HUMANITY’S MYTHICAL PAST: Discovering the TRUE ROOTS of OUR Existence! with Tok Thompson PhD

Tok Thompson was born and raised in rural Alaska. At the age of 17, he began attending Harvard College, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. He received a Master’s degree in Folklore from the University of California, Berkeley, and three years later received a PhD in Anthropology from the same institution. After receiving his PhD, Tok engaged in a two-year postdoctoral position with the Centre for Irish-Scottish Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, where he helped launch a new M.Phil. in Translation Studies. He also researched Irish language traditions in County Fermanagh, and taught classes for the University of Ulster.

In the Fall of 2006, Tok came to USC, where he has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in folklore and related topics. Additionally, he has taught folklore as a visiting professor at universities in Northern Ireland, Iceland, and Ethiopia. While in graduate school, he co-founded the journal Cultural Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Folklore and Popular Culture, which he co-edited for 15 years. From 2013-2017 he was the editor for Western Folklore. He has recently published two books:  one of his own research entitled Posthuman Folklore (2019) and another (co-authored with Gregory Schrempp) a textbook on World Mythology entitled The Truth of Myth (2020). He currently edits the book series Myth in Theory and Everyday Life for Oxford University Press.

Please enjoy my conversation with Tok Thompson.

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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 420

Tok Thompson 0:00
What is the impact of the Garden of Eden story on Christian and Abrahamic theology? Huge, right? I mean, you know, it's a story or there's a there's a God is basically like a humanoid male creates a male in his image. And that's why we are in God's image. And I mean, you know, is that story important? Oh, to people's lives? Yeah. I mean, my computer has little apple with a bite out of it. Where did that come from? You know, this is called, this is called my Adam's apple. Where did that come from? I mean, do you think permeate our lives, right? I mean, and even those basic metaphors, again, high is good. So I'm feeling I'm high as a kite. That means, you know, if I've seen a bit low today, that's bad, too low is bad. Because of this story, God is up there. And other mythic stories, God is down there. That's what the Divine is. So if you're a good person, you die, your soul goes down. So then down is important. So even these basic metaphors look like, you know, colors and time and numbers.

Alex Ferrari 1:07
I like to welcome to show Tok Thompson, how you doing Tok?

Tok Thompson 1:10
Very good, very good.

Alex Ferrari 1:12
Thank you so much for coming on the show my friend, I'm looking forward to our conversation about folklore and myth, which is your specialty. Can you tell the audience a little bit about your background and what you've been studying for the last 30, 20 however, long years?

Tok Thompson 1:26
In 25 words or less, I can try my own background, it's kind of just unique, and it probably has something to do with what I'm doing as a as an academic. So I grew up kind of out in the woods in Alaska, and my dad was kind of a bit of a survivalist. I grew up around people very much. And, and then when I got to college, I went right to the backwoods of Alaska, right to Harvard College and, and ended up becoming fascinated to anthropology like, you know, what is this species up to? What is Homo sapiens sapiens? And what are people what is culture and all that, and I grew up, you know, with a lot of surrounded by a lot of native culture, my name is sort of an anglicization of a native name, I'm not native myself, but I have a lot of native family members, and you know, community members, friends and whatnot. So growing up in that community, I was always really exposed to that sort of side of things. And it was always, you know, it's always been a part of my life. And then, you know, then that was another part of the anthropology I realized, especially in the rest of us, like natives don't play that big of a role in the culture. And so that's a part of it, too. I really think that you know, the indigenous languages and the mythologies and worldviews, and there's just a lot out there. That's really beautiful. And, you know, that I think people could learn a lot of we don't teach it enough, I don't think our American school syste.

Alex Ferrari 2:33
Without, you know, without question, I come from a storytelling background in Hollywood. So I've studied myth, and obviously, Joseph Campbell, and everything that he's done. And it is, it is the, as they say, I think George Lucas that the meat and potatoes of, of a species is carried around through folklore and myth, would you agree?

Tok Thompson 2:53
Well, yeah, stories in general, right. I mean, you know, how do we think of the world usually, it's not just like isolated facts, but people tell stories and put together stories in the story of your, you know, your nation, your religion, your your your people? Where did you know, then the myths? Where do we all come from? Right? Where did this all start? Or where is it all going? And even individual story, you kind of walk around, like, this is my story I grew up in Alaska, or, you know, everybody has these narratives. We talk about other people's stories, and you know, politics is often in stories. So I think that that's really what gives Cuban culture its power is telling and sharing stories and building those story worlds together. So that's, you know, that's literature. But for me, a much bigger part of storytelling is, is in folklore and mythology.

Alex Ferrari 3:35
Now, can you share an example of a folklore tale that deeply embodies spiritual values? In one way, shape, or form?

Tok Thompson 3:43
Oh, yeah. So I think all of us are kind of spiritual value, right? They tell you what is spiritual in the world. They tell you what, you know, where's the spiritual stuff? So, you know, in Abrahamic religions, we're used to the idea of heaven and earth, it's kind of up, right? So it's up there in the stars. And so, yes, people have pointed to heaven, everything will point up, right? Even though we know now we're on a little ball spinning around, what's up now? 12 years, 12 hours later is going to be down, right? But there's still this idea that is up and so this shouldn't, you know, this permeates our entire culture. You know, high is good in our culture, if I say you're gonna get a high grade in my class, you know, that's a good grade high is good. Why is it good? Well, because that's where that's where God is. That's where the Divine is. That's where you go when you die if you're a good person, right? And, of course, there's different stories that put it up, you know, very, very differently. And, you know, so one of the big differences that you see really, with Native American stuff is the idea of souls that is not just a human centric enterprise, right? I mean, in the Abrahamic days, you've got God, the Creator of the universe is basically a guy usually represented, like, God made man in His image. And the theology is it only people have souls, right that, you know, contrary to the movies, good dogs do not get to go to heaven. I mean, this is the official theology anyway, right? That shouldn't might be 98.5% us genetically, but As your present soul has no soul at all. And yet, if you go the Native American traditions, their stories, like, you know, some of them are nearly all of them. It's animals that are creators, and they are even plants or even stones and they sort of create us. So that's a very different way of looking at things. So the Native American view, like, you know, do wolves have souls? Yes. That's a real dynamic. You see, it's very, very different between these two Semitic views. So I know that Joseph Campbell stuff a trend. It's easy to go like what all these myths share in common, but I think there's a lot of beauty and what they their diversity, like, how would it how do they set up things differently? Right is, what is the soul? What happens when you die? What's out there? And so again, you know, that's an interesting split, right? There was a Native American, all these various and different Native American traditions and languages and mythologies and religions, but they all share that, you know, wolves have souls.

Alex Ferrari 5:50
So let me ask you, then, if from your research, when is the first time in folklore in myth in story, that the soul is introduced as a character element in the stories? Well, how far back does that concept go?

Tok Thompson 6:08
Yeah, well, okay. So that's hard to ask, because we know it goes way back further than writing. Right. So how do we, how do we have any record really, of when this starts? So it's hard to know, I mean, Homo sapiens, sapiens have been us for, like, 40,000 years, presumably, we've been telling stories for at least 400,000 years, you know, we don't know about did HomeAway records tell stories or proto stories? You know, we don't know. And I don't know how we would ever know. But presumably, at some point, we picked it up. And it's, you know, it's certainly been a part of the human condition, probably for as soon as we figured out language. I mean, I think one of the first things if people are going to besides the mundane stuff, like, you know, watch out, here comes a lion. You know, I think one of the some of the first things people are gonna wonder about is, is the power of things and what happens when you die, right? I mean, you know, you're aware, or you become aware that other people die. And I want to talk about this, you know, the people wonder what happened, if you know, you're gonna die? Right. And you still know what that all about? Well, that's, I think, has been an eternal part of human culture, stories about wondering what this is all about.

Alex Ferrari 7:10
Yeah. And I think this, we're the only species on the planet to my knowledge that understands that it will die one day, it as far

Tok Thompson 7:17
As we know, or, you know, honestly, do whales know, I don't know, you know, dolphins know. Yeah, maybe Yeah, we were just beginning to figure out all this stuff that they're talking about. And what's interesting is that we do know that they're talking about a lot of stuff, right? So we do know that these guys are communicating a lot. And nearly all animals are I mean, you know, bats, and certainly all mammals, we're, we talk a lot. So it's not just people, right, but we're just beginning to understand how to decode this. And they're getting closer, right? They're decoding dolphin and whale songs and stuff like that. So as far as we know, as far as we know, we're the only sort of storytelling species I would love to be proved wrong on that I think it'd be faster. But right now, as far as we know, this is what gives humans are our punch.

Alex Ferrari 8:02
Now there's another there's another aspect to spirituality, myth, myth, folklore, and also just spiritual texts, ancient texts that talk about the great illusion, the the dream as the aborigine call it, or Maya, in the ancient Indian texts, where this is all essentially a matrix, a construct a hologram? How far back do you see that? Or how have you? Where have you kind of crossed that idea, and it doesn't go across most of the research you've done in different cultures.

Tok Thompson 8:38
You know, I think there's a couple of different questions there. If you look about, you know, different cultures, they definitely have, you know, different concepts. It's like the spirit world, or the or what's beyond it, or something. And then you also have sort of, I think, in all places around the world, you also have sort of individuals, prophets, dreamers, that kind of thing that, you know, have experiences and they tried to bring them back and tell stories about them. You know, maybe this is schizophrenia, or mental illness, or maybe they're tapping into something, right. So I mean, the world is full of mysteries and and one of the things that these stories do, and they're sneaky, this way, that they set up the way we think about the world. And so, if you can think outside of those, right, like, what actually might be out there, right? What does it all mean? How, you know, there's think of the human neurons and how many there are, right? I mean, this is an incredibly complex machine. And now you could read the scientific stuff that they think, Oh, well, maybe consciousness is tied in with a quantum continuum, that maybe maybe quantum mechanics have something to do with this fascinating thought, right? So maybe he does, maybe our thoughts are somehow tied into the quantum realm, which, of course you can explore that physically is fascinating, right? I mean, quantum entanglement if you follow that, so basically, it says that, you know, space and time don't really exist in the quantum entanglement. And this is over the universe, which includes like a lot of places a lot of stars I mean, how many trillions of stars are out there? So we've got like, billion neurons several trillion stars. I don't have the exact numbers. I'm not a physicist, but you get the idea that, you know, this is fascinating stuff. So the world is a world of wonders, right? And science is great. I'm not anti science, but science improves by asking those far out questions.

Alex Ferrari 10:15
Right, exactly. So these concepts of like, you know, are we when the matrix showed up. I think it's the first time that we really figured out or first time in the zeitgeist that the idea of that wait a minute, are we in a giant computer program? You know, is there some nerdy alien somewhere

Tok Thompson 10:30
That's our metaphor for today like Paleolithic man would have said computer program. Right, you wouldn't know that.

Alex Ferrari 10:35
But my outward the dream, or like the dream for the aborigine would be the equivalent of that, or Maya is the great illusion. So they're using their

Tok Thompson 10:44
This idea of where is consciousness? Or what is this? You know, where does it come from? How is it different from materiality? You know, is consciousness simply a product of materiality? Right, are we? Or is Is there something else out there about consciousness? And so, you know, I think these questions have been raised in multiple cultures all around the world. And that plugs you into, you know, again, what's beyond the physicality and is there anything? Right? So this is this is, I think, the cornerstone of a lot of these different lines of inquiry that you find in different cultures.

Alex Ferrari 11:13
So have you have you done any research in the near death experience phenomenon?

Tok Thompson 11:17
Oh, yeah, absolutely. What's your part of shamanism? You know, the, you know, one way that people often become shamans and Native American cultures, they have a near death experience to get mauled by a bear or something, and up until then, to like normal people, and then they sort of feel like they've got died, gone to the spirit realm and come back, and they go to the and then they have this sort of shamanic awakening, one might say, because this is exactly what shamans are supposed to do. This is the craft of shamanism, you sort of leave your body, you know, have an out of body experience, which is what people report a lot of near death experiences, even in the US, right, you know, the hospital bed and floating above that sort of thing. So whether or not this is true, do people really float? I'm not gonna answer that I'm not a physicist. But what is true is that people in many, many parts of the world, we ported this same story when one could say,

Alex Ferrari 12:04
Yeah, and it's yeah, I've interviewed over 100, at this point of near death experiences, and I've even talked to some academics, who study the near death experiences across the world in different cultures. And it's fascinating that you're right, the stories are coming out. And it's not always a tunnel of white light. Sometimes if you're, if you're a native, it's going through a hole in a tree, or walking the path, but there's some sort of, there's a lot of common denominators. And it's pretty it is a pretty fascinating and it's a pretty new thing, even though there is from my understanding, references to near death experiences in the Bible, in Greek in Greek mythology or Greek records.

Tok Thompson 12:47
I mean, you know, if you think about like Christianity, the cornerstone belief of what you should believe the central Christian Tenet, right, he died and is reborn, right? So the idea that Christ died, went to the spirit realm or whatever and came back right. So this is a this is actually the cornerstone of Christian theology.

Alex Ferrari 13:03
Now in how does it how does folklore and myth really influenced modern religion as we know it today and its practices?

Tok Thompson 13:15
Hugely! What can I say? I mean, myth have already defined methods like, you know, a sacred creation story. This is your usual one. Sometimes they're like, after the world ends, but usually their creation stories, like how did this world come to be? And so, you know, I don't know any religion that doesn't have that have one of those. And religion is more than that? Certainly. But I mean, you know, what is the impact of the Garden of Eden story on Christian and Abrahamic theology? Huge, right. I mean, you know, it's a story or there's a God is basically like an humanoid male creates a male in his image. And that's why we are in God's image. And, I mean, you know, is that story important? to people's lives? Yeah, I mean, my computer as little apple with a bite out of it. Where did that come from? You know, this is called, this is called my Adam's apple, where did that come from? I mean, these things permeate our lives, right? I mean, and even those basic metaphors, again, high is good. So I'm feeling I'm high as a kite. That means, you know, if I've seen a bit low today, that's bad, too low is bad. Because of this story, God is up there. And other mythic stories, God is down there, that's where the Divine is. So if you're a good person, you die your soul goes down. So then down is important. So even these basic metaphors of like, you know, colors and time and numbers in these myths create our world.

Alex Ferrari 14:33
Now there is a story that is in almost every if not every culture in in, in the world, which is the flood story, the Great Flood, and it's something that

Tok Thompson 14:44
We're gonna get into a that hold on. Yeah, please. I would love to work on it. Sure. Sure. Number one. No, I mean, not every coast of the world has a flood story, so that that's been disproven over and over again and folklore scholarship. The other thing is that there are a lot of flood stories and when you started damages you notice that they're not the same story, the main thing is they have a flood in them. And then you also notice where these happened in flood prone areas. So what we see is that floods are sort of irregular, times cataclysmic occurrence for a lot of ancient societies and civilizations, right? They're gonna wipe out entire cities, entire pupils. So these things become remembered. And these the become a part of the narrative like, where did we come from what happened to us? The other thing is that this is a this is the commonality you often see it when, when a horrible things happen. People want to know the reason like this wasn't just random jazz. So very often is like, why are the gods mad at us? Or why is God mad at us? Right? What did we do wrong? Right so we have out in the in the Noah story that you know, mankind is so wicked that God is decides is true for Buddy, right? No, but if you go to the Northwest College, they have a lot of these flood myths, but and this is an area with a lot of earthquakes and have a lot of historically a lot of floods. And so they in easements so the idea is that this is caused by mountain dwarves dancing, they have these spirits that are in the in the mountains, and they dance and this causes earthquakes, which causes the floods and tsunamis in this case, right? So this is a different type of floods. It's not like a rainy weather flood, this is a flood from a tsunami because of an earthquake. So in this myth, it actually has a lot of important information to write if you you know, if there's an earthquake, watch out for floods, right head for high ground, if it's a big earthquake, this is something good to remember. The other thing about it is that, you know, why are these mountain dwarves dancing, the idea is that of usually the people sin, they did something wrong. You know, in a couple of stories, like people beat their dogs or something and upset the mountain dwarf so much. So what this does is it also explains things right, like so remember, when people want to know is just God's punishment, or when the age think about a lot of the Religious Right. It's like, this is God's punishment for our sins. Right? People often seek a meaning in, in in disasters. And I think as far as scary to think that there isn't one that we're just sort of at the whims of the universe and gets far scarier people want to know, it also then puts them in control. Like we can, we can not have another flood if we just behave better.

Alex Ferrari 17:12
Right. And but that's it. So that's interesting, the dancing door idea because, like to me, I mean, obviously, that sounds to me ridiculous, that there's giant dancing doors in a mountain. But if you start looking at many of our religious stories, and many of our spiritual

Tok Thompson 17:28
The other Noah flood story was a big guy in the sky, you know?

Alex Ferrari 17:35
Exactly. Yeah. Because he's an all loving father figure. So why is he killing everybody in judgment?

Tok Thompson 17:41
He was supposed to be perfect. And they're supposed to create everything perfect. But then you got so bad, you have to you have to almost wipe it all out. And then he will have to wipe it all out later. That's yeah,

Alex Ferrari 17:50
Exactly. So it seems like humanity's agenda, or the human experience is that they need to construct something to make sense of the insanity that it is to live in this realm in this experience of the physical realm, and all aspects throughout history, right?

Tok Thompson 18:06
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, what is it to live and enjoy and everything to know you're gonna die? It's like, Oh, man. So there was a lot of stories, a lot of mystery, like, why do people have to die? And that's part of the Garden of Eden story, right? That's the Garden of Eden story is actually part of a wider macro type of story that goes across a lot of Africa and the Near East. And it's known by it has several different forms, but it's usually known as the failed animal messenger. And the idea is that there's an animal that supposed to go to the crater Didi and come back with information on how people will live forever. And so the Garden of Eden story with a snake in this case, it's out, but in other places to hair, or a turtle. In one place, it's a cat and a dog. Among the Bank of Western Africa, it's a cat and a dog, they're gonna go to the creator, the cat just doesn't really care enough to deliver the message. He doesn't care enough about his people, the dog really does. And he tries to do his best job and he goes, and he gets to command, he's carrying back a little scroll in his mouth, telling people how we're going to live forever. But it's all the way back, he sees a pile of meaty bones, and he gets distracted and forget. So they tried to do the best, they just kind of screwed up. The cat just didn't care enough about us.

Alex Ferrari 19:13
And as anyone who's ever owned a cat completely makes that makes complete sense.

Tok Thompson 19:19
It just was like when you try to tell your cat to do something makes sense.

Alex Ferrari 19:23
And that's not so much

Tok Thompson 19:26
Actually part of the same macro type because all across Africa and that's part of the snake in this case. A lot of Christians often think this naked, the devil, right? It doesn't say that in the Bible is it's just a snake. I mean, it doesn't mean double. There's no devil in the Old Testament. Judaism doesn't have a devil that came later. Yeah.

Alex Ferrari 19:42
So let me ask you about that because that that idea of hell and the devil and the fallen angel of Satan and all of this kind of stuff. You know, I was I was that was exposed to that first grade and Catholic school and I was terrified, as it's supposed to terrify you to be a good person. It's part of the point. But that meant that the idea of the devil came in in the New Testament. If I'm not mistaken?

Tok Thompson 20:07
Yeah, absolutely. There's no There's no devil in Judaism. There's no Hello Judas. And this is this is a, this is an import by Christianity. Now what I think is fascinating is that word of Christianity get this and I think they got it mostly from Zoroastrianism. So as your astronism was his major, it is still a major world religion, huge temple here in Los Angeles. This is centered in the Persian Empire. And then, and it was hugely popular with the Roman Empire. The army, so the most of the Roman army, you have to remember most of the Roman army weren't Romans, right? These were captured people from all over the place. So the Roman army, which is a, you know, global population was occupied in Judea during Christ lifetime and before, and they would have largely been Zoroastrian. So this would have been sort of the main religion of all of these people have been there. It says rustiness was right next door, or astronism has happened in house or asked him how good and evil and God is all good. And the devil was all evil. And Zoroastrian, Zoroastrianism has all of these sort of elements like the devil and versus God and this sort of thing. So the whole Christian idea that, you know, you're sort of in between the devil trying to get you in God's trying to get you. This is really about from Zoroastrianism more than Judaism. Judaism doesn't have that binary like good evil.

Alex Ferrari 21:21
Greek mythology would have come afterwards, if I'm not mistaken in the timeline. Correct. Was that the that's after Christ? In the timeline?

Tok Thompson 21:29
Was around your long,

Alex Ferrari 21:31
Greek, Greek mythology and talking about Greek mythology.

Tok Thompson 21:34
Yeah, well, that goes back to like, kind of Old Testament time. So there are some overlaps here, right. So this is

Alex Ferrari 21:38
Because of Hades, because of Hades and that kind of idea of the

Tok Thompson 21:43
There's a couple of points in time when Greek and Christian mythology sort of overlap. And, you know, the early times during the iron age period, were a lot of these gods. I mean, Zeus just means debuts, right? I mean, there's just means God, right. And his full name is Zeus Pater, Father God, who lives up on high, you know, up on Mount Olympus maybe, but often in the cloud. And it's just, you know, it's basically the same character right? Just become Jupiter for the Romans Zeus Pater. It just so people in Greece, I'm saying, Father, God is saying, Father God, you know, if you think about when the converted, right, so this is, this is not this is already connected sort of traditions.

Alex Ferrari 22:16
So can you talk a little bit about Zoroastrianism? Because I'm not too familiar about that. I've heard of it, but I'm not sure. I don't know a lot of the details of it.

Tok Thompson 22:24
Huge, huge, hugely important religion make one of our major world religions and Sparta started by the prophets or Aster, who kind of cobbled together religion out of whatever else was there before. And sort of a monotheistic religion, it is a model is at least as monotheistic as Christianity in the sense that there's a duality, right? There's an all good God and there's an all bad devil, and there's a hell and there's a heaven. And then, you know, this is sort of the personal struggle is between those two forces, that's our human sort of struggle here on Earth. And again, this sort of laid the groundwork, okay, so you remember the nativity scene in the Bible, right? In the Bible story where the three Magi Magi was a Rastafarian priests, these were these are grassroots. So, you know, it was already worked into that story that Christ's birth was blessed by the Zoroastrian priests. So why was Rasbian priest blesses because it was very Zoroastrian. If you look at it.

Alex Ferrari 23:16
So what, what, what in the timeline of humanity? Where did he? Where did Zoroastrianism start? Is it before Buddhism after Buddhism?

Tok Thompson 23:25
Oh no, it was, yeah, it was Judaism. Okay. Again, if you go back that far, that's like early Iron Age Zoroastrianism would have been after that. But before Christianity, just to kind of put it in context, okay. If you go back the Old Testament, this kind of Iron Age stories, really, and it overlaps with a lot of irony stories, again, if you see in the wider, you know, Mediterranean and in Greece and stuff like that. There's a story in ancient Greece, right? And it's pretty much the same flood story is who's decided to flood everything. So the story, these people were already connected in a lot of these stories. And yet, you know, this Iron Age sort of strong ruler, male ruler chiefs. And this is you see this in the mythologies that are emerging at this time.

Alex Ferrari 24:00
So let me ask you this, because I've heard I've, in my studies, I've seen that there's a so many different lot of the same things overlap in other deities, or leaders of religions, origin stories, and Jesus origin story. So if you look at Buddha, and his story, you know that the Council of Nicaea took a couple of things, at least at least it looks like a lot of elements from that

Tok Thompson 24:30
Not a big fan of the Ken Bailey and the Campbell's idea that Joe the same story is up because there's a lot of differences. So, you know, Buddha was born rich, right? He was born a prince, you know, Jesus, were born a popper. These are very different origin stories, where I do see a lot of overlaps. He's like, again, the ones that were sort of next to these areas. So the Jesus story really parallels Osiris from the eruption. And Osiris is interesting day he said, you know, Egypt had been around for a long while. Sometimes 1000s of years, right? This is the center of civilization for so long. And if you look at Egyptian mythology over time, there's some really fun changes. If you go to the way back stuff, it's almost all animal gods or human animal hybrid gods. As it goes later in time, he started having more humans, so to take over these roles, so Cyrus starts becoming a domain god of death. He's the one that judges people in by the time you get up towards this time period, you have the Day of Judgment, right? So when you die in Egyptian stuff, you get judged to the day of judgment. And either you go on to heaven, or you get obliterated forever, not tortured forever, like hell, but you know, same same kind of basic idea. So we have a lot in Christianity of Abrahamic religions from you know, I get where did where did Abrahamic religions start? Right? Where did they where did Abraham start be buried with Abraham converted the monotheism in Egypt. So these are all very, very connected streams. And again, you're probably familiar with, you know, Amenhotep and slash aka notton. Right. So this is the Egyptian pharaoh that basically abandoned the old Egyptian pantheon, probably in order to claim more power for himself. But maybe he was a believer and to institute a new religion that was essentially a monotheistic ones. This is kind of the first monotheism and the main emblem was the sun. And then he was going to be the pope as well as sort of, right? So it was way of consolidating power, probably. But this is, you know, so this was going on, and he even constructed a new capitol in the southern part of Egypt, two houses, it only lasted his lifetime after he after he died, there was a revolution and they put the boy king to comment on the throne, right, King Tut, who is sort of, not that not that impressive of an individual, and then restored the old religion, but you know, these religious ideas are already bubbling around. And so again, this is where Judaism starts right in Egypt, right with Abraham gets converted to monotheism in Egypt. Moses means priest in Egyptian at this time. So, you know, there's a lot of these ideas that then get transferred, a lot of the songs in the Proverbs seem to come from Akhenaten's temples. So there's, there's an impact early on. And then Osiris is becoming a big God. And Osiris story is very much like Jesus's story, right? He's killed right around when he's 30. By kind of by the evil, Satan, underwater demon set, and then not by the Romans, but I think gets resurrected, brought back to life. And so even though, you know, his birthday is Osiris, His birthday was often given as the winter solstice, or right around Christmas. And his rebirth was usually the spring equinox, which is, you know, sort of Easter. So, you know, these, these stories are very, very similar. And again, Osiris has to go to the young god who died and brought back to life. Interestingly enough, he had set cut up his body into 13 parts, but his sister ISIS resurrected him, but you only found 12, you never found the 13th part. The 13th part was his penis. And so he comes across now with sort of this, asexual God, right, he doesn't he doesn't have sex, he doesn't marry, he doesn't produce errors. And so there's a lot of sort of overlap between, in fact, Osiris and Jesus often shared some of their same temples early on was sort of Osiris slash Jesus. So there was a lot of overlap between the Jesus story and the Osiris story is probably very influenced by it.

Alex Ferrari 28:20
Now, you mentioned the kind of like animal God, hybrids of humans, that seems to be very common throughout multiple cultures around the world, from Native American from Egypt, from Greece, you know, God, really, I'm not sure about Roman times. But there's, there's so many, especially in the, the UK, in the, in that area of, you know, Narnia

Tok Thompson 28:46
Phenomena, those that do and those that don't, you can also teach out some interesting differences. So, and again, you can look at this over time. So Egypt is a great case study in this you start off with like animal gods, and then become kind of human animal gods and then pretty by the end, they're pretty much human gods. So you, what you don't really get my hypothesis is that like, you know, people that are living in subsistence lifestyles, you're out there interacting with these animals, kind of on a one to one basis, right? These are free animals are not domesticated animals. Then you see them as important sort of, you know, spiritual forces, and that becomes worked into your stories. So Native Americans, you'll have a lot of the stories about the different animal deities, and then, but if you get to the farming cultures, where it's all got a lot of people, and it's all just people, people, people and maybe some controlled animals, then people start I think thinking about more like people, right, you're ruled by a king. So is there a kind of a human like King that rules over the universe? Right? And so again, you can really tease out different cultures like in India, you know, they have some animal hybrid gods, but not many. There. They're mostly human gods with a couple of interesting exceptions. And in Greece, I got there all human Gods except for like maybe Pam, who was not one of the Olympians. And he was not part of that tribe. Right? Was that Panda fascinating character, right? I think it's the most important Greek God out there, and probably the most widely worshipped over time and over space, but you hardly ever read about him. Because the city, people's gods would have been the human gods. And those were the ones who were writing stuff down. Fascinating.

Alex Ferrari 30:17
Now there is a big myth of that, I'd love to hear your point of view on it is Atlantis that has just kept captivated us as humans, ever since Plato wrote about it. Probably long before, and probably long before, but from the point of us, in Western society, Plato is the origin story of that, which, to my understanding,

Tok Thompson 30:40
He wasn't the origin story

Alex Ferrari 30:41
That his uncle, his uncle went over to Egypt, a couple priests told them about it, and so on. Where do you what's your point of view on Atlantis? What does it mean for us as a species? And what does this story mean to us? Because it's, we're still talking about it and 2023

Tok Thompson 30:58
It's a great, it's a fun mystery, right? It's something everybody can sort of share on. It doesn't matter, your political views or anything, we could all talk about Atlantis, but it's a very sort of neutral and fun topic, it'd be great if they ever discovered it. Like, you know, it'd be a great sort of morning news story, you know, divers think they have found the lost continent of Atlantis, you know, that'd be lovely. Right? So it's really useful in terms of, you know, how we live our lives. And but if you if you try to trace back, like, you know, where does this come from? And how true it might be? That's a fascinating story, too. So all we know, is that one sort of textual thing from Plato, but he says very clearly, like, this is a big story in Egypt. This is this is their origin story, right? This is, according to them, where they came from before they came to Egypt, they were in Atlantis. And so this is sort of, to some very important story for the Ancient Egypt, Egyptian, according to Plato. So that's important. So this is going back to whatever Ancient Egypt Egyptian story was. We don't know the Atlanta story, but we know who it was something like Plato describes, he was very careful there were there. There were a lot of contacts now between Egypt and Greece. So he would have been very careful to report this accurately, right, people were coming back and forth. And so we know that this was a very, very, in tremendously important story to ancient Egypt, and very, very sacred origin story that they probably treasured for a long, long time, perhaps 1000s of years, given the, you know, the length of the Egyptian culture. So that becomes interesting, right, that we know that they believed in it. And they had maintained his story as a valuable story for a long time. Now, it wasn't just a math right, for them, like some kind of creation story, maybe. But it seems very specific, like exactly what size it was. And this sort of thing. Could it have been like one of an island in the Mediterranean that, you know, sank beneath the sea during one of the main earthquake? Sure. Right. And maybe some people have said, well, maybe it's kind of related to the Minoan civilization that got, you know, kind of battered by the earthquake, maybe it doesn't quite seem to fit. You know, there's little traces like the Atlas Mountains, right. And they said it was out by the Straits of Gibraltar, and maybe was maybe there was some news translation. But then they have the Atlas Mountains and the Burma people up there tell stories about Atlantis. So maybe there's out there, some people suggested that it wasn't really the see that it was actually the Sahara, which is an interesting,

Alex Ferrari 33:11
Yeah, that's a new way of scenery.

Tok Thompson 33:12
It used to be a wash. And this is we do know that ancient Egyptian civilization seems to have come from the Sahara, right? So you got to eat. This used to be a lush thing. This is one of the cradles of mankind before it turned into a vast desert. And we and what archaeologists and stuff have tended suggests is that this was the start. When the Egyptians moved into the Nile, they were already pretty set up as a culture. So they came from somewhere. And it makes sense that they would have come from the Sahara as it turned into a desert and could no longer support large farming civilizations.

Alex Ferrari 33:44
Well, let me ask you this. What is your feeling on the human timeline? Because the timeline seems to be moving a lot lately, with Nysa. Lately, in the last 50 or 60 years, were you know, what I was what I was taught in school was like, oh, Egypt says 6000 years old, maybe 7000 years old. But now something like Gobekli, tappy shows up and they're like, well, that's 13,000 years old.

Tok Thompson 34:07
That's a great example. Yeah, that's lovely. That's lovely. Not just age, but because you took like civilizational structures that were set up by hunter gatherers. Were not performing. Right? So we've long had this idea that is, you know, UK hunter gatherers, and you get to agriculture, and they build cities. And it's not that easy. It's much more complex than that. So it really points to a lot of the interesting cultural complexity and and some of these cultures lasted 1000s of years, even going back to the Paleolithic. I was just read the other day that they can determine the different Paleolithic cultures due to the different artifacts and the clothing styles and jewelry styles that people would have been wearing. That lasted for 1000s of years, right until climate change or whatnot.

Alex Ferrari 34:48
Yeah so there's something like Gobekli Teppe You look at what they were doing there and you like, look at the the sophistication of what they did. That's not hunter gatherer sophistication. It seems like

Tok Thompson 35:00
When we think of hunter gatherers just going out, and there's the classic hunter gatherers, right, small nomadic man chasing, that works, but you also get hunter gatherers that, you know, have a lot of spare food, right? So like a look at the Northwest Coast groups, they had salmon, and they would smoke it. So they were hunter gatherers, but they would have food storage, and so they could host large villages, large cities, have division of labor, they have, you know, craftsmen that could work for as a craftsman are not hunter gatherers, right? They did amazing, huge constructions, while we labeled them hunter gatherers. So not all hunter gatherers are in classic small band group.

Alex Ferrari 35:36
So then, in your opinion, though, how old do you think Egypt Egyptian culture really, truly is? Based on these other ideas that are coming up?

Tok Thompson 35:45
Yeah. Well, it depends how far back you want to trace it, right? I mean, what we say Egypt is now we think of this as this country or this area. But the Egyptian culture again, a lot of archaeologists have set when did you sort of seeing this stuff in the early period along the Nile, it seems already pretty, you know, set up as a culture, right, as a package comes into the brain. Right? So So that's interesting. And I know where they came from, but a good guess would be the Sahara, early megalithic sculptures in the Sahara, you know, look at the megalithic culture, which is alive and fascinating to look at Western Europe and Ireland and all these megalithic societies and structures. And some and there's some of the earliest seem to be in the middle of the Sahara Desert,

Alex Ferrari 36:25
Which was apparently like you said lush, you know, 1000s and 1000s and 1000s. Because you can't, you really can't build a society around it in a desert like that. Not that size you need or,

Tok Thompson 36:36
You know, it was lush, this is this is incredibly lush environment, one of the Washington environments on Earth was the Sahara. So this is we know that there was some big civilizations living,

Alex Ferrari 36:44
It's, it is truly fascinating. You know, what I always find really interesting is that no matter where we are in the history of humanity, man always thinks they have it figured out. That they're like, no, no, this is the story. I'm trying to figure it out right there. No, but like, you know, like, you know, during the Greek times that could Zeus obviously Zeus, there's no other way. And, and during, you know, Egyptian times, it's raw, or it's, you know, it's Osiris. And that was

Tok Thompson 37:08
When it falls apart, too, you know, so Right? When did ancient Greece stopped believing in their gods, right? Plato didn't believe he wasn't a Christian or anything, but he didn't believe in the Old Gods, right? He didn't believe in what he called myth. In fact, you know, we get our word myth from ancient Greece. And so, early on, you know, some of these people were questioning the rationality of these religions, which people were taking very seriously. This is really where Athena ascended to heaven or whatever. They were put to death. Right for being heretics. All right. So, you know, it was a very contentious stand. It was only sort of later that Greek civilization sort of, okay, you know, atheism and disbelief.

Alex Ferrari 37:45
Yeah. And now, I mean, obviously, with the with the world as it is, now, there's such a free exchange of information, because of the digital age. What is your opinion of how this is affecting folklore? And no, this is one of your favorite topics. How does how does the digital age the internet, and how folklore has been created myth has been created using these new tools.

Tok Thompson 38:09
Oh, right. Yes, it's huge, right? The internet has totally transformed our culture. This is one of the biggest things happening in human culture. I think it's bigger than the printing press, which gave us literacy in the nation state and on to one of the biggest things have happened to human culture ever since the invention of agriculture, right? So this is going to change this as a species. And I already like, you know, my former self, my 20 year old self would not understand my current self like, it's a different language. Like he talked about his broadband and his Wi Fi and his download speed for streaming like, what is this guy? You know, you'd be incomprehensible to my early here. So. So I look at my students now I'm getting these students now 20 years since they've been on broadband, their whole life, most of them, right. And so that means that they've been sort of anywhere in the world at any time talking to anybody in the world at anytime. And that's normal for them. And you know, and and I remember what it was before that, right. So why, sir, talk to anybody in the world at any time. So, yeah, that's going to absolutely change all of our dishes. A lot of folks I mean, folklore, you know, when I went into grad school folklore was because there's antiquated discipline, it was fading away in the face of modernity. And by the time I exited graduate school folklore was like cutting edge, right? There's all this art that doesn't have writer, the author, what is this stuff? You know, how do you analyze you know, memes and unfocused, like, Yep, no problem is what we do. Right? We'll show you how you do it. So we're in a much more folkloric age now than we have been since at least the development of the printing press, I would say, right, this is most of our culture's very folkloric in nature. And it's also like, again, changing our notion of what it is to be or to to be, you know, the other 35 crowd, they're not really very religious in the sense that right? spiritual but not religious. This is the overwhelming thing, so they're not going to sign up for denomination like denominations are plummeting, right? But, but it's not that they're not spiritual. But what This isn't there tapping into all this stuff around the world, right? You don't have to stick with your your one hometowns. Religion comes from a small town and we're a Baptist town and we're a Lutheran town. You can pick from all over the world, right? So people kind of it's a smorgasbord and felt like yeah, like that karma idea. But, you know, and but

Alex Ferrari 40:15
Reincarnation. That makes sense. Yeah, reincarnation,

Tok Thompson 40:18
Native American animals die off. And I like, I like the karma. And you know, and so they're crafting this whole new sort of spiritual universe on a global scale, which is just phenomenal to witness in real time. With us come to a lot of wacky beliefs, I have to say, like the whole, you know, extraterrestrial belief that this has really moved. You know, for a lot of people, it may be legendary, like, maybe it's true, maybe it's not like, like Sasquatch. But for a lot of people this is like, this is this is this is myth. This is sacred stuff like we this has something to do with who we are like, We are part star people or something. We were not really earthlings or something, this is a huge new sort of religious development, the other new religious development, it just sort of, kind of goes hand in hand sometimes, and that's the, you know, transhumanism, we're gonna be able to upload our consciousness to the cloud and and live forever in a video game environment. Number one, I don't I don't think so. Right. I don't think it works that way. I don't believe we can separate consciousness from our body, in any sort of computer generated way. You know, we like to think that there's this mind, we have a look at that word, like a mind, what is a mind? And it's basically the same word is soul, right? Because, you know, what is your mind? Can you Is anybody ever seen a mind? Way to mind? You know, is it a metaphor? You know? You saying, oh, you know, you have a mind I have a mind. Really? I have neuron synapses, I have a brain is W mean a mind? No, not really. So, you know, this, I think the move now is away from this Cartesian view set up by Rene Descartes, his mind body split, we know that's not quite true. And towards this idea of, you know, embodied consciousness that it really it is our synapses and neurons and stuff that is, that is producing this effect, at least at least for our experience of it. So you can't sort of separate out your consciousness from your biology. I'll give you a real simple example. Right? I like to have a little bit of yogurt every day in the morning, probiotic. And one of the reasons is that has been shown that if you have little probiotic yogurt, it lowers your stress level. So I take it a value. And they've done a nice test to show that this is really very, very effective. And the reason is, because probiotic stuff is little microbes, they live in your gut, and they interact with you. So when I say oh, you know, this is my mind, I don't mind I'm not stressed, right? Or something like this, it will part of it. It's those little guys living in my gut. I'm not going to be able to upload that. I can't take those little guys with me. So that is how we experience the world is even through other organisms. Besides homo sapien sapien organisms, like we there's a lot of stuff in here, there's not human DNA on the fireman.

Alex Ferrari 42:52
Oh, absolutely. I mean,

Tok Thompson 42:55
This is possible how we think, right? These are little organisms in here. If you heard of Toxoplasma gondii. This is my new project. I'm working.

Alex Ferrari 43:01
No, I haven't heard that one.

Tok Thompson 43:03
Right, right. So Toxoplasma gondii is a, it's a little parasite. About 1/3 of the people in the world might be carrying it in their brain. A lot of people are asymptomatic. But for those who become symptomatic Tasman plasmosis, once you get past the initial effects, it tends to make people just a little bit more reckless. So that can be bad, that can be good. It seems to be tied to like entrepreneurship, starting your own business.

Alex Ferrari 43:31
I must have it, I must have it.

Tok Thompson 43:34
That's right, just sort of, you know, those who like to live on the edge, right? So this is a significant portion of humanity. And I'm probably infected. I don't Okay, you know, I've sort of haven't had those, you know, cloistered life. And so, you know, if you are one of those people, there's a very good chance that you may think that's you and it is, but part of view is this little parasite you have in your brain. We got this mostly from domestic cats, by the way. So cultures that have a lot of domestic cats have more of this, and therefore more have more reckless individuals, you know, that produces heroes that produces fools that produces, you know,

Alex Ferrari 44:11
Innovators, innovators, leaders, it because you got to be I mean, you got to be a little crazy to do certain things, you know, in life,

Tok Thompson 44:18
Those who are successful and those who die young both right.

Alex Ferrari 44:24
Hopefully, you can balance that between the two somewhere, hopefully. So, I want to go back to what you said earlier that religion really is, is just going down from when I was born, you know, generally speaking, generally speaking, especially, originally, I was born into Catholicism over the last 30 years. You mean the numbers in the churches are starting to just go down, down down, and you write these new the new generation coming up. They're just like, what this is, this doesn't make any sense?

Tok Thompson 44:57
Why do you want yourself to one little one little pie right what There's this whole global smorgasbord,

Alex Ferrari 45:01
Right! And because there's so much more information coming in, and I never thought of it that way, but you're absolutely right. There's so much more knowledge before the people who would like to be born less a Catholic, and then one day in a bookstore happen to run across a book about a yogi, or the back of the veto or something like that, and go, Oh, what but now

Tok Thompson 45:21
He's that's it, and then you switch over. Now, they're just taking little bits and pieces from all these.

Alex Ferrari 45:26
But now it's but now it's that information is so ingrained in our culture mean, a lot of people know about karma about reincarnation, those were revolutionary ideas 100 years ago, in the West, revolutionary ideas. So where do we think where do you think this is gonna go in 100 years from now? 200 years from now?

Tok Thompson 45:43
Yeah. Isn't it fascinating, because again, we're certainly seeing we're right on the cusp of the biggest transformation that humanity probably ever gone through. And not many people have in history been able to say that. So this is a tremendously interesting time to be, you know, looking at this and watching this and wondering about where all this is headed. Because it's gonna be radically different. You know, one of the predictions I'm making is my grandchildren probably won't read and write.

Alex Ferrari 46:05
I, you know what, and that's not a, that's not too far fetched. Because I'm looking at, I'm looking at AI right now. And I'm going So wait a minute, I might, one of my predictions is I don't think the web is going to be the way it is. Now, there's going to be web pages anymore. Web pages will eventually go the way of the dodo, because you'll just ask AI and AI will give you the answer. Why would you go to a web page, unless it's something artistic or something very individualized, for that person to go. But it's not the way that we're looking for information today. Once AI gets to a point where you can just ask AI, anything? It knows. So then if you could ask AI

Tok Thompson 46:40
Comes with a lot of dangers, too, because people Yes, really believing in AI. Right? Right. There's a lot of one of the things I think kind of tracking is sort of information technologies in the afterlife, like how there's all these stories about that this is sort of the AI can have a soul or the you know, people are really starting to believe this. And I think it's problematic, because, well, it's like the guy who it happens a lot. But I've just reading a story about a guy who had like this AI girlfriend, who broke up with him, and then he committed suicide, because he was so heartbroken. And so people are like investing their emotions, which are biological emotions into these simulacra nations if they're us, but they're not. And the reason routers are not biological organisms, they don't care. You know, the guy, the girlfriend who broke up with a guy, you know, most girlfriends have the, you know, if they break up the guy committed suicide, you would feel bad. This AI did not feel bad, right? Not one little bit, it doesn't feel right. So people are falling in love with these things. It cannot love them back. Because love is a biological phenomenon. So there's a lot of danger with AI and people trust AI too. So you know, so like, well, the computer says that, you know, they were using AI for doing parole hearings, like chance of recidivism, right? Like, how likely is it that this person is going to commit another crime and they just feed it to the AI? Well, one of the things they figured out was at the I was looking at their identified race, and so they came up as black, they're like, Oh, well, you're far more likely to get arrested for another crime again, right. And so they can be held in jail, because the AI said, they're more likely to get arrested, and they are more likely to get arrested. But that's not the point. It doesn't mean that the wrong thing to do a crime, it just means more likely to get arrested, right? Given the racism in our society. So you know, where does the AI get all this stuff from these racist ideas from us? Right? It's stuff from from us. And so all of our foibles are just supposed to be you know, aggregated into the AI. And then people believe this like, well, computer says,

Alex Ferrari 48:36
Well, to be to be fair, though, isn't that that's exactly what happens to a baby. The baby comes in pure and all of our racism and all

Tok Thompson 48:44
Yes, yes, but time is our biological they care.

Alex Ferrari 48:47
No, no, no, no, no, no, I'm not arguing that part. But I'm arguing the programming.

Tok Thompson 48:51
Yes. Yeah, no, but we don't treat these things like babies so much. We treat them like parents like this is the expert. Right? This is it.

Alex Ferrari 48:58
But because but also, it's it's unheard of looking at it two years ago, AI was barely a blip. And now it's everywhere. And it's moving so fast. I mean,

Tok Thompson 49:10
Everything's moving so fast, right? I mean, our technology Well, that's one of the things about globalization, all of a sudden, all the technicians, all the scholars, all this information just going around the world, you know, I used to be, you know, even when I was when I was before the internet, I remember this, like, even if a scientist was doing studies and would publish something, it would be years before we get translated into French and the French scholar was working on something similar if you're like, oh my God uses some scholar and America is working on this. I must write him a letter right? So science went really slow.

Alex Ferrari 49:39
It's It's interesting too, because now AI is it's still in its infancy, but I'm using AI to translate the show. I have five six channels in different languages and growing. And so the speed of information just like this conversation was limited to whoever could speak English, or maybe read closely. captionings maybe if I offered 10 languages in closed captioning, which has also been created by an AI, because manually, it's just too damn expensive to do. So now this is growing so much faster. So it's just, it's just compounding on itself. It's a compound interest. We're at that point where it's just like, now we're at a hockey stick stage in humanity. Would you agree?

Tok Thompson 50:20
Yes, absolutely. But also we're at that cliff stage. Right? So this shows global climate change, you know, warming. We're going through the sixth great extinction right now of the loss of biodiversity, we are literally killing the earth. So as people become more enamored by these AI, simulacra AI, by the way, is really energy intensive, you know, sucks a lot of juice, well, you're gonna supply that juice, oh, down another river, and we'll, you know, blast a few mountains. And you know, so there's a cost all this now, cost is really a very concerning cost, right? And I'm not saying that AI is the sole cause not at all. It's the whole capitalism. Right? Yeah. So again, this is sixth great extinction of life on earth. And the last one was 65 million years ago, where we got hit by an asteroid, Okay, this one is not any external force, it's actually an organism of the earth that is killing the earth. And that's us. And that's also going on during my lifetime. So you got these two processes that are transforming Planet Earth going on at the same time. Right. And they're interlinked, you know, maybe, maybe our science is gonna get enough together, and we'll figure out how to save the planet, right, maybe, or maybe in trying to do this, we're actually going to help destroy the planet. But you know, the stakes are high, the stakes are very high.

Alex Ferrari 51:38
Tok Let me ask you this, though, would you agree throughout history, there's always different chapters in human humans in humanity's book, essentially. And in those chapter changes, old systems have to be destroyed or have to fall away? And are we're right now in the sense of like systems, economic systems, leadership systems, political systems, food systems, information systems, there's things that change so dramatically. And in our lifetime, I think you and I are of similar vintage. In our lifetime, we've seen so much change. I mean, you and I were both born before the internet, I'm assuming

Tok Thompson 52:19
We're one of those rare people in the history of the world that has had a foot on either side of this.

Alex Ferrari 52:25
Yeah, Gen X, Gen X has that foot in both worlds, which is a weird, we're very unique generation in that sense. Because we know what it was like before a remote control was on a television. And we also remember, the first time on internet, I saw a webpage, and, and home computers and cell phones, and there's just so much it's changed.

Tok Thompson 52:45
You know, my dad who just passed away a couple of years ago, right? Age of 94. And, you know, he remembers growing up as a young boy, and his parents took him to the big town of Chicago to see this new thing. Radio, right. So that's, you know, my dad see radio, to see radio, he had the iPad, and he would be like, you know, zooming in to see the grandkids sort of thing, but, you know, think, think about change in his lifetime, you know, and he was like, Oh, I remember before cars,

Alex Ferrari 53:14
Or airplanes or anything like

Tok Thompson 53:16
That ever invented, but nobody had him it was all horse, my grandfather, you know, I mean, that Think of how much has changed in just a few short generations,

Alex Ferrari 53:25
Right in the generations. But now, even within our generations, the mass change, it's just got

Tok Thompson 53:32
And A.I is going to kick it up even faster, right? This is just pouring gasoline on the fire was like, so these take off.

Alex Ferrari 53:38
So let me ask you this from your, from your research and your studies. You've seen these other systems crash to come up with something new crash to come something up the new, we're in that place, I feel right now, because you're saying we're moving so fast that old religious religion is as we knew it growing up is going to probably in the next 100 years, not exist in the same way by any stretch of imagination. Probably our political systems probably won't change, probably our monetary nation

Tok Thompson 54:05
Why do we have the nation state anymore, and we can talk here, but around the world, we've got global, you know, issues like climate change. And yet we have no global governance. I mean, people say the United Nations, I'm like, no, no, no, that's united nation states that is not united people in the world. These are all the nation state players get together what they want. But these are not the people of the world. And we have so we have global problems, global communication, but no global governance, obviously, I think if we're going to save the planet, that has to change, there has to be some sort of global governance. But you totally reimagined our political systems, right? I mean, we're everything is going to change

Alex Ferrari 54:39
And monetary systems and monetary, everything. Everything's systems. I mean, I see a world look, you know, I was overseas last summer, and I had my Google Translate on my phone. And I would go and I would talk to my Uber drivers in Google Translate and I I could just see so clearly proud In my lifetime, there'll be a device that I'll put it into my ear. And as I speak, it will translate real time into somebody else's ear thing. And we can communicate in language, the Tower of Babel is now destroyed, and language will be free flowing. Because right now language is still a barrier for a lot of the world.

Tok Thompson 55:17
But imagine how much will be dependent on those, right? Because Oh, no, no, no.

Alex Ferrari 55:25
But it's, but it is something that is going to eventually happen. Look, look, how dependent are we on these things? You know, like, I mean, you can't, you can't live without an iPhone. Generally speaking, if you're working out,

Tok Thompson 55:37
You sort of, you know, for a while to COVID, I had to have the little app on here even to go to work. And it's like, it's sort of required, like to be sort of, you know, whether you want it or not,

Alex Ferrari 55:46
Right, so we're going to be we've been leaning on technology ever since the car.

Tok Thompson 55:51
Like, this is why this is why I sneak away in the summers and go back to my cabin and allows right electricity, you know, nothing, and I sit there for a while.

Alex Ferrari 55:59
And it's, it's, it's nice to disconnect. But you know, you know, going down this road of conversation, it's just really interesting to see where we're been where we are right now, which is I agree with you. So one of the most exciting times ever, in history of humanity, where we're

Tok Thompson 56:16
In dangerous time ever. I mean, we've never been in threat of losing all of humanity, or even worse, like most of life on Earth, even beyond us, right? That's really concerning. We are, you know, this is happening during our lifetime to grant an edge of life on Earth. And it's our fault. I mean, I mean, us Western capitalist. It's, it's our fault, right? So this is really not a good situation. So yeah,

Alex Ferrari 56:39
And then, and then the potential of obviously, the continuously old idea of war, and

Tok Thompson 56:45
We're getting better and better weapons. And now we've got these drones great. They can shoot you and hunt you down. Oh, yeah. Progress.

Alex Ferrari 56:57
So talk, let me ask you, where do you think folklore and myth is going to exist in the future? How is it going to help us continue to grow as a as a species? If we make it, sir?

Tok Thompson 57:10
Yeah, well, that's a good question. This, this moment might be miticides In the future, because this is going to be an ethical moment in creating whatever comes next. So this could be a disastrous, or it could be a rogue success story. But a lot of it depends on what we do now. And then, you know, they can look at it from all sorts of angles. They did a paper recently about, you know, the future of ghost stories, and I was talking about the future of being haunted to being haunted by online, right. There's all these stories about that, or being AI is sort of a spirit medium. There's all these stories about people, the AI is connecting them with the spirit realm. Oh, it's all the stories that we collect. Yeah. So you know, people are going to text messages from the beyond that's very common has been around for a long time. Again, this is mostly the younger crowd, right? The guys who've grown up and gals who have grown up online, this is their social lives. And so when they die, where do they haunt, very often online. And so text messages from the beyond, that's really common, you know, our kids committed suicide in high school, and their best buddy gets, it's okay, I'm in a better place when untraceable number this sort of stuff. So there's just a ton of this. And then the other idea, it's like, Will aI have a soul? Right? Well, AI? Would Have you beat your Android to death. It's gonna come and haunt you. Is that the Android ethics wherever they're rolling out androids? Now? What are the ethics of this stuff? Right? People are gonna be married people are gonna be having sex with you. They already are, right, these sex robots. So people are gonna be falling in love with these because you know, as humans have sex with something, there's a lot of emotion and stuff that built up. They're not going to love you back. But you know, what are the ethics of this work? Can you beat your robot to death? Is that okay? You know, sex robots? Is that okay? There was a little town in Texas couple years ago, a guy announced he was going to open up a robot brothel. And everybody's like, we got it. It's got to be against the law. And I'm like, okay, which law? Would that say? Right?

Alex Ferrari 59:10
Yeah, because you're against old old systems are going to be breaking down because of this new ideas, new technology. I don't I don't personally think a digital brothel is a great idea sex robots.

Tok Thompson 59:24
But again, like you're gonna pass a law like what that last day? Like? No, because it's a victimless. And in other words, should they have rights? So this brings us into ethics, which has never really kind of cleared up this issue. Like, where's the moral transgression? Is it is it? Does it have to have a victim right? In other words, it doesn't have to be hurt by this. And if so, is an Android a person or not? And if an Android system machine doesn't, I guess it's okay to beat your Android to death or, or have non consensual sex with your Android I guess if it's a machine I mean, you don't ask.

Alex Ferrari 59:57
Yes. Conceptual like it But it's conceptual with a with a machine. Like it doesn't

Tok Thompson 1:00:03
But yeah, but it's gonna it's happening already why people are buying anything and people are sort of, you know, falling in love with them. And even with their cyber, you know, people wearing their cyber girlfriends and all this sort of stuff like, like that man is at the cusp of all this. You want to see what this is happening go to go to Japan. This is really worth where it's coming this way very quickly, but it's already there in Japan, Japan has not reproducer and large part Hey, young people are not having sex.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:26
Right! Yeah, I've heard I've heard about that. No, no, that that's a problem. Because that when aren't they the oldest, one of the oldest populations in the world.

Tok Thompson 1:00:35
Right. So in general, you have some of the more oldest populations and then also the least birthrate. And so you put those together in Japan and out of people and their solution to this is to replace themselves with androids increasingly. So you have Androids and Japanese looking androids now doing jobs like taking care of elderly and even kindergarten teaching. The interest Exactly. So this idea that, you know, they don't want to bring in a lot of immigrants and foreigners, which a lot of countries might do. So they'd rather sort of create Japanese looking adware Androids, but then does that make that more of the culture? Right, so are you gonna get more people sort of American Androids and whatever else you want to say about cybersex? You know, whatever, but it doesn't produce babies. Right. So Right.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:17
Right, exactly. It is a fascinating time to be alive. This has been a fascinating conversation. By the way. I'm going to ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests. What is your definition of living a fulfilled life?

Tok Thompson 1:01:32
Living the fullest

Alex Ferrari 1:01:33
A fulfilled life. Yeah, fulfilled life

Tok Thompson 1:01:35
Fulfilled? I don't really know. I mean, to find out what you want to do, and to pursue that, you know, to make sure that you know, there's something that you find it satisfying and that you think has value to other people think that's really important. And that can be anything it can be been a bicycle repairman. It could be you know, what you do that you can do that you think can help others. I think that's, that's it.

Alex Ferrari 1:01:59
If you had a chance to go back in time and talk to a little Tok, what advice would you give them?

Tok Thompson 1:02:05
Oh, my goodness. Don't worry. It'll all work out. Say easy way wrote route here. I didn't I didn't you know, I didn't take the direct route, shall we say?

Alex Ferrari 1:02:16
Yeah, I was gonna say folklore is probably not the, you know, like, Hey, guys, I'm gonna study folklore. I'm like, okay,

Tok Thompson 1:02:22
VNovember very, very macho dad, it was very sort of survivalist offense. For me to be interested in, you know, ancient myths and goddesses. It's like what? You know, I don't think my dad ever quite got me I'll have to say,

Alex Ferrari 1:02:34
Umm, what is your definition of God or Source?

Tok Thompson 1:02:38
I don't Oh, what I do is I study how other people define and that's fascinating. God, Gods goddesses got us, right. You know, which people have Gods which people have goddesses. There's great stuff and souls, we have one soul. Is it sort of the animistic soulfulness, it sort of flows to the material world? Is it the two souls and VO Dawn are the five souls of the ancient Egyptian? Do you have family sold? You sold? You know, this is great stuff. You know, and I, I study what other people have said about this right? And and there's, there's just so much to study out there.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:11
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?

Tok Thompson 1:03:16
Well, I would like to believe that there is an ultimate purpose of life. I'm not sure. But if there is, I imagine it has something to do with consciousness. We're just sort of trying to think as much as possible, trying to understand.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:29
Alright, fair enough. And where can people find out more about you and the work that you're doing?

Tok Thompson 1:03:34
Oh, well, you know, nice thing about having a strange name is I'm easy to Google. So if you go go, you'll find me. A couple of books out there's one recent one on post-human folklore, looking at the human animal and the animal machine sort of ideas. Another one on the truth of myth, looking at, you know, mythology, what it is how we can analyze it. So I'm always working on new stuff and new articles and chapters and things. So, again, no, Google me. I'm Googleable.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:03
Tok I appreciate you taking the time to have this conversation. It's been fascinating to talk to you and hopefully, hopefully will help help some people understand where we are, where we've been and where we're going.

Tok Thompson 1:04:15
Yeah, good luck with all that. Yeah. Thanks very much. It's been a fun talk.

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