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REASON ON REASON 4 - MADNESS

REASON ON REASON 4 - MADNESS

February 3, 2021

In this podcast we examine madness or the loss of reason to further our picturing of reason. We start out with the fact that madness, like reason has a history which offers us a variety of causal explanations of madness, treatments for it, and accounts of its meaning. We also give a brief account of nosological drift. Both of these preliminaries serve to cast suspicion on the notion that we can discern madness through contrast with a supposedly sane consensus reality. Accordingly, we are drawn to consider madness in terms of suffering people and to appraise crazy social and political situations through the employment of a critical awareness rather than accepting the status quo understanding as a yardstick. That critical awareness, we claim, entails acquaintance with ones own potential for irrationality. [Free. 54 minutes.]

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

December 17, 2020

In this second episode of our series on reason, I take a broad brush to outline 

some of the main antecedents to the so-called European Enlightenment, also know as 'The Age of Reason'. I focus on the rise of experimental science in the contexts of church power and violence against those who contradict its doctrines, the rise of the bourgeoisie, and advances in mathematics. The figures of Descartes, Galileo and Newton loom large but Aristotle, Aquinas, Copernicus, Kepler and others also have parts. [Free. 44 minutes.]

US ELECTION AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE - INTERESTING TIMES 14

US ELECTION AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE - INTERESTING TIMES 14

November 4, 2020

This brief episode of Interesting Times takes a  brief look the general chaos in the US and the UK before outlining the undemocratic nature of the US electoral college. [Free. 15 minutes.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

WHAT IS FASCISM? 2 - THE PRESENT DAY UK & USA

October 6, 2020

In this podcast, I ask the question, "Are the US and UK fascist?" I attempt to address this question by checking if any of the features I identified in the first podcast of this series are observable in the current situations in the UK and the US. [I leave aside the matter of the economy for a future podcast.] I conclude that many of the elements of fascism are present and that some are venerable, others incipient and some are being actively cultivated. I suggest briefly what needs to be done about this dangerous situation. [Free. 1 hour 2 mins.]

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

WHAT IS FASCISM? 1 - HISTORICAL EXAMPLES

October 2, 2020

In this first of a series on fascism, I identify eleven prominent features of the historical forms of fascism of Hitler's Germany  and Mussolini's Italy, describe them and show how they inter-relate.  I make the point that the features can give rise to varied surface appearances and that we shouldn't expect future manifestations of the 'syndrome' to look like Nazi Germany or fascist Italy. I propose to see, in future podcasts of this series, to see if we find any of the crucial feature incipient or actually present in the contemporary situation of the USA and the UK.  [Free. 54 minutes.]

A STATUE DIES - INTERESTING TIMES 1

A STATUE DIES - INTERESTING TIMES 1

June 8, 2020

This podcast is the first of our series of immediate reflections on current affairs. In it, we deal with the toppling of a seventeenth century statue of slave-trader Edward Colston by demonstrators in  Bristol. We celebrate this action and offer arguments against the right-wing reactions to this event. [Free. 39 minutes.]

LAO TZU 18

LAO TZU 18

May 2, 2020

In this podcast we reflect on Chapter 31 of The Tao Te Ching. This Chapter deals with the pity and tragedy of war and the terrible nature of weapons and how the sage does not celebrate them. The sage, instead, loves peace and quiet and recommends it to rulers and peoples. We relate this to our current situation in which over $1.7 trillion are spent per annum globally on the weapons of war and in which many senseless and highly destructive wars are fought. We conclude that Lao Tzu's lesson in this chapter is one we urgently need to hear. [Free. 21 minutes.]

LAO TZU 17

LAO TZU 17

April 27, 2020

In this podcast, we return to our long project of commenting on the Tao Te Ching. This time we comment on Chapters 29 and 30 which speak out against hubris in leaders. The character types of typical leaders is taxonomised and contrasted with that of 'the sage'. The sage, we are told, is without pride, false charm and greed and leads with a light touch. Consequently, his leading style avoids environmental destruction. Lao Tzu also speaks out against warlike behaviour in leaders and spells out the destructive consequences such as famine. We suggest that these lessons are very relevant  to our current political situation. [Free. 22 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.]

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

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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