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The Great Everything

The Great Everything

By Patrick Daniel
A podcast about The 10 Questions of Human Existence.

Who are we? How do we deal suffering? How do we live together? What does it all mean? Lawyer-turned-philosophist Patrick Daniel explores how our answers to these timeless questions shape our lives and the future of humanity.

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[Update!] Creaky Floorboards and Universal Truths
The wait is over! Recorded on my phone while pacing around over creaky floorboards (apologies for the sound!), a few thoughts on where I've been, where we are and what's coming next. TGE 2.0 returns July 2020.  Follow  on @thegreateverything everywhere. Except Twitter. I hate Twitter.
June 20, 2020
TGE update!
A short announcement and update regarding the future of TGE.
July 16, 2019
Origin Story: Where Do We Come From?
Where does the world come from? The Bible, Greek myths, to cosmological accounts of the Big Bang, we've been grappling with the question of our origin since the dawn of civilisation. But when did our approach to this question transition from the religious to the scientific? In this episode of The Great Everything, I explore the ideas of Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, the first to come up with rational theories about the creation and constitution of our world. As such, today these 'pre-Socratics' are heralded as the first philosophers, and the original scientists. Instagram:  Twitter: Facebook: 
August 16, 2018
How Does Moral Judgment Work?
In this 'Transformation' episode, a listener's question on moral relativism ("when is racism a moral failure?") prompts a philosophical musing on ethics - how do we assess the moral worth of people from different times and cultures? What moral standard should they be measured against? Does morality necessarily involve choice? What's really going on when we express a moral judgment? Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter: Instagram:  Facebook: 
July 17, 2018
John Coltrane: Jazz Mystic
To many, John Coltrane is more than just one of the Greatest musicians who ever lived - he's a religious figure. Worshipped as a Saint, what stands out most about him is the spiritual intensity of his music. In celebration of last week's release of the newly-discovered album "Both Directions At Once", we take a close look at the man, the music and the myth of John Coltrane. Music: * "India - Live at the Village Vanguard 1961", John Coltrane * "Freedom Now Suite", Max Roach * "Alabama", John Coltrane * "My Favourite Things - Live in Stockholm 1963", John Coltrane * "I Could Write A Book", Miles Davis Quintet * "Spiritual - Live at the Village Vanguard 1961", John Coltrane * "A Love Supreme, Part 1 - Acknowledgement", John Coltrane Spotify Playlist:
July 6, 2018
Dracula: Monster to Sex Symbol
In this episode of The Great Everything, I take a look at the evolution of one of pop culture's greatest and most terrifying icons - Count Dracula. From his monstrous, hairy-palmed origins to his current status as dark, romantic heartthrob, Dracula's main power has always been the ability to adapt with the times, and embody the desires and fears of current society. What do the various versions of Dracula through the ages tell us about ourselves? Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter: Instagram:  Facebook: 
June 26, 2018
The Riot of Spring and Controversial Art
Today's Art episode is a culture bite about a musical piece so radical, so erotic, so goddam crazy, it's premiere provoked a riot! Igor Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du printemps", The Rite of Spring. In today's culture, would any piece of art provoke a similar reaction? Might Lars Von Trier's controversial new movie "The House That Jack Built", which provoked mass walkouts at the Cannes Film Festival, become a future classic? Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
May 29, 2018
'Uhh' to 'Ayy': Weird Rap Ad-Libs
If you’ve ever listened to hip hop, you’ve heard rappers spit out grunts and various other strange noises. From Biggie’s “Uhh!”, to Kanye’s “hahn?” to “ayy” to “skrt skrt” to farm sounds, in this episode we take a look at some of the weirdest hip hop ad-libs. Music: - Notorious B.I.G - ’Hypnotize’ - Ol’ Dirty Bastard - ’N***a Please’’ - Fetty Wap - ‘Aye’ - Drake - ‘Free Smoke’ - Chance the Rapper - ‘Mixtape’, ’14,400 Minutes’ - Run the Jewels - ’Hey Kids (Bumaye)’ - Rick Ross - ‘Devil in a New Dress’, ‘Sanctified’ - Jay Z - ‘Ain’t No Nigga’, ‘Hard Knock Life’, ‘Who You Wit’, ‘Sunshine’ - Kanye West - ‘Goldigger’ - DMX - ‘X Gon’ Give It To Ya’, ‘Get At Me Dog’ - Baby - ‘What Happened To That Boy’ - Busta Rhymes - ‘Everybody Rise’ - Juvenile - ‘Ha’ - Migos - ‘Slippery’ - Lil Yachty - ‘King Boat’, - Chief Keef - ‘Bang’ - Interview Playboi Carti w/ Lil’ Uzi Vert: - Kanye West “hahn?” supercut:
May 26, 2018
Wagner, Blue Balls & Isolde's Orgasm
Richard Wagner is one of the most influential musicians of the 19th century, and is widely considered a pioneer of modern music. In this ART episode, I take a look at his revolutionary opera, Tristan und Isolde, and how his use of recurring themes (leitmotifs) and delayed gratification, lead to one of the great musical orgasms of all time. Yes, I’m talking literal orgasms. The opera ends with a lady singing, dying and climaxing, all at the same time. Yuck. But also hey, pretty sounds! Music: - ‘Vorspiel’, from Das Rheingold, cond. Georg Solti, Vienna Philharmonic - ‘Prelude to I Act’, from Tristan und Isolde, cond. Willhelm Furtwrangler, Philarmionia Orchestra - ‘Begehrt, Herrin, was Ihr wunsch’, from Tristan und Isolde, cond. Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philarmonic - ‘Liebestod’, from Tristan und Isolde, cond. Karl Böhme, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on !
May 23, 2018
J.S. Mill on the Tyranny of Public Opinion
In his essay "On Liberty" (1859), the philosopher John Stuart Mill formulated a cogent, and some would say definitive, statement on the importance of free speech. Rather than the interference of the State in private affairs, Mill was concerned with a type of social opprobrium he called "the tyranny of public opinion", and its ability to enforce conformity and stifle individuality. Unpopular opinions need the most protecting, not just because they encounter the most resistance, but because even bad opinions help us refine our own views, so that good ideas may be held not as dead dogmas, but as living truths. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
May 21, 2018
Captain Marvel: Earth's Mightiest Hero
Marvel has been killing it at the movies, with Avengers: Infinity War now officially the highest-grossing summer blockbuster of all time. But one department they haven’t been doing too well in is female representation. Where are Marvel’s badass superheroines? Luckily, Infinity War’s post-credits scene hinted at the debut of one such hero in the next Avengers movie - Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, Earth’s Mightiest Hero. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
May 17, 2018
Sidney Bechet ❤️ Paris
Sidney Bechet (May 14, 1897 – May 14, 1959) was a jazz clarinetist and saxophonist from New Orleans. His larger than life personality, violent temper and booming sound all contributed to making him one of early jazz's legendary characters. Music: - ' Si Tu Vois Ma Mère', Sidney Bechet - 'Texas Moaner Blues', Clarence Williams' Blue Five - 'Petite Fleure', Sidney Bechet Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
May 14, 2018
New Orleans: A Cultural Gumbo
New Orleans is a city that understands pleasure. Pleasure of the ear, pleasure of the loins, pleasure of the gut. In other words, New Orleans is the urban representation of Donuts. But the Big Easy is so much more than visceral pleasure. At its best, New Orleans embodies the highest ideals that America should aspire to. Music: "Ring Shout (Peace of Mind)", by Wynton Marsalis (with JLCO, Yacub Addy and Odadaa!) Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
May 12, 2018
Tchaikovsky: Thorns and Roses
The music of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 - 1893) is virtually synonymous with the term "bittersweet" - it lives at the intersection of beauty and tragedy. In today's ART episode, I share some anecdotes about Tchaikovsky's tragicomical life, and the contrasts that so effectively made their way into his music. Spotify playlist: Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
May 11, 2018
Duke Ellington, Gentleman of Jazz
Duke Ellington was a legendary composer who contributed more standards to the jazz repertoire than any other musician before or since. He is also singularly responsible for bridging the divide between jazz as popular dance music and jazz as art, giving the genre the respectability it still holds as "America's classical music". I briefly discuss the style, elegance and leadership skills that make Duke Ellington the Greatest American composer. Spotify playlist: Music: James P. Johnson - "Carolina Shout" Duke Ellington - "Black Beauty" Duke Ellington and his Kentucky Club Orchestra - "East St. Louis Toodle-oo" Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra - "Caravan" Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook:
May 3, 2018
Art, Donuts, Transformation - Self-Improvement Edition
A recipe for good living that isn't total bullshit - every day, a little ADT: Art, Donuts, and Transformation. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
April 30, 2018
What Should We Learn?
Our current education system is based on a conception of the job market that was developed during the industrial age. Schools are set up to instil skills, knowledge and attitudes that best position us to fit in within that system. But innovations in technology and culture mean that the world new graduates step into may be very different from the one they have been trained to perform in. Should we rethink our whole approach to education? I discuss this with philosopher Maarten van Doorn, whose recent article on Medium inspired this episode. Links: Medium article: Maarten van Doorn: Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook:
April 25, 2018
The Legacy of Rome
Happy birthday Roma! It's the anniversary of the founding in 753 B.C. of Rome, perhaps the single city that has most influenced way we live and think about the world today in the West. TGE celebrates the occasion by exploring various perspectives on Rome, its history, national character and most famous dish - Carbonara! Today I am joined by Brian Marshall and Timothy Brady, two experts in Roman history to discuss aspects of Roman culture that have worked their way into our own way of life. Links: Tom Holland, "Rubicon" - Where The Gods Live - Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
April 21, 2018
Leonardo: A Universal Genius
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 - 1519) was a scientist and inventor whose extraordinary ideas and breadth of imagination were centuries ahead of their time. In his spare time, he did some pretty good paintings too. The quintessential Renaissance Man, Leonardo's approach to life and learning is only extraordinary for the heights he reached. But his tendency to branch out and apply himself to new disciplines was profoundly human. In our age of ultra-specialisation, there's a lot we can learn from Leonardo, to unleash the polymath within us. Polymath Lifestyle: Simone Luccichenti: Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Leave a review on iTunes and show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook:
April 15, 2018
Fake News, Descartes and the Power of Narrative
Our age is frequently referred to as "the fake news era" or "post-truth". However we want to call it, we all sense this uncertainty as to which sources of knowledge to trust and what truth even means. The philosopher René Descartes lived during a similar time of doubt and fragmentation of traditional narratives. What was his approach to finding certainty in an age of uncertainty? Find out how to update your mental toolkit to deal with the fake news era, in this epic (and rambling) journey through 1,000 years of history, weird metaphors, racist dogs and casual Batman references! Hello. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
April 9, 2018
Culture Bite - Raphael: the Mozart of Painters
It's the anniversary of the birth in 1483 of one of the greatest painters of all time - Raffaello Sanzio, "the Prince of the Arts". Here's my brief reflections on his extraordinary genius and his place within the context of the other Renaissance greats. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
March 28, 2018
Culture Bite - The Brandenburg Concerti
This Bach guy, he's gonna be a big deal someday. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego. Show love on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
March 24, 2018
Culture Bite - Metamorphoses
Is our life constant change? The great Roman poet Ovid, author of the Metamorphoses, seems to think so. Be the glue in the cracks of my fractured ego by adding me on: Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook: 
March 20, 2018
Culture Bite - Vivaldi!
It’s Vivaldi’s birthday! Here’s a brief intro to his most beloved masterpiece, a violin concerto most reminiscent of spring.
March 10, 2018
Do The Right Thing: Cancer and big decisions
Our lives are made up of decisions, both small, and at times life-altering. In all of these situations, we should be striving to “do the right thing”. In this episode, I share some big decisions I’ve had to make since I found out my mother has brain cancer, and how I managed to work my way through each of these to (hopefully) do the right thing.
March 10, 2018
Are you Romantic or Classical? No not 'romantic' as inbringing your girlfriend flowers, I mean Romantic. Capital 'R'. You know. Romanticism. Goethe? Byron? Schumann? Actually yeah, Schumann, let's talk about him too.
March 10, 2018
On Tyranny
Some thinking aloud on Tim Snyder's new book: On Tyranny - 20 Lessons from the 20th Century. What are the tell-tale signs of an approaching tyranny, and do we see those signs today?
March 10, 2018
What Is Leadership?
What is leadership? What are the origins of hierarchy? How does it tie into history and culture? Do we need leaders today? So many questions!
March 10, 2018
Quest for The Great Everything (feat. MRX)
What defines Greatness? It's a day of existential questions, including a request for The Great Everything's origin story, courtesy of the illest medical MCs around - Dee and Reesh of Medicine Remixed!
March 8, 2018
The Leftovers
What would it be like if 2% of the world vanished? Peak TV means we really have got a tonne of Great shows these days. The Greatest is HBO's 'The Leftovers'.
March 8, 2018
A Plan for Changing Minds
How do we change people's minds? What's so wrong about being wrong? In this episode I discuss the psychological "backfire effect" that stops us from changing our minds when presented with facts contradicting our cherished beliefs. But fret not! I have a plan. Also, a story about my chat with a KKK sympathiser. • The man who convinces Klansmen to defect
March 8, 2018
What Makes You You?
A short episode on the question of identity over time. What Are You? Is future you you? And what is it that makes you you?
March 8, 2018
Be Astonished, Tell About It: A Chat with Abby Norman
For International Women's Day, I had a chat with science writer and podcaster Abby Norman, author of 'Ask Me About My Uterus' (released 6 March 2018) and host of the delightful audio-Wikihole 'Let Me Google That'. We discussed women's health, living with endometriosis and Abby's struggle with the medical professions to get recognition for a condition which affects far more women than we think. We also discussed feminism and the invisible structures that can determine a woman's place in society. Finally, the conversation turned to Abby's podcast and the boundless curiosity that drives it, and Abby's life generally. We found that to Abby, the meaning of life is best encapsulated in Mary Oliver's quote "Pay Attention. Be Astonished. Tell About It." Links: Let Me Google That: Ask Me About My Uterus:
March 8, 2018
Culture Bite - The Divine Michelangelo
It’s the birthday of Michelangelo - the greatest artist who ever lived.
March 6, 2018
About These Guns...
In the wake of the school shooting at Parkland, Florida, we discuss gun violence, gun control and the polarising manner in which these conversations take place. A discussion with 'Big Pat', a Sanders supporting progressive activist and gun rights advocate sheds light on an uncomfortable truth - that those on the other side of this debate might not all be the caricatures we think.
March 1, 2018
Torture and the Self (!)
What am I? In this episode, we discuss the nature of self, as explored in Bernard Williams' "torture experiment".
February 18, 2018
What is Art?
In this episode we explore the question of art, its definition and boundaries. Must it involve the concept of beauty? Must it be visual? And should we be able to pee on it? No, seriously - can we? Please?
February 15, 2018
The Artist vs the Art
Should we judge the art based on the artist?
February 1, 2018
The Perils of Social Media
In this episode, social media has connected the world, bringing us an unparalleled speed of communication and exposure to new people, places and ideas. But what is the cost of this unprecedented access? Social anthropology suggests that we may not be cognitively structured to build social relationships with the number of people we routinely interact with, and studies conducted by Harvard Professor Cass Sunstein indicate that worrying groupthink mechanisms emerge when like-minded people interact. Finally, Tristan Harris, “Silicon Valley’s conscience”, tells us that tech companies are deliberately designed to take advantage of our basic human flaws. Could something intended to bring us together, actually be tearing us apart?
January 23, 2018
Ethics and Evolution
What moral values can help us survive and build a better society for future generations? Overpopulation, climate change, A.I, egomaniacs with their fingers on red buttons... in a global world, the threats we face are no longer to on group of humans or another, but to our entire species. Which ethical principles can bind us together and better equip us to survive this crucial checkpoint in human evolution?
January 18, 2018
Better Never To Have Been?
Life is full of suffering. Even the most comfortable lives will feature some pain and anxiety. And in general, the intensity of suffering seems to be more acute than any pleasure or enjoyment. So would we have been better off never being born? This is the uncomfortable question asked by anti-natalist philosophers, who believe that it is immoral to bring new beings into the world. In this episode, we explore anti-natalism, it’s suicidal counterpart pro-mortalism and the general question of whether life is worth living.
December 8, 2017
The Space Between Things
We see the world as atomised, composed of objects, things, with clear extensions, shapes and boundaries. But as Zeno showed us, this intuition leads us to all sorts of paradoxes which defy our common intuitions about the world. Is it perhaps more helpful to think of the world as instead being composed of processes, with no boundaries but only continua in a flux of constant change? And if so, what can that tell us about the human condition? Could Becoming be the whole point of Being? Feat. “Cherub Rock” by the Smashing Pumpkins, “Where” by Ennio Morricone and call-ins by multitudes.
November 22, 2017
Defining Knowledge
In our post-facts world, it’s become increasingly urgent to distinguish between belief and knowledge. On philosopher Robert Nozick’s birthday we ask the question: what is knowledge? How do we define it? Music by Anderson Paak
November 17, 2017
How To Do You
A classic existentialist theme is that we are paralyzed by te enormity of our freedom of action, so we avoid the angst of choosing by narrowing our options to the point of self-entrapment: “I don’t change because I’m stuck”. In this episode we discuss ways to evade the paralysis of choice, and the opportunities that become possible when we make authentic life decisions. Intro tune- Sumac Berries by MF Doom.
November 7, 2017
Art, Donuts, Transformation
Why do we consider highbrow pursuits (or “Art”) to be inherently superior to baser, more visceral lowbrow pleasures (or “Donuts”)? Is there a way to maximize the sources of pleasure available to us so as to be able to deeply engage with and enjoy Art and Donuts equally? (Spoiler - the answer is “yes”)
November 3, 2017
Dear Artificial Intelligence
Random thoughts on metaphysics, Artificial Intelligence and frankly, little else. Only on Anchor.
October 24, 2017
Beauty and Meaning
Reflections on two Great questions: How do we live a meaningful life? And does beauty matter?
October 9, 2017
Hic et Nunc - The Path towards Better
We are makers, not victims, of our choices. With Patrick surrounded by tragedy, The Great Everything abides!
October 9, 2017
How do we deal with suffering?
Patrick gets personal talking about death, grief, loss and suffering.
September 22, 2017
Culture Bite - Debussy Ain't Nothing to Fuck With
Today we celebrate the birthday of French composer Claude Debussy, and wonder: what does a painting sound like? Also, it's the birthday of my favourite rapper - GZA, the Genius, of the Wu Tang Clan! 🙌
August 22, 2017
Glenn Gould on the beach
Lawyer slash classical musician Stephan discusses finding new dimensions in Mozart through the innovative approach to music of legendary pianist Glenn Gould.
August 2, 2017
TGE Diary 17.07.17 - Weekend Special
In this weekend special, arguments about Christ. Was he a historical figure? Also, some listener questions on how media impacts our lives.
July 16, 2017
Culture Bite - Atticus Finch and the Simplicity of Heroism
In today's show: a story without a punchline by Douglas Adams. Also, remember that guy Atticus Finch? He's my moral hero. Well, one of them. Let's discuss why.
July 11, 2017
4th of July Special!
Today it's the 4th of July! So let's talk about 4 things I love about America: Superman; Hollywood; Jazz; and BBQ.
July 4, 2017
10 Books Everyone Should Read
The title says it all. Not "my favourite" books, not "the most important" books, but 10 books everyone *can* and *should* read. Trust me. I'm smart.
July 2, 2017
On Consistency
Nobody wants to be called predictable. But consistency may constitute the basic infrastructure of our society. Also, how does outrage culture fit into this?
May 12, 2017
Søren Kierkegaard: A Very Anxious Man
Is life just endless regret? Søren Kierkegaard was a very depressing guy. But hey, he still has some sound advice on how to face life with laughter!
May 12, 2017
Past and Future with Yuval Harari
Everyone needs to read Yuval Harari's classic book "Sapiens". Here, I talk about the author's theories regarging Artificial Intelligence, the rise of a "useless class", and ask (and answer) the question - are we really better off than our ancestors?
May 12, 2017
Beethoven's 9th Symphony
For your listening pleasure, a beginners' guide and walkthru to one of the Greatest pieces of music ever composed - Beethoven's 9th Symphony!
May 12, 2017
Hannah Arendt: "We Refugees"
Some thoughts on the great philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt's landmark essay "We Refugees". Also, where does totalitarianism come from?
May 12, 2017
The Atomic Age
Nuclear proliferation means we have the ability to annihilate the entirety of our, and every other species in the blink of an eye. The podcaster Dan Carlin compared this situation to our kneeling "with a gun at our heads". What are the issues and ethics surrounding atomic warfare? And what would it be like to be in an atomic explosion?
May 12, 2017
On Childlike Wonder
The children's books Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) and Sophie's World serve as an excellent introduction to some of the great philosophical questions of all time. More importantly, they are a perfect illustration of how looking at the world with a sense of childhood wonder is the key to awakening the philosopher in each of us.
May 12, 2017
The dangers of A.I.
Back from when this podcast used to be called "Pop Philosophy", a series of ponderings on A.I. Should we fear A.I.? What is "General Intelligence" Could you be more useful as a paper clip? You can support this podcast by doing the thing on:  Twitter:  Instagram:  Facebook:
May 12, 2017