LAO TZU 15

September 7, 2018

In this podcast, we comment on Chapters 25 and 26 of The Tao Te Ching. In the first part, we elucidate Lao Tzu's cosmology and the categories of earth, heaven, the human and the Tao. We particularly highlight how, for Lao Tzu, the transcendent and the immanent are mutually dependent and how this precludes life-negation. Lao Tzu, we take it, arrives at this tremendous vision through his own contemplation and goes on to point out to us how we might do the same and how simple that task is. We flesh out Lao Tzu's contemplative [non] method, hopefully with some practical pointers. [Free. 37 minutes.]

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IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

August 12, 2018

This meander was stimulated by a recent repudiation by Zizek of the possible role of small communities in any future human flourishing. In this context, I revisit E. F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973). I discuss some of the core ideas from that seminal work. In particular, I focus on the treatement of raw materials as [inexhaustible]  income and the treatement of the environment as a free dump by capitalism and the economic theories that act as its ideological justification. I touch upon intermediate technology, the role of 'spirituality' in the good life, the way in which economic theories and political practice often treat people as numbers on a spreadsheet, the 1984-5 UK Miners' Strike and the persistence of alienation in nationalised industries. I do this by discerning Zizek's 'inner Schumacher' and Schumacher's 'inner Zizek' and recounting instances of their expression. In both cases these inner others are mostly repressed, but vigorous enough to surface now and then in brilliant insight. [Free. 47 minutes.]

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INTOXICATION AND THE WILL TO POWER

August 1, 2018

In this podcast I consider Nietzsche's accounts of promise-making, bad conscience, ressentiment, the mnemo-technics of pain and the rise of Christianity understood as the spiritual revenge of slaves as outlined in On the Genealogy of Morals [1886]. I offer a riposte to Judith Butler's objection to Nietzsche's account of the development of a continuous will which seems to be in contradiction to Nietzsche's account of language as a 'moving army of metaphors'. [Butler, 1997 - The Psychic Life of Power.] From there, I move on to consider how the concept of ressentiment can be utilised to understand the current populism in conjuction with the notion of ideology. To the Freudian-Marxists question 'Why do slaves aquiesece in their slavery?', the Nietzschean might answer, 'They don't always. Sometimes they seek subterranean means of revenge in order to experience the intoxication of exerting their will to power over others.'  [Free. 39 minutes.]

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VALUE & NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

July 29, 2018

This podcast is stimulated by David Graeber's remarks on value and a possible revolutionary ethical paradigm shift that could place value creation not in production of commodities but production of people. I follow Graeber, though with artistic license,  jumping off from the platform he provides to extol the virtues of 'naturally occurring communism', to praise idleness, to see hope in the revitalisation of the flame of humanness. I draw on Adam Smith, Marx, Engels, the TV series Silicon Valley and Bertrand Russell. [Free. 26 minutes.]

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HOW TO MEANDER

May 30, 2018

In this podcast, we outline our top ten [or thereabouts] tips for honing your meandering skills. [Free. 60 minutes.]

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MORTALITY, INSECURITY, MEDITATION

May 5, 2018

This short squib deals with the insecurity of life, particularly mortality and suffering, and how these invite and potentiate meditation whilst not precluding the perennial human endeavours to secure and enhance life practically. I jump off from Alan Watts' The Wisdom of Insecurity, but thereafter go my own way. [Free. 15 minutes.]

 

 

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DESIGNING SOCIETY AND EVALUATION

May 2, 2018

This podcast is a rambly continuation of some previous considerations of value. In this case, I claim that calls for designing society around resources available [rather than money], though inspiring, need to make good a lacuna around value. [In particular, I consider the Zeitgeist project.] The question needs to be asked, 'What future should we value?'. Prior to that though, we need to figure out how to tackle that question and elucidate the process of evaluation. I also point out that we ourselves, with our desires, are at stake in any cogent appraoch to evaluation. [Free. 20 minutes.]

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ON GUILT

March 22, 2018

Here I sketch out and contrast various ideas of what guilt is and how it arises. These are firstly, that conscience, the capacity to feel guilt, is innate, [biologism and Kant], and secondly, the result of social processes, [Nietzsche and Freud]. Books mentioned are New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (Third lecture: 'The Dissection of the Psychical Personality' 1933) and Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals (1886). [Free. 39 minutes.]

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VIKING INTENSITY

March 11, 2018

This podcast is a mischevious engagament with a fagment from the TV series Vikings in which a protagonist confesses his desire to live each moment with the maximum possible intensity. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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ON TABOOS

January 26, 2018

This podcast is a rambling discussion which seeks to elucidate the nature of taboos. This involves considering law, superstition, transgression, the unconscious and Freud's metapsychology. We find ourselves questioning the coherence of the notion of the unconscious whilst at the same time finding it almost indispensible. Do we have to have taboos? We conclude that theoretically a society could be without taboos but that it is unlikely in the near future. However, minimising the play of irrational forces is thought to be desirable. The one thing that taboos have in their favour is their connection with the transgressive element in erotic jouissance. Contains a discussion of swearing and an account of a tantric exorcism. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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