In Search of the New Compassionate Male
EP100 – Dr. James Doty on the Evolution of Compassion
James R. Doty, MD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the founding benefactor. He works with scientists from a number of disciplines examining the neural bases for compassion and altruism.
SPEAKERS – Dr. James Doty, Dennis Tardan, Clay Boykin
Dr. James Doty 00:05
And I think that the horrible fear of showing your vulnerability and allowing somebody to hold you to protect you to care for you is terrifying for many men, unfortunately. But it’s okay. It’s okay to say you know, I hurt. I’m in pain I’m not doing well I need you.
Clay Boykin 00:27
Hello, my name is Clay Boykin, and I am in search of the new compassionate male. A short while ago, we had the opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. James DoDI. Dr. Doty is a clinical professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also the founder and director of the Center for compassion and altruism Research and Education at Stanford, of which His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is the founding benefactor, Dr. Doty works with scientists from a number of disciplines examining the neural basis for compassion and altruism. Let’s join that conversation.
Dennis Tardan 01:09
Hello, World. It’s me Dennis. And we are in search of the new compassionate male on the podcast. I’m the co host, and I’m here with the founder of the new compassionate male clay Boyken. Hello, Clay.
Clay Boykin 01:22
Hi, Dennis. You know, this is a wonderful day to day to have Dr. James Doty with us. And of all things. It’s episode 100. And I can think of no better person to have on our podcast today than Dr. Shane study. Thank you
Dennis Tardan 01:38
Welcome. You know, as we were doing the I was talking with clay before the podcast. And as we were, as I was watching your work, and watching the different videos of you, one of the things that struck me so much with Helen, tender you are, there’s such an openness and a tenderness in your heart when you speak of, of your childhood. When you speak of this, can you talk about how you can keep the science and all the exactitude that is there at the same time bring and keep that tenderness along? It just touches me so much?
Dr. James Doty 02:16
Well, it’s interesting, you ask that because of course, I’m a neurosurgeon most of the time, and which is very demanding, and one has to be highly focused. And actually, it’s a very technical exercise. So you can’t let your mind wander, you have to focus on the event at hand. And certainly after years, years of training, I’m extraordinarily good at that. But that being said, I’m also a human being. And I try never to forget that. And I think for some people, it’s very hard for them to shift from being completely focused on essentially a technical task without a component of humanity with it. Because that’s what you have to do when you do neurosurgery. But at the end of the day, and I tell my residents that the work I do as if you will a technician. Well, that’s extraordinarily important. My successes as a physician, equally, are attributable to being a authentic kind human being. And not to forget the importance of that, because when you connect with somebody on the level of their humanity, that causes them to relax, it causes their physiology to work much better. And in fact, it has several secondary effects, it boosts the immune system, it decreases the production of inflammatory proteins. And so overall, it’s a very good thing when you can incorporate the two of them. You know, being a doctor is just not a technical exercise or reading from a book. Fundamentally, medicine is an art and that combines both the technical aspect and the human aspect.
Dennis Tardan 04:19
Oh, that that is that is so powerful, because that’s where I want to work play. Now, what we were talking about was the, the, within the within the human, and as you look at that, I, I guess the human body, the emotional body, the spiritual body, the physical body, where compassion where that place arises, because that’s what we’re in search of. We both grew up men trying to figure out just exactly what is a man, what is the man and how do we focus against that and compare against it and fall short or however, we’re trying to figure out really do understand that and What role compassion has in that journey? So, as a neurosurgeon, and as a scientist, and as a spiritual Walker along this path? Can you talk about that?
Dr. James Doty 05:12
Sure. Well, I think if you look at the evolution of our species, as an example, a nuclear family, you know, the female was primarily the caregiver. And while the male theoretically protected the family, search for food, etc. And these have been the traditional roles that males and females have played with the mother being more nurturing and caring, while the father is placed this role of protector, which on some level also implies an aggressor. And while this certainly worked, during that period of time in our evolution, and also, as we evolved beyond that to hunter gatherer tribes, and you have to remember until 60,000 years ago, we actually lived in groups of 50, to 150. And it was critically important that a person did their job in this very harsh environment. And if a person was in pain was in suffering, by the nature of our evolution, we were highly attuned to that. And the interesting thing is, when you’re able to relieve another suffering, what happens is you actually get the release of oxytocin and other hormones, which are commonly called the love hormone, or caring hormone. And this made you feel good, and your reward centers were stimulated. But going back along this discussion about roles, what’s happened is though, as society has evolved, oftentimes, men feel very constrained because of the false aspects of what we’re supposed to do or how we’re supposed to act. And in fact, for some of your listeners, you may want to refer to a talk, I gave a TEDx talk at UN Plaza, which was called compassion, women’s empowerment and feminism. But the reason that’s appropriate today is because it was a discussion of gender roles. And it was not only a discussion of how many women want to escape what’s been defined as their gender roles. It also is a discussion about how men want to escape what has traditionally been defined as their gender roles. I’m sure, as you’ve seen from the various talks and things that I give, oftentimes, I’ll be on stage. And you mentioned telling my own personal history. Well, you know, this is very personal. And at times, I will, my voice will crack or I’ll shed a tear. And it’s interesting, because as soon as I do that, that gives everyone in the room permission to open up and show their own emotions. And it’s extraordinary, because I’ve never had anyone say to me, oh, jeez, you know, it was horrible that you broke up there and how you must have been embarrassed. Well, that one instance happened, which I’ll tell you about. But, but generally speaking, when you do show those types of emotions, it allows everyone to touch their humanity. And it’s very moving, because in modern society, unlike how we used to live a few 100 years ago, where you were born in a village, you knew everyone in the village who died in the village, everyone accepted you for who you were, you didn’t have to put on any pretenses because everyone knew you from the time you were a child. Exactly. In modern society. You’re not living with your relatives, your siblings, your parents, your grandparents, you’re working in environments where oftentimes you don’t know the people at all. So many people feel constrained, because of the fact that they feel that they’re going to be judged. And of course, it’s horribly sad, because when you’re worried about being judged, it limits you on what you are willing to tell. And then, of course, to have authentic real relationships and to connect, you have to be vulnerable. Well, if you won’t let yourself be vulnerable, you can’t really have a deep relationship. And therein lies the problem. But as I was saying, My repeated experience has been and this is speaking to literally 10s and 10s of 1000s of people.
Dr. James Doty 09:45
When I show my emotion, first of all, I don’t really care. But second of all, I’ve never had anybody not embrace me or want a hug. You know, I gave a talk a few years ago, you and Idaho at the Wellness festival. And they’re about 250 people there. And, you know, at the end of it, a woman said, Oh, that was so beautiful, can I hug you? And I said, Sure, well, then then 250 people lined up to be. But it shows, you know, the power of authenticity and vulnerability. Now, I did mention one exception to that. That which was after a talk I gave a woman came up to me. And she said, You know, I was so embarrassed for you, I noticed your voice cracked, you shed a tear and kind, you must have been felt horrible in front of all these people, and they were judging you, and on and on and on. And she said, which was fast. And she said, I’m a hypnotherapist and a psychiatrist. And if you come to me for three sessions, I can get rid of that for you.
Dennis Tardan 10:58
I have a feeling every hour that is.
Dr. James Doty 11:02
Well, and what’s sad about it is if this is what this woman believes is appropriate for psychotherapy, or intervention, it’s horribly sad, because she’s indicating she wants you to hide from your true self. But that being said, you know, being able to stand out and hold your truth, without fear of judgment is very, very hard for people. Right. And I think that’s part of the problem.
Clay Boykin 11:30
You know, I know watching some of your talks, there’s points where I can tell that it’s it’s welling in you. And every time I lean in, I find myself leaning into it. And, and I think that’s, that’s the human nature coming out. You’re talking about men and women and, you know, the wanting to basically change or shed where they’ve been, I’ve always wondered, I, I’m told that I’m gonna say this, we’re very clumsy, but a male brain and a female brain are wired different. Now, that was metaphor when I was growing up, but somebody want recently said, no, no, that’s really true.
Dr. James Doty 12:13
Well, on some level, that’s true. But fundamentally, though, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings. And yes, you know, the reality is most of the behaviors we have in terms of social position. I mean, they have a component of culture, and being involved and a genetic component, as an example, you’ll see individuals who, early on in life as an example, you know, the parent would say, Well, I knew when you were three or five, that you were gay, and, and nobody complained it, but in fact, it’s true. And so there certainly hormonal components, that, or developmental components that contribute to that, but that being said, we are not locked in to a role. And I think that you have to, though, be open, and not be afraid. And, you know, again, men are terribly afraid of being judged, especially by other men that they’re weak. Or that by showing love, compassion, caring, that this identifies them as not being a real man. And again, I my own repeated experience has been that has never been the case. But you have to be able to stand out and say, I don’t care. I don’t care.
Dennis Tardan 13:36
Doctor, Doctor, I want to ask you about that, though. Because for those of the watchers, the viewers and the listeners who don’t know this, they might think that you grew up in this wonderful compassionate home that taught you all of this and tell you but that’s not the case. You grew up in a very dysfunctional family with mental illness and alcoholism and and a lot of that, so getting you they’re getting you to the place where it was okay to connect with your feelings, that and that arc and that journey, to be able to do it two or three times and say, Well, this is okay, because those first times are important.
Dr. James Doty 14:16
I think that’s true. And I think when you grow up an environment like mine, as you describe, it is very challenging, because you’re filled with fear, anxiety.
Dennis Tardan 14:28
This year, you were filled with the sheriff. Next year. I just, I’m making sure that yeah, arguing about your your Yes.
Dr. James Doty 14:36
and hopelessness and and, you know, of course, when you’re fearful and anxious that obviously impedes your behavior. It impedes judgment. When you’re afraid it shuts down your executive control functionaries in your brain and as a result, you’re just trying to survive you’re not really thinking through your experience, yeah. And it limits you. But I was fortunate, and I think this is potentially true of everyone is that if you find one person who accepts you, who reaches out who loves you, who sees your potential, it can have a profound, profound effect. And I’m sure you have seen these, as an example, they’ll show up children in foster care. And I’ll start out trying to, you know, a five year old with a happy smile, playful, a Shawmut, seven, same dental show, I’m at nine, and he’s different at 12. He said do at 14, he’s been arrested for being a juvenile delinquent. And, and the sad thing is, you know, that part of you, which is so beautiful, can be destroyed by the nature of of difficult life. And that being said, though, each of us has the ability to reach out to someone and change their life, you just have to be attuned to that, and make the effort to do that.
Clay Boykin 16:12
Why it’s so true. I think back. Now, I think back of the older men, when I was young, when I was a preteen teenage, that were good men who were extending themselves to me. But already, I was at the place where I didn’t trust other men. And I look back on the wisdom that I missed at a young age, because of that, you know, the local barber, one of the wisest men in town. Of course, he knows everything about everybody. But but that was a real tragedy.
Dennis Tardan 16:53
It is. And I wonder about that, doctor, when you when we studied the effect of testosterone on concert consciousness? Can you talk about that?
Dr. James Doty 17:08
Sure. And, you know, I mean, you also see individuals who inject these types of drugs for, as an example, to improve their weightlifting and things like that. And, you know, if you have an excessive amount, of course, it can cause you to be very aggressive, and not being able to connect, because in some ways, it’s bringing the worst aspects of testosterone out and an individual. And so one does have to think about that and acknowledge that. But you know, I think you were talking about exposure to males, who if you will, have the right components to connect with you, you know, oftentimes, you can have an individual who nominally appear sort of gruff and disconnected, actually be extraordinary, tender, unkind, and it’s just, it’s a different way of expressing yourself. But it’s just as important. And, and, and I think, again, there are many, many men who have those attributes. But again, it just depends on the world that they’re forced, or have to live in, as to how much of that comes out. You know, it’s it’s very, very hard. You know, in my own situation, I actually, I was just talking to somebody on the phone, you know, I had a situation the other day where I was very focused on doing something that I had to get done, and that had certain consequences if I didn’t get done. And my younger son, who was 13, was asking me to help him with something. And I was very short with them. And, and then this led to this argument with my wife, which that evolved by 8018 year old son. And it became very heated before, you know, I realized it was getting out of control. And so look, I’m not immune to these things, either. I’m a human being. But that being said, you can reflect on these and think about these, and think about how you can be a better person. And so that’s the other part is, look, none of us are perfect human beings. What we have to recognize, though, is that the most important thing that connects us with others, and especially those who love us, is simply being kind and caring, and also reflective. So again, unfortunately, what happens to many people is that how they grew up results and how they behave today. It’s like you’re carrying baggage with yourself and you don’t understand that how you react actually doesn’t even have to do with the present event. It has to do with the baggage that you’re carrying the causes pain and suffering.
Clay Boykin 20:03
You know, I see that I fully agree with you. And then there’s circumstances or situations like yourself, where you did have a very tough, and you did have the opportunity to carry all that baggage with you through your life. But look where you are, you’ve made something different. You You’ve chosen a different path somewhere along the line.
Dr. James Doty 20:27
No, there is no question about that. To emphasize, though, you know, as an example, my wife says to me periodically, she’ll say, people call you Mr. Compassion, you’re just an asshole. So,
Dennis Tardan 20:44
thank you, I thank you, thank you for allowing me to know that I have, I get exactly the same.
Dr. James Doty 20:53
Yeah, so look, again, it just emphasizes we’re all human. But if we understand that reality and and accept our fallibility, you know, still okay, it’s just keeping sort of the light on the path and not deviating.
Dennis Tardan 21:14
I’m so glad that you said that. Because right now we’re in as clay and I have done a lot of work and to be an ally within the Black Lives Matter movement with within the work that we’ve been doing, and, and understanding that this idea of that we can actually study critical race theory, we can study racism, and it’s placed in the United States without diminishing the idea of the United States being this shining star on the Hill that we can possibly that we can hold two thoughts at the same time, instead of saying, like you were saying, like, you were saying that, that there are aspects, I will behave like an asshole. But that doesn’t mean that I am one, there’s just aspects of that behavior that I can balance out. And I can take them both at the same time.
Dr. James Doty 22:01
No, I think that’s true. You know, it’s like, tearing down all these monuments, whether it’s Churchill, even discussions about Abraham Lincoln, and all of these individuals who have had a huge overall positive influence on society. You know, if you look really closely, they’ve also had some very negative aspects about themselves or decisions they’ve made. And that is the nature of being a human being, I don’t think that we should destroy an individual who has accomplished a great deal in the positive sense, because of necessarily the negative aspects. That being said, it’s not to hide the negative aspects or the horrible components of them. It’s just to shine a light on both. And to say, this is what this person did, in terms of, you know, I think the Black Lives movement and critical race theory. You know, the sad thing is that there feels to be this need, because of a once I hate to say this, their white privilege, about telling the truth, that somehow by telling the truth, that that diminishes them, and you’re supposed to hide behind us. Yeah. Yeah, of course, that’s that should not be the case at all. Yeah, we should be able to stand up and say this, these are the facts, period. It’s not to sit there and somehow imply that there wasn’t fundamentally systemic racism that has been imbued in the structural components of American society, which have systematically been used to keep another group of people from progressing forward. And it is fact that you can’t hide it, you can’t bury it, it is fact and it needs to be accepted, acknowledge. And, you know, if you keep telling children, hiding the truth from them, all it does is make a child who is ignorant and make bad decisions. You know, this is unfortunately, the nature of oftentimes religion. You know, they want to hide a Inconvenient Truth, and you can’t do it. At the end of the day, children are going to resent the fact that you lied to them. And the fact that you keep, you know, inventing narratives that justify your own behavior is going to come to light and it’s that whole process is not at the end of the day going to benefit anybody.
Clay Boykin 24:41
Well, I, I’ve been fascinated with your book into the magic shop. And, matter of fact, I found it in an audio form and I was listening to it and fell asleep late in the night, about 330 in the morning, I woke up And it was the perfect thing for me to hear at the time. And it was towards the end of the book I hadn’t. I hadn’t read it yet. But one of the pieces that really struck me just one line says our journey is one of transcendence, not endless self reflection. We’d love to hear more about that.
Dr. James Doty 25:25
Sure. The, there’s nothing wrong with self reflection. And I do think that’s critically important. But the most important thing at the end of the day is a recognition of our oneness. Yes, and I think that, you know, we talked about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you know, we talk about self actualization. But I think more important, is this concept of transcendence, when you recognize that the other is yourself. Now, this is a very, very challenging, difficult journey, and one that is painful in some ways. But if you’re able to make that leap, then you realize that you cannot possibly do actions against another, because you’re harming yourself. And I think if people look through that lens at the other, then it would have a huge, huge positive impact on how they behave and how they contribute to society. You know, sadly, we have a wealthy class that unfortunately, instead of having gratitude for their position, they’re only looking up at what they don’t have. And they’re looking at the world through the lens of scarcity, instead of the lens of generosity, you know, we have within us the ability to, frankly solve everyone’s needs everyone. There’s actually immense abundance here. But you know, as an example, the United States, if you look at the top 10 industrial countries in the world, and what they spend on defense, you know, that the United States spends multiple multiples of what all the nine others spend, yet, if we took simply three or four days of what we spend on defense, we could solve poverty, we could solve homelessness, homelessness, we could give everyone an education, we could develop programs to feed the children. I mean, it would be extraordinary. Unfortunately, the nature of human beings, though, is oftentimes at least a subset of people is one of greed.
Dennis Tardan 27:46
But doctor, don’t, don’t you think that we could make the business case for peace? That it actually would solve that it would actually actually that this is good business that you would actually you would get customers? You would get healthy, healthy customers, you will have a vibrant economy economy for the global use, why can’t capitalist Misa capitalist, I’m a capitalist, I like to call myself the new vote capitalist, you know that you have more than one bottom line of different colors in this but there is a possibility that solving this and using that three or four days would actually benefit the economies and all the things that people who believe in this in the capitalistic theory would be wanting.
Dr. James Doty 28:34
Well, you’re absolutely correct. But the problem is we have gone from sort of just simple capitalism to ruthless capitalism.
Dennis Tardan 28:44
Yeah, we need more Ruth. We, when When Ruth left when Ruth left it broke my heart. I we were Ruth, I’m sorry. I’m doing Bader Ginsburg, humor. And I, you know, he was my hero. But anyhow, yes, we are ruthless copper.
Dr. James Doty 29:00
Yeah, I mean, what happens when you take that position is you want to take every penny off the table. And it’s horrible. If you look at as an example, CEO pay over the last few decades, it’s gone up almost 700%. I mean, that’s ridiculous. Who deserves to make a billion dollars a year, there’s not a single person. And the problem is that, you know, these people instead of going out and saying, you know, I’m so blessed to have 100 million 50 billion, or whatever the amount of money is, they feel a need to go out and buy a $500 million yacht. I mean, how ridiculous and you have a ton of these yachts that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And you have all of these people who have multiple, multi million dollar homes all over the world which sit empty the vast majority of time. I mean, it’s a complete waste of resources. When if you just impute a little kindness, compassion, thoughtfulness, you could It’ll be rewarded so much. The problem is that what happens is, all of us have an emptiness inside when we’re born. And the only thing that will fill that sense of emptiness or hollowness is being of service and caring for others. And the problem is that in modern Western society, we have a belief that wealth means success. Wealth means competence. Wealth is beautiful wealth gets you access, and ultimately makes you happy. And of course, you know, and I know that nothing could be further from the truth, some of the wealthiest people I know, are the most unhappy people. And
Dennis Tardan 30:40
when you actually know them, doctor, because you know, I mean, this is not theory, do you? You spend time around these people.
Dr. James Doty 30:51
Yes, I have spent a lot of time around these people. Now don’t get me wrong.
Dennis Tardan 30:56
I don’t mean No, I’m not I wasn’t making a huge generalization. But the generalization being, I mean, the specificity of it is that that will not get you happiness, that that in and of itself is not as a as a, you know, a ticket, a gate into this is not going to get you there.
Dr. James Doty 31:16
Oh, that’s right. I mean, see, but the problem is that these people confuse the adoration of people who want to be liked, as having meaning. And you see, they get they get confused with that. And then they manipulate it, right, because they want to keep getting accolades about how good they are. And you do that by showing off by getting a $500 million yacht by having people go, Wow, you’re amazing, you have 10 homes, you have, you’re driving this car, you have a collection of cars, you are so amazing. And you see they keep confusing people’s admiration with meaning. And, and then of course, the problem with society is that we have all of these people who think that if I just do this, if I just have this house, if I have this job, if I get paid this month, I’m going to be happy. And it’s, it’s a horrible situation, because it’s certainly not the case at all. And you know, from my own perspective, I climbed a lot of mountains thinking that if I just did this, I’ll be happy, and I’ll be secure. If I just did this. And at the top of every peak, there was another peak, and I was still not happy. And I would suggest you that when I held everything, I had nothing.
Dennis Tardan 32:30
So So let me ask you, when in your life, did it come as a dawning of a you know, like, when suddenly the sun rises? Did it come as an epiphany, did it come? What part of your life did you sit down and go, Wait a minute, this is not going to get me?
Dr. James Doty 32:49
Well, you know, Ruth, this woman in this magic shop who I met who gave me a lot of incredible insights. The problem was I was 12 when I received them. And I wasn’t self aware or wise. And I thought I understood the message and the message carried me a far distance. But what happened is, as I was just mentioning, each thing I accomplished, whether it was going to medical school becoming a neurosurgeon, during the professor becoming an entrepreneur, or whatever it was, the there was nothing but emptiness there. And I would hear I would have all of these friends who would admire me. And here I was driving around in Ferraris and Porsches, I was dating beautiful women, I lived in a huge penthouse. And, and I was never more miserable than I had ever been in my life. And the problem was, it was like eating food with no calories, you’re never satiated. And there’s a Tibetan mythology called The Hungry Ghost, which has this very narrow throat, and it can’t swallow. And, and what happened was, in 2000, I lost almost $80 million in six weeks, during the.com Bust. And, you know, I had, like I said, penthouse cars, all of this stuff. And I was effectively bankrupt. I you know, and what happens in those situations is two people become your best friends, your lawyer and your banker. And so I had to sell everything. I was about 3 million in the hole. I had absolutely nothing. And I went into this period of self reflection. And I did realize ultimately, as I tried to relive the lessons that this Ruth woman taught me how I had missed a part of it. And I had never been bad or selfish, if you will. But all of my actions were to assuage my own shame and insecurity about my background, and it wasn’t out of a deep sense of purpose to be of service to others. It was about hiding behind accomplishments hoping that people’s accolades would make me feel whole. And of course it didn’t. So when I reflected on that, I understood and I decided to change. And what happened was, interestingly enough, my lawyers told me that a donation I had made, they had not actually filed the paperwork. And in fact, I could keep all the money. And that ended up being about $30 million. But what I decided to do against everyone’s advice was I gave it all away $30 million to charity. And in some ways, it was a statement about what was important, and that all of those things would not make me whole yet. Here, I set up health clinics all over the world, I set up blood banks, I set up programs for adolescents affected by AIDS, HIV, I set up programs for the disabled, I endowed professorships, funded research. And in some ways, all of those actions made me whole again, and a feeling that I was in fact of service. And that actually has allowed me to do extraordinary things. It allowed me to set up the center at Stanford that focuses on compassion, it allowed me to become friends with the Dalai Lama, it allowed me to become friends with spiritual and religious leaders around the world. And it allowed me to be able to, frankly, be comfortable with who I am.
Dennis Tardan 36:36
Doctor, one of one of the most beautiful words that I hear you use, is recognize to re cognize because I knew this all along, no great spiritual truth that I’ve ever come upon has been other than, ah, I knew that. And to re cognize and to continue to go back. What a beautiful use of that word.
Dr. James Doty 37:04
Well, again, I was very blessed. And I think that the other thing that many people carry with them is a narrative that oftentimes we believe is truth. Yes. And this is the narrative that says, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not worthy. I’m an imposter. And I think this is particularly common in men who were struggling themselves. And what I thought was that that was truth that it emanated from some place that that voice was the truth. And what I recognized was, it was not the truth at all, that unfortunately, as a species, negative commentary, and negative events, have had the beneficial effect of allowing our species to survive. But unfortunately, they’re extraordinarily sticky. And even though they’re unrelated to our survival, they stick with us. And that’s where this negative narrative comes along. And when you recognize that, and you make efforts to change the narrative from one of negativity to positivity, what it does is it actually liberate you, because you see, when you’re carrying those messages all the time, it’s as if every time you say, a statement, it’s as if you’re laying a brick down to create a self imposed prison for yourself. And when you understand the falsity of that narrative, it breaks down the walls and it lets light in. And you can see this incredible power you have within yourself, to manifest what you want, and to be of service to others. And when you realize the power you have when you realize that within you is the ability to positively not only change your life, but the lives of others around you. It’s really quite extraordinary. And it’s and it’s beautiful. And I think that this idea of liberation towards transcendence is really the key aspect of what we’re talking about.
Clay Boykin 39:14
You know, just going to interject because I do a lot of work with men and men circle and we’ve got the network that’s, you know, several places around the world. And I get frustrated because I see us seemingly endless self reflection. And sometimes I want to just stand up like come on, let’s go do something. And it’s hard to make that turn that turn. I see it all the time. I was that way myself. You know, I I spent several years trying to break free of that self reflection that manifested with depression after severe illness. And I believe that there’s a whole population of men out there, they do they have this hole, they’re stuck. And but they’re good if they could just hear the right thing at the right time. And take action, things would be different for them.
Dr. James Doty 40:23
Well, I think part of it also is the situation in America right now as an example, where you, you know, you have men in their late 30s, early 40s. And they have a perception that they’re supposed to be the breadwinner, they’re supposed to protect their family. And the problem is that if you’re not well educated, and you’re at a minimum wage job, you can’t even take care of yourself, much less your family, we don’t have a living wage, we have a minimum wage. And then when you, as an example, have the pharmaceutical industrial complex pushing opioids out there, because they paid off politicians, and you have people who are suffering and trying to just get by, will they become victims to this, which of course, then not only destroys them, but it destroys everyone around them. And I think that it’s very, very hard to be a man. And it’s very, very hard. You know, there’s an assumption as an example, look, I went to college medical school, but the fact of the matter is, in most parts of the country, the group of people have bachelor’s degrees is less than 5%. Yep. And so we’re looking through this lens. And here I’m at Stanford, I talk to, and interact with some of the most brilliant people in the world.
Dennis Tardan 41:55
But the factory map one, one part of 1%,
Dr. James Doty 41:58
yes. And so you make this assumption that that’s the way the world works. And it’s not whatsoever, the vast majority of people actually don’t have a bachelor’s degree. In fact, probably only two thirds of them to 75% have completed high school even. So you have to look at the situation through that lens, which is the reality lens. And when you have people who are struggling, who don’t have the resources of education, or a situation where they live, there are jobs, which can pay them which an affordable wage, so they can live a life. I mean, imagine if you’re in your 40s, and you have a perception that you have no future, there’s no job, you’re not educated enough. You have a family with children, I mean, and you have access to opioids,
Dennis Tardan 42:51
and you have credit card debt, and you and and you’re seeing on television, all and all the media, the ways you should live and everything that is reinforcing all the that whatever it is that you’re looking for, is outside.
Dr. James Doty 43:06
Now that’s exactly right. And so we have created a horrible situation that is not supportive of this individual. You know, it is as if there are agendas within certain political parties that somehow believe that having a social safety net that somehow believe caring for others, caring for children, is a weakness. And if you were in that position, it is your fault, and you are a failure, where it is not I don’t know a single person who likes to be poor. I certainly did not like to be poor. And and I also know very, very few people who if given the opportunity wouldn’t be happy to work, to have a livable wage to care for their family. This is a completely false narrative that somehow there are these loafers who are trying to take advantage of a system. I have
Dennis Tardan 44:01
never met them. I know I know people I have met people and all and I they aren’t they are not their doctor. So how do we what we’re looking for as part of this, how do we change that narrative? Because somewhere, let’s let’s assume that in 100 years, everything has changed. We understand that, you know, we’ve helped to rewire and see that positivity can be as sticky as negativity. We’ve been able to but we were not there. We’re here. So what are the things that you’re doing and the initiatives that you’re involved in that are moving that are moving the conversation and moving the because you’re you’re blessed us so much to give us this time? You’re you’re not spinning it somewhere else. So what what is going on you and you and what you’re doing
Dr. James Doty 44:51
well all of us are just doing the best we can so
Dr. James Doty 45:01
You know, one of the things I’ve spent a fair amount of time on is trying to develop techniques, intervention techniques that allow individuals to be kinder to themselves. Because when you’re, when you’re kind to yourself, it changes the lens through which you see the world. Because you recognize that while you may have your own suffering, which has a tendency to distract you from everything else, we’re able to actually see the reality that everyone is suffering in different ways. And the very nature of that understanding makes you much more thoughtful, kinder, and gentler to people. And I think that’s very, very important. But the other aspect here, unfortunately, is we have a political system that instead of coming together and holding hands, and saying, how do we best move forward together, it’s one that says, I don’t want to hold hands with you, I don’t like you, you’re wrong. And unfortunately, that never gets you anywhere. And so the reality is, we have to not denigrate others opinions, but look through the lens of empathy and try to understand why people have come up with different worldviews that actually oftentimes don’t benefit them. You know, they’re, I don’t know, anyone who isn’t actually trying to improve the world in general, except for potentially individuals who are motivated by greed and power, and who manipulate the weaknesses and fears of others. But in general, most people want to live a life in which they have a job in which they can care for their families, and go about their daily business, they don’t want to be in culture wars, they don’t want to fight people in general, this is all created by a narrative that somehow the other took something away from you which you deserve, and that they’re keeping you from benefiting. And whether you want to create the enemy of the minority, the enemy, defined as the immigrant, you know, those are false narratives. That’s not the problem. The problem is that we have sold ourselves in some ways, to the corporate, ruthless, capitalistic perception of how the world works. And when you rein in these people, when you stop them, as an example, corporate entities from giving significant donations to politicians, when you change the political system, that you have a certain amount of money each politician gets once they get to a certain level of advancement in the system, that’s when you’ll see all of these things fall apart,
Dennis Tardan 47:47
which means then you have to sell your ideas, you actually have to convince people and get them to come along with you instead of just buying your way into the next level. Yes,
Dr. James Doty 47:59
and and, you know, we used to have this thing that required actually some degree of truth in the media, because you see, we don’t have news anymore, but we have his opinion, which is being promoted as truth. And it’s not at all. And again, you know, as an example, it’s sort of interesting, you look at a show, as an example, where somebody’s promoting a false narrative about the pandemic, yet they’re fully vaccinated, they show up at work, they have to wear masks, they have to do all of these things. Yet they’re saying, don’t get vaccinated don’t do this. It’s all a plot against you to take your your freedoms away. Well, again, and this is the sad thing, because again, it gets back to the exact same thing. It’s all about the money.
Dennis Tardan 48:42
What we’re doing, Dr. Is that’s why we have you on today. That’s why we are in search of the new compassionate male because we believe like you because we put compassion in the same family as conscious as, as kindness. It has, it has that that if we do this, if we help to spread this word, if we are able to get the message that you’re talking out more, helping that to be sticky, we can actually make a difference in the direction the vector that that we’re going in?
Dr. James Doty 49:16
Well, that’s what I believe. And if I didn’t believe that I certainly want to do I would say, though, that again, when you hear people who disagree with you, whether it’s from the right or the left,
Dennis Tardan 49:30
what you do, right you get you get you get Pete, how do you handle it? What do you do when, when you are in a position like that so you can help us to model it?
Dr. James Doty 49:41
Well, I think the first thing you do is you don’t judge people and you’re open. And if you just sit down with somebody and just talk to them to understand how they got to their position, then oftentimes it results in you changing your position There are them changing their positions. And also it allows you to disagree. But work together to compromise. You see, that’s what we need here. When people are positioned themselves on the far extremes, nothing gets done other than screaming and yelling, if you sit there and say, Well, I don’t necessarily agree with that. But I understand where you’re coming from, I’m potentially willing to do this, if you’re willing to do that. This is how politics should work. It’s because at the end of the day, we’re all in this together. And when you cooperate, when you compromise, when you’re a little more thoughtful, when you’re not perceiving the others, as trying to get something over on you or take advantage of you, but that we’re all just trying to make the world a better place, then I think that is much more likely to accomplish something positive, then screaming at each other, and essentially have everything come to a standstill. And when we also recognize that many politicians, their purpose is not to bring us together, their purpose is to keep us apart. It’s like the media, you know, the media only makes money if there’s divisiveness, right? That’s why they get paid when things are devices become divisive, because the evolution of our species is that when everything is perfect for us, we’re happy, we don’t care about anything. Yet, if somebody tells you somebody’s trying to steal something from you, or every action they’re doing is to take one of your personal freedoms away, that gets our attention. Because again, we’re much more attuned to negative, then we are tuned to positives. I
Clay Boykin 51:43
remember back in the 60s as a little kid, and we were watching Walter Cronkite. And one day, there were two news casters, talking to one another about something. And a dad said, when the newscasters start interviewing each other, we’re all in trouble. And is that not what we have today? But would it come back to something earlier, you you’re talking about, we all suffer. And I equate that suffering? That we’re all wounded. We all have different wounds. But that common ground and this is something I learned in the gender equity and reconciliation, work with that organization, and recognizing, not whose wound is worse than the others, but that that’s our common ground. And it’s from that place of woundedness, that so many of us come out, and we come out in rage or in fear. We don’t come out or as our best self, but if we can look at if I can look at another person and recognize that that person’s wounded in that’s not who that person really is. And I agree.
Dr. James Doty 53:06
Yeah. Well, I think that comes back to this point of this kindness and gentleness towards others. Yeah. And look, I think, frankly, all of us just want to be held and feel protected. Thank you. And I think that the horrible fear of showing your vulnerability, and allowing somebody to hold you to protect you to care for you, is terrifying for many men, unfortunately. But it’s okay. It’s okay to say, you know, I hurt, I’m in pain I’m not doing well, I need you.
Dennis Tardan 53:42
Thank you. I see that in athletics. I see that when you know, when an athlete is hurt on the field, and the people gather around him, and they hold him and they touch him and they help him or her to, to to get back up off the ground. Even when they make a horrible mistake, such as they drop off a pass or they miss something that you see them getting together and touching and holding and letting the people know that they’re there. That’s an example to me, I may be projecting into it. But it feels like that from having played in sport.
Dr. James Doty 54:15
Well, but again, I think it’s also a recognition of the fact that those involved know how challenging it is, how tough it is, what’s the efforts that you have to put forward? And I think that
Dennis Tardan 54:28
we land behind a corner, sand behind a counter at Walmart for 810 hours a day, work with her and Lifta and tell me that’s not hard, right? I mean, tell me that, you know, and then come back home and try to take care of a sick parent at the same time that you told me that’s not worthy of her Arrow, Arrow. Well,
Dr. James Doty 54:47
just to comment on that. The underbelly of that is, you know, it’s interesting how corporations have used the US government to give them corporate welfare, right. You look at Walmart which doesn’t pay an adequate salary doesn’t offer health insurance. And you have people who are working there, and they’re on food stamps, and also Medicaid to pay for the health care. I mean, and yet this is one of the most profitable corporations around. You look at as an example, the fuel industry right now who suddenly we see prices going up. And there’s this entire narrative about the Ukraine Russian situation, yet the oil companies are now the most profitable countries companies in the world, yet we give them maximal subsidies, maximal subsidies, which are absolutely ridiculous, they should stand on their own completely. And see this is what people don’t understand is the amount of corporate welfare that the corporations have paid off politicians to allow them to have, you know, if corporations actually paid their fair share, there would also be much, much more money around that would benefit society in general that
Dennis Tardan 56:00
would benefit the corporation’s it all works together this idea, the zero sum versus synergy. This is a synergistic principle, this zero sum, there’s only enough you take something you get something it takes it out of my pie is not the way economy work.
Dr. James Doty 56:21
Well, you’re right, and and the problem is that this is how they view it. And again, like I said, unfortunately, my experience in a number of case studies have been shown that when you’re kind as a company, when you’re compassionate, when you’re thoughtful towards its employees, what happens, you know, if a company is managed through fear, what happens is there’s a marked decrease in productivity, there’s a marked decrease in creativity, there’s a marked increase in health care costs, and there’s a marked increase in human resource costs. And so when you’re actually able to create a corporate entity that’s focused on caring, compassion, thoughtfulness, a magic happens, productivity increases, creativity increases, health insurance costs are decreased, because you know, a lot of money that’s spent on health care costs have to do with stress, anxiety, and depression. And, and, in fact, you know, there’s this concept of absenteeism from work. And this is because you’re unhappy. If you can create an environment where people are excited when they understand that their work is important when they understand that they’re helping others when they understand they’re doing something that has meaning, or at least, the corporation recognizes their dignity and importance and creates environment, environments that allow them to be involved in things that give them meaning. This results in a huge, huge increase in shareholder value, huge increase in productivity and profitability. And that’s the sad thing about looking at corporate entities. Again, they’re still through the mindset of working through fear. And that, unfortunately, is what we created through Wall Street having to report its quarterly earnings
Dennis Tardan 58:11
through a system. To do that, our doctor, listen, I know that we were taking you up at the end of your time that you’ve allotted for us. But I want to make sure is there anything that we haven’t talked about that is on your mind and heart to make sure that we get it on this, this this broadcast of what you’re doing in your life right now?
Dr. James Doty 58:33
Well, I think that, you know, we’ve covered a lot of things, obviously, there’s a lot more detail we could get into about a whole variety of things. So please,
Dennis Tardan 58:43
if you think we can get him back Clady.
Dr. James Doty 58:48
But no, I think the most important thing is to one. Understand that you are biased, every one of us is biased. And if you take the time, to understand the nature of bias, it actually allows for you to become more self aware. And really, at the end of the day, the most important thing is for us to become self aware. Because when you become self aware, it allows you to be kind to yourself and allows you to be kind to other people. And this really is the most important thing is to look at the world through the lens of kindness, compassion. I mean, let me give you two examples. You have two people who are businessmen, they both walk out of a building into the rain. There’s one guy who walks out and the rain starts getting on a suit and he starts this whole diatribe about how his suits ruined. He’s going to be laid. His shoes are so it’s put him in a bad mood, etc, etc. You have another guy who walked out of the building and says, You know God, I’m so glad it’s raining because it reminds me how water is nurtured until all life on Earth. I’m so blessed to be on this earth, you know, I can certainly dry clean my suit. It’s not a big deal. But it’s really energized me just to be reminded of this reality. Well, you have two people who go through the exact same event, and look at the profound contrast between how two people believe. And in some ways, it’s your choice how you wish to see the world. The other An example is, I’m sure you have been cut off while you’re driving on more than one occasion, and typically, if you’re a male oft and maybe a female as well, you’ll have an expletive and a hand gesture. And but let me reframe that where this guy tries to cut you off, and you almost have an accident. But if I reframe it and say, you know, the person driving the car, his wife’s in the car, she’s nine months pregnant, her waters broken, she’s bleeding. He’s trying to get to the hospital. How does your perception of what’s important, right? And you see, in this microsecond, we have been able to change your perception, from one of anger about somebody cutting you off to being careful about what might happen to this woman. And again, it sees a little choices that we make about how we see the world. And if you change your perspective, to see the world through kindness, gentleness, gentleness and compassion, that changes your whole environment around you and people will react to in a completely different way. Amen.
Dennis Tardan 1:01:45
Thank you, Dr. Doty. Clay, thank you so much for inviting me along this journey and for founding in search of the new compassionate male. Dr. Doty, thank you for your time, your graciousness, and for your advocacy of being kind to yourself. I’m working on it myself. And you know, in keeping, keeping the process going, so you know, as you as you are, so I want you to know, the profound effect that you’ve had on us the profound effect on the audience and the time that you’ve given us. Thank you so much, sir.
Dr. James Doty 1:02:20
Thank you, gentlemen. And I wish you the best with your efforts and I do believe that the world will change if we’re more kind and compassionate. So thank you.
Dennis Tardan 1:02:32
This has been another podcast the 100th of in search of the new compassionate male. We will see everyone next time.
Clay Boykin 1:02:41
Check out the latest episode of In Search of the new compassionate mail on your favorite podcast Station.