Podcast – Episode 0317 – Lessons From Egypt

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about their recent trip to Egypt and the lessons taken from an ancient civilization.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • How did Joel and Antonia end up visiting Egypt? The backstory behind their whirlwind trip.
  • What’s it like visiting Cairo as westerners? Some cultural differences.
  • Sacred spaces – the energetic feel of the pyramids and other ancient structures.
  • A bit of political background on Egypt.
  • The Karnak temple – what are the lessons and wisdom we can gain from a structure that took 1300 years to build?
  • The importance of history – analyzing this through the Data Knowledge Information Wisdom (DIKW) model 
    • How does our relationship to history impact young people today?
    • The role of technology
    • A glimpse of ancient knowledge and wisdom
    • What can be gained from visiting a place versus experiencing it through technology and research alone?
  • What was it like to meditate in the White Desert?
    • Antonia’s perspective shift and takeaways
    • Contrasting Cairo with the Sahara desert
  • Many of us have conceit about it being easy to save the world – how international travel can help us form a more realistic view of the bigger picture.
    • The role of individual and collective efforts in effecting world change
    • How tipping points work in pushing humanity forward
  • The messages surrounding leadership Joel gained from the trip.
    • The unique circumstances of Egypt has and how this relates to leadership
  • How do Joel and Antonia’s takeaways from the trip align?
  • Egypt’s response to external change agents throughout the years.
  • The rising popularity of personal growth and personality models in Cairo.
  • How the perspective Antonia gained casts a different light on the drama we see online and in the media.
  • History is owned by the people of today but they can destroy it too – the impressions of permanence and impermanence Joel and Antonia gained from their trip.


In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about their recent trip to Egypt and the lessons taken from an ancient civilization.

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  • Aubrey

    Antonia’s “nihilistic” take-aways really resonated with me, a fellow NT. I feel like I often have thoughts that are similar to hers, but there’s always a part of me that asks “does thinking this make me an asshole?” Which is interesting because I never feel that way when Antonia talks about some cold-hard truths. So either no, I’m not an asshole, or yes I am and Antonia just has such a refined way of articulating her thoughts.

    Here’s some half-baked further thoughts:
    Lately, a lot of my settling into myself has been rooted in the idea of being insignificant. More than anything, it’s liberating. Since I have stopped letting myself feel guilty for not doing more things to “reach my potential,” I have allowed myself simply to be. It’s shifted my whole life to be more mindful, instead of using mindfulness as an activity when I choose to. And since freeing myself of the burden of potential, I’ve felt more at peace with myself than ever. It’s liberating and inspiring to release ourselves from the clutch of who we could be. As cliché as it sounds, embracing the life I am actually living instead of being attached to some idea of parallel universe mes has been incredibly grounding.

    I think there’s something with delayed gratification that has led me to value my future self over my present self. But true mindfulness and radical self-acceptance isn’t that. It’s having gratitude and attentiveness for who I am now, and allowing myself to really lean into that.

    Anyway, thank you Antonia and Joel for sharing this part of your journey with us! Your insight is profoundly valuable to me.

  • Nabeelah

    Ryuk is said to be an ENTP if i’m not mistaken

    • Danielle

      Dropping a literal Death Note on the world because you’re bored and want to see what happens is definitely an Ne thing to do. 100%. Ne of dubious ethics, but Ne nonetheless. Then again, human ethics don’t really apply here.

  • Lia

    Thank you for your hopeful and relatable perspective, Joel. Really appreciate you.

  • Ty

    The sperm detail is fascinating to me as well. Egyptians highly valued dreams, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was from a dream that they gleaned this information. Even in our modern culture that doesn’t give much credence to the idea that dreaming is a form of perceiving “real” information, quite a few world-changing theories and break-throughs have still been first born into consciousness via dreams. I would assume that living in a culture where dreams were widely valued and deemed inherently informative would lead to even more amazing discoveries.

  • matt duchaney

    In my experience, on ramps to the collective unconsciousness happen through divination and magic. Like Tarot, as a compendium of images of all the experiences a human can have over a lifetime. Or astrology, not so much the modern depth-pyschology esoteric incarnation, but the older more divinely astral traditional or Mesopotamian practices. Basically any occult or magical practice is looking to touch that space between the individual and the collective unconsciousness in hopes of bringing back something from the latter.

    Also, psychedelics and forms of meditation. Altered states that open you up to the wisdom of the gods or universe or collective unconscious or whatever you want to call it. b

    Probably best to have a guide or a school or particular system you can tether to, if you want to go deep into these spaces. Or you could take some like rogue shamanic approach and write your own playbook but that might get weird fast!

    • Antonia Dodge

      This is well traveled territory for me. In fact, we did an entire podcast on the subject where I detail all the psychedelics I’ve taken. 😛

      I agree that they can be powerful tools to the collective unconscious, but they’re also a bit unpredictable and require more from the traveler than simply taking them. That makes them less of an “on-ramp” and more of a “parachuting-in” situation. I’m definitely keeping them in mind while asking this question.


  • Danielle

    It sounds like you had a wonderful trip! Egypt is definitely on my bucket list. I mainly want to go inside a pyramid, but exploring the culture would also be very rewarding.

    I don’t think Antonia’s point about our significance is necessarily nihilistic. I mean, you could read it that way. However, I interperted it as “We can’t fix everything, and that’s okay. We can try to fix things, but we need to accept that the solution to everything doesn’t lie within us.”

    That take away reminded me of my personal take away from a series I love–Death Note. It’s a Japanese manga and anime that has been adapted into various formats over the years. I highly recommend it, just don’t watch the Netflix American version as it doesn’t capture the original story. The pretty much everything that has been made has been translated–I’d recommend the anime or manga. You can watch the anime either subbed or dubbed. I’m a fan of subtitles personally, but some people don’t like reading. I feel like watching with subtitles is a more authentic experience.

    The story of the Death Note is really instigated by a Shinigami (death god) called Ryuk who is really bored so he drops his Death Note in the human world. A Death Note is basically a notebook that, if you write a real person’s name in the book while picturing their face, they will die within 40 seconds (there are other rules, but that’s the gist). The notebook falls into the hand of a genius high school student named Light Yagami. Light uses the Death Note to kill a criminal and basically decides that he will use the new power to rid the world of criminals and become justice. He also declares himself “God of the New World” and a cult starts to form around this misterious figure called “Kira” who is actually Light. There’s some debate among fans as to whether Light is a anti-hero gone really bad or a villain protagonist. I tend to see him as someone who had good intentions, but was corrupted into a sociopathic serial killer by the power of the Death Note.

    The deaths begin to arouse suspicion, so we have the entrance of the genius detective L who sets out to stop Kira. He joins with the Japanese task force, which is headed by Light’s father Soichiro Yagami. Light also becomes involved in the investigation. L is prety much always on to Light and trying to get him to slip up while Light is trying to figure out L’s real name so he can kill him. It’s this brilliantly crafted game of cat and mouse. I tend to think of it also as a this epic clash between Ni and Ne since I’m fairly certain Light is an INTJ (you could convince me ENTJ) and L is an INTP (these are not unpopular opinions). That’s not to say I think these types ideally should act or think like either character (L also does some pretty morally amibgious stuff).

    The second half of the series is not as strong. However, it’s still one of my favorites. It is a very intuitive story, and it deals with the ideas of justice and morality. While it makes the audience really think about where they stand and about who is right, the series creators Tsugumi and Obata seem to imply that there really isn’t any true justice in the world. Tsugumi stated that there really isn’t a theme at all, so this might not be intentional. But the whole series gives off this impression of you cannot play God and you cannot be justice either. I could go deeper into it, but I don’t want to spoil it.

    In a way, Death Note sometimes is more about “the game” between L and Light than it is about justice. I see that as similar to how the drama triangles around the world at times feel like they’re more about proving someone or something bad than finding an actual solution. After all, if truly believed every drama triangle, literally everyone and everything is bad and harmful, which is an awful perspective to have.

    So those were my thoughts, probably brought on by the fact I was re-listening to the Death Note musical score earlier today. They made a musical in Korea and Japan (I think a Russian production is also in the works). I eagerly wait a full English language publication. They hired an American to actually write the musical, so the concept album is in English. I listen to that quite a bit. Only a few examples were released to the public, but someone got their hands on a copy and leaked it. I would have purchased a copy had it been up for sale to the public, but that did not happen.

    Hopefully my discussion made sense, it’s hard to explain Death Note without throwing massive spoilers in it. But it’s a great experience and has aged really well (it is about 10-15 years old now).

    • Danielle

      I meant “is not necessarily nihilistic”

  • Gregory Merena

    Beautiful podcast!

    If you ever return to my Mammoth neck of the woods, I will take you both to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest where the most ancient living thing on earth exists. A tree, unmarked – to remain protected, that is between 5,000 and 6,000 years old is there! This is a mere 60 miles from where I live. You might experience a bit of wonder, of desolation, of fortitude over time, of joy in what is possible, if you do make it out here. You may not connect to it as deeply as you have connected to Egypt, but I think you’d enjoy it.

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