The Confluence of the Gurosphere

On a Patreon video called “The Confluence of the Gurosphere” released June 16, 2023, Chris Kavanagh said to Matt Browne: “I wanted to discuss with you… the…energies that cause the gurus to swirl together in ever-tightening cosmic spiral of shitness.”

Matt: “They become intertwined. They find each other and a network is formed. When we covered all of the gurus, we covered them as isolated gems interesting in their own right. They weren’t necessarily connected with each other. But then after covering them, and having identified them as fitting our Gurometer, they then inevitably seemed to find each other even with gurus with no apparent connection.”

Chris: “Jonathan Pageau just had Jordan Hall on to discuss AI.”

Matt: “Two people perfectly suited to understand AI. I saw that Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Pageau also talked about AI and not surprisingly, discussed artificial intelligence in Biblical terms. What it means to create a god, agency, the genie, Elon Musk, virtue and technical knowledge.”

“This is the audience: ‘Great conversation. Really enjoyed the conversation from the angels and demons perspective. AI seems to be possibly connected to the anti-Christ. Praying for wisdom.'”

Chris: “Jonathan Pageau hints at his next thing — necromancers. What connects them is the narcissism, the belief that they have all these revolutionary insights. Jordan Hall enjoys that he can switch paradigms. He can run 70 to 90 paradigms at one time. He’ll say, if you want to talk about it in that kind of language, I can talk about it in terms of resurrections and grave yards, but also I can equally do… Your religious paradigms are just ten of his seventy.”

Matt: “Jordan Peterson tells James Lindsay that you can’t have science without the Logos. That it’s all based on Christianity.”

Chris: “Jordan Peterson is fundamentally a deeply religious person but not in the sense he actually wants to attend mass. Nothing so mundane as that. It has to be more cosmic. He has to be grappling with the big ideas. Jonathan Pageau says he took Jordan to a [religious] service and Jordan was bored out of his mind and didn’t like it. I can imagine him bored at a priest because he understands the cosmic mysteries better. It’s not the mundane daily aspects of life [that interests him], although he will wax lyrical to other people about how they need to find religious communities and stop putting themselves first but he’s not about that. He’s about having big ideas. One of his big ideas is that science is fundamentally Christian. It relies on Christianity because Christianity has at its heart that there is a Truth in the universe and if you have that orientation, that allows you to investigate the natural world. And if you don’t have that, science can’t develop. Richard Dawkins and all of them don’t realize that at heart they are deeply religious people.”

“For James Lindsay, the feminist glaciology paper is central to his whole thing. It should be just a footnote, just an example that he sometimes returns to, but he now presents that as a turning point in his life. After reading it, he curled up in a ball unable to leave his room for three days because of the shock to the system that such a paper could be published in a prestigious scientific outlet. It’s a random geography journal, Progress in Human Geography. It’s got an impact factor of seven, which is good. I don’t even think that experience is true. I don’t know with people like him and Jordan. They create this mythos around things that happen to them. I think they genuinely do experience weird manic moments, but the way that they retell it, it becomes part of this hero’s journey. It’s not — I heard a Jordan Peterson talk and it annoyed me. It’s — I heard a Jordan Peterson talk and it awakened a fire in me that I needed to reveal the charlatan world. I don’t think the authors of the feminist glaciology paper are still talking about it as much as James has. He endlessly talks about how he knows all these literatures but he constantly focuses on this single paper.”

Matt: “If he has such a comprehensive understanding of all of that literature, why doesn’t he cite some other examples? There are millions of papers out there. He should be citing hundreds of them.”

Chris: “It’s their susceptibility to narratives that are going to give them attention and make them feel that they are looking at things in a deeper way than normal people. That little hook – they are so easily led around by it.”

Matt: “In the last 20 years, we’ve seen the rise of the political dimension you could call anti-institutional. You have lefty-stuff like Occupy Wall Street and Russell Brand.”

Chris: “Tim Pool.”

Matt: “Just being against the current thing. You can frame it as globalism and international capitalism. Or you could frame it was the New World Order and the WEF (World Economic Forum). There’s a right-wing version or a left-wing one.”

Chris: “And sometimes they cross over. Gavin McInnes started out as one of the founders of Vice and then became the reactionary leader of the Proud Boys. That seems like a helluva journey, but not really. It’s about the institutions are shit, we’re part of the edgy counter-culture. It’s not inevitable that people who aren’t part of the establishment get sucked to the extremes, but there is a greater vulnerability for people who like to style themselves that way. Focusing on the corruption of establishments can make people susceptible to swallowing conspiracism.”

Matt: “I know several people in real life who are fans of Jordan Peterson. Fans of Trump. [Kinda] fans of Putin. They’re not right-wing Christians. They are lost boys. That’s the common denominator.”

Lost boys are a big part of the guru (Jordan Peterson, Andrew Tate, Dennis Prager) fan base.

Matt: “Alex Jones is all about the angels and the demons and the battle between good and evil that is happening under the surface. Jordan Peterson and Jonathan Pageau — they seem very different. They are more gentle in the way they express things, but not hugely different.”

Chris: “On most of their narratives, they agree.”

Matt: “All of these progressive ideas are all poison injected into the body of Judeo-Christian civilization.”

Chris: “Vaccines are about authoritarianism.”

“There is money sloshing around in the right-wing for promoting certain views. Peter Thiel hired Eric [Weinstein]. Provided money to [Eliezer] Yudkowsky [the guy who claims AI will kill us]. He also gave up on Eric eventually… The reason that Peter Thiel and Eric came together was that their worldviews aligned. Peter Thiel doesn’t care so long as someone is a wrecking force for institutions. These are narcissistic people who are led by praise and reward.”

Matt: “It’s easy for them to align with their personal interest. They’re labile. It’s like Trump. He’d say anything for a round of applause and a million dollars. They do have a reactionary, anti-institutional worldview. And they’re self-interested narcissists.”

Chris: “That grouping of people who come together for long-form podcasts to share anti-establishment positions and back pat each other and really focus on improving the left and on what the progressive left is doing to destroy society. That grouping re-emerges and reformulates and you’ll see Douglas Murray cropping up across all of them.”

Matt: “Why do they all accept the UFO story at face value straight away? Just a coincidence or is there something wrong with their brains?”

Chris: “Their epistemics are broken. The smarter ones tap danced on the edge. They wanted to say look at the official narratives collapsing but they were quick to say, it could all be just because they know it could all blow up. I heard Sam Harris taking victory laps — look at all those credulous fools for talking about UFOs. You were talking for a couple of months at least. You believed that someone had contacted you to release sacred information about UFOs.”

“Jordan Peterson praises James Lindsay constantly and occasionally James reciprocates. It’s this constant feeding of the ego. So you were studying maths? Why did you choose the difficult area? They both talk about how they are so principled and that is why they needed to leave academia. They could have been extremely successful if academia had retained its principles and recognized genius, but the fact that they are so successful outside of academia, doesn’t that prove they were right and they are better than all those irrelevant academics. Use your brains guys. It just means that you are selling something that can get you attention. Don’t you know there are lots of people in the world selling rank partisan conspiracy content who aren’t deep thinkers but can make a lot of money?”

“Jordan thinks that because lots of people watch his content, that’s an indication that it is good and fundamentally correct. He gave the game away when he said that something had seven million views and seven million people agree with me. He counted views as indicating agreement.”

Matt: “Truth is not a popularity contest. Making a lot of money selling something that is attractive doesn’t make you a more virtuous person. Their egos are hungry and they’ll take it as evidence.”

Matt: “The orthodox position is tedious. It’s a hard sell. Like public health. Even I realize it is boring. It’s not emotive stuff. It’s not going to grab you. If you are an online commentator, you’re going to feel an inexorable pull to stuff that will get the juices flowing.”

Chris: “We’ll lose the attention ecosphere by saying stuff that people will agree with. It isn’t interesting to say that UFOs aren’t real. You have to add the hook to make it more appealing. We get feedback that if we want to add more listeners, we should touch on this topic. That way lies hell. That mindset of always getting bigger audiences and always jumping on the new thing, that makes you susceptible to takeitis.”

Matt: “The vast majority of people who produce any content are susceptible because they’re obsessed with growing their audiences.”

Chris: “Rebecca Lewis did a report [in 2018] saying there is an alternative influencer network [Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube]. It drove them all mad…that Sam Harris was on the same map with Stefan Molyneux and Gavin McInnes. But she was right. There are network effects. You can hear Sam Harris talk about them and wrestle with it when he says, it is hard to criticize people I go to dinner with. You hear Konstantin [Kisin] say to Matt Goodwin, you and I are at all the same parties.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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