The John Spalding Podcast

Think Before You Tweet

An episode of The John Spalding Podcast

By John Spalding
This podcast takes a hard look at modern life, and how to use reason as a springboard to improving our lives.
More places to listen
This podcast takes a hard look at modern life, and how to use reason as a springboard to improving our lives.

More places to listen

Melanie Bragg: Mindfulness Meditation for Lawyers and Law Students.
Visit for more on today's guest. Melanie Bragg is the author of Defining Moments: Insights into the Lawyer’s Soul, which is available at and the ABA website. Support the podcast at
October 18, 2019
Happy Nihilism Explained
In this episode I discuss Happy Nihilism with a friend named Peter. The conversation took place in London. You’ll have to forgive the sound quality.
August 9, 2019
Meditation Apps: Are they worth it? Headspace, Ten Percent Happier, and Waking Up Review.
In this episode of the podcast I talk about three meditation apps. Having purchased premium subscriptions to each, and having spent at least six months using these apps, I have a pretty fair sense of them. But there's a lot more to the business of meditation apps than personal preferences. These are businesses, and not all of them are as zen as they think. I should point out that I do not discuss money in this podcast. When it comes to something like meditation, money should not play a role. Yes, some are more expense than others, but a cheaper price (as is so often the case) can mean a cheaper experience. Then again, sometimes the least expensive option is the best.  I do discuss "bang for your buck," and this pertains entirely to the idea that if you are going to spend money on only one meditation app--regardless of price--then you might extract the most value from a particular app.
July 13, 2019
The Role of Dopamine in Diets (or, why you have a belly)
I sit under a tree in sunny London and pontificate on the role "feel good" chemicals play in how we eat. This is a bit of a departure from the usual subjects, but relevant never-the-less. This episode is also notable for the amount of birdsong in the background. I decided not to edit out these lovely chirping noises, nor the sound of the cityscape either--instead, I've merely done some standard podcast filtering. I think the ambience of the setting survive.
July 5, 2019
Ever wonder what makes someone a complete asshole? Sometimes it can be explained by how they "otherize" others--that is, they employ language and attitudes to distance a person (or culture) from themselves. Sometimes otherization is found in immigration policies, sometimes in cafes. So what is it? How do we fix this? Can we fix it? Interesting, otherization can be traced back to the idea of the illusory self. In that sense, otherization is yet another example of how self-misapprehension causes unnecessary suffering.
June 30, 2019
A reading of Kant's "What is Enlightenment?" Original Airdate: September 24, 2018
John reads Immanuel Kant's electrifying essay about enlightenment.
June 21, 2019
The Consolations of Schopenhauer
In this episode, I provide an introduction to Schopenhauer, as well as a reading from his Essays and Aphorism. Here, Schopenhauer provides a description of consciousness that lands squarely in the realm of panpsychism and Buddhism. Schopenhauer is generally considered a pessimist, which is surprising in light of the existence of Nietzsche. At any rate, what Schopenhauer has to say about consciousness is fairly interesting, and worth a listen.
June 14, 2019
Nietzsche's Explanation of Consciousness, Part One (Original Airdate March 07, 2019).
Encore presentation. This episode is one of the most listened-to episodes over the past year. Also, there will be a second part coming soon. Nietzsche was Nihilist-in-Chief of the nineteenth century. He viewed consciousness as "superfluous" and rather overrated. Today I will present a brief reading from The Will to Power
June 7, 2019
Why I am a non-believer
In this episode, I state my belief about the idea of a creator. The purpose is to provide a reasonable defence of non-belief that does not necessary rely on religious bad-faith, or some other negative premise. 
May 24, 2019
Bertrand Russell on Free Will
I read from Russell's Religion and Science, particularly from the chapter on Determinism. What does Russell make of the arguments for and against free will? Let's just say he isn't agnostic, but he does not come down firmly against free will either. I will discuss why this is, and comment in a more general way about Russell's analytical framework.
May 17, 2019
Why end-zone dances exist, and why anticipating future events leads to delusion.
In this episode, I talk about what the implications are our ability to meaningfully anticipate future events. This is not a trait baked into all life, yet seems to emerge in all enduring species (from a rose with her thorns, to a man with his wall). I argue that the fact of our ability to anticipate the future, when combined with the reality of our conscious experience, means that notions of identity, the self, and will are not baked into human existence. In this episode: Daniel Dennett's analogy of the smartphone and its screen I answer the question of why NFL Endzone dances exist. I explain why war and rape are merely cousins of song and dance.
May 10, 2019
Canadian Running takes on Low Carb Diets (Original Airdate September 2018)
Last year Canadian Running ran a story about an athlete on the low carb diet. Their story presented sweeping conclusions even though their source study was based on a deeply flawed methods. We are re-airing this study for those of you who missed it the first time.
May 3, 2019
What would Nietzsche think of Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness?
It's useful to consult Nietzsche on the topic of artificial consciousness because Nietzsche isn't very impressed by consciousness. In fact, one gets the feeling that Nietzsche rather thinks our conception of consciousness is yet another form of self-mythology. Is it? If so, what does that  mean for artificial intelligence? Could it be that AI will be nothing more than a really smart automaton?  
April 26, 2019
Nietzsche’s Nihilism: a Reading
John reads from Nietzsche, specifically Nietzsche’s take on nihilism (from Will to Power).
April 19, 2019
Rebooting Reality (Original Airdate October 13, 2018)
Last year I talked about the idea of rebooting our concept of reality. Right now the western world is at an interesting crossroads between centuries of hyper individualism and future survival. How we proceed forward depends upon how we reimagine our principles.
April 17, 2019
Consciousness and Dieting
How does our conscious experience affect our diet?
March 30, 2019
The Mueller Report, Avenatti Troubles, and the 2020 US Election
Trump is claiming victory now that the Mueller Report has been summarized by Attorney General Barr. The New York Times reports that the FBI, acting on the orders of a federal prosecutor, arrested former Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti. Today I will about about what this all means. Citation 
March 26, 2019
The Role of Suffering in Life
Nietzsche said "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering." From this, we either learn to suffer ill and risk addiction, or suffer well and evade addiction. Having a strong support network is great, but it is not sufficient on its on. On today's podcast, I talk about the importance of the role of suffering in life, and how our ability to deal with suffering determines our future. It's a given that we want to protect our children, and ourselves, but can we go too far? Is it possible that the more we try to protect the things we love, the more we weaken them? I dive into this topic headfirst by presenting a case study involving a boy and his splinter, and discuss how facing this little bit of pain probably changed his life. As always, you can support this podcast for $1 per month at ... you can use Apple Pay or a credit card. 
March 21, 2019
Argumentation and Twitter
This is a double episode! The first pertains to an exchange I recently had on Twitter, and the other pertains to a recent Twitter persecution I witnessed.  Support the pod at Visit the website: Follow me: @happynihilistca
March 15, 2019
Nietzsche's Explanation of Consciousness, Part One
Nietzsche was Nihilist-in-Chief of the nineteenth century. He viewed consciousness as "superfluous" and rather overrated. Today I will present a brief reading from The Will to Power. 
March 8, 2019
How does a reasonable world produce an unreasonable leader like President Donald Trump?
What Michael Cohen’s testimony before the US congress tells us about Donald Trump is pretty jarring. But how did humanity even arrive at a point where Donald Trump is its most powerful member? What does that say about us? How do we get ourselves out of this? The discussion begins with this podcast, which I recorded at a Dunkin Donuts in Brooklyn, NY, USA. Be sure to check out previous episodes of the podcast. You can see the website, support the pod, and get merch at  I will be attending Sam Harris' talk with Nobel Prize winning economist Daniel Khaneman tonight in New York City, and will share my thoughts at some point after the event.
March 1, 2019
Can mental illness exist without a physical cause?
Brief discussion about mental illness and the idea of non-dualism. Can mental illness exist apart from physical processes? I will briefly talk about Thomas Szasz’s book The Myth of Mental Illness.
February 28, 2019
David Hume: There is no self
This is a short reading from Hume's Treatise on Human Nature. I will discuss the very Buddhist nature of Hume's conception of self, and how it fits into our series of episodes on consciousness. Be sure to also down the episode "Bertrand Russell's Appearance and Reality."
February 22, 2019
I read an essay about meaning. It's fun, and accidentally filthy. In a nutshell, we cover Bradley's Regression, balls, and why god doesn't. Enjoy.
February 17, 2019
Bertrand Russell's Appearance and Reality
An excerpted reading and brief discussion of Russell's Appearance and Reality essay from The Problems of Philosophy. Click on the "Support This Podcast" button at
February 16, 2019
Think Before You Tweet
Is there a way to clean up Twitter? I argue that a paid subscription for tweets is the way to. Some accounts, i.e. verified news organizations could be exempted. Meanwhile those who tweet at people who don't follow them have to pay. This might discourage harassment campaigns.  Feel free to reach out to me at 
February 13, 2019
On this episode, John shares his favourite podcasts. He’ll go into detail about Dark Poutine, Joseph Goldstein’s Meditation Podcast, and several others.
January 10, 2019
Words and Meaning
In this brief episode, John talks about the relationship between words and meaning. It’s a thought-provoking piece.
December 16, 2018
Consciousness Thought Experiment
John conducts a though experiment involving consciousness.
December 12, 2018
John talks about the idea of waste. What does it mean to waste something? What does it mean to waste people? John records this podcast while traveling in Minnesota, USA.
December 2, 2018
The Politics of Food
John discusses the politics of food, and how we think about food determines how healthy we become.
November 11, 2018
Why every diet fails.
The world is big enough for Keto, paleo, and all the rest. But compliance rates of virtually all diets is abysmal. Why is that? Today John answers the question by drawing on Kant and Russell to explain that success depends more on understanding ourselves than it does on following the latest trend, or even the conventional wisdom.
October 20, 2018
How not to cheat on a diet
In this podcast we get rid of some of the mystery around why we cheat on our diets. This is not as much of a problem on Keto, and yet we occasionally desire what’s not good for us. Sometimes this is a sign that something is amiss.
October 19, 2018
Rebooting Reality: Food
Over the past decade or so, we've seen the reboot of television shows, and movie franchises. But are we rebooting reality as well?
October 13, 2018
Brett Kavanaugh, Climate Change, and the Greatest Hoax
John discusses the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States, Climate Change, and a pretty funny hoax. Grab some popcorn, because John doesn't hold back.
October 11, 2018
John puts the question on your plate: why? As in why do we do Keto?
October 10, 2018
Free Will and Dieting
John talks about the relationship between free will and how we approach dieting.
October 4, 2018
A reading of Kant's "What is Enlightenment?"
John reads Immanuel Kant's electrifying essay about enlightenment.
September 24, 2018
A review of Mindless Eating
John talks about the book Mindless Eating, and why it's not helpful.
September 20, 2018
Mindfulness and Keto
John talks about how to use mindfulness to ease the process of adapting to the ketogenic diet.
September 18, 2018
Canadian Running takes on low carb diets ... again
John talks about the recent anti-low carb article in Canadian Running
September 14, 2018
NFL's Alex Smith, the keto quarterback
Did you know that NFL quarterback Alex Smith follows a ketogenic diet, and that he also drinks Bulletproof coffee? If not, have a listen to this short podcast.
September 10, 2018
A reading of Plato's "The Cave" allegory + Commentary
John reads the allegory of the cave, provides some commentary, and presents further keto thoughts in a follow-up to the "What is keto?" question he posed in the previous podcast.
August 30, 2018
A reading of The Laws by Plato
John reads from Book 1 of Plato's The Laws.
August 19, 2018
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