"There’s a beautiful communication that happens through appreciation."
- Liam Dean
Liam Dean sits down to talk human to me about being on the outside, capacity, authority, artists, human spirit, civil dialogue, happiness, love, knowledge, appreciation, and beautiful communication
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Our Conversation with Liam Dean
Jeffrey Shiau: [1:43] So Liam, what about humans strikes you the most? This is the question I start with everybody.
Liam Dean: [1:52] You just throw it right out there?
Jeffrey Shiau: [1:53] Exactly.
Liam Dean: [1:54] What about humans strikes me the most? Hm. About human beings, our capacities? Just what strikes me the most, I guess what strikes me the most about human beings is that, I guess I was answering my own question. Capacity, I think that the thing that strikes me the most about human beings is our ability to be so many different things. We’re almost all exactly the same, genetically, and we have so many different off shoots. We end up so many different places in the world, we end up so many different people, we have different skills and we even think, ‘god I'm not like that person, I can’t do what they can do’. That’s kind of cool, like somebody is fantastic at one thing and as a proclivity in one direction and you just didn’t develop that skill but you all could. I think it’s our capacity to grow and to become something and also in there to actually teach that to somebody else too.
Jeffrey Shiau: [2:54] I love this direction you’re going with your fascination with the human ability to grow into something and become better. Where’s this coming from?
Liam Dean: [3:06] I don’t know I guess I have -- for the darkness that can be in all of us I think I have a lot of positivity in me. So I’ll start here, here’s a key indicator, I’m the youngest of four and as the youngest --
Jeffrey Shiau: [3:20] You’re the runt.
Liam Dean: [3:21] I’m the runt, right and I was short most of my life and then I got humongous after high school but far after all the other kids my age did. As the runt, as the smallest I was commiserating with another youngest of four children, the other day with a friend of mine and she agreed that you have to involve yourself or you’ll be left out and when you have to involve yourself you have to tell yourself things that might not exist, you have to tell yourself positive reassuring, reaffirming messages to inspire yourself, you have to otherwise you’ll just shut down. I think probably since of very young age I grew up kind confronted by the frustration of being on the outside just within my family I really wasn’t that on the outside, but in school and you’re trying to make friends and stuff and feeling outside and having to bring yourself inside on your own terms and that requires positivity. So I think that’s why I start there, there’s just that sort of need to light my own candle I guess.
Jeffrey Shiau: [4:32] Was that feeling almost conscious at that age or is that something that you reflected on and you only come to a realization in your adult years?
Liam Dean: [4:43] I think both, it’s both. I very clearly being young and thinking and I mean like five or six years old, and thinking, ‘alright obviously this is all bullshit, I have got to only listen to myself first.’ That’s like being in school and being like, ‘this teacher, god, they are like grilling me right now’ or ‘they are just saying something that they don’t believe and they are forcing me to learn it. I don’t know if I really buy it just yet.’ I was never one to just like swallow what was given to me. I was always, here’s a huge word but it means something really simple, I was always really contumacious, which just means you challenge authority and that’s why I looked that up, there has to be a word for it I thought.
I always challenged what was in front of me not because I wanted to be difficult as a kid, I did as a kid I was a total smart ass but I wanted to figure things out for myself and I’ve always been like that. I’ve made things difficult for myself because I want to try and do things myself so when you live like that and go through life like that, you pick up an awful lot more because you’re just scraping more, you’re shoveling more and then you can sift through later. So it is both things also later in my adult life I contemplate that and think, ‘yeah you know that’s the way I was’ and I just wanted to do things my own way.
Jeffrey Shiau: [6:21] Talk about that evolution, how when from the state of that...the translation of that thought process from when you were five, to how that’s evolved to who you are know?
Liam Dean: [6:38] Hmm, I don’t know, you know since a young age have always been trying to question things that are around me, usually that involved picking a fight with it, either that was talking back to my parents or I was forever in the principal's office, for stupid things by the way because I just questioned what was being told to me and I stopped the show, I would hold up the train so to say, you know what I mean? I just wasn’t listening the way everyone else was listening and so I’ve always sort of been, this is going to sound really pat on the back, I’ve always been a little bit of a badass because I just haven’t wanted to fall into line because I grew up not being accepted in the first place.
So I thought, ‘if you don’t like me or if I’m being picked on because I have red hair’, something stupid like that and I could realize that at a young age that, ‘you choose this little difference about me and all of a sudden I’m damaged good’ and I thought, ‘alright fine if that’s how you’re going to treat me then I will enter the world my own way and I will make everything up, I will make my own basis for comparison for everything.’ So from being a young kid who was picked on, I had to figure out my own way and fast forward through grade school to junior high and high school, you start to purposely develop yourself, like sports that you want to try or things that you want to stay away from because you think, ‘that’s too conformist’ or I see the way those kids end up and I just...they’re all the same and they’re not even paying attention to themselves, I want to be more conscientious about how I groom myself, right?
I sort of just always have done what I’ve wanted to do and that hasn’t meant peeing on somebody's foot or stealing something it’s not those things, it means, ‘I want to be a rock climber so I’m just going to do that. Okay this is great I’m obsessed with it and that’s all I do now.’ I always had a passion and just threw myself into and almost completely ignored what would need to be my career. There was no such thing as a career in my life, I was always just working towards myself.
Jeffrey Shiau: [9:00] There’s two running themes that I’m hearing here. There is a theme of nonconformity and a theme of questioning what authority figures are saying as the truth. What their saying, ‘this is truth’, you’re questioning whether that is true or not and a listener might hear this and say, ‘oh that’s so typical of an artist.
Liam Dean: [9:33] Right, they just want to go in the other direction, be difficult on purpose or almost make a show out of themselves on purpose just to be different.
Jeffrey Shiau: [9:41] Right, so do you think that notion of typicality of artists is there some truth to that or...talk about that?
Liam Dean: [9:55] Alright so I think...so a few things so for me I happen to be an artist but really what I would just say is I’m a really curious person and I love to put my own badges on my own shirt. I love to earn my way through life and figure things out and learn stuff and learn skills, I just love to teach myself stuff or acquire knowledge about stuff that I’m interested in. So I’m not looking for other people’s validation and I think that is a common theme with a lot of different artists, I think that’s executed very different way though. For me as an artist I’m kind of not your typical artist in a lot of different ways. I’m not locked inside of my own mind, I don’t paint my feelings, I’m just sort of a normal guy that accidentally or instinctively knows how to make things with his hands and I just play all day and I get really good at it and my work is nice and people like and I’ve achieved validation ironically or accidentally. I started working for my own satisfaction in private and when I would show people work I was validated and I was like, ‘huh, oh I guess I’m an artist then’, I was never striving for it, where I think a lot of artists are and where they get their validation from is sort of this odd torture, this self torture of wanting your to be so good and pouring yourself into your work but then always doubting it and not being sure if people are going to accept it or if it’s good enough or if you need to be better. There’s always this torture and competition within each artist themselves and that doesn’t need to be there.
So I got to the same place in a very a different way, not going to art school, not learning, not…basically having preconceived notions stuffed into my head about, ‘I need to be like this artist or that artist’ none of that. I got to the same stature, ‘I’m an artist! That’s how I make my living’ but I was able to that in different way on my own terms and because of that I don’t all these negative stigmas or preconceived notions that I see get in the way of a lot of artists. Getting back to your question, artists definitely do have a righteous spirit and they want to challenge things. What I think an awful lot of artists do is do so without purpose, they want to shake the tree that doesn’t necessarily make you brilliant that just makes you angry, maybe, or angsty, or whatever.
Jeffrey Shiau: [12:36] [Laughs]
Liam Dean: [12:37] I don’t know that that’s positive, that that’s necessarily positive and the tough thing there is there’s no such thing as a wrong opinion and there’s no such thing as incorrect art, you’re allowed to express yourself however you want to, so that's fine I leave that alone. I think that’s definitely a theme is to challenge your surroundings because you’re curious or possibly frustrated about them and the only way you can control an answer you want to hear is by building something, by creating something.
Jeffrey Shiau: [13:15] I love this paradigm you’ve created for yourself a lot of people...and I like the comment you made about a lot of times art becomes this angsty character, right? You have a very positive outlook about the human spirit, this is a question I ask a lot of folks, and kind of with that positive outlook, what do you think is going to happen to our next generation? Do you think they’re in a good place to survive and be able to confront the challenges ahead or do think they’re screwed? Do you think, no, things are actually going to happen earlier than that, our current generation could possibly be screwed if we don’t do something?
Liam Dean: [14:14] This is an awesome question because I think about this a lot and I’ve thought about this longer than...I’m thirty-two years old, I’ve thought about this for more than half my life and that’s weird because I was young and I didn’t know there was such a thing as the next generation coming along and generational gaps and thoughts and things like that. So this has been on my mind for a really long time that I think everybody is screwed after this, I feel like my generation there was this hatch that sealed after I got out of grade school where everybody younger than me, ‘god, it’s going to be so much harder for you, there’s so much obfuscating your viewpoint of the world, in part, because you have access to everything on the internet and because there is not necessarily anybody policing the internet to make sure everything is true, so you have access to a lot of bullshit’. Right, and I think that there’s just this...there’s a lot of second time formed opinions that are happening, there’s a lot of opinion
Jeffrey Shiau: [15:27] What do you mean by second time formed?
Liam Dean: [15:28] They aren’t your opinion, it’s an opinion that you’re taking from somebody else that might in or outside of their own head. You know you’re...there’s a lot of, I’m just going to call them kids, that are confused about the way that the world works , that are confused about certain issues, humanity issues.
I just want to give you an example, the other day I’m watching this clip of Jerry Seinfeld and he’s talking with someone who’s interviewing him and they’re asking him about being politically correct, it’s a huge topic that he talks about right because a lot of comedians are being booed off stage or getting a lot of bad press about jokes that they’re making, that they’re really not that inappropriate, at least I wouldn’t say so because they are comedians but I guess I grew up in a different time, where I had a different filter for that sort of thing. So whatever, that’s what he is talking about and he said, ‘oh what do you think about political correctness?’ and he’s like, ‘you know I hate it’ and he gets to an example in his own life and he says, ‘you know listen my daughter is...she’s all over the place, we’re trying to fill her schedule and show her the right things. She here and then she’s there and then she’s in the city’, he’s referring to Manhattan, ‘she’s in the city for the weekends’ and he says, ‘my wife said you know it would really good for you to this thing (blah blah blah) in the city’ and she means Manhattan, ‘because then you know you could meet a boy’ and the daughter says, ‘that’s sexist’...
Jeffrey Shiau: [16:59] [Laughs]
Liam Dean: [17:01] Like doesn’t that just sound...it sounds childish it sounds silly you’re like, ‘oh you didn’t know...you’re using that incorrectly’ and I think there is a lot of that going on right now, maybe I’m just watching a ton of that kind of media where I’m seeing everything that’s going on at colleges and stuff and there’s an awful lot of things that are happening on college campuses right now, that are just very unnecessarily self righteous. You know people that want to point a figure at sexism or racism when it isn’t quite actually that at all and what that can do is it can numb the learning environment because you can’t now have a conversation that makes you uncomfortable, which is just life and that’s what college should be preparing you for but all of a sudden arguments can’t happen. An argument I mean in a philosophical sense, a conversation where you are trying to get to the root of something. You can’t have arguments now in colleges because no one is allowed to be made uncomfortable and I see things like that in this generation beneath me. My younger cousins generation, they were born with two iPads in their hands and it’s like these kids don’t chase shopping carts when they’re sixteen years old to earn money to buy a used car, they get the car given to them, you know? It’s just a different time fo me, that I see because there’s more material, there’s more tools, there’s more resources and less actual in depth understanding of what’s going on around us.
Jeffrey Shiau: [18:36] I really like what you’re bringing up and I actually want to talk to you about how I’m interpreting that because I think a lot of listeners might be zooming in on one specific thing you’re saying right now and it’s actually the thing you’re talking about how people over blow or misinterpret and it was the fact that you brought up that a young woman said, ‘that’s sexist’. Both of us gave a little chuckle but then a listener might be thinking, ‘oh these men don’t believe in woman’s right’ and so I want to talk about that really quick and then the bigger picture of then what you are talking about.
Liam Dean: [19:20] Okay.
Jeffrey Shiau: [19:21] The reason I chuckled was because not of the fact that a young woman was saying ‘that’s sexist’. I chuckled because of again the thesis you proposed afterwards because I thought that’s where you were going, which was that a young person in the high school, the current high school and middle school generations and just entered college generations, they have this notion that regular conversations and possibly thought processes coming from other generations coming from other generations is always coming in a very...in a negative place, when it’s not, it might be completely innocent and instead of interpreting and seeing it as an opportunity to possibly strike up a dialogue, a stance of defensive and combative nature comes out instead.
Liam Dean: [20:33] Yeah, yeah.
Jeffrey Shiau: [20:34] So in this situation I chuckled at that dynamic. So in my mind I’m thinking, well in a regular conversation someone might just think, ‘oh well why did you say that?’ and continue the conversation, right? So it’s almost in a way the exact type of productiveness that that kind of generation, the high school generation, the younger generation, is saying they want but they are actually destroying it, they are destroying freedom of speech and progress.
Liam Dean: [21:14] Oh fantastic.
Jeffrey Shiau: [21:15] Right?
Liam Dean: [21:16] Yeah that’s exactly it too.
Jeffrey Shiau: [21:17] And because...I like...there’s this other example of two college students where there was a style choice made by a young gentleman, a young white gentleman and this was actually in the news lately, where a young black woman confronted him and said, ‘why are you acculturating the black culture with your hair?’. He had dreadlocks, he was some hippie kid…
Liam Dean: [21:56] Like he’s not allowed to do that…
Jeffrey Shiau: [21:58] Exactly.
Liam Dean: [21:59] Stay in your lane is what that means.
Jeffrey Shiau: [22:00] Exactly.
Liam Dean: [22:02] Like he’s mocking them, right?
Jeffrey Shiau: [22:04] Exactly, when in fact if someone studied the history of dreadlocks it actually comes…
Liam Dean: [22:11] Probably Polynesian or something like that.
Jeffrey Shiau: [22:13] Maybe, exactly. So I think what you’re pointing out...what I’m hoping for people that are listening, that they will see that where this dialogue is going is that it’s a question...it’s not an issue about women’s rights or the rights of different cultures. I think what we’re talking about is the destruction of civil dialogue.
Liam Dean: [22:49] Yes.
Jeffrey Shiau: [22:51] Of civil dialogue and what I mean by civil is dialogue that leads to open ideas and the openness of sharing ideas and I think it’s almost...everything that these millennials, not these...yeah these millennials, these people who are again the very young age, I’m sure they believe in the progress of freedom and speech but I think they’re going about it in a way that’s becoming tyrannical. Right?
Liam Dean: [23:27] Right, because I mean I can remember being in college and I can remember having that really righteous attitude to really wield these concepts that you’re learning because they are exciting, it’s empowering to learn big concepts and to feel like you’re learning more about the world and how you can manage yourself in it by understanding, more knowledge is power and when you take a couple philosophy classes you start to really understand how to get a good debate and you can really get into your own mind and the other person's mind. The world becomes a much more interesting place when you learn these higher concepts that you only learn in college and I remember that.
I remember being very...I mean I wasn’t picket lining but I remember feeling empowered at least by the knowledge that I was learning. I can relate with younger millennials that are getting up in arms about a lot of different things. But I just really don’t relate with the way that they’re doing it because it’s like somebody who’s misusing something. It’s like somebody that’s fucking the poker table up, like someone that is just driving things in the wrong direction because they don’t quite understand what they are doing or because they think that they are just supposed to be doing that and it’s like, ‘oh I remember...I learned about the sixties and civil right and this is my time and god I’ve really gotta do something about this’ and you’re like, ‘you’re not, you’re not doing anything about it, you’re throwing a fit and you don’t quite understand what you are talking about’.
I saw some other things, some clips of some protesters in Union Square in New York and they were demonstrating...they were active civil protest to capitalism in general. It was this enormous gathering of people that were picketing and yelling and they call for socialism and there’s this Soviet character, this very smart guy and he’s maybe forty-five or so and he’s very smart and he’s from the Soviet Union and he talks to each one of these twenty-two year old kids and he’s like, ‘why do you want communism? Why do you want socialism?...
Jeffrey Shiau: [25:46] What, he’s saying he’s from the Soviet Union. Are you saying he came from Russia from the time of…
Liam Dean: [25:52] Yes, yes exactly.
Jeffrey Shiau: [25:53] Okay.
Liam Dean: [25:54] So he knows both sides of things and he’s, you know, as most other people outside of the United States, he understands world politics, so he can reference anything and these kids are just yelling at him and they’re actually angry. They’re angry at him which is...they’re not even angry at the right thing, they’re not even angry at the concept, they’re angry at him because he’s questioning their stance on being anti-Democratic and being anti-Capitalistic. He just makes them look stupid because they don’t even know what they are arguing about but they are so loud about it and I just see a ton of that.
Now I know there's a lot of bad things that are happening or that there’s a lot of police aggression and stuff like that, in places in...shootings and Black Lives Matter, there’s a lot of bad stuff that is still happening that absolutely needs to be addressed and reformed. But I think there’s a lot of...there’s a lot being spouted out by the younger millennial generation and they don’t really know what they are spouting about and they just want to uphold an argument maybe for attention.
I think that’s sort of the root of why we do anything is to just be seen and be heard. I don’t think they really get it just yet so that topic sort just puts a pin in me because I think, ‘god man if you just grow a little...if you just sit on your couch and look at your computer for forty hours a week, doesn’t make you worldy, it just makes you a couch potato’. People learn so much about the world that way and not a lot of it is wrong but you know you learn, for me at least, you learn so much more in five minutes of a real moment, whatever that means. If it’s real strife, if it’s real epiphany, than just reading about what an epiphany looks like or feels like. Another thing I was going to reference is Noah...the guy that...the new host of the Daily Show…
Jeffrey Shiau: [28:06] Trevor Noah.
Liam Dean: [28:07] Trevor Noah, he’s great, so he’s from South Africa. He is from a nation that not long ago abolished, I’m doing air quotes…
Jeffrey Shiau: [28:18] A black man from [South Africa]...
Liam Dean: [28:19] Who has, I’m doing air quotes, abolished the apartheid but it’s still very much...it’s a slow trickle you know. He’s explaining the actuality of, if you are seen after sunset you can be arrested, blah blah blah, all this stuff that is just ludicrous to people like us, right, in America. He’s saying how he is speaking with a millennial generation in America that are talking about what they’re angry, what were are discussing about, like capitalism, their rights, the worlds to expensive to live in, blah blah blah, those things. He’s like they say that they are fighting for their cause and he’s like, ‘you didn’t fight, you’re on a computer and clicked a button to cast a vote that’s not a fight’, he’s like, ‘I’ve literally fought for my government, I’ve literally fought for my way of life. You’re not a protester, you’re just a person with a computer’. There’s a very very big difference but they feel the same way, they feel just as up in arms and just as righteous about it. So that’s the issue that I have with it, I think it’s a little too…I just think it’s pompous, I just think it’s so silly. As much as i want change [laughs] I mean jesus, as much as I want equality....
Jeffrey Shiau: [29:33] I think you’re bringing up something that I actually want to go back to something you mentioned previously which is about the innovations that are happening now that are kind of making our generations following, into this passive aggressive action of expressing opinions. So kind of in the conversation of how innovation is going to affect things that we are talking about right now, does continuing to push innovation matter in the grand scheme of things. Do you think because we are in this spot right now where it seems like we’re are stuck in this moment where people are becoming drones with[inaudible], some people would actually argue, ‘no this is actually a lot of things although things on the internet are not true, when there wasn’t internet there were many non-truths that existed in the world’ but they would say they were locked….
Liam Dean: [30:43] They were contained in communities, like racism is an untruth that has been contained in certain communities…
Jeffrey Shiau: [30:49]...And that the internet locked the truth to that, right?
Liam Dean: [30:53] Right, right. Yeah it’s a definite pandora’s box in that way.
Jeffrey Shiau: [30:59] Yeah, so do you think innovation, we need to continue to evolve and push innovation, do you think it actually matters in the grand scheme of things. I’m saying grand scheme meaning our place in the universe…
Liam Dean: [31:12] Yeah our world connecting from end to end, pole to pole at the way the world is now, that you can ship something in Amazon in less than an hour, okay, well what does that mean? It means our world is getting closer, it means that this knot is getting tighter and we’re all becoming more cohesive and more yoked together and that is an awesome, awesome thing. It’s like opening up your mind, if we awaken all of this world, it’s the same sort of shape of our brain when you make those connectivity easier then it’s a more fluid system and if your mind is more open and fluid then you're a more beautiful person. If the world is a more open and fluid place it's a more beautiful place. So I think it’s a great thing, I think innovation is fantastic. I think that the technology if that’s what we’re expressing…
Jeffrey Shiau: [32:00] It doesn’t have to be tech...I think that’s also not a thing that is pigeon holed a lot is innovation technology and I think when people hear the word technology they think of microchips and all those nanochips and things like that…
Liam Dean: [31:14] I mean, I mean like apps you know. i’m new to San Francisco so I’m walking the other day on Parnassus and I see this bus stop with an ad for Sprig, organic, gourmet, local meals delivered to you in less than thirty minutes. For all the positivity that’s inside of me I must be completely cynical because I saw that and thought, ‘you can’t cook your own fucking meal?’
Jeffrey Shiau: [32:43] [Laughs]
Liam Dean: [32:46] You need to have...I feel like it’s just one more thing that just creates this divide of those that can access anything constantly with their money and they have this sort of robotics veracity through the world, where they don't care about anything beneath them because you just serve me. That’s the raw, raw way that that is and then the people on the other end who are serving them. I feel like that’s what we are creating, you know what I mean? We’re creating a world full of services that are geared towards, I want to say the ultra rich because that’s the sound bite right now, but it’s just people that have money. Just people that will spend money, right, a guy won’t spend five dollars on a cup of coffee, I think that’s ludicrous when I know I can get a pound of coffee for five dollars or ten dollars, I can get fourteen ounces of coffee and that will last me two weeks.
So I just can’t do it, it just doesn’t compute in my head unless I’m in a jam or it just has to go that way, I’m not going to do that every day, I think that’s crazy, right? So that’s me and that extrapolates to all areas of my life where I just think, ‘really, that’s what you’re charging for this? I’ll just do it myself are you kidding me?’ That’s how I started to paint. ‘That’s what you’re charging for that? I could probably do better than that. So I just think that as great as innovation is in all ways, in all areas of the marketplace, I just think that we’re growing very quickly and we don’t quite understand why something’s useful we just think, ‘isn’t that useful though. You got to give it to me. You’d use that wouldn’t you?’ It’s like, ‘yeah we would but I don’t think we should revolutionize everything based around a service that keeps people actually driving those cars in poverty so you can have a car in less than two minutes. I get that that takes cars off the road and think of the emissions we are saving and ‘oh my gosh we can pool, carpooling that’s cool’, I get it. I think that we’re still fine tuning all of that stuff though because ultimately there’s a human price to pay, always. The t-shirt I’m wearing was not made in America, I know that there is a very sad story behind this very simple gray v-neck t-shirt that I’m wearing. Nothing special going on about it but I know there’s a whole story about it of how it got to me for twenty-five dollars. So there’s always a human price to pay and I think in America, i think we are very willing to overlook that, we act like, ‘well I got what i needed and all I had to do was press this button on my phone’. So I’m a little disgusted by the app innovation of everything comes to me.
Jeffrey Shiau: [35:30] So kind of, you’re talking about how humans right now seem to need to consume or simplify things in order to enjoy life. So in your mind what does it mean to have a more fulfilling better life.
Liam Dean: [35:48] You just...alright, ready? Okay, so you just…
Jeffrey Shiau: [35:52] I’m ready.
Liam Dean: [35:53] You just made me realize this is whats happening. So I think humans are trying to maximize life. I don't that we actually want to be happy, if we did we would actually do the things that we know make us happy. I love to run on the beach, that doesn’t earn me money though, so I have to really think about when I’m allowed to go run on the beach. Who the hell thinks about that when they’re four years old? I get that a four year old doesn’t have bills to pay but that four is happy, you don’t have to teach a four year old to be happy. We always love learning or reading a book or watching a Youtube clip of some fantastic philosopher that explains something so simple to you and just says, ‘this is all you have to do, think like a child’, more or less is what they are saying. Buddha: think like a child. It’s like, ‘oh yeah we can really get behind that’ and we sort of flicker about that like, ‘god, that is what I need to do’ and then we don’t do it. We don’t freaking do it because it doesn’t fit into our schedule and there’s a million ways to have a schedule and there’s only one way to have your own life.
So I think people are just trying to maximize their life, ‘that’s why everything needs to come to me in five minutes. I don’t want to go to it.’ You should climb to the top of that mountain to get that view, ‘Nah I’d rather Google search what the top of that mountain looks like and just scroll around in three sixty. I’ll get the experience that way.’Well you’re looking at the world and I’ve just simplified something but that is an example, like you’re looking at the world as something you’re allowed to look at and consume for yourself. For whether it titillates you or not and really what the world used to be before everything was at our fingertips, literally, what our world used to be was a series of experiences that you, at the end of them, would say, you’d look back and say, ‘I guess that was my life’ and you had to learn the whole time because it was difficult probably. It was difficult to do these things, to get to the top of that mountain, to get that awesome picture that you want to take or whatever, the moment that you’re looking for. It’s difficult to get to that mountain and you learn a thousand little tiny things along the way that have nothing to do with mountains and have nothing to do with pictures and then you have those things. I’ve purposefully thrown myself through some difficult challenges in my life and done them knowing I don’t have to do this, no one is going to make me do this but I’m positive there is some lesson to learn here that my grandfather would be really proud of or that’s why he was the man or that’s why that's why I respect this about my grandmother, or whatever it doesn’t necessarily have to be your own kin. You learn stuff through difficulty and I think we’ve taken that out to life and bit of difficulty we look at as a bad thing. A difficult conversation, that’s a bad thing, this shouldn’t have to happen, this should be illegal, we should pass legislation so that you can’t talk about this anymore because it makes people uncomfortable. It goes in circles what we’re discussing.
Jeffrey Shiau: [39:06] Now clearly from all these opinions you have a deep connection and viewpoint of how humans are going about life from a creative standpoint, from a sustenance standpoint, especially the way that you see resources and consuming things. What...this is something I ask a lot of our folks during our conversations, why do you care so much about fellow humans and just how they are going about life? Do you feel you're wired like this just as an above average entrepreneur, craftsman, whatever you want to be identified as, that you have some obligation to improve the lives around or at least care about the lives around you?
Liam Dean: [40:15] Yeah I think...something I struggle with always is, have always, is gaps and differences.
Jeffrey Shiau: [40:29] What do you mean by that?
Liam Dean: [40:30] You’re allowed in and you’re not allowed in, that’s a gap. you're allowed to, youre not allowed to or you have and you don’t have. I don’t like gaps because they don’t make sense it just feels like the greatest hypocrisy because we should all just have...because this place was given to us with a lot of abundance. I think that we grew too much and we used too much and now it’s difficult and now we have competition and that’s just called Capitalism and that just makes sense. that creates order, I get that, but I have a difficult with people that don’t see the big picture or that are lacking or people that are missing out or knowing that someone is stuck in a lane for the rest of their life and they don’t even know it or they don’t even know that they could have an option. I’m lucky because I was raised in a loving household, I have a strong large family and that really put a positive spin on things for me because someone will always help, someone will always save your ass, someone will always point you in the right direction or at least just listen to you if you need to say something and you need to get something off your chest. Things that not a lot of people I’m discovering don’t have, things a lot of people don’t have and if you don’t have it, you’ll probably never have it and that hurts me even more to imagine because that’s an even bigger gap. It means there’s people that are just never going to have a strong support system and because I know what that can beget and how positive that can be and how beautiful your life can feel, it makes me sad to for that people feel stuck in themselves or stuck in their world, or stuck in their lane or that the world is always going to be against them.
There’s this big shift that I always think about in my own life where, I call it stage one and stage two. Where in stage one, you grow up and you’re going to school and you’re doing what you’re told and your parents are like, ‘you should go to this, you should do this, you got to join this class or activity, you got to play the flute.’ It’s all these things that you don’t want to do but you think, ‘oh they’re making me, I don’t know it’s going to make me a good person I have to build a resume’, all those things that you’re told and that’s when the world is sort of working on you and you’re thinking on the world in terms of ‘they’, ‘they told me I have to do this, this is what they do. Well they say this, so you got to do this ‘cause that’s what’s going to work out in the end’.
Then there’s this stage two where you start to realize the entire world is just you. How I interact with somebody even if they are angry at me, I can change their attitude with me. I don’t have to be afflicted by somebody that comes at me on the street and they’re angry at me, I don’t have to be a victim and be thinking in my mind, ‘god, they are yelling at me’ I can think, ‘I should really do something about this, what can I do?’ You can control almost anything with your perspective and that’s the second stage when you just realize, ‘everything that has ever happened to me, when I’ve failed a test, I earned that bad grade, they didn’t give it to me. When I got that parking ticket, I qualified perfectly for that parking ticket, how lucky was I, I earned it, they didn’t give it to me.’ The minute you can start looking at the world in ‘I’, I don’t mean that selfishly like in relationships we should think in terms of ‘we’ but when you start realizing, ‘well I can do something about this’ and it isn’t just victimhood, it isn’t just ‘they’, ‘ugh, they did this, this happened to me, this showed up in my mail, god I’m screwed.’ It doesn’t have to be like that, everything is an opportunity. Everything, it has to be that’s it. I think it’s…since I’ve adopted or created or whatever that thought, I think, ‘gosh I wish everybody could think this’ because it literally is just a matter of mindset. We have all these incredible idioms, axioms and maxims, and things that we say things like, ‘mind over matter’ is something that gets said a lot, but I don’t think a lot of people distill it’s meaning, and through some of the more difficult things that I’ve done that have literally required getting physically over the difficulty of the matter of the situation, the physics, the matter, the substance, the actual terrain. Riding my bicycle across the country that was mind over matter. It had so much less to do with my legs getting strong enough to be able to ride my bike all day. That had nothing to do with it, that had so little to do with it, it had so more to do with figuring out how to make my mind the happiest place I could, so that my legs could just grow all day and i never thought about pain. Pain isn’t a word in my vocabulary and it isn’t trickery, you aren’t lying to yourself, you literally become better than your sustenance. You become better than your adversary and I really wish that upon everybody. I wish everybody could get unlocked and realize that, ‘dude when you throw that on the ground, that’s our home that doesn’t just disappear’. It’s not going to blow the planet up because you throw a soda can on the ground but it upsets people and the very least you’re just putting a shitty attitude out there into the world, those are vibrations that are going to get picked up somewhere.
Okay, and I’m done with my hippie speech, let's put that all aside and let’s just look at the reality there. Someone’s going to have to pick that up and you’re the person that should have picked it up. You’re just creating jobs for people and everyone gets shit on their shoulders. We go through this world and you just get less shit on your shoulders hopefully so let's make it easier for all of us, let's make it so we can all feel as much as we can about this place. Not just visually be teased by things with advertisements or be coaxed down the career path ‘cause, ‘hey one day you’ll be able to sit on a beach and develop a pocket sore’ like no, I want to run a round and see the world and I think everyone else has that desire and I don’t think that they think that they can actually get to it because slowly life just beats away at them and I think that is all of our responsibility, to just make it...not intentionally, I don’t wake up and do nice things for people but I just try and be a nice person and be conscientious of myself and the waste that I make, specifically, let's pick at. Because that’s one little thing that I can do that I can make less for somebody else.
Jeffrey Shiau: [47:45] Thank you. Thank you for sharing that and I like to just end this conversation with a question that I end with everybody. Ultimately, what’s the point of all of this?
Liam Dean: [48:03] I think that ultimately the point of all of this, is to develop yourself as much as you can so that you can be as clear of an agent as possible for happiness, for love , for knowledge, to be able to teach as much as you’re able to learn. To be fluid, to be able to see things and really be there, to be able to see things and really drink it in. There’s this thing I had to look up and I think we all don’t realize that we should now this, we’re homo sapiens and sapiens comes from the Greek and Latin sapere which means to drink and we’re supposed to drink in the world around us with our brain.
That’s it, that’s where it all comes from and that’s what it is we are supposed to be able to appreciate everything around us and that doesn’t just mean liking it on a computer and clicking on the thumbs up or the heart. Not appreciate in that way, we’re supposed to be tickled by it, we’re supposed to speak back about it and thank somebody, ‘I appreciate what you just did, I appreciate the art that you make’, right? ‘I appreciate the ride you just gave me’, there’s nothing wrong with just thanking somebody for driving you somewhere even if you paid for it, there’s nothing wrong with that and you’re allowed to always drink in the world around you and you’re always allowed to spit it back because that’s what we all want. I think that there’s that... there’s a beautiful communication that happens through appreciation. If you drink it in, let it out somehow in a positive way and then everyone perfumed by it. I think that’s what the world is all about. I think we’re having a real difficult time learning how to smell up the room and agree upon what we are smelling.
Equipment & Software:
Audacity for Mac
WD My Passport Ultra 1 TB
Macbook Pro Retina 15inch Late 2013
Smile by Daniel Alan Gautreau
Tiny Bits by Felipe Adorno Vassao
Time & Reflection by Bjorn Lynne
Retro Video Game Hotseat by Bjorn Lynne