Michael Malice: New Year's Special | Lex Fridman Podcast #253 | Summary and Q&A

December 31, 2021
Lex Fridman Podcast
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Michael Malice: New Year's Special | Lex Fridman Podcast #253


In a New Year's Eve discussion, Michael Malice discusses the power of beauty, challenges cynicism, and explores the importance of goodness in creating a more beautiful world.

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Key Insights

  • 🤔 Key Insight 1: Beauty inspires hope and can combat cynicism, proving that moments of perfection and beauty can exist in the world.
  • 💫 Key Insight 2: Beauty, in various forms, plays an important role in making the world a more beautiful place.
  • 🌟 Key Insight 3: Goodness is a crucial quality, as it means showing kindness and integrity towards others, which can lead to a better life and a better world.
  • 🙌 Key Insight 4: Good people appreciate beauty, while bad people can also appreciate beauty, highlighting the importance of goodness in truly appreciating beauty.
  • 🔑 Key Insight 5: The act of helping others and making a positive impact, even on a single life, is a powerful way to leave the world a better place.
  • ✨ Key Insight 6: Human civilization can learn from the shortcomings and failures of individuals like Jeffrey Epstein to create a better, more just society.
  • 💡 Key Insight 7: The ability to detect evil and manipulation is crucial, as it ensures that individuals do not fall into the traps of charismatic and potentially dangerous individuals.
  • 😊 Key Insight 8: New Year celebrations and traditions, like gift-giving, can create moments of joy, camaraderie, and hope for a better future.


the following is a conversation with michael malus his fifth time on this the lex friedman podcast to support it please check out our sponsors in the description and now here's my new year's eve 2021 conversation with the one and only mr michael mallis dostoevsky wrote in the idiot my favor of his books through the main character prince mishkin tha... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is Michael Malice's perspective on the role of beauty in the world?

Michael Malice believes that beauty inspires hope and serves as a catalyst for positive change in the world. He sees it as an essential prerequisite for fighting for our values and making the world a more beautiful place.

Q: How does Michael Malice distinguish between truth, goodness, and beauty?

According to Michael Malice, truth, goodness, and beauty are all interconnected and integral to the human experience. While they may have distinct characteristics, they often overlap and are vital in shaping a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Q: What is Michael Malice's opinion on cynicism and its impact on society?

Michael Malice views cynicism as a hindrance to progress and positive change. He believes that cynicism undermines the ability to appreciate beauty, embrace hope, and work towards creating a better world. He advocates for a more optimistic and compassionate approach to life.

Q: How does Michael Malice discuss the concept of suffering and its role in human existence?

Michael Malice acknowledges that suffering is a part of life, but he does not believe it is inherent or necessary for happiness. He emphasizes the importance of resilience, overcoming challenges, and finding joy in life's ups and downs.

Q: How does Michael Malice explore the relationship between power and manipulation in his discussion on Jeffrey Epstein?

Michael Malice questions why someone like Bill Clinton would associate with Jeffrey Epstein and suggests that it could be a product of power dynamics, manipulation, and a desire to be in the company of influential people. He suggests that power often entails a certain level of eccentricity and questionable associations.

Q: What does Michael Malice highlight as the positive aspects of Russian culture, particularly during New Year's celebrations?

Michael Malice emphasizes the camaraderie, love, and bond among people during Russian New Year's celebrations. He appreciates the sense of unity, the freedom to express oneself, and the opportunity to engage in deep conversations and celebrations with friends and neighbors.


This conversation with Michael Malice explores the notion of beauty saving the world and the impact of beauty on hope and inspiration. The conversation also delves into the importance of goodness and truth, and the role they play in creating a more beautiful world. The discussion further reflects on the nature of evil, the responsibility of detecting evil, and the lessons that can be drawn from individuals like Jeffrey Epstein. It touches on the challenges of being young and ambitious, the longing for external validation, and the significance of small acts of courage in resisting darkness. Furthermore, it considers the behavior of world leaders like Bill Clinton and their association with unsavory characters.

Questions & Answers

Q: What do Dostoevsky's words "Beauty will save the world" mean to Michael Malice?

Michael feels that those words are neither naive nor profound. He believes that beauty offers hope and inspiration, proving that there can be moments of perfection and realization of beauty in the world. He disagrees with the notion that beauty is irrelevant in a world filled with suffering and sees it as a prerequisite for fighting for one's values and making the world more beautiful.

Q: What is the significance of goodness, truth, and beauty according to Michael?

Michael suggests that goodness, truth, and beauty are interconnected and largely synonymous. He argues that while truth is important, it doesn't have to be real or true in order to inspire or motivate. Goodness, on the other hand, is a prerequisite for appreciating beauty, as it brings integrity, kindness, and a sense of humanity. Michael considers goodness to be the most important of the three, as it is the easiest default state of being.

Q: What is the awe-inspiring feeling Michael experiences from the beauty in life?

Michael describes the awe he feels when he pauses to listen to music or looks up at the stars. He also mentions the awe he experiences when witnessing rockets launch into space, which represents a triumph of science and human achievement. The ability of humans to accomplish such feats fills him with wonder and appreciation for the beauty of life.

Q: Why is Michael more fascinated with the deep sea than with going to the moon?

Michael expresses a preference for the deep sea over going to the moon. He finds the world of zoology and the diverse species in the deep sea to be incredibly interesting. He mentions that scientists studying the deep sea exhibit genuine excitement and passion when discovering new animals and observing their behavior in their natural habitat. The rich biodiversity and mathematical complexity of creatures in the deep sea intrigue him.

Q: How does Michael interpret Fyodor Dostoevsky's phrase "beauty will save the world" in contrast to Sheldon Jensen's skepticism?

Michael disagrees with Sheldon Jensen's criticism of Dostoevsky's statement. He believes that beauty is an inspiration and a proof that moments of perfection and beauty can be realized on Earth. Michael disagrees with the claim that beauty is irrelevant in a world filled with suffering. He argues that beauty provides hope and motivation to fight for one's values and to make the world more beautiful.

Q: Is Michael more inclined towards truth, goodness, or beauty?

Michael explains that while the three are closely intertwined, goodness is the most important to him. Goodness, in his view, represents integrity, kindness, and human connection. He believes that goodness is a natural default state and is inspired by examples of people doing good deeds. While Michael acknowledges the significance of truth and beauty, he considers goodness to be the foundational quality that underpins the others.

Q: Why does Michael find cruelty towards children especially difficult to comprehend?

Michael expresses difficulty in understanding cruelty towards children, as he believes even animals possess an inherent understanding of not harming children. He mentions that cruelty to children is something even animals seem to avoid, suggesting that it is a universally understood moral line that should not be crossed. The concept of harming children is deeply disturbing to him and challenges his understanding of human nature.

Q: What does the quote "If you save one life, you save the world" mean, and how does Michael interpret it?

Michael finds this quote meaningful and sees saving a life as a profound act. He mentions examples of individuals who have adopted children or extended compassion towards others, mitigating their suffering or providing them with a loving home. Michael emphasizes the importance of not only actively creating beauty but also leaving the world a slightly better place than how one found it. He believes that saving a life holds significant value and fulfills one's duty to leave a positive impact.

Q: How does Michael reconcile his own political differences with those he admires for their kindness and humanity?

Michael expresses that political differences are insignificant compared to the warmth, kindness, and humanity that he values in people. He believes that our common humanity bridges the gap between diverse political beliefs. He mentions interacting with individuals whose politics greatly differ from his own but who possess qualities he respects and admires. Michael emphasizes that goodness and kindness outweigh political disparities when evaluating a person's character.

Q: What lessons can be learned about human civilization from the interactions between Jeffrey Epstein and world leaders like Bill Clinton?

Michael acknowledges that he can only speculate about the motives and interactions between Jeffrey Epstein and world leaders. However, he reflects on the willingness of influential figures to associate with individuals like Epstein, demonstrating a disregard for moral integrity or the consequences of their actions. He highlights the importance of recognizing evil and resisting the allure of power and manipulation. Michael suggests that the behavior of world leaders like Clinton raises questions about their own views on power, integrity, and the nature of evil.


This discussion highlights the significance of beauty in inspiring hope and motivation, the importance of goodness in creating a more beautiful world, and the responsibility of detecting evil in oneself and others. It emphasizes the value of small acts of courage and integrity in resisting darkness. The conversation also prompts reflection on societal norms, the challenges of being young and ambitious, and the need for external validation. Lastly, it raises questions about the behavior of world leaders and the importance of recognizing and resisting the allure of power and manipulation.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Michael Malice explores Fyodor Dostoevsky's quote "Beauty will save the world," delving into its meaning and significance.

  • Malice disagrees with Sheldon Jensen's analysis, believing that beauty inspires hope and proves that goodness can exist in the world.

  • He discusses the importance of defining beauty beyond aesthetics, embracing the awe-inspiring moments that uplift the human spirit.

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