In this podcast we examine the way in which organisers a Trump rally in Oklahoma were manipulated by 'TikToc kids' into preparing for a much larger crowd than in fact turned up. We see some hope in the imaginative use of social media by a tech-savvy generation as well as discerning a certain fragility in system of dominance which pervades society. [Free. 32 minutes.]
This podcast is an account of our reactions to the state of things as on 2nd June 2020. In particular, we reflect on the murder of George Floyd by police and the resulting widespread social unrest and police violence in many US cities and demonstrations of solidarity across the world. We attempt to relate these events to wider historical, economic, cultural and ecological contexts.
The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 minutes.]
In this podcast, we examine the role played by main stream media in the power dynamics of the global economic system. We focus on the BBC and Channel 4 UK news outlets and their reportage of the COVID19 pandemic which is somewhat critical of the UK government. The contrast between this critical reportage and the unrelenting and untruthful hostility to Labour in the run up to the 2019 election indicates, we argue, that Chomsky's characterisation of MSM as 'controlled opposition' is cogent. [We call it 'managed opposition'.] [Free. 22 minutes.]
In this podcast, I distinguish between rational and irrational apocalyptic fears. I discuss the Cuba missile crisis of 1962 and the subsequent retreat from the brink through various treaties and weapons inspection regimes. I also outline briefly how an incipient new cold war / arms race seems to be on the horizon. I also consider the eco-apocalypse in the light of a real-life encounter with militant climate deniers. My conclusion is not entirely pessimistic and underscores the role of human agency. [Free. 28 minutes.]
In this interview renowned Yoga Teacher Godfrey Devereux about a recent turn his work has taken. Godfrey has dropped the language surrounding contemporary Yoga to talk instead about resilience and how it is a consequence of a certain meditative self-enquiry. I ask Godfrey to elucidate this and particularly in the context of impending ecological catastrophe. I give my own take on these matters which is more inclined to speak up for activism. Listen to the following podcast, The Yogi and the Commissar, in which I explore some of the themes that emerged and in the light of Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism. [Free. 32 minutes.]
This wide-ranging podcast draws on the same sources as Part One and is similarly stimulated by current affairs. This time, the thesis that the current historical unfoldings of the mutually entangled economic, cultural and ecological systems are characterised by fragmentation is defended and a variety of possible material antecedents of this tendency are considered. We identify environmental degradation, technological developments, contradictions in capitalism in its current phase, cultural fragmentation, the enmeshment of state and corporate power, gross inequalities of wealth and power and movements of populations as mutually dependent factors giving rise to fragmentation, amongst others. [Free. 54 minutes.]
In this podcast, we take a look at optimism, invoking the help of Voltaire's satirical tale Candide (1759). We end up suggesting that the bouyancy that is the corollary of optimism might extract too high a price in the loss of realism that goes with wearing rose-coloured spectacles, and that dropping the half full- half empty binary might be what William Blake is suggesting we do when he tells us that 'energy is eternal delight'. [Free. 30 minutes.]