Heterogeneous Genius is a podcast which explores the human mind and what influences it to think the way it does. Hosted by Ruben James and Brandon McGowan.


  • #57 Theft and Punishment

    #57 Theft and Punishment

    28/04/2015 Duração: 53min

    Brandon tells some tales of his youth, and we touch on topics including theft and punishment. Later, we discuss relationships between education and career, and end with the story of planned obsolescence.

  • #56 Campaign Funds and Pop Culture Obsession

    #56 Campaign Funds and Pop Culture Obsession

    28/02/2015 Duração: 43min

    Lately, what would an episode of Heterogeneous Genius be without touching on population control? This episode is no exception. We discuss the exportation of labor’s effects on population and a nation’s ability to support that population. Later, we argue about limitation of campaign funds for politicians and how excess funds allows one to buy the election. Lastly, we discuss the lack of interest in discussion of ideas, and obsession over pop culture.

  • #55 Enter and Exit Religion with Mike Alvarez

    #55 Enter and Exit Religion with Mike Alvarez

    03/11/2014 Duração: 45min

    In this episode, guest Mike Alvarez, a youth pastor and musician, joins us for a discussion on higher education and religion. We talk about aspects of altruism and selfishness, as well as gateways into and out of religion.

  • #54 Violence

    #54 Violence

    27/10/2014 Duração: 47min

    In this episode we discuss whether or not there is a future in which we stop killing each other, genetic engineering, and the luck of the draw in terms of where and to who you are born. Also, the topics of waste in our legal system and gun control rear their heads.

  • #53 Positive and Negative Reinforcement

    #53 Positive and Negative Reinforcement

    14/10/2014 Duração: 56min

    Today we discuss positive and negative reinforcement, and how it pertains to children, prisoners, and society at large. Later, we discuss morals for atheists.

  • #52 Population Control

    #52 Population Control

    06/10/2014 Duração: 01h05min

    We continue the debate of population control stemming from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited. We try to determine what an appropriate number of people might be, and various methods which could be used to get us there, i.e., genetic modification, adoption, and implementing a birth allowance. We attempt to answer why the poor populations produce a greater number of offspring than those of middle- and high-income.

  • #51 Brave New World Revisited

    #51 Brave New World Revisited

    01/10/2014 Duração: 34min

    In today’s episode, Brandon and Ruben discuss population control, prompted by the reading of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited. They explore methods and qualifications for shrinking the population. Later, they discuss the use of propaganda to change the values of large groups.

  • #50 Communication and God

    #50 Communication and God

    22/09/2014 Duração: 01h01min

    HG’s 50th episode! We talk about distractions, namely those on the internet, eating up our time, and mass collection of un-consumable entertainment content. Then, Brandon tells of his observed differences in how we spend our time interacting with each other in different cultures. After the break, Brandon finishes the story of his helicopter trip to Uganda, and talks about his wedding in Germany. Lastly, we discuss God’s form and the supernatural.

  • #49 Escape from Iraq  Assisted Suicide

    #49 Escape from Iraq & Assisted Suicide

    10/09/2014 Duração: 01h46s

    Brandon is in Khartoum, Sudan, on his way to Uganda on a trip ferrying a helicopter to Uganda from Arbil, Iraq. He tells the harrowing tale of his journey thus far. He and his crew left Arbil hastily, ISIS closing in not 25 miles away. Over the desert of Sudan they were forced to make an emergency landing after a fuel pump failed, and rig makeshift repairs before continuing on. Later, Brandon describes his concept of a “holocaust nouveau,” a World War 3 scenario stemming from the current violence in the Middle East. In the last segment, we discuss assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

  • #48 The Sane Society Part X

    #48 The Sane Society Part X

    28/07/2014 Duração: 38min

    We have finished reading Erich Fromm's The Sane Society, and this is our final episode on the book. We discuss ideas of freedom in our society, what society and the world would look like if everyone's basic needs were provided for—e.g. would religion still be necessary?—and the innate laziness of man. We wrap up the show with questions about job satisfaction. This episode is dedicated to jazz bass player Charlie Haden.

  • #47 The Sane Society Part IX

    #47 The Sane Society Part IX

    21/07/2014 Duração: 34min

    Are all men created equal? If not, should all men be treated equally? How does this fit a capitalistic or socialistic system?

  • #46 The Sane Society Part VIII

    #46 The Sane Society Part VIII

    23/06/2014 Duração: 35min

    In this episode of Heterogeneous Genius, we discuss religion, resources, and women as the major instigators of conflict in the world. Also, we talk about a lack of personal ethics and morals in today's society; ultimately, a lack of personal identity. Then, forceful vs. non-forceful authority, the importance and prevalence of conformity in our system, and, lastly, gun rights.

  • #45 The Sane Society Part VII

    #45 The Sane Society Part VII

    18/06/2014 Duração: 54min

    We start by discussing some current difficulties of living in our economic system. Then we talk about selfishness versus selflessness and where we see the existence of benevolence in our society today. Then, glutinous consumerism and consumption. Lastly, we discuss the idea that many people need to be recognized for their good deeds, and that seemingly selfless acts have a strong selfish component to them.

  • #44 The Sane Society Part VI

    #44 The Sane Society Part VI

    09/06/2014 Duração: 58min

    Brandon is in a tent in the African jungle as we discuss Erich Fromm's The Sane Society. We cover "abstractification", exchanging goods and services for money, and the concept of money as a varying symbol for vastly diverse quantities of goods and services. We also discuss human beings as a commodity.

  • #43 The Sane Society Part V

    #43 The Sane Society Part V

    29/05/2014 Duração: 01h03min

    We continue through Erich Fromm’s The Sane Society, looking at Fromm’s description of 19th Century capitalism, how it has changed, and how we see things changing in the future. The illusion of freedom and the bottom line.

  • #42 Questioning Your Beliefs

    #42 Questioning Your Beliefs

    29/04/2014 Duração: 36min

    Brandon travels along Interstate 5 in California as we discuss the importance of challenging your belief systems. Brandon relates his own experience of questioning Christianity and the personal challenges that creates. We also discuss the benefits and hazards of mass organized religion.

  • #41 The Sane Society Part IV

    #41 The Sane Society Part IV

    15/04/2014 Duração: 01h12min

    Recurring guest Ian Aldion joins us for this episode, where we start by talking a bit about the recent elections in Turkey, which brings us to the topic of information restriction and censorship. Next we move to the meat of the episode, Erich Fromm's The Sane Society. We discuss the beginnings of chapter 5, which is about social character and how we, as individuals, are shaped to fit within our society, and the mental health of modern man.

  • #40 The Sane Society Part III

    #40 The Sane Society Part III

    13/02/2014 Duração: 53min

    In this episode of Heterogeneous Genius we discuss chapter three of Erich Fromm's The Sane Society; individuality vs. conformity, and destruction and creation as two sides of the same coin. Also, we discuss humans as transcending animals, rational ability of animals, and the wearing off of novel experience.

  • #39 Conflict and Chaos

    #39 Conflict and Chaos

    10/02/2014 Duração: 40min

    Brandon opens the show by asking what we would do if all our basic needs were provided for. Then we discuss whether or not conflict is necessary for human life and what role conflict plays in art. Later we discuss managing chaos, touching on aspects from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Erich Fromm's The Sane Society.

  • #38 The Sane Society Part II

    #38 The Sane Society Part II

    14/01/2014 Duração: 58min

    This episode comes to you from Minnesota, Iraq, and Turkey. Ian joins us to talk about chapter two of Erich Fromm's The Sane Society. We discuss sociological relativism vs. normative humanism, and the idea that a society, as a whole, can be mentally unhealthy.

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