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(Un)cultured Hypothesis
Long Live the Underdog
August 14, 2018 Johannes Koch & Jacob Sundberg

In this episode, Johannes points to the important role of the underdog on a psychological as well as societal level: We root for the underdog, and underdogs band together because it's a classic David and Goliath tale, but it's also a symptom of the hegemon's power which has become too great and needs to give way to something new. Far from being an inferiority complex, the underdog phenomenon is necessary as part of the social struggle that is required to give way and rise to a new hegemon in its place, before a cycle of destruction and rebirth restarts. Jacob Sundberg is a Swedish author (http://jacobsundberg.se) and Johannes Koch is a German journalist. Together they hypothesize, entertain and enlighten you about a wide variety of topics ranging from the trivial to the existential - and usually spin them out into their illogical conclusions. At times philosophical, at times psychological but hardly ever researched or serious, they jostle with a new (Un)cultured Hypothesis every other week. Credit to Aaron Day for the jingle! Artwork by Vecteezy

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:14Your studio 200,000 here.

Speaker 2:0:29I'm thinking about starting a business in bitcoin. What do you think we can get onto that? Actually, my hypothesis might have something to do with that, with that whole, with that whole thing. So, um, welcome to this episode. By the way, your list slocum. This is the uncultured hypothesis as per usual and we discuss things. Um, and we'll come up with hypotheses about the nature of things and the nature of society and culture and uh, they are really watertight. Yep, exactly. And actually my hypothesis today, I have to thank somebody. I met at a party, a guy called mark, I don't know his last name. Okay. But it's, it's mark and I'm actually took your advice Yuk up. I went to a party and I was bored and so I walked up to this guy and I started talking to him about the unculture hypothesis.

Speaker 2:1:25Really did you print? And he was intrigued and, and, and he said he listened in and I said things like, you know, we peddled theories about society and culture that are sometimes mainstream, but other times totally unfounded and bizarre. More than often they end up in a ludicrous, a sort of scenarios and oftentimes somebody dies, oh, you're totally speaking. Of course, as somebody dies. It's like South Park of podcasts anyways. But my point is if you go to a party and speak to somebody and they have a great theory, you know, share it with us and we might give it some traction and we'll definitely give you a shout out just like I'm giving a shout out to mark. Yeah. I don't know what you do at parties, but all the parties I go to, people just come up with theories. That's what people do at parties.

Speaker 2:2:11Maybe when you go to the parties, maybe people dance, maybe people you know, just. No, no, there's no dancing, no dancing. We're past that. Just theories. Just theories. I mean, I don't even think. I mean, when do you go to parties? Jacoba, you just hold yourself up in your log cabin and write books. I mean, you don't really do it. You don't go to parties. When was the last time you went to a party? Well, it depends like what we're talking about. If there are like three people gathered in a room instead of party, it's a party of three. It's a party of three. If they're all people, you know that. No, I think the party has to include some element of the unknown, the unknown, the unknown, the unknown. Taking on my log cabin, I went out. Obviously I, I'm, I'm constantly the unknown because

Speaker 3:3:00I'm out wrestling badgers.

Speaker 2:3:04Yeah. And, and chopping firewood. Which is one of your favorite pastimes, right?

Speaker 3:3:08Let's, let's just sort of reinforced that myth about me that I live in the Swedish log tab and then somewhere in the outback of sweet. No, I'm in a small, small town. Very,

Speaker 2:3:23very simple, very laid back, quaint. Um, yeah. Also, um, you know, we've been mentioning some of the reading we do and I have something really interesting for you. So I read this book. It's a nonfiction book because you know that I'm pretty much exclusively just read nonfiction and it's called sleep, so it's on how can we get better sleep by this guy called nick little hills at the very end of the book. This is super, super interesting little nugget there which relates to one of my previous podcasts. I'm multitasking and I was talking about how, you know, a multitasking society, how it's going to erode our ability to focus on one particular thing. We're just be to become like Gnats, right? And, and we're going to totally stupefied at the end and it's going to be the demise of humanity. Right? So at the end of this particular book, there's a nice, there's a reference to study they did in Canada and I get this.

Speaker 2:4:22So the study says that the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2013. So at that rate, okay, by the year 20, 45, we will have attention spans that are less than one second. And I think, I think this means we will be watching either a sport where the scoring will occur less than every second or will be in something like the oasis, which is just permanent distraction, you know, the oasis, the band. No, it's, um, it's, it's like vr world, which is the premise of a recent spielberg film called ready player one, I don't know if, you know, anyways, so they're all just in this oasis and in this, in this vr world instead of in the real world and sort of a constant distraction from their actual lives. Right. A bit like taking drugs. Yeah, exactly. Which is just a distraction.

Speaker 3:5:22Yeah. It's not an addiction to distraction. That's the thing. Because they call the call the call, call this old vintage reality as well. Well, at, that's not virtual reality, but you know, like a pokemon go that's augmented. Right? So that's. Yeah, I think it's strange to call it augmented reality. It's like it's as if reality isn't enough, so we have to augment it. We have to, you know.

Speaker 2:5:49Yeah, yeah, we do. Anyway, so, um, I mentioned that proves my point, that we, that our attention spans are decreasing, which is scary, which is really, really worried. Anyway, so, um, did you, did you read this before you had that hypothesis about the, uh, the multitasking thing or did do this just show up as a corroboration of your theory? It just showed up and literally hits unlike the second last page of the book and I was like, whoa. I'm so like bottom line Hoffa, um, experienced there. You don't know what that is. Yeah, we've had the bottomline. Whoa. Oh yeah, probably, yeah, we've talked about that. Permanent, learned about that on the uncultured hypothesis. That's absolutely right. Now listen, before I go into my hypothesis, which is going to be really short and sweet today, and that's why I'm prefacing this with a lot of other savory savory talk. Oh yeah. Nice. Unsalted.

Speaker 2:6:48I just wanted to say thank you to one guy called hopefulj who left a really, really cool review on itunes and actually I already shared that review on our facebook page, but I just like to say thank you to hopeful j again, and I'll tell you what, if you leave a nice review for us, we'll give you a shout out and you know what? Maybe maybe after the end of season two I was thinking, yeah, you can cut this out if you want. No, you don't agree, but maybe we'll choose like the best review and send them a signed copy of your book. A Swedish though it's signed by you. It's amazing. Okay. Yeah. Well let's do that. Yeah. Maybe it's somebody in Sweden who leaves a review in Swedish. Yeah, it could be. Could be. Of course I won't understand it, but there are more people who have done reviews, right?

Speaker 2:7:44Yeah, yeah, yeah. They'd been like 625 reviews so far. No, no. It's like four or five maybe. Maybe five. Okay. Yeah, that's pretty good. I can't check every single itunes store, so I'm going off. I think what we have in the U, s and what I've seen I think in Sweden, but you know, people from other countries listened to the podcast. So now there might be reviews and other countries I'm not aware of. That's great. And I learned that, uh, our friend, you hoists in Ethiopia now he's not in India anymore. He's finished. Uh, I mean he's not finished. He's finished. He's from Finland and he lives in Ethiopia. I currently. Hello. You have a nice getting in touch with you again as brilliant. That's awesome. Um, so we have, yeah, wherever people in Africa, uh, and in other parts of Africa as well, apart from Ethiopia, obviously. I'm good. Good. Very good. All right. So, um, you, you know, you can amend any of those sections. You want their Jakub I'm never amending anything. The Second Amendment is my is my God because it's the right to carry arms and I always carry arms. The right to bear, I think it is. Oh yeah, the right to bear arms.

Speaker 2:9:02I bear. My arms can be down on the wording of the second amendment. It's not, they're not some lawyer. Yeah, that's backfired. Okay. So speaking of alarms, speaking, speaking of hypotheses and arms, because you know my hypothesis, today's called long live the underdog inspired by mark. Oh, um, so actually I had another thought and it was about gambling because I used to gamble. Do you know that? No. Actually, was it an addiction? No, no, it wasn't addiction. What I did was I used to take like 20 to 40 euros, uh, and go onto this like online betting website and just bent on tennis stuff and he used to bet on like before any grand slam tournament as the bet on who might end up in the quarter finalist who might win it. And I realized something about my bedding behavior. It wasn't based on like analysis or a or any kind of statistics, right?

Speaker 2:10:07It was just based on first the odds. So the worst odds were the ones that I went for, which is a stupid strategy because then you or the best. Okay. The highest thoughts. Yeah. Yeah. So actually that's right. So if it's like 105 to one that this guy's gonna win Wimbledon or whatever it is, then I'd, I'd bet on that because if you, if he does actually pull it off, right, you, you quite a bit of money, but it's a stupid strategy. Um, and I'd usually just bet for the underdog consistently. Right? Um, something about your personality, but we'll delve into that later. Yeah. Oh yeah. Okay. You can eliminate me afterwards on that one. So that got me thinking right. And you tend to kind of root, if you're unsure, you tend to kind of go for the underdog. I mean, we saw that in the soccer World Cup to right France with his Croatia.

Speaker 2:11:00You kind of like, there's this imperial, former nation, France, and then the little Croatia. You're like, ah, come on, you want Kinda went the little guy to win even though, you know, eating, surrender monkeys versus surrender monkeys, cialis there. That's what the British call them, isn't it? It's something like that. Or the frogs or what was it? Um, so anyway, uh, so how did mark a precipitate this whole, uh, theory? He's Irish, right, and he spent a good chunk of time in New Zealand and basically what he was saying is that of the large English speaking dominions in the world, right. So you have a North America, the UK and us to lay, well, Australia, New Zealand, the big country, the bigger countries. So in this case us always has a, a little English speaking brother or cousin, so Canada. Right. And the same goes for the UK where you have England, Big England and then you have little cousin or brother Ireland.

Speaker 2:12:03And the same goes for Australia where you have Australia and a little brother, cousin New Zealand. Right. And what happens is that these little brothers tend to band together when they go abroad, which is why an Irish guy ended up in New Zealand incidentally. Also had a weird Irish Kiwi accent, but I won't get into that. But anyway, so they tend to, when they move around the world, they tend to band together and it, I don't think it's like they'd have a certain kinship because they're the underdog versus the large imperialist nation. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And so I don't think it's like an inferiority thing, I think is just because they're seen or considered themselves somewhat of an underdog versus the bigger, um, and you see that in history and then I took and I was like, well, yeah, actually you see that in history to a where you have the Roman empire and that was like the way things were.

Speaker 2:12:57And then you'd have the goals. Okay, so asterix and Obelix, right? You'd have that little, little, little, little, little poking stick somewhere in the middle of the empire. There will be some underdog and he's always poking. Um, but I think that poking stick or the underdog is a necessity. And this, and this is my, and this is my crazy out there theory. So we root for the underdog and underdogs band together because it's sort of a classic David Versus Goliath, right? But it's also a symptom of the regimen, uh, the regimens power which, which has become too great and needs to give way to something new. So far from being an inferiority complex, the underdog phenomenon is necessary as part of the eternal struggle. Social struggle that is required to give away and rise to a new and greater hodgman and its place before a cycle of destruction and rebirth restarts once again.

Speaker 3:14:03It's like, it's like you've got various implicit theories there to back up your argument, I think. Yeah, exactly. I never, I don't actually have any theories. They're talking about the, uh, the thesis antithesis, synthesis thing and also the inevitable, a revolutionary nature of, of history and the progression and we've been into. I've been discussing this and also on the psychological level, um, the need for you. So you're saying that it's pretty, it's pretty much inevitable that you have, you have this little guy, this David versus Goliath, this David Guy who always has to be a nuisance or be someone who tells the truth in the face of tyranny or something like that, is that

Speaker 2:14:56it might just not be that. It might also be an in. And we talked about blockchain in the beginning, right? So there's a new technology that emerges and that has the same David quality to it because it attempts to disrupt an established order. So anything that tries to disrupt an established order in many senses is, is something, uh, is, is the underdog.

Speaker 3:15:23Yeah. I think because the adjuster in the king's court, he's a, he's a below contempt. So, you know, the king can't really, uh, you know, the king has to. There's something, I don't know if this is the, a relevant comparison, but do you know, do you know what you wrote there is. Nope. No, it's the sacred fools. I think the translation would be the sacred fools of Russia, especially in the, in the 19th century where you had people who would act as fools. There was, speak up against the tyranny and the powers of this world in a very strange fashion. And, uh, they were definitely the underdogs and they were seeing as obviously there were mixed feelings I suppose, but they just came across as fools as a us. Uh, today. You would put them in the, in the, in the silent more or today you would actually give them some sort of medication than send them, I don't know, but they, but they, uh, um, why am I, why am I talking about this?

Speaker 2:16:30Because they, they're, they're challenging the established order.

Speaker 3:16:34Yeah. They're challenging the established order. Yeah, exactly. And uh, you should check it out. It's Udall who, I don't know how you spell it in the Latin alphabet, but, um,

Speaker 2:16:45yeah, never heard of that. Fascinating. Fascinating. Yeah, you should check it out. Um, but what do you mean? What do you think of this like eternal struggle idea? So like, you know, um, you can also put it in the context of like civilization and globalization at the same point, right? So you're next. Yeah, they always tend to contract and then get bigger. Right? So imperial power as a solo civilizations like they tend to grow and reach in both cultural, uh, power and reach. And then there's like a contraction because there's some sort of forest that, that, that, that sort of leans up or, or disrupt it. And so it contracts. But then it gets in the next instance, once it's reborn, it'll be even larger. The beast even larger. It's like the, uh,

Speaker 3:17:42it's like the, uh, the seed that falls to the ground, um, which is smaller than what, whichever plant it comes from. But then it grows and gets bigger and bigger. It's something like that. It's because you were talking about the death and rebirth all the time. Um, there's something there. The smaller empire swallowing or replacing the larger one, but you said that the, the underdogs and find kinship. So, so the Irish are underdogs to the UK. Correct. And New Zealand. This is the, the, the baby brother of Australia. And therefore the Irish and the, uh, the New Zealanders, uh, have this certain type of bond. Is that what they had that bond, right? But, but, but does that apply also to the, uh, to the big brother? So you'd have so that youKu, , , k a people and Australians would, would have a kinship because then there's another, a new big brother, a younger brother. Um,

Speaker 2:18:53no, I think. I think they're too big. They're too. Their Egos are too inflated

Speaker 3:18:58a it, but maybe because I think that Australians look up to the UK as a sort of a big brother. I mean, there, there are a commonwealth just to have the. Yeah, they're the Commonwealth. Really? Uh, but then I don't know what the situation is between England and Canada. US for instance.

Speaker 2:19:15Well, yeah. Well England is the smaller or the UK. Is this the, what was it the lapdog America is lapdog.

Speaker 3:19:21Yeah, the lap dog. But he used to be some, some historical elements there that, that sort of, um, because I think some Americans actually look up to Britain as an example because they were, that's the original sort of.

Speaker 2:19:39Yeah, well that. Yeah, maybe that's part of the contraction part then because

Speaker 3:19:43yeah, you know, a freed themselves of imperial

Speaker 2:19:49control, right? At one point anyway,

Speaker 3:19:52but doesn't this apply to a, on a personal level as well that. Yeah, like the uh, because you could say that one empire arises from another. I don't want to use the word empire because this is sort of a different thing you're talking about because it's not like, it's not like Australia is really an empire. No, not really. No, no, but, but, um, but one, one is sort of a civilization or culture is a restricted out of another.

Speaker 2:20:26Yeah. And uh, yeah, in many ways or just you need, you need some sort of David element within that, a larger entity to provide perspective, right? Because if you don't have that perspective and it would just be all one shade of gray than, uh, you, we'd never be able to progress.

Speaker 3:20:50Um, I think like Sweden always thinks it's a thinks of itself as a baby brother, but then we are, you have a two x to the rest of the world in one sense. But then in another sense, because uh, because we think Norway should look up to us, Norway and Finland and Denmark because we are at the center of it and we're also the largest country of the, of the Scandinavian countries. And we also think that we are a moral superpower. So we have to export our goodness, moral superpower, who will have. No, no, no, seriously. That's what, that, that's the, that's the Swedish tape on it. Really. Um, but, but then in a small country you have this sort of tendency to us as soon as someone, you know, when you read the local news, like if you have a really, really local newspaper for, for a, a, um, at a town of 10,000 inhabitants for instance, which is more than your town.

Speaker 3:21:48No, it's not, it's not anyway, it's close, but it's not. But um, but if you have that, if you had that local newspaper and then someone goes on to do something, you know, like, um, if, if you have a person who happens to be in the, in the national, uh, skiing championships or something like that, or someone has just written a song or done something, you know, done something, okay, then they write about it. Right? So they're like, oh, this, this girl is from, from our town. And she, she was on national television. You know, that's a big thing for us in a local context. And I think Sweden works a lot like a, like the Swedish national newspapers work a lot like the local newspapers in that sense because as soon as the Swedish person does something that gets traction in internationally, you know, it's like, it's like in Sweden we believe that slot on, but Ahima, which it's the best football player of all time in the world because they can't because they keep writing about him as if you know, as if the whole world is watching him. Well in a sense, I guess there's something to it because he is or was at least a really good football player. But then it's like everything gets so exaggerated, you know, like, uh, if you, if, if a Swedish person would be on the David Letterman show or something like that, that would, it would be in the newspapers because, you know, look at this. Here's one.

Speaker 2:23:24I don't think it has anything to do with the under. I just think it has to do with kinship. And, and who your, who your tribe is. And depending on how small the country is because in the US. No, no, no, no, no. It happens in Germany to America, and I'll give you an example. Let's give an example of how the Chinese television look how cool. Um, let me give you an example how it happens in Germany too. So in the football World Cup final, you'll have players on the pitch that play for German clubs and the commentator to make it relevant to the German audience who are watching it on German television will point out repeatedly which player, which German club. And then you'll talk about that in terms of. And that buyer Munich player just got the assist. Yeah. So they do the same thing because it's just, you know, all they, although they play for a different. Although they play for different national team, it's just, it's okay. Yeah. But I think maybe some, maybe there's some pride in

Speaker 3:24:18that's the nationalism. There's some tribalism, I mean in, in a very harmless way,

Speaker 2:24:25but I think Sweden is, is, is a bit of a poking stick, right? And it's used as a poking stick in the United States many times. Like, oh look at social democracy liquid. It can do. Imagine we have this model here in the United States, right? I mean they do use that. You see that a lot and I've shared a couple of articles that you were, they were, they tend to tend to hold Sweden in high regard and use it as that kind of like, look at this underdog here. It's a small country, but look what is achieved. You know,

Speaker 3:24:54what is, it's both ways. I mean the, the Conservatives use Sweden as a deterrent and then fair enough, let's use. Well it's Kinda like that because it's become like. It's interesting how I think it's, I think before it used to be more generally a positive, the positive thing, but now I think that image is changing slowly and I think Sweden even set up like a, a, an institute or a, a group of people who work tirelessly at uh, uh, correcting the world's view on Sweden. It's like a propaganda department, uh, to spread information, spread positive information about Sweden, which I think is a, that's sort of a, the rings bit of a bit of an. Yeah, it's a bit of bad. There's a little bit of A. I don't, I don't know how to, I don't know how to say it, but I think it sounds a bit scary. It's not what, it's not what you'd expect from a, from a, from a democracy. Well, maybe it is. I don't know, but we have, you know, it's like we're so worried about the image of Sweden internationally. We think that. No, no, no one. No one should talk, talk bad about us. You know, you can't get the Panama is it?

Speaker 2:26:23Yeah. Well I think if, uh, if you're too concerned about what other countries think of you, then you're going to. Yeah, that's a, that's a never ending spiral of despair.

Speaker 3:26:34Just like, just like it is on a personal level with you if you're worried about what people think about you all the time.

Speaker 2:26:40Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So let, let me wrap that up because a, I don't know, we straight, we straight off quite a in the.

Speaker 3:26:49I'm going to a point I would to point out another thing though, because you were, you said that you were betting on the, the underdog in tennis and partly because that gives you a, if you win, they give you a lot more money break, right then if you would bet on the, uh, the most likely winner and um, I think that says something about your, uh, risk taking your innate risk taking nature cause because I think, I think there's a difference there between people who are willing to take larger risks and people who are more careful. And I don't know what the, I don't, I'm not saying it's good or bad. I think, uh, if you're, if you're, if you're the kind of person that takes a lot of risks, you might may end up a, a, a CEO, but you also may end up

Speaker 2:27:37a penniless writer drug, a drug addict and a well because, you know. Yeah. Um, yeah, I never looked at it that way. I don't, I don't consider myself a risk taker because generally sending on like the, the poor odds here, you know, our euro, fifty cents or a euro, right, whatever. It was never. It was never a big amounts. It was already small amounts. You said 50 years? I think four in total. Twenty to 40 euros. So I put like, I put that in and then most of the time I'd like lucid, but the vets themselves were much, much lower than that. Do you know what the first time ever I gambled online? I did that. That was what it was about 10 years ago. I just thought. No, I'll try it. I'll give it a go just for fun. So I put in 10 euros on an I and I bet.

Speaker 3:28:35But on a result. So it was, it was, uh, yeah, it was fatty. You started versus prettiness. I think this, this ice hockey teams a Swedish and I bet that it would be five, five, two, two.

Speaker 2:28:51That's very specific. Right. So yes, I wasn't, I wasn't just betting on who's going to win, but the actual result and I won and that gave me 28 times the money back. Right. So I got 280 year old. Yeah, that was the first time ever. But then I lost it all again because I was like, yeah, this is easy. Would, you should have done this. You should've done is been taken 270 out. Kept the tenant and continued gambling with a 10. Yeah, I sort of did that. But then I uh, graduated, had to pumping more money of the. I kept losing the world conspired against you to drag you into the grip of gambling by letting you conspiring to let you win that very first gamble. I think I'm still

Speaker 3:29:38probably still a plus though. It's well liked by cents or something.

Speaker 2:29:44I don't gamble. I lost everything. I mean I even went down to the level where I, because I've been watching, I've watched the quarterfinal Wimbledon match or whatever, and you could microbead on like the next point as well live. So you could say, okay, who's going to win the next point? Like, oh, that's so fascinating. Yeah. Um, but it was to get attention span and you're like, oh, I have to bet on the next, the next ball. Yeah, exactly. It's great for people who have attention spans of less than one second. Yeah, that's where we're headed. That's where we're headed. Anyway. So, um, he, my theory was he had a lot of, a lot of, or my hypothesis had a lot of various elements which kind of just sort of pulled together in a, in a, in a, in an interesting way. I think. Uh, do you want me to read it out again or should we just leave it at that? No, read it up, man. Okay. So most of the conclusion we root for the underdog and underdogs band together because it's the classic David versus Goliath Tale, but it's also a symptom of a, the regimens power, which has become too great and needs to give way to something new, far from an inferiority complex. The underdog phenomenon is necessary as part of an eternal social struggle that is required to give way to the rise of a new and greater regimen in its place before a cycle of destruction and rebirth restarts once again.

Speaker 2:31:14Great. Thank you for listening. I'm listening

Speaker 1:31:17out.

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