy!

 

Eric and CJ Discuss Consciousness, Societal Expectations, Life in Silicon Valley

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Conversation Highlights

CJ and Eric spoke for about 53 minutes. Together they covered the following topics:

  • How we know one another from growing up together in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • All the places Eric has lived as an adult, and why he intentionally chose to live in certain places for only months at a time so he could experience what it was like to be truly untethered to a specific place.
  • Why the structure of school is broken.
  • Eric's experiences working in tech in Silicon Valley, and his interactions with Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Specifically, how Eric's cousin, actor Jesse Eisenberg, played Mark in the movie Social Network while Eric was working for Mark at Facebook.
  • Why Eric loves design.
  • How Eric's major focus now is on consciousness, and how he's working to help others become more conscious, self-aware and happy.
  • Why our culture is far too engaged in business and "marketing speak."

Full Conversation Transcript

CJ Maurer:
Eric Fisher, your face, your hair, everything looks good. Thanks for coming on with me.

Eric Fisher:
Thanks for having me. We're recording.

CJ Maurer:
You are coming to us from very beautiful Boulder, Colorado.

CJ Maurer:
For those of you that don't know, by the way, Eric and I have been friends since we were little kids. We played on the same basketball team and then we really got to know each other in high school and have loosely stayed in touch here and there. We've kept tabs on each other since we've gone our separate ways after college and things like that. So I'm super excited talking to somebody here that I've known for a really, really long time.

CJ Maurer:
I think you've done a lot of really cool things that I want to talk about. But before we get into all of that, what's up now? How's it going? How are you?

Eric Fisher:
Things are good. It's funny. We say, "When we went our separate ways after high school," it's like we didn't tell each other that we were going to go separate ways. "CJ, I think it's time we went our separate ways." It would have changed the relationship. The fact that we didn't say it and yet we went separate ways is why we're able to talk now. Isn't that funny?

CJ Maurer:
That's right.

Eric Fisher:
Don't say, "Let's go our separate ways," because then you'll never see each other again. You just let it happen.

CJ Maurer:
I never thought of it that way. I will be very sure not to tell anybody that we should go our separate ways.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah, just do it.

CJ Maurer:
Just do it.

Eric Fisher:
We'll find to have-

CJ Maurer:
The Irish goodbye of relationships.

Eric Fisher:
I'm in Colorado. We were sitting next to each other in journalism class junior year of high school at 17 years old. That's half a life ago because we're 34.

CJ Maurer:
Yeah, I'm 33. I'll be 34 soon.

Eric Fisher:
Okay, well, we're in that range.

CJ Maurer:
Yeah.

Eric Fisher:
I'm not even sure if I was 17. So half our life ago, now we meet again for this chat.

CJ Maurer:
I know. You're somebody who I think... The life that you're living right now seems like... I don't want to know if I should use the word stark contrast but certainly different from what path you seemed to be on when you went to college and then when you left. You went to UPenn Digital Media Design. You worked at Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook. Am I missing any?

Eric Fisher:
Others? Yeah, that's it.

CJ Maurer:
So you worked at all of those places. You're in Silicon Valley for a number of years. I remember you sharing all your photos. Now, here you are. You're living in Boulder, Colorado which is not Silicon Valley, is not known for... Although, is there a lot of tech company activity out there?

Eric Fisher:
There is. They're growing. Google just built the largest office building in Boulder that has 2000 employees.

CJ Maurer:
I see. That's why I asked. That doesn't surprise me. Any place that it becomes trendy to live I feel attracts tech companies or maybe it's the other way around. I don't know.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. Tech's people who want to live in nice places and if there's enough of them, then the companies want to be there to have them work for them.

CJ Maurer:
Austin, Texas.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah, I lived in Austin for a period. Austin has got its own scene. Great. It's all spreading around.

CJ Maurer:
How many places have you lived [crosstalk 00:03:33] Newtown, Connecticut?

Eric Fisher:
Seven or so. I did this period where I lived in different cities for four to six months at a time repeatedly for years in order to dive in 100% and then get the hell out of there and demonstrate to myself what impermanence really is and how it doesn't need to hold you back from being 100% committed at the time.

Eric Fisher:
You couldn't go to college for what I do now. There was no opportunity. There's nothing there. You can't go to college. I'm not against college. I had to pick something. I was looking into psychology but that didn't seem like it was going to offer the lifestyle that I was looking for and then I was also looking at architecture because you probably knew in high school that I wanted to design my own house.

CJ Maurer:
I maybe knew that. You saying that now was not surprising because you were very... I've always associated with you as somebody who's into design.

Eric Fisher:
I'm into it.

CJ Maurer:
Whatever kind of design that is.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. Design is just a way of being. It's just a way of looking at the world trying to understand the core patterns and simple elements underneath it and from that perspective, it makes it very difficult often to live in our modern world which has a lot of complexity and complicatedness unnecessarily. [crosstalk 00:05:02].

CJ Maurer:
What do you mean by that?

Eric Fisher:
Just that the way that we've constructed things over time has been very much like slapping Band-Aids on things until things explode and then we have to , rebuild it rather than just really thinking it out and putting things in place. Of course, the flipside of that is that there were people who thought it out and put things in place but often the things that they put in place constricted people in various ways such as someone like me who has to go to school for some reason, I don't know why. I'm the guy who went to... I did well in high school, I did well in college, I did well in the world and I don't care and it's all stupid.

CJ Maurer:
I think I know the answer but I want to hear you say it, why can't anybody go to school for what you do now?

Eric Fisher:
Because there's no education on it. University is a great idea. I think people should definitely go to school to learn how to think, to learn how to learn, to learn what this body is and what it can do and what it can't do, but it's become this whole business industry of colleges where you pick a major in anything and it's filled with programs and books and tests and all this stuff that doesn't matter at all for anything really. It just fills your youthful mind, which is like a sponge still, with a bunch of stuff that weighs you down from the nimbleness of being able to create or do whatever you want in life with excitement.

CJ Maurer:
Are you familiar with Seth Godin? Do you know who that is?

Eric Fisher:
I am familiar.

CJ Maurer:
Did you ever read his... He wrote a manifesto back in 2012. This is the second, by the way, podcast episode in a row that I'm referencing this. This is funny prompted by something somebody else said. He wrote a manifesto back in 2012 that was called Stop Stealing Dreams. It was an indictment of how the structure of school, not teachers or curriculum, but how school is structured. Did you ever see that or read that?

Eric Fisher:
No, I tend not to read. But I'm not surprised. Teachers are great. We need good teachers in life but the system that's in place and the incentives and everything are all misaligned for what we really need to be doing especially now given that the world is changing so quickly and adaptability is more critical than getting the bank job and staying there for your whole career.

CJ Maurer:
Right. Absolutely. I started my own business five months ago and three, four months into my business, a global pandemic hits that is having tremendous damage, if you will, on our economy and yet... I worked at a good company before. I really liked that company but I almost feel more secure in my job as a business owner than as an employee. There's this weird shift. I agree no matter what company you work for... My dad is maybe one of those few exceptions. He's been at IBM for 35 years or something like that.

CJ Maurer:
Getting back to the Stop Stealing Dreams, Seth Godin argues that school, public, ubiquitous schooling, at least in America, was put in place in the early 1900s after child labor laws were passed. At that time, companies were arguing that there's no way they could stay competitive if they couldn't employ child workers and pay them lower wages. And then, of course, what Seth Godin argues is that everybody agreed that the next best thing to employ kids, put kids to work, is to teach kids how to become good workers and essentially make investments and deposits for a long-term benefit.

Eric Fisher:
They specifically said in the design of the school system that we're not trying to create thinkers or genius people here. We're just trying to get people to a level where they're smart enough to do the job but not smart enough to realize that they're only this level of smart.

Eric Fisher:
With the advent of the mass media in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and everything coming online in the '80s when we were born, it, I think, created this very strange paradigm now where we have a lot of people all over the place who think that they are someone and who think that they matter and that their opinions are important, and the reality is that there's a full spectrum of understanding and most of humanity is not even near the echelon of realization of what's going on socially, culturally, globally.

Eric Fisher:
Everybody's mostly just caught up in their day to day life because it's hard because life is hard. I don't blame anybody because it's hard. You got to make money. You got to take care of kids. You got to do this. You got to do that. You have to do this. Oh, I got to worry about that. That's not the way that people were before. That's not what human animals are. It's clearly just a byproduct of the time and place that we find ourselves in.

Eric Fisher:
I'm really hopeful that the COVID stuff has given at least some people some time, just some time, and some space away from the busyness of life to have a thought that's like, "Wait a minute, why do I do that?" 'I don't want to do that." "Why would I do that?" "I'm not going to do that anymore." Just for having a little bit of time and space.

CJ Maurer:
I think it's certainly happening for sure. You're already seeing it on the business level which at the end of the day those are not businesses making decisions, those are still just people. But in the context of business and work, you're already seeing surveys going out to employees. "Would you prefer to work from home more often?" Because we don't think a lot about 30 minutes in the car as a long commute in this society. Thirty minutes commute, throw on the radio, throw on a podcast, drink your coffee. It's that morning ritual. It's a ritual that a lot of us have come to enjoy.

Eric Fisher:
It's been around.

CJ Maurer:
But you do that twice a day for a week and now you're talking about five hours and then people are taking inventory of their time in addition to office space and rent.

Eric Fisher:
It makes a lot of sense in so many ways and of course, more and more jobs are done digitally that doesn't need to be in an office. But of course, it is favoring the privileged people who are working these jobs and not people who actually have to be in person for things. It's widening that gap.

CJ Maurer:
Yeah, and that's terrible. That is absolutely terrible because I feel two very overarching emotions about this whole situation. One is it's great, I'm happy, it's rewarding. I'm spending more time with my family. My business is okay. This is fine. I am so fortunate. I built raised bed. I'm doing vegetable gardens things like that.

Eric Fisher:
Oh, you are? Cool. Me too.

CJ Maurer:
Yeah. It's so much fun. I'm realizing now that despite the fact that I have work that pays me that I enjoy the things that... See that I was laying some more mulch down. If you lay black mulch, I scrubbed the crap out of these fingernails yesterday afternoon. I wash my hands [crosstalk 00:13:08].

Eric Fisher:
That makes you an adult male father.

CJ Maurer:
That's right. I have my man card today. But no matter what, it's going to take a couple of days to get out. Anyways. Yeah, despite all of that I love maybe more than anything just being outside, tending to my property, playing with my kids. We talked about humans being simple animals, that's what I love.

Eric Fisher:
[crosstalk 00:13:34] to do. The lion is a lion cub having learned a maturity level, but it can hunt when it needs to and then the rest of the time it can play. But for some reason the human animal has become this adult act like, "I don't want to do anything anymore. That's too much for me." And you're like, "That's not a lion."

CJ Maurer:
Yeah, not at all.

Eric Fisher:
It looks like something I've not seen in nature. We got to snap out of it and I realized that our generation is coming in hot, plowing the way in many respects. I know a lot of people in powerful positions. Now, for all the younger people behind us, people who are 32, who are 30, who are 28, who are 27, who are 26, who are 19, and they're all cool and they got a lot of energy, they want to play. Some of that needs to be reined in a little bit. But the overarching theme is play, connection, enjoyment. We need that. It has a big, powerful spirit because that's what life's supposed to be about and for the last 100 something years or so, it's been very, very work oriented.

Eric Fisher:
In order for us to do this, look at this thing that we made. This is cool. Was it worth it? Maybe. I don't know. This house is cool. Was it worth it? Could be. But now that we're here, do we really need anything else? What else we really need?

CJ Maurer:
That brings me to my second emotion which is very simply put that I'm lucky. The government didn't force the shutdown of my business and how I'm going to provide for my family is not in question. That sucks. I would probably be feeling very differently about this situation if I was in that situation.

Eric Fisher:
That's right.

CJ Maurer:
How do we fix it, Eric?

Eric Fisher:
How do we fix it? We're currently just at a time where there's a lot of tension pulling the humanity and the whole... You can imagine all of the people is this amorphous blob that's moving and shaking and going this way, that way, whatever. But every so often, culturally, other sides are pushing up against opposite ends and it gets really stretched out. Inevitably, as always, there's some collapse where it swings back on itself and it's pretty chaotic.

Eric Fisher:
I don't know if this is it or if it's coming, but I think that will probably happen and it will not be fun. But then, usually what happens after a snapback is that everybody realizes like, "Oh, we all actually are living together and we like each other and we're one united group underneath all the layers of the stuff that nobody cares about, really. I just want to play too."

CJ Maurer:
You just described a book I read in 2013, called Pendulum. It was written by... You've heard of it?

Eric Fisher:
Head of it. Every 80 years, we swing [inaudible 00:16:37].

CJ Maurer:
Between Me versus We. When I read it, they said we're on the upswing of a We. The idea is that as Western civilization we shift back and forth between two cultural mindsets or spirits of the age. A Me is a more individualistic and a We is a more collectivist. We're in the upswing of a We.

CJ Maurer:
A Me begins with this beautiful dream of rugged individualism and can-do spirit and when you take Me too far it turns into fake and phony posing and then we retreat back longing for substance and something real moving back into a We with this beautiful dream of working together for the common good and then when you take a We too far, you have too much, defining ourselves by the groups we belong to, which is very much like what's going on right now. They argued that basically the apex of the We would be in the early 20s. They argued this seven years ago.

CJ Maurer:
Everything that's happened seemed to... It's just a book so people with an idea, so take it for what it is but I've seen the world through the lens of that book often. Meaning oftentimes I'll see something that happens and I'm like, "That is kind of similar to what these guys argued in the book called Pendulum." What they suggested too is... Unfortunately, at the apex of We, there's usually some major conflict. It comes back exactly how you just described it.

Eric Fisher:
I can speak to anybody but I'm going to specifically speak to our generation and younger which is what we can do, which is, we're new to the world still. We haven't necessarily been overloaded with the ridiculousness of many generations past. We still have the potential to do a lot of powerful things. We're not even up to the age yet. We're going to be in our 40s when we're really doing things out there.

Eric Fisher:
As things get difficult and there's more difficulty ahead, let's breath and remember what's real and remember that we want to play and then we want to connect and that most things don't matter and that we're just simple human animals.

Eric Fisher:
Unfortunately, I'm concerned that because of all of the anxiety and fear and frustration and difficulty that is the life that we're here in, there's a lot of pain and hurt and anger built up in everyone. I've had it and I get it. It comes in. When things explode, we don't need that anger and that hurt to also explode. We could use some practices to get in touch with it, to realize like, "Oh, I'm hurting because I just wanted joy." Life isn't joy. "Well, that does hurt. Okay, I'll hold that. I'm not going to get mad about it because we're going to change it."

Eric Fisher:
But when things start to turn whatever way they're going to go, we really need a group of people who are in touch with their feelings and can express them in a very firm way to enact the change that they want to see in the world.

CJ Maurer:
I agree completely. That's really hard to do it. Does that relate at all to the project that you're working on now?

Eric Fisher:
It does. Yes. You can't go to school for consciousness. I've always felt that I've been the witness of my life ever since I was little kid, but then literally asked my parents since I was two, "What is happening?" "What is this?" "You don't look like what I think you're supposed to look like. I don't look like what I'm supposed to look like."

Eric Fisher:
I can't get along with other people. I don't know what they're wearing. I don't know why they listen to that music. I don't know why that's important, etc., etc. But you got to pick something and the thing that made the most sense, of course, was computer science stuff which was its own... Just adventure, but it's been done now and now I can go back to the original love which is trying to help bring some awareness to what consciousness is and how it can help people in every way that they want because everybody is conscious in some way.

Eric Fisher:
It's ultimately about developing personal sovereignty. I don't know if you know that word, but it's like you're wholly in charge of your experience of life. Nobody's coming to help you. You're not depending on anybody. You're not trusting an outside authority. You are the one who has full intelligence to perceive the world for the full sentience, to sense into how you feel about it and full agency to make something happen that you need, no more, no less.

Eric Fisher:
I just feel like the school system and the job system and generally the cultural system at large has a way particularly of putting people into a position in which they have no sovereignty, in which they really have no authority over their experience of life. It's so insidious. Every little twist and turn you're actually reliant on someone else. You rely on somebody to tell you what to do or somebody else to give you the answer and it's self-sabotaging in every turn.

Eric Fisher:
I say that the answer lies in the feeling of pain and feeling of sadness and feeling of hurt and also learning about what is going on on this ball of rock in the cosmos outside of the cultural conditioning, but you need time and space to do that.

Eric Fisher:
I have created a couple spaces here in Colorado that are really beautiful homes. One of which I designed that's getting built that are beautiful places to have time and space to contemplate such things, surrounded by trained facilitators who know what this is and can help in a variety of modalities like meditation or yoga or movement or dance or nutrition, cooking, gardening, improv, journaling, whatever.

Eric Fisher:
You come out here for a 21-day program or so. It's inevitable that something will shift because it's just bound to happen. The ingredients are there.

CJ Maurer:
How?

Eric Fisher:
How? Time and space is a magical thing as is your feelings. Magical. Who would have thought?

Eric Fisher:
We spend so much of our time up here dealing with our phones and our schedules and we're running around trying to do the stuff. It's all talking and thinking. It's all talking and thinking. Maybe it's driven from the heart. Maybe we're doing it because we really care. That's awesome. And maybe we're putting some power into our work, into what we're doing, but are we truly driven by what really motivates us? Are we really driven every day to do the things that we were called to do? Probably not.

Eric Fisher:
I certainly wasn't. Look, I did that tech career for years and I'm good at it but I don't like it. That's not what I want to do. Is that what we want in our lives like? You get a job because you're good at it but not because you like it just because that's what she wants? It would be great if everybody had a job that they really loved and they could really throw themselves into and it could be an expression of their being because they get some good at it. But not everybody has that kind of job.

Eric Fisher:
But there's no reason why you can't have that kind of job. You just might have to take a step back and reorient and now go this way. What opportunities in life today allow you to take a step back except for coronavirus?

CJ Maurer:
Right. That's a big thing because I built a raised bed, I started a vegetable garden, a lot of my plants are really starting to come up really nicely, and I'm doing this. These are two things that I've wanted to do for a long time and I knew that the world would never present itself a better opportunity for me to just start doing this now.

Eric Fisher:
Yes, take the opportunity.

CJ Maurer:
Keep doing it. But what you also said about experiencing your emotions is I think really it's subtle yet it's really profound. We all have emotions. We all know we're emotional beings. I think depending on the person maybe you're more or less, I don't know, in tune with your emotions, I think.

CJ Maurer:
Especially men. I think that's hard just the idea of just talking comfortably about emotions, let alone my own emotions. I think for men it can be definitely a little bit harder but we're still people. We still have emotions. I think it's really healthy to understand where they come from and I think more than anything we're just talking and thinking.

CJ Maurer:
We're distracted from them because rather than sit and feel something, we move from work to talk to whatever and then in between, have this. I could just, "Oh, let me just jump to this so I can continue to distract myself from anything of substance or self-discovery that I could be feeling."

Eric Fisher:
Absolutely. Yeah. It's the age of distraction for a reason. So many great poets and writers of the past spent a lot of time just sitting in nature. Sitting, looking, contemplating, feeling. Now, yes, we have the phones. Now, that time is taken away.

Eric Fisher:
You're sitting and waiting for a friend to show up at a restaurant pre COVID times and they're not there yet so do you sit and observe the people in the restaurant? Probably not. You probably take out your phone. I've done it. I look at it like, "Why am I doing this?" I'm going to sit and look at the people and look at this restaurant and think about things. We could really use some more guidance from people out there about how to navigate the emotional abyss of the human experience.

Eric Fisher:
Therapy is obviously the way that it's been but there's a big stigma around therapy and not all therapists are very good. There's also a whole world of spiritual teachers who do various healing modalities and there are many lovely people in that space and many not so lovely people in that space. Really, it's difficult to find where is the safe place because we're not talking about learning a skill like playing piano, like it doesn't really matter if you don't really like your teacher kind of thing, you're learning.

Eric Fisher:
If you're talking in matters of the self and how you feel, you want to be able to work with people who are good people, guaranteed. "This is a quality human." "This person cares." "This one is listening to you. There's no ulterior motive." They're not trying to sell you something.

Eric Fisher:
This is a human who also knows how to listen and care and here's who you're working with. I'll tell you that it's hard to find those out there because the business... We talked about marketing and one thing that I've identified it's so frustrating is that the way that we talk to each other as a culture in movies, in media, in person is all marketing. It's become marketing.

Eric Fisher:
That's not the way that we should talk to each other but it's the way that we've learned to talk to each other because everything in America is about business. It's always been about the economy. It's been built by people who left the monarchy to become their own kings of business.

Eric Fisher:
It's only natural especially as the economy gets faster and faster and more connected and more complex, the language also becomes business oriented without realizing and that is a very good reason as to why we have so many people who are so down on themselves, a lot of negative self talk, a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, a lot of self-loathing.

Eric Fisher:
You can't take marketing speak and apply it to humans. They're not the same. Marketing is for selling products in a finite numeric quantified world of things. Humans are emotional, flowing, cyclical, non-quantified beings that are always moving and changing at all times and can't be boxed in. When we apply this box to marketing speak how are you going to sell it? "What can I do for you?" "What kind of services do you offer?" "Where did you go to school?" "What kind of products can you do for me?" It's adding all of these walls to this human flowing little kid who's just like, "What do you mean? I just want to play."

Eric Fisher:
We have this big problem now where we think we're talking, we think we're telling stories, we think we're having conversations, and we think we're connecting and maybe we are in some ways, but the way that we're talking has been wholly influenced by the cultural values and we're not talking the way we need to.

CJ Maurer:
When you meet somebody at the bar or whatever and they're trying to... What's the first question? What do you do?

Eric Fisher:
I haven't been asked that in so long, it's so great. But it used to be. It used to be, "Whoa, what do you do?" "Oh, you like that? We should go golfing and talk about what kind of car you drive?" "You like what kind of shows?" "Do you read a book?"

Eric Fisher:
If you notice, there's tendency. It's always external things. How are you connected to the economy at large? That's the question. "Oh, that's what you'd like to know. Here's the answer. But if you'd like to know how I'm connected to life, I can tell you various things. I can tell you that my dad died last year. It had a strong impact on me in terms of my embracing of impermanence. I've channeled that energy into being a better piano player. That's cool." That has nothing to do with the economy and is that therefore not valuable for me, the human? It depends who you talk to.

Eric Fisher:
I had to give up talking to a lot of people that I knew who just kept speaking in marketing terms all the time and didn't care about the human experience I was having and so they're just not part of my life and all the people in my world now? We don't care what anybody does. It's just what are you feeling? How are you perceiving this? What art are you creating? What are you building? That kind of stuff. It's nice. Do you get to talk to your friends about your vegetable garden? [crosstalk 00:31:13]

CJ Maurer:
Well, I bring it up. When people ask me, "How are you doing?" I feel bad for a lot of people who say, "How's it going? How are you doing?" Because I never just give the good because I always aspire to answer that question honestly. I usually start by saying, "I'm doing pretty well. Maybe had a little bit of a stressful week," or "I'm doing great. Just this happened. My kids are doing this and my wife and I are doing this and I'm building a vegetable garden. I'm starting..." whatever. I always give at least probably a one minute answer any time somebody asked me what I'm doing because I like to answer that honestly.

Eric Fisher:
How many times do they ask you followup questions?

CJ Maurer:
I don't know. I don't really keep track. I don't really take inventory of that but definitely I do get asked followup questions for sure but a lot of times people you can tell just wanted... They were exchanging pleasantries rather than really wanting to know how you were doing. So I feel bad for them. Now they've learned to never ask me how I'm doing unless they want the real answer.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. You should feel bad for them because they are not trying to connect with you. They're missing out on reality.

CJ Maurer:
Right. That could be true. But there are times when I don't want to connect with people and usually when I don't want to connect with people has nothing to do with them and probably just maybe I'm tired and I just don't feel like you know what I mean?

Eric Fisher:
[crosstalk 00:32:39] the other thing that so many people are so tired all the time. So tired, so anxious, so annoyed, so exhausted, so over it, so I just need to do my own thing. That's also part of the whole system. It's all together. You can't ever separate one thing and solve for that because it's all symptomatic of the system at large which is why in many respects the way that we go about treating illnesses is off because we're trying to isolate one thing-

CJ Maurer:
Putting Band-Aids on the symptoms instead of resolving the root cause.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. I've seen psychologist in the past for depression, anxiety. Anxiety because I'm trying to be a high achiever and it just keeps going faster and faster and I can never get a handle on it. And depression because how is this life? This feels terrible. Used to be a big stigma back in the day. Now, everybody talks about it which is great. But I don't have anxiety or depression anymore. Because I'm aware of what caused those to begin with.

Eric Fisher:
It wasn't me being different and needing to take medication, it was the system at large that we are part of that modifies the way that everybody communicates and behaves with one another and what our value system is and yeah, if you're somebody who is observant in life maybe notices things people don't notice, maybe is sensitive and feels things that maybe people are not seeming to feel, it's going to be pretty difficult to live life in that system. You go see a psychologist, psychiatrist. You get pills. Why not? They want to sell pills. So that's great.

Eric Fisher:
But the reality is that the entire paradigm is not real. Even the depression, anxiety, because it's in the paradigm, is not real and that there's something else. Over here, stepped back beyond it, that takes care of all of those issues.

CJ Maurer:
Now, is that part of the reason why you left Silicon Valley because you were unhappy?

Eric Fisher:
Yeah, it sucked.

CJ Maurer:
It's funny because you would never think of that.

Eric Fisher:
No, because why would I think about that, all I think about is how to be successful and doing whatever the [crosstalk 00:34:52].

CJ Maurer:
Even from an outsider's perspective, just seeing you like, "Ooh, Eric's working at Facebook now." Just the assumption of, "Eric's doing great. He's killing it," and all this stuff. I guarantee you that's what I thought at that time and on some levels I'm sure you were, but how much is it worth it if you're not happy?

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. I wouldn't have this life without that time and everything. It's all part of the life path. But just because something looks like something on the outside does not mean anything about the actual human experience happening and oftentimes, people are just not connected to their human experience. I wasn't.

Eric Fisher:
I was definitely at the time living mostly fully in my perception of what it was not, what it actually was because what it actually was pretty painful and why would I do something for myself that would be painful. Therefore, it must not be painful, it must be this. So delusion [crosstalk 00:35:59] for this long period until-

CJ Maurer:
Or there's just something wrong with me.

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. If you dare share any of those feelings with other people, depending on who they are, yeah, they'll tell you it's you. You're the one with the problem and that's the worst. You can tell who's your real friend or not just by posing something vulnerable to them and how they respond, because if they respond, trying to lift you up in some way in a constructive way that's good, but if they're all critiquing or criticizing or whatever, no, that's not useful.

CJ Maurer:
Do you think Silicon Valley, for all that it is, is broken and it's just bad? Or do you think it is what it is and for a lot of people like you it doesn't fit but for some people it might fit them perfectly?

Eric Fisher:
It's different now than it was. Now, it's very complex. There're tons of companies, tons of venture capitalists, tons of money floating around that didn't exist before because it's floating over the years. A lot more innovation to build on top of... You can build a whole new website on a stack of developer stuff so quickly. Used to be you have to write your own libraries.

Eric Fisher:
It's just a very fast and there's a lot of people throwing a lot of money at it because why not? We'll see who hits it big. It's just attracting a lot of people who are looking to make money and who want to play in tech. Frankly, I feel like we passed the golden nugget of tech years ago and didn't even make a sound. It used to be Steve Jobs for a long time talking about the personal computer. We remember the Macs in high school. They were not so good. I didn't like them. The colorful ones with macOS but they're like-

CJ Maurer:
I think we first got them in middle school too.

Eric Fisher:
Middle school, yeah. I was always a PC guy but then I switched over with macOS X and then the Mac laptop started getting really good and then the iPad and then iPhone which is running macOS X. We're trying to create this digital tool that's personal that you can use to enhance your experience of life. He called it a bicycle for the mind.

Eric Fisher:
When my first iPhone came out and I had it, so I was working at Apple, I was like, "I have GPS. That's really helpful. Now I can go walk around and I'm fine." That's a big deal. But now we have all of these games and animojis and your avatar pictures and everybody had addiction issues with social networks and sharing. That's not what the idea was when it was conceived. It's taken a turn. It's gone into something.

Eric Fisher:
And the same could be said for the tech industry on the whole. Some people love it. They love getting out there and building stuff or talking to people and raising money so go ahead. If they're creating jobs for other people, okay. But there's definitely a lot of volatility. Not every job is secure and not every service that is built is secure.

Eric Fisher:
Sometimes a company will build a service, get a bunch of users, use all this marketing term to say, "We're here for you, blah, blah, blah." And then the company goes under or gets acquired and the whole service shuts down. But all those people were now depending on it as part of their lives. You made that. You told them to make it part of their lives. And now you shut it down. That's not good. Don't do that. It's a full spectrum of amazing stuff happening and not so good stuff happening.

CJ Maurer:
Yeah, for sure. That's the money behind it. You'll have to indulge me for a second. Did you have any experiences... I'm not sure if I've ever asked you this. Have you had any experiences with Steve Jobs when you were at Apple?

Eric Fisher:
I did a couple of times, yeah. I also got up from my lunch table just as he was sitting down at that lunch table on purpose because I knew that he came out of the cafeteria at 1:00 precisely. So I sat at the table.

CJ Maurer:
Nice. Cool.

Eric Fisher:
I had more contact with Mark Zuckerberg because I was working with him.

CJ Maurer:
Right. I was going to ask you about that next because you were doing newsfeed at the time, right?

Eric Fisher:
[inaudible 00:40:13] it was really. They just tweaked the algorithms but visually, it's the same thing.

CJ Maurer:
Not a lot of people know this but your cousin is the actor Jesse Eisenberg. Literally, while you were working at Facebook and reporting to Mark Zuckerberg, your cousin plays your boss in a movie. What was that like?

Eric Fisher:
They were separate. It was funny. The whole company went to go see the movie and I sat behind Mark in a row or something. It was just a fun little thing. But it was one of those experiences that many others has a way of easily warping one's perception of reality if you're not careful and started getting different kinds of attention for no reason. I'm like, "Why? Who cares? Why does this matter?" It was strange.

Eric Fisher:
I think it was good to have something like that early on to realize that you definitely don't want to be famous because it has nothing to do with anything with other people's perceptions of you which why would you want that?

CJ Maurer:
Yeah. I've definitely fallen into the trap of letting other people's perceptions of me influenced me. We'll just leave it at that. And then, a lot of the labels that people want to assign to me usually in a positive manner if they're a friend trying to build me up, "Hey, you're this, you're this whatever," make me uncomfortable because either they're untrue or they're just totally unfounded.

CJ Maurer:
There's no way for you to know if what you just said about me is true or not. But I think it's a dangerous trap to fall into and then I can only imagine how that would be amplified and that's just a small group of people who are my friends or family or just want to build me up. I probably do the same thing to other people too but I can only imagine what that would be like if you were famous.

Eric Fisher:
It's the same thing for fake news. People say whatever and that becomes somehow the reality regardless of what is actually true. Somehow people saying things and other people hearing those things makes it more real. Then not saying it and having it just be the reality.

Eric Fisher:
What is that? That to me is the ultimate question of the human condition is, why are we so susceptible to other people and their words and their tone of voice and their expression? Why are all those things so influential on our perception of reality that we literally unconsciously create a sense of self based on those judgments? And then we go around the world thinking that I'm this guy with these things and these are important to me when it all [crosstalk 00:43:03] stuff.

CJ Maurer:
Isn't it other because our need for connection and belonging is greater than our need for something to be right?

Eric Fisher:
Yeah. The value of self-esteem comes after the value of belonging. There's no esteem if there's no belonging. If you just remove the whole thing, then there's nothing. [crosstalk 00:43:24] on the land so that we are living with other human animals who are social, that we have the longest time spent with our parents as babies than any other animal that we like. We need that connection and the love and the reciprocation of the [inaudible 00:43:40]. We are in this condition of that.

Eric Fisher:
Of course, the esteem would depend on how much you feel like you are getting enough. If you're growing up and you're not getting enough, you're going to start grasping for it in every which way not just physically grasping but even in your persona you'll even talk a certain way to get what you want even though you don't even know what you're doing it. You're just a kid. They mimic stuff.

Eric Fisher:
This becomes the personality and now here we are adults acting the same patterns wholly unaware that these are behaviors developed from a different reality when you were a kid and you were at the mercy of your parents and your family. Now, you're an adult. Now, you can heal those things and do whatever you want and get your own love that kind of thing.

CJ Maurer:
It is so profound and obvious when you say it but myself included how few people are actually thinking about that. You know what I mean? We use the word consciousness. It is not readily recallable for most consciousness. If you're experiencing pain or suffering, however that is, to be able to understand maybe where it came from and realizing where that gap is and that... Because you can't fix a problem if you don't know what it is or where it come from.

Eric Fisher:
Agreed.

CJ Maurer:
Then maybe you'll outwardly project that problem unnecessarily on other people or things or...

Eric Fisher:
Yeah, and they got their own shit so they're going to react and it's like now you know what's real because now you're reacting to their reaction and it's like, "Oh, God, they just went off on this little thing."

CJ Maurer:
What is the name of your company again?

Eric Fisher:
TruePlace.

CJ Maurer:
TruePlace. That's right. TruePlace, trueplace.com?

Eric Fisher:
Find your true place in this world. It's not what you think.

CJ Maurer:
I signed up for email. Let me see, trueplace.com?

Eric Fisher:
No .org.

CJ Maurer:
.org.

Eric Fisher:
I would tell your viewers to go to highexistence.com calm. That's the website that I cooperate with some friends here that has a lot of articles on consciousness and psychedelics.

CJ Maurer:
Is this your website? Or is it a bunch of friends you guys do? Or did you just... I was trying to pull it up. Transcend The Ordinary.

Eric Fisher:
I didn't build it. It's been around for 10 years, but I...

CJ Maurer:
You contribute to it.

Eric Fisher:
Build the community out and rebrand it.

CJ Maurer:
That's awesome. I'm definitely going to check this out.

Eric Fisher:
We did psychedelic retreats in the jungles of Costa Rica with ayahuasca and it's a wild time.

CJ Maurer:
This is really interesting. You've said a lot of things in this that made me want to, I guess, reflect more, maybe ways that I'm not prepared to share right now but I think that if most people are being honest with themselves, this is definitely a large part of their being that they've neglected. So I'm very interested in this. I'll check it out and I'll definitely include a link as well.

Eric Fisher:
[inaudible 00:46:53]. Consider this. What is it? A shrimp? It's some kind of animal. I should know this. It gets born in the rivers, mountain rivers, and all it needs to do is attach itself to one of the rocks under the water. Once it anchors itself, then it can just dangle in the water and it just picks up all of the nutrients that fly by. It's tethered. That's it so it's safe even when the water moves fast.

Eric Fisher:
It feels like an actual metaphor for this experience that we're all having as people and humans which is that we're born and we're just floating around and trying to get our bearings of what's going on.

Eric Fisher:
At some point, we need to anchor to hopefully something stable in order to let life go by us as we filter out whatever we need. It's a much better and easier life to be over here, "Oh, I'll take that. Thanks." "Okay. I'll take that." Than to be like, "Oh, my God, I'm running around..." You could imagine the hunter-gatherer society.

Eric Fisher:
Yes, they were moving around all the time but they weren't like... Every day they can hang out in a nice grass valley for a bit and just enjoy the berries for days or weeks or whatever and then move over. They weren't like, "Oh my God, we need to find more trees." "Holy shit, we need to go down to this other place." "I found an orchard."

Eric Fisher:
What are we anchoring to... In many ways, because we are somewhat separated from the emotional experience because we don't talk about it because maybe we had a difficult relationship with our parents, didn't talk it out with them. We had difficult social relationships, whatever it is. We have to anchor it to something. We can't anchor to our own experience of reality because it hurts that we can't get any validation that it's legitimate.

Eric Fisher:
We anchor to other things, we anchor to other beliefs and other values. We anchor to the value of, "We need to go to college. That's important. We need to do that." We anchor to the value of, "We need to make a lot of money." We need to anchor to, "You got to have this." "You need to get married." Whatever it is, we anchor.

Eric Fisher:
Not to say that those are bad at all, but I don't want people to anchor to things that are not as sturdy as the real anchor which is one's real experience of life because you never know. If you anchor to something that's not stable that wind current comes or that river current goes that way and now you just get ripped off and now you're not connected to that thing anymore. You should have picked a better anchor.

Eric Fisher:
I just want us to bring awareness as to what is grounding us? What is real? When you when you say something that is real, keep asking, "Is that real?" "Is that true?" "What is real?"

CJ Maurer:
Just like how you kept asking your parents?

Eric Fisher:
Yeah, yes. Why? Why? Why that? Why that? I did that with my parents and I always won because they would just say either, "Go to your room," or "I don't know, Eric." And I'm like, "Okay, well, that's an answer. Thanks for saying, 'I don't know.' Now I can figure it out." But when they push you away, it's like, "These are legitimate questions to ask." We should all be asking these questions. Don't forget that childlike energy. We need to be asking those questions all the time.

Eric Fisher:
What are we going to do about the growing rift with race and economic status? What are we going to do? These are questions. Where does that come from? Why are we doing this? Why are we putting people in offices for so long? Why are we commuting? Why are we always stressed out? Bring the childlike wonder, it's fun.

CJ Maurer:
It sounds really fun, to be honest. You seem very thoughtful and at ease and very willingly tackling maybe uncomfortable subjects from a very comfortable and secure place.

Eric Fisher:
The reason why is because I do not identify with Eric Fisher or myself or whatever this is. I'm removed from it as I always have been and people told me that I was somebody and told me that I had to do things to be somebody and they were all incorrect because I didn't have to do anything. I was already great and worthy of love and capable as a young child as I'm sure we all were and it's been quite a journey to go through the motions of all of the cultural things only to ultimately realize what I knew to be true back then.

Eric Fisher:
If people could take the time and dial in and feel some things and get what really matters, it would be the same for you too. You'd be able to let go of all of the stuff that's not necessary and your life would become significantly more enjoyable, calm, serene. You'd be able to see the butterflies and you'd be like, "Oh, that's cool." Who wouldn't want that? Not even asking that you pay a subscription fee or bow down to a god. I'm just saying that you own your own experience of reality as a conscious being on this earth, whatever this is.

Eric Fisher:
But if you are too caught up emotionally with who you're supposed to be, "I need to be a good husband," "I need to be a good daughter," "I need to be a good worker," "I need to do these things." And yet, it's very hard to talk about these things because they're literally chipping away at your very holding pattern. "I can't do that, then I won't be these things." I don't want you to be those things. You should be none of those things. "I have obligations." It's a real conundrum.

Eric Fisher:
That's why I'm excited that if we do have some kind of snapback or something coming we're going to be ready. That's the time. This is an example right here. It's a little snap back like, "Oh, some people have some time now." Use it. Play in your gardens. Understand that vegetables grow on their own and you don't need to use pesticides and what the hell. That's the kind of stuff. Little bits at a time. These are the years now. So I'm excited.

CJ Maurer:
I'm excited too. I would actually wish that we could talk longer, but I have a call that I have to jump on to in a couple of minutes. It's going to be very different from this conversation that we just had. Eric, I really, really appreciate you making some time for me. I think this was super fun. I can't wait to share it and maybe we can do it again sometime.

Eric Fisher:
Sounds good.

CJ Maurer:
Yeah. I appreciate it. Talk soon.

Eric Fisher:
Okay. Bye. See you.

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