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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

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RIGHT WING MEDIA, BREXIT, THE NHS - RAW THOUGHT 6

THOUGHTS ON THE NEW RIGHT WING MEDIA, BREXIT, THE NHS - RAW THOUGHT 6

February 8, 2021

This eavesdrop onto our conversation has we wander the hills is for our patrons only.  The sound is rough in places due to wind on the hill.  Apologies. The content is excellent, however! [Patrons only. 51 minutes.]

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.]

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.]

MUTANTS, BORDERS AND PLAGUE ISLAND - INTERESTING TIMES 18

MUTANTS, BORDERS AND PLAGUE ISLAND - INTERESTING TIMES 18

December 23, 2020

In this rambling rant, we consider the consequences of the announcement of a supposedly super infectious variant of the SARS-COV-2 virus which is spreading through the UK. We take a broad approach, covering the take of eminent virologists, analysing the relevance of the French blockade to the rapidly approaching Brexit, and wondering if the upcoming catastrophe will lead to a 'getting of wisdom'. [Free. 1 hour.]

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.]

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