Thomas Chatterton Williams

This Is How You Pull Yourself Out of the Matrix

How does an individual get out of the Matrix? Better yet, how do we as a society escape the Matrix? The extraordinary intellectual Thomas Chatterton Williams has decided to confront one of the most difficult mental prisons that Americans find themselves trapped in–the prison of racism and racial identity. On this episode of Conversations with Tom Bilyeu, Thomas Chatterton Williams tells his own story of unlearning poisonous stories about race through extensive reading, living in a new country, and reflecting on his own family. As the discussion progresses, he confronts the challenges we face in getting past mere anger to build the beautiful society that we ought to be able to live in.



Thomas talks about a novel that he tried to write that he had to give up on [1:00]

Fiction is a very different medium from non-fiction writing and requires different skills [5:17]

Nothing is ever wasted, and the best of the lost novel ended up in his non-fiction work [9:00]

Thomas credits his father as being the first guy who “pulled himself out of the Matrix” [13:01]

Thomas tells the story of the poet he is named after [18:47]

Thomas then explains how he and his wife chose his daughter’s name [21:20]

Thomas describes how stepping out of America caused him to view race differently [24:26]

Thomas discusses the complexity of his heritage, ethnicity and ancestry [28:52]

Thomas hopes for a society where the skin color is as unimportant as hair color [32:00]

Do people want progress, or do they merely want catharsis and anger? [35:27]

The blanket of identity we throw over every issue obscures deeper problems [41:49]

Tom tells the story of how he started mining for astronauts in poor areas [48:14]

Should we focus on helping children? [56:08]

Children are never in a vacuum and you have to affect the whole family [1:00:55]

Thomas talks about how he and his brother pursued completely opposed paths [1:06:22]

Thomas discusses how he raises his kids [1:13:30]

Thomas defines the good life as autonomy, as living according to his own values [1:19:27]

Tom and Thomas discuss Hip Hop in the 90s and today [1:23:35]

How can we get past anger towards the beautiful society on the other side? [1:32:36]

What happens when people’s efforts are channeled in very limited ways? [1:40:26]

Building desire is one of life’s most important quests [1:52:45]







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