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Joe Rogan hosts one of the most influential podcasts in the world. He is constantly criticized for controversial opinions and guests, but how did a Marcus Aurelius quote change Joe Rogan, and could it help explain his world view to fans and critics?

Joe Rogan essentially made a name for himself using his voice. He’s best known for hosting The Joe Rogan Experience in which he discusses current events, comedy, politics, science, and philosophy. But what you may not know is just how extensive the experience portion of his resume is. He’s an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) color commentator, comedian, actor, and former television presenter.

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Rogan is no stranger to criticism. As a well-known figure in American pop culture, Rogan has gotten flak for his sometimes-controversial opinions. He’s mentioned before that identity politics and political correctness are just not his thing, but that necessarily mean he doesn’t lean one way or another. In fact, he’s often promoted many social justice issues that are associated with left-wing policies, but he’s also catered to conservative values and had many conservative guests on the show who he adamantly agrees with.

All this being said, Rogan seems to either be loved for his opinions or hated for them. But an Instagram post from April 4 2022 on Rogan’s verified Instagram page brought to light a quote from Marcus Aurelius and gave us a lot more insight into himself and his audience.

Who Is Marcus Aurelius and What Was the Quote That Changed Joe Rogan?

Marcus Aurelius was born a long time ago – like, 1900 years ago. He was a Roman emperor during the time which we now call the Golden Age of the Roman Empire. He was the last emperor of the Pax Romana which was an era of peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He was also a Stoic philosopher.

The Marcus Aurelius quote that Rogan emphasized via Instagram was from The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”

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This was the main quote featured in a rather reflective post by Rogan. He followed up that quote by saying that he “genuinely can’t imagine what it was like to live back then.” Rogan brings up an interesting point about the confusion in our society between modern technology and old ideologies like war. He uses the example of drones launching missiles into innocent civilian cities in the same year that an app on our phone can access the internet for instantaneous information. The contrast of historic events is something that Rogan narrows in on in this post.

Rogan’s long-form style caption did not contain any alarming or out-of-character comments, but it did help explain why his Podcast explores the themes it does and why it attracts a certain type of audience. So, what did this Marcus Aurelius quote tell us about Rogan and his listeners?

What Did This Marcus Aurelius Quote Tell Us About Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan hosting the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

Rogan’s podcast is home to complex ideologies, controversial topics, and thought-provoking incidents. He’s had everyone from UFO specialists, scientists, and athletes comment on current hot topics. So, it’s not surprising that Rogan had some philosophical thoughts regarding The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. But, what do his opinions on the book really tell us about him and the people who stand behind what he has to say?

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Rogan claims that if we were dropped into the Roman time period, we would struggle without our modern technologies. In his no-nonsense way of speaking, Rogan said, “you would probably seriously consider taking your own life.” While this was a strong way of putting it, Rogan is loved for his ability to say exactly what’s on his mind with no filter. But, that’s also what gets him into trouble and why many mainstream media sources don’t seem to like him very much. For context, Rogan has had approximately 70 episodes of his podcast removed from Spotify to date.

In the episode he points out the difference between scholars looking at the Roman Empire versus our current civilization, saying that they will struggle to understand how we “fell apart” despite our advancements and progress in terms of technology. In the past, Rogan has been quick to question and invalidate some modern advancements. This is part of the reason why his view received such mixed reviews.

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But many are criticizing his interpretation of the quote and the book, in general, saying that Rogan likes to theorize but is quick to dismiss or question science. During the early stages of the COVID 19 pandemic when vaccines were still a relatively new development, Rogan made comments that came across as “anti-vaccine”.

While he later denied he was anti-vaccine, many said his comments paired with his influential status as a top podcaster contributed to the spread of misinformation about vaccines. Rogan has hosted some controversial scientists who are banned from social media due to their controversial opinions about the pandemic. This split much of his audience, consequently losing credibility with some fans.

So, while people appreciate that Rogan is once again diving into more abstract concepts and sharing his non-filtered thoughts on the matter, it’s also important to note that Rogan doesn’t have the finest reputation among many when it comes to validity. He’s had an undeniably dark past with racial slurs and distasteful comments.

What Are Joe Rogan’s Social Responsibilities?

Joe Rogan hosting the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

As the host of arguably the most popular podcast in the world, there’s a certain amount of social responsibility that Rogan has weighed on him. He’s an advocate of free speech which sometimes translates into tactless and insensitive content. Just as much as he’s respected for these qualities, he’s also lambasted for them.

While he claims to be politically neutral, it’s not widely believed that he is. His opinions have attracted a certain kind of audience, one that seems to pick and choose what they believe to fit their lifestyle rather than pick a lifestyle that suits their values.

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The Joe Rogan Experience has always been a platform to discuss the debatable and contended thanks to Rogan’s openness to host a multitude of people with differing backgrounds. But even when that “live” sign shuts off, what he says still impacts his following. Anyone with influence online needs to understand the weight of their words and the way that they can shift the perspectives of many.

Whether you support Rogan, or not, his presence can’t be denied. His somewhat unpredictable stances will always keep things interesting. It’s critical for us to question those we listen to online without blindly following suit, but it’s equally as vital to let people be heard. We can do both.  

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