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CORRUPTION, AUTHORITARIANISM, NUGATORY OPPOSITION - INTERESTING TIMES 24

CORRUPTION, AUTHORITARIANISM, NUGATORY OPPOSITION - INTERESTING TIMES 24

February 24, 2021

In this podcast, I attempt to discern key revelations brought about by the UK High Court ruling that the government has been in breach of law regarding transparency around contracts for supply of PPE to health and care workers. At least two features of the UK government jump out; it's corruption and its authoritarian ambitions. Though this intervention by the judiciary is welcome, I question if it would be so if the UK was actually a democracy.  Once again, the need for mass activism on a number of fronts recommends itself. [Free. 19 minutes.]

FREUD’S INFLUENCE ON US GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS

FREUD’S INFLUENCE ON US GOVERNMENT & BUSINESS

February 15, 2021

This podcast ranges wide over the uses of Freud's insights for manipulating mass thinking and behaviour on behalf of the state and corporations. We review Adam Curtis' four part documentary  The Century of the Self (2002),  as a way in. There is particular focus on the work of Freud's nephew Bernays, the father of modern PR and advertising and author of Propaganda (1928). We also draw attention to philosophical problems with Freudianism, particularly those noted by Wittgenstein and Heidegger. Though standing alone, the podcast is also groundwork for future podcasts on the psychopathology of fascism.

The Century of the Self available on YouTube. Episode 1- https://youtu.be/DnPmg0R1M04

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.]

EVENTS THAT DEMYSTIFY: BREXIT NOT DONE, GAMESTOP & A TRUTHFUL POLITICIAN - INTERESTING TIMES 23

EVENTS THAT DEMYSTIFY: BREXIT NOT DONE, GAMESTOP & A TRUTHFUL POLITICIAN - INTERESTING TIMES 23

January 30, 2021

In this podcast we recount and comment on three events that have been in the news over the last few days. The first is the revelation that Brexit is not done since the twenty seven EU nations have yet to ratify the agreement. The second is the Gamestop affair in which hedge funds have been confounded by the collective action of small investors co-ordinating through Reddit. The third an interview with Mark Drakeford, Welsh First Minister, on the Radio 4 Today programme in which Dr Drakeford's honesty and direct answering of questions confounded the interviewer who is usually highly aggressive towards Labour politicians. In each of these seemingly disparate events, the ideological mystification that enshrouds our public discourse momentarily parts. [Free. 27 minutes.]

PAIN, HOPE & THE STATE OF THE NATION - INTERESTING TIMES 22

PAIN, HOPE & THE STATE OF THE NATION - INTERESTING TIMES 22

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.]

REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

January 13, 2021

In this third podcast in the series Reason on Reason, I investigate the rise of questioning during the Enlightenment and the accompanying scepticism towards ecclesiastical, theological and political authority. The main part of the podcast is analysis and comment on Kant's newspaper article of 1784, What is Enlightenment? This article exposes a tension between the promise of the new questioning for knowledge and it application and the possible impacts this movement could have on social cohesion. Other dramatis personae include Voltaire, Hume, per-cursor, Locke, and Blake for the ensuing Romantic back-lash. [Free. 32 minutes.]

TWITTER BANS AND FREE SPEECH - INTERESTING TIMES 21

TWITTER BANS AND FREE SPEECH - INTERESTING TIMES 21

January 9, 2021

This episode in our current affairs series is a wide ranging analysis of the significance of the banning of the POTUS, Donald Trump, by Twitter and other social media platforms. This leads into considerations of the benefits and drawbacks of free speech, and the multi-stranded power dynamics that surround it in our current discursive world, dominated by vastly influential information technology as it is. I make recommendations on how to situate ourselves in this situation and note the skills we need to proceed towards understanding and independence. [Free. 39 minutes.]

INVASION OF US CAPITOL - INTERESTING TIMES 20

INVASION OF US CAPITOL - INTERESTING TIMES 20

January 7, 2021

This podcast gives a brief account of the invasion of the US Capitol by Trumpists who believe [without evidence] that Trump really won the Presidential Election. I attempt to discern the significance of the events and to descry both positive and negative effects into the future. I briefly give an account of UK reactions to the events and what they reveal about the state of UK politics. [Free. 35 minutes.]

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

January 1, 2021

On New Year's Day 2021, we pause to look both backwards and forwards. We identify and discuss four themes: the defeat of Trump and what that means for the global right Internationale, the fragmentation of the left and signs in movements around the world of its incipient re-emergence, the intensifying struggle to control information and particularly the internet, the impact of certain technological developments such as AI and CRISPR. We indicate how these developments are interlocked and how that points towards what is to be done. [Free.  47 minutes.]

LAO TZU 33

LAO TZU 33

December 29, 2020

In this podcast, we give a reading of Chapter 33 of the Tao Te Ching in which Lao Tzu traces the consequences of wide-spread greed on social harmony and peace. [Free. 24 minutes.]

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