A picture of Joe Rogan sitting at the desk of his popular podcast.
Cover Image © JoeRogan.com

Society’s Trap: How Right (or Wrong) is Joe Rogan?

Joe Rogan is at times prophetic and shockingly wise, and at others, “a f—ing moron (his words).” Like many other people, I follow a crap ton of YouTube channels, and yesterday – one of my favorites (a channel called After Skool) featured a commentary snippet, from Joe’s podcast, that I felt was worth some meditation today.

Try not to get hung up on who Joe Rogan is, that’s not important for this post. Instead, let’s focus on what was said in the snippet.

Please take 4-minutes to check out this video before you start in on this post.

The “Clean Car Guy”

Right at the 0:19-mark of the video Joe says…

It ain’t about the guy who drives by in the clean car when you’re dirty. It’s not his fault. It’s you should figure out how to be clean. You should figure out how to do a job that doesn’t involve you walking in mud all day. And that’s possible, ‘cuz somebody else has done it.

I thought this was an interesting opener for this rant, and I can totally understand all of the sides of this one (which I think is a privilege of exposure).

Miniature people standing on a pile of coins. A concept of income inequality.

I will start by saying that I mildly agree with him on this, but I can’t entirely get with it because of a few reasons…

  1. I do believe in systemic things. I mean… I’m a Black dude in the United States, and my people have our history here… But also – just “Life”. It really does seem like the rich get richer while the poor get poorer in the modern U.S. So, while I would never directly blame the figurative “guy in the clean car”, I also kinda’ feel like we have a bit of a class system here (which he didn’t create, but he’s definitely a part of). Oh, and – bluntly – people should just stay out of other people’s pockets! Don’t let the other person’s bank account determine ANYTHING about YOUR happiness (this point alone could be a whole other post)!
  2. Figuring out how to do a job has nothing to do with “getting a job”. I know plenty of college-educated people who are under-employed for one reason or another at the moment. I’m talking law school majors working retail, science majors working at grocery stores, and so on. Life is funny that way.
  3. Just because someONE else has done a thing, doesn’t mean that others are likely or even eligible to do the same. The odd thing about this is that I totally agree with his stance. I feel like people give up waaaay too soon in the face of adversity, and that others have done plenty with less. But, I also believe in probability and statistics. I don’t let that rule me, but I totally manage my expectations based on that. I don’t think everyone can be president, an astronaut, or Jeff Bezos. Just sayin’.

We Don’t Have to Have Shit Jobs

At 0:58 Joe states…

We don’t have to have fast-food workers. We don’t have to have people who work Shit Jobs. We don’t have to. We just need to figure out how to restructure society so everybody, somehow or another, plays a part – has something to contribute – has something to share.

I agree with him on this to an extent. I hate to be a downer on this one, but I don’t see everyone working jobs they enjoy. Not because those roles aren’t available or able to be created, but due to everyone not being a self-starter. Everyone doesn’t have the motivation to pursue what they want. Sad, but true.

A checklist showing how much someone hates their job.

And directly addressing the fast-food portion of this, don’t get me started about automation.

If society is ever (peacefully) restructured at this point, that would be exciting – but I’m not holding my breath. I ultimately want people to contribute without it needing to be a side-hustle. Some things should just be enjoyed (profit or not), and I worry many of us have forgotten that aspect of life. There are things that are valuable monetarily-speaking, and other things that are valuable for your soul and satisfaction.

“You’ve Sold Your Life” -Joe Rogan

At 1:36 Joe starts in on a talking point that becomes the crux of his perspective. I won’t quote it all because it’s a lot; but, paraphrasing – he describes how people have traded their free time, creative energies, and potential to companies for career tracks that have sidetracked them from their purpose, etc.

^^ This is the trap that he’s saying many people are caught up in today.

He talks about how companies don’t understand you and don’t want to understand you.

As someone who just posted about how he’s working his dream job role at the moment, I didn’t agree with this one at all. It feels like an outdated and, dare I say, toxic take on choosing to pursue a career that’s tied to your passion. And – honestly – I think this school of thought might be at the root of why a portion of society doesn’t ever find happiness related to their work. Their expectations have been shot, and they’ve been trained to be dissatisfied in ANY position where they (1) have to answer to someone or (2) don’t call the shots. This view perpetuates some very unreal things.

Montage about different professions

And I have bad news for some of you bears out there (see what I did?), unless you’re independently mega-wealthy, you will always have someone to answer to. If you run your own business (I’ve dabbled there), you answer to your customers. If you run a team, you might think your people answer to you – and to some extent, they do – but please don’t take your responsibility to answer to them, and to develop them professionally, lightly in whatever you’re doing (be it plumber, mechanic, architect, or data scientist).

The last thing I want to say about this one is that if you’re working somewhere that feels like a suck on your soul — quit. There are other places to work where you can be happy, in the way Joe basically pretends doesn’t exist, in career-oriented professions (but this warrants circling back around to my point in the previous section: I’m not sure everyone will take the initiative to truly pursue what they want in life).

What’s The Reward?

By the time we’re at the 2:52-mark of the video, Joe has started talking about the outcome of the trap.

The “reward” for the life you’re now giving up.

What’s the reward for all this stuff? Go home, get a big TV. Go home, you’re gonna’ get a shiny belt buckle. You’re gonna’ get a nice purse. You’re gonna’ wear shoes that you couldn’t afford last week. You’re gonna’ get that dream car. And every week we’re chasing down this new object and every week we’re trying to fill this hole in this-this-this sad shadow of a life that we’ve been left with after work…

I fully agree with him here.

I definitely don’t think it’s bad to want cool things, but I know people who never seem satisfied. They don’t set a goal and accomplish it and then find happiness. They get an iPhone and then immediately look forward to future updates (just as an example).

Chasing money concept and follow the profit symbol as a group of men and women running after a stack of currency as a financial incentive or business profit metaphor with 3D illustration elements.

I think there’s something wrong with this way of living, and I believe it’ll cause you to miss out on a lot of pleasures of existence. Existence (to me) is about the little things, and a lot more happiness can be found in the mundane points of our daily lives than we realize (PS: I work on this one every day myself).

A few outlets have Joe Rogan’s net worth at about $100 million (I just looked this up). I know that fact alone can have people thinking he’s just a rich guy who doesn’t have any idea what he’s talking about, but Joe has worked his way up. Martial arts, comedy, sports commentary, and the success of his podcast — he’s seen different walks of life and actually takes the time to talk to people and (at least partially) inform his perspectives. So, I felt like his words aren’t coming from a place of utterly blind opinion.

Either way, you decide. What is YOUR philosophy regarding these aspects of life? How do you feel about the way we’re currently arranged as a society? And where do you see yourself fitting into that picture?

Peace, and thanks for reading.


The soundtrack for this post provided by…

Image Credits:
– Cover Image © JoeRogan.com
– Body Image 1 © Hyejin Kang (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 2 © Eviart (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 3 © Ollyy (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 4 © Lightspring (Shutterstock)

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