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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“CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND”

October 17, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on Terence Mckenna's assertion that "culture is not your friend." I find that, indeed, culture as we know it today, frequently has ideological components, i.e. it plays a role in preserving and promoting social dominance hierarchies. However, it does have pragmatic possibilities, preserving ideas, crafts and technologies that have survival value. And, when not paralysed by conservatism, these possibilites can even develop beyond what can be achieved in a single generation, enhancing life. I argue also that culture has vital roles in entertainment and edification which can be usurped by ideology and which it is worth the effort to restitute. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART FOUR: POLITICS AND IDEOLOGY

February 28, 2017

In this podcast, we refer to the last scene of The Matrix in which Neo speaks directly to the hegemonic machines and explicitly draws attention to the political dimensions of the film. This scene invites us to understand the real-apparent binary as the opposition between the concrete political situation of slavery and exploitation and the ideological mystification which prevents the victims from throwing off their chains or even realising that they are in them. This leads us to a discussion of the attempts to make good the lacuna in Marxism around the details of ideological mystification by theorising a Freudian-Marxism. Dramatis Personae: Freud, Marx, Hegel, Lacan, Zizek, Fromm, Reich, Marcusse, Engels. The final scene [3 minutes 31 seconds] is here:-  https://youtu.be/aTL4qIIxg8A. See the blue pill - red pill choice in this four minute clip: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 39 minutes.]

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