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PAIN, HOPE & THE STATE OF THE NATION

PAIN, HOPE & THE STATE OF THE NATION

January 16, 2021

Is there any hope of a sustainable human future? Confining myself mainly to the UK context, I attempt to address this question through an analysis of collective pain in relation to economic fragility, the COVID 19 pandemic, and Brexit. I start by giving the historical development of so-called neo-liberalism, focussing on its effect on organised labour and the results of FIRE sector deregulation, which together, I claim, resulted in intensified collective resentment, anomie and alienation in the midst of economic collapse. I end up recommending 'optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect' as the way forward and draw attention to some promising events and movements. [Free. 32 minutes.]

HOLLOW SYMBOLS -  INTERESTING TIMES 2

HOLLOW SYMBOLS - INTERESTING TIMES 2

June 11, 2020

In this podcast, we take issue with the complaints from  certain Tory MPs, conservative academics and right wing pundits that the toppling of statues of slave traders and imperialists 'erases history' and  'strikes at our way of life', and that historical figures should not be appraised according to modern morality and values. We argue that, contrary to these positions, obscured parts of history are illuminated by such acts, that 'our way of life' does not exist as a monolith, and that past figures should be evaluated according to modern values if we are to appraise our desires for future generations. We sketch out out symbols need to be understood as both heavy and empty. Warning: contains swearing. [Free. 19 minutes.]

LEAST VALUED, MOST VALUABLE

LEAST VALUED, MOST VALUABLE

March 21, 2020

In this short podcast, I examine the role of the UK's 'key workers' in the midst of the current global COVID19 pandemic. With a few examples I show how the nature of these workers is brought out of ideologically produced obscurity into the light by the crisis. Often low-status, poorly paid, and traduced and poorly treated by the conservative government, these workers, I argue, are both more necessary and more public spirited than, say, hedge-fund managers. [Free. 9 minutes.] 

THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR: REVOLUTION?

THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR: REVOLUTION?

January 25, 2020

In this podcast I question the nature of revolution, particularly as to its ultimate ground, which for some should be consciousness, and for others, the power structures of society, particularly materialistically understood. I outline the thought that both must be involved as it is found in the ongoing historical conversation. This includes Freudian Marxism, and the existentialism of Simone de Beauvoir, who gives us the figures of the yogi and the commissar to imagine. [Free.  28 minutes.]

TORYISM, CRUELTY & POWER

TORYISM, CRUELTY & POWER

December 4, 2019

In this podcast we examine the assertion that "A vote for the Conservatives is a vote for cruelty". We proceed by way an account of the ideological underpinnings of contemporary Toryism and their 'philosophical' roots, an empirical look at exemplary and actual sufferings caused by austerity, the psychology of Tory leaders and the class they represent and the psychology of the Tory base. The latter two are exposed through the use of the concept of resentment and the truism that power is a narcotic. We conclude that cruelty and the quest for the narcotic effects of power are deeply defining of conservatism. [Free. 19 minutes.]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

May 26, 2019

In this podcast, I continue to explore the matter of human desire. I relate it to our embeddedness in time, to suffering and to our motivations to act. [Free. 26 minutes.]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

December 31, 2018

In this podcast, I elucidate Embracing the Human, one of the Songs of No and Yes. The discourse mostly takes the form of a recommendation against espousing asceticism and passive nihilism in the name of 'spirituality'. [Free. 27 minutes.]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

December 10, 2018

This podcast is the second in the series Songs of No and Yes. It revisits the theme of the previous one, that of sitting meditation. The perspective is a little different and there is a strong 'no', or sealing off of escape routes which we are likely to attempt when the rawness of sitting is encountered. It also repudiates metaphysical speculation, grand-narratives, and other such hubris, seeking to point towards the ineffable rather than attempt to 'eff' it. [Free. 17 minutes.]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

November 30, 2018

This podcast is the first in a series of commentaries on my own poems in Songs of No and Yes. These are primarily for yoga people, particularly those who would 'teach' others. The first one deals with sitting practice and the productive dialectical tension between self-study and the call of the world. It deals with the suffering of self and others and the temptations to let 'spirituality' settle into escapism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

INTOXICATION AND THE WILL TO POWER

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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