UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME, PLENTY AND SCARCITY

October 12, 2018

This podcast is an abstract consideration of universal basic income which relates it to plenty, scarcity, money in general and political power. I explore both dystopian and utopian possibilities. [Free. 26 minutes.]

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FREE SPEECH

August 27, 2018

In this podcast, I take it that free speech, as an instance of freedom per se, is a very great good. However, this stance is not unproblematic in that free speech and freedom can subvert themselves as well as eroding other goods, e.g. equality. The obvious and often proposed notion that this can be overcome by policing or regulation raises the problem that any claim to the right to do the policing is impossible to legitimate and will therefore ultimately be authoritarian in nature. There is some hope in the possibility of general eduction based on ecouraging questioning rather than on inculcating dogma but this project also encounters a legitimation problem in that curricula are likely to be determined by some authority. [Free. 33 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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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

July 23, 2018

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.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART ONE: POLITICAL SCOUNDRELS]

July 23, 2018

This podcast is a wide-ranging commentary on the Trump charm offensive on Nato, the UK Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin of last week [13/7/18 ff]. It draws on the relevant press conferences, the film The Vietnam War [Ken Burns and Lynn Novick], the film An Inconvenient Sequel [Al Gore] and broadcasts of the UK Parliament. I consider the thesis that the political class are largely scoundrels. [Free. 37 minutes.]

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LEFT-RIGHT: PART TWO [COSMOPOLITANISM, ETHNO-NATIONALISM, HEIDEGGER, NIETZSCHE]

September 9, 2017

In this podcast I compare and contrast cosmopolitanism with ethno-nationalism. I discuss the use of Heidegarian tropes by alt-right ideologues to justify their stance which regards cosmopolitanism as the cause of all the ills of the modern world. I show how this move is easily countered and that Heidegger's view of 'the self' can actually be used to counter the notion that cosmopoitanism leads to the modern carelessness with the environment and 'rootlessness'. What is missing from the alt-right reading of the Heideggarian human 'self', I argue, is the questioning nature of this 'self' which in turn leads to the yoga questions: 'Who and what am I?'. At the very least, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is that of Diogenes the Cynic: 'I am a citizen of the world'. At the same time, the beauty of one's particularity is revealed, even as one might rhapsodically experience oneness with everything. I trace some of this path of thought through a brief discussion of Heidegger's relationship to Nietzsche, to whom he dedicated four thick volumes of reflection and criticism. [Free. 43 minutes.]

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LEFT-RIGHT: PART ONE [CHARLOTTESVILLE & THE OLD MAN’S VICE OF BIG PICTURE THINKING]

September 1, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on recent events that took place in Charlotteville, Virginia. The discussion inevitably ranges far and wide and covers such issues as the role of violence in politics, the nature of the left-right binary, the question of the moral equivalence that President Trump et al seem to draw between neo-fascists and their anti-fascist detractors, the natures of free speech and propoganda, the significance of history and future thinking for politics, the nature of the symbolic universe inhabited by some activists, and the phenomenon of meme wars. The question of how far we can, and should, extend our sympathies is once again brought to the fore. [Free. 47 minutes.]

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YOGA AND THE FUTURE

June 23, 2017

In this podcast we discuss the future of Yoga both in a broad historical context and in the local UK context in which Yoga is being 'claimed' by the corporate fitness industry. The discussion naturally elides into a discussion of the potential roles that Yoga and Yoga practitioners should play in the unfolding of events as economic, cultural and ecological instabilities play out. We conclude that the fitness industry has to be strongly resisted by authentic yogis if Yoga is to be able to do its good work to maximum effect. An extended version of this talk was given at the IYN Yoga Festival on 2nd June 2017. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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HOMO ECONOMICUS: COMMENTARY ON ROB URIE’S ‘ZEN ECONOMICS’

May 29, 2017

This podcast is almost a review of Rob Urie's Zen Economics (2016). The thesis of Urie's book is that contemporary economic theory is a pseudo science which functions as an ideological mystification of consumer capitalism and bases itself on a spurious metaphysical conceptualisation of the human being along Cartesian lines. Urie marshals Zen and the work of Heidegger to mount his criticism with interesting results. [Free. 44 minutes.]

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THE SNAP GENERAL ELECTION UK 2017 - SOME THOUGHTS

April 25, 2017

In this podcast, we reflect on the recently called general election, to take place on June the 8th, 2017. We are particularly concerned with the way the campaign is reported in the media. [Free. 32 minutes.]

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