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VALUE & NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

VALUE & NATURALLY OCCURRING COMMUNISM

July 29, 2018

This podcast is stimulated by David Graeber's remarks on value and a possible revolutionary ethical paradigm shift that could place value creation not in production of commodities but production of people. I follow Graeber, though with artistic license,  jumping off from the platform he provides to extol the virtues of 'naturally occurring communism', to praise idleness, to see hope in the revitalisation of the flame of humanness. I draw on Adam Smith, Marx, Engels, the TV series Silicon Valley and Bertrand Russell. [Free. 26 minutes.]

TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

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.]

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.]

REMARKS ON US/UK/FRANCE MISSILE STRIKES ON SYRIA [14TH APRIL 18]

REMARKS ON US/UK/FRANCE MISSILE STRIKES ON SYRIA [14TH APRIL 18]

April 15, 2018

In this podcast I question the legitimacy the UK government's decision to join with France and the USA in attacking Syria with missiles without Parliamentary debate and without clear evidence of the presence of the chemical warefare agents that were the alleged target. I draw attention to the fact that the UK state is complicit in supplying arms to dictators, which though 'legal', cause horrible human suffering just as efficiently as chemical warefare agents. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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

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.]

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

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.]

COMMENTARY ON 2017 SNAP GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

COMMENTARY ON 2017 SNAP GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

June 28, 2017

This short squib deals with the paradoxical euphoria of the Corbynistas, who did not get to form a government as a result of the election, and asks if the euphoria is justified. I conclude that it is and that a number of important transformations have taken place in the political landscape. [Free. 29 minutes.]

CONTRA NOS: TALK GIVEN IN LONDON AGAINST THE NATIONAL OCCUPATION STANDARD FOR A YOGA TEACHER

CONTRA NOS: TALK GIVEN IN LONDON AGAINST THE NATIONAL OCCUPATION STANDARD FOR A YOGA TEACHER

January 23, 2017

This is my contribution to a public meeting put on by the Independent Yoga Network [IYN] to clarify the attempt being made by BWY and Skillsactive to institute a National Occupational Standard for a Yoga Teacher in the face of concerted and reasoned opposition from key players in the UK Yoga Community.  The meeting was held on the 14th January 2017. I am introduce by Ellen Lee, Chair of the IYN. Other presenters were Swami Ambikananda Saraswati [Traditional Yoga Association], Jim Gough [IYN Treasurer], Nick Elwell [BGi Insurance], and Satish K Sharma [General Secretary, National Council of Hindu Temple (UK)]. The complete proceedings, which run to over 3 hours, will be available from the IYN online magazine, namaskaram, shortly. [Free. 22 minutes.]

UTOPIA - HOW & WHY DOES IT HAUNT THOUGHT?

UTOPIA - HOW & WHY DOES IT HAUNT THOUGHT?

September 22, 2016

In this podcast, we run with the the observation that 'thought is haunted by utopia'. In passing we discuss literary utopias and dystopias, revolutions, and the effect of intimations of vulnerability and mortality on human future thinking. [Free. 53 minutes.]

GETTING INFORMED IN THE INFORMATION AGE

GETTING INFORMED IN THE INFORMATION AGE

July 27, 2016

In his podcast, we consider the problems of negotiating the unprecedented access to information that characterises the modern age. We note that too much information becomes no information unless we have the means to evaluate what is relevant to our questions, to discern what is reliable and what not, and unless we have some grasp of interpretation and how it relates to states of affairs in the world. We go on to consider the struggle for the internet and the broad shape of the power which tries to determine and exploit our lives. [Free. 60 minutes.]