Five Questions: Andrew McGregor
Andrew's resumé is as long as his arm. And he's got wicked long arms. He's an inventor, filmmaker, writer, comic publisher, entrepreneur, mentor, frequent TEDx speaker, creator of TEDxPacificPalisades, photojournalist, founder at The Tiziano Project and the LA Chessboxing Club, and last but not least, co-founder and CEO of Symbiotics. Whew! Meet Andrew.
How do you define being "in love"?
[Laughs] I’ve actually been wondering this myself a lot recently because I am—I’m coming out of a non-relationship relationship where there was love, but the circumstances were, ah, there was like a natural barrier that kind of prevented the more conventional, “Hey let’s do the white picket fence thing.” She had started her own family already and then there were those—I love the kids and all that, so I actually thought that that would—it was the first time in my life where I picked up another’s child and was like, “Ah, I love this creature.” So that’s her family and her thing and it’s already begun, so it was too profound to completely—anyway, but the love was there. It was kind of like siloizations of what could be possible, what could be expressed. It is kind of like this legitimate love and because it was silo’d, it continues in other ways…Sorry what’s the initial question? [Laughs] Define being in love, right. More concisely, I think I would define being in love as a willful and coerced complete vulnerability. I say willful because it’s like, “Oh, I want this to work.” You have to like—cuz that’s kind of the courage part of it, right? Like, “I’m gonna go for that mountain, that mountain love.” But the the coercion is you’re compelled by these deep, incredible, inexplicable passions. Yeah, that would be my definition.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
[Long pause] It’s been a cool life. And I say that not hubristically. I think I’ve been able to use my gifts as an educator to help several people that I’m completely aware of, and probably many more that I’m not aware of, get out of poverty. Yeah, so I think my exuberance for sharing what I know enabled others' lives to greatly benefit. And that’s a profound thing for me.And that’s a profound thing for me. I’ve done a lot of—like inventing Chess Boxing and sports and stuff like that and that’s amazing, but in terms of multi-generational humanity, like once someone is out of the poverty world, their children will be and things like that. So yeah, off the cuff I would say that.
Who is the most important person in your life?
[Long pause] I’d say right now it’s my father. It wasn’t always that way throughout my life, but he suffered a stroke a few years ago and we were somewhat alienated. And then like helping him recover…it’s like helped me recover. I don’t know—we’re very deeply connected right now and actually this trip to Indonesia is like, it’s kind of a moment like, “All right, Pops. You’re good.” I can resume doing the me things. But I’m doing it in a fashion where he’s like, I think, been profoundly healed. Both from the physical trauma of the stroke, but also whatever kind of acrimony tortured him earlier in life. It was like a strangely nasty divorce my parents had. And now that I’m the age they were when they were doing that shit to each other, it’s like, “What were you…?” You know I’m like single-ish with no children, but I’m just like, “What were you possibly thinking to do that to each other? With a family! Like ahhh!” [Laughs] So obviously there was some stuff that they needed to work out within themselves. I feel that now, my kind of devotion to my father, kind of later in life than most people do it, the kind of adolescent devotion got moved a decade forward or something like that. Yeah, so currently I would say it’s that. His wellbeing is now the center of my wellbeing and now I can like move on. The emotional structure’s been healed and mended.
What is one thing you don't know now, but feel compelled to know?
[Laughs] The key error that you’ve made for your entire life. “Oh shit, I bet on black!” [Laughter] “Why didn’t I bet on red!” The thing I must know… I guess what love is. To loop it back. And maybe I’ve already experienced it and I’m doubting it. To know the nature of those doubts and to know what love truly is and can be.
What will you miss the most when you’re gone?
I’m one of those “freeze your head” people, so I challenge the premise of your question. And also the premise that you’ll miss something once you’re dead. That’s another implication. So that’s a meaningful question in terms of its subtext. But the question is actually what corporeal things, like things of the flesh?
Me: However you interpret the question.
Andrew: So assuming like, spirit goes to some other astral plane kinda thing or…
Me: Or whatever you think. You could say your question is bullshit and “Nothing because I’ll be dead.” Ya know, whatever your answer might be. [Laughter]
Andrew: That seems a little silly given the spirit of the thing.
Me: But I’ve people answer that way and it’s totally fine. Just honesty.
Andrew: What would I personally miss?
Me: Yeah. If that was a thing or whatever.
Andrew: The future. Cuz that’s really joyous and exciting to create things and—yeah you really need the future to be a creative. I know that’s kind of a metaphysical conjecture, but yeah, if there’s something new coming and you’re anticipating what the future could be, but you’re inventing the present to kind of meld with what’s likely coming over the horizon. Yeah, so if one is dead, one would be in stasis. I think you could assume. So you wouldn’t have the future. Or maybe you’d be like an all time entity where it’s—the notion of time is kind of fascinating particularly how different animals experience time and stuff like that. There’s a wonderful German philosopher from the 30s named Barkley. You might wanna follow up with that on his metaphysics of time. But yeah, the future.