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RACISTS EXPOSE THEMSELVES - INTERESTING TIMES 3

RACISTS EXPOSE THEMSELVES - INTERESTING TIMES 3

June 14, 2020

In this brief podcast, we analyse events in London of the 13th June 2020, in which self-defined racist far right protagonists fought with the police. We conclude that though this event was largely a 'dead cat', which could well distract from far bigger issues like institutional racism, the deadly mismanagement of the global pandemic by the Johnson Tory government, the results of the democidal Tory social security policies, and environmental degradation, it nevertheless was revelatory of the need to expose certain obscured details of UK history. We point out that the right has an emotionally charged project of conserving a largely mythic narrative it tells itself about itself. [Free. 19 minutes.]

HOLLOW SYMBOLS -  INTERESTING TIMES 2

HOLLOW SYMBOLS - INTERESTING TIMES 2

June 11, 2020

In this podcast, we take issue with the complaints from  certain Tory MPs, conservative academics and right wing pundits that the toppling of statues of slave traders and imperialists 'erases history' and  'strikes at our way of life', and that historical figures should not be appraised according to modern morality and values. We argue that, contrary to these positions, obscured parts of history are illuminated by such acts, that 'our way of life' does not exist as a monolith, and that past figures should be evaluated according to modern values if we are to appraise our desires for future generations. We sketch out out symbols need to be understood as both heavy and empty. Warning: contains swearing. [Free. 19 minutes.]

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

LOCK-DOWN PROTESTS AND LIBERTARIAN ABSOLUTISM

May 19, 2020

In this podcast, we discuss the specifics of US and UK anti-lock-down protests which naturally leads on to a discussion of freedom per se and how it can be exercised so as to remove the freedom of others. This involves considerations of property, inequalities of wealth and power, discerning evidence, and evaluating narratives in the face of media and governmental disregard for truth. [Free. 24 minutes.]

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

May 8, 2020

The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 minutes.]

ON APOCALYPSE

ON APOCALYPSE

March 6, 2020

In this podcast, I distinguish between rational and irrational apocalyptic fears. I discuss the Cuba missile crisis of 1962 and the subsequent retreat from the brink through various treaties and weapons inspection regimes. I also outline briefly how an incipient new cold war / arms race seems to be on the horizon. I also consider the eco-apocalypse in the light of a real-life encounter with militant climate deniers. My conclusion is not entirely pessimistic and underscores the role of human agency. [Free. 28 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [2] “#SURRENDER BILL”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [2] “#SURRENDER BILL”

September 12, 2019

In this podcast we deconstruct the hashtag "surrender bill" which Prime Minister Johnson has been repeating at every opportunity. This hashtag attempts to spin the bill which recently passed through parliament making it illegal for the government to allow a no deal brexit or a brexit with a new deal without parliamentary consent on 31st October as somehow a surrender in an imagined war. We trace how this framing attempts to resonate with myths and fantasies around World War 2. [Free.  26 minutes.]

MISLEADING SLOGANS [1] “TAKE BACK CONTROL”

MISLEADING SLOGANS [1] “TAKE BACK CONTROL”

September 9, 2019

In this podcast, we unpack the slogan 'Take Back Control' which was employed by Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum which resulted in the Brexit chaos the UK is currently living through. As an information source, we go right to the 'horses mouth', a YouTube video of Dominic Cummings, [Campaign Director, Vote Leave] explaining to an audience how the leave campaign came to win the referendum. [Available here - https://youtu.be/CDbRxH9Kiy4.] We argue that the manipulation of people's thought and actions en mass, which is propaganda, erodes the possibility of a flourishing democratic society and a culture of reasoned argument and careful evaluation urgently needs to be built. [Free. 33 minutes.]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

May 26, 2019

In this podcast, I continue to explore the matter of human desire. I relate it to our embeddedness in time, to suffering and to our motivations to act. [Free. 26 minutes.]

THE INTERNET AS COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS

THE INTERNET AS COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS

June 27, 2018

This playful ramble likens the internet to the unconscious of the whole of humanity. If we let it, the internet rubs our noses in our being as a species, warts, wonders and all. However, we argue, it is now possible to avoid this stark and partly painful self-revelation by retreating into echo chambers. The monetisation of the internet through advertising is partly responsible. We touch on the desirability of a de-centralised internet which encourages and rewards good content creators. [Free. 25 minutes.]

NUMBERS ONE: SEDUCTIONS OF THE ALGORITHM

NUMBERS ONE: SEDUCTIONS OF THE ALGORITHM

March 14, 2018

In this podcast, I consider the mysticism of numbers of the Pythagoreans and its influence down the ages on Plato, Aristotle, Kepler, Newton and on to the scientism of the modern age. I contrast this with a mysticism of endless, unfathomable mystery and tease out the ramifications for the Socratic question of how life is to be lived. [Free. 38 minutes.]