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Other Life

Everything I don't get to say in normal life, plus friends.
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Apr 3, 2017

Diana S. Fleischman is an evolutionary psychologist, currently Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth. Her interests include sex, disgust, veganism, utilitarianism, effective altruism, polyamory, and genetics, among other things.

Show notes with timestamps:

0:00 - 00:30

How we met on Twitter, how to make friends online, dissecting our online impressions of each other. Our weird ideological histories and intersections. Academics and drug use and talking about it on the internet. A thesis about the new ideological fracturing; the alt-right, etc.

00:30 - 00:50

Diana’s experiences with the vegan movement; the milquetoast Science March. Is “intersectionality” predictive? Diana’s view of how the left is changing, on smart people leaving the left and people with nuanced views being ejected. My thesis that there is no mass media or mainstream anymore.

Diana reviews the idea of personality, the Big Five traits. Most people are not very open to experience. Are apparent ideological differences really just due to a bunch of different lexicons and/or sociological differences? Lefties open to global warming science, not open to other science (GMOs, etc.). The problem of epistemic hygiene and disgust. Why are we so paranoid and afraid of each other when our society has never been more pacified? How evolutionary psychology explains the prevalence of signaling in politics. Very interesting exchange of hypotheses on this point, about what causes this to increase or decrease, and how it may or may not be changing. One has to be disagreeable to update; how Diana has lost a lot of friends many times but most people don’t want to do that. How I think this is changing on the left.

00:50 - 1:20

Debates about IQ and leftist denials of hierarchy. Partisan sorting. How ideology can be rational and at odds with the truth, at the same time. How social partners want to make each other really weird so there is less competition for their attention. Why it feels good when someone tells you a secret. Marriage; hierarchical polyamory vs. anarcho-polyamory. How polyamory makes healthy competition. Diana’s personal arrangements. Why I like monogamy and think pleasure is bad. It’s hard to think clearly and be honest when you’re trying to get laid. My interest in radical transparency, which Diana thinks is dumb. How sex could facilitate honesty.

Social media as escape behavior, how to manage this. Kink and sociopathy. How to use social media dopamine as a propeller of disciplined work, which you then reinvest into social media, and so on. Diana becomes more fluent when arguing. How we both leverage social media exchanges for more purposeful writing.

1:20 - 1:54

Here is when things get a little bit dicey. I asked Diana if “human biodiversity” is a racist dog-whistle or a real thing? Diana laid out a lot of arguments and cited a lot of evidence, and we had a long back and forth about this and its implications. Diana recommended the article “On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism,” an explicitly anti-racist case for "human biodiversity." I don’t know much about this stuff and I’m still processing the conversation to be honest. As if this wasn’t difficult enough, I also asked Diana about mental health and transgenderism. I’m just going to leave it at that. Definitely one of the more intense and politically challenging conversations I’ve had on this podcast so far.

Mar 9, 2017

Dan Goss is a happy revolutionary. Unlike me Dan actually works hard on many active political campaigns. We first met through Plan C. Although Dan is a very committed and serious organizer, he's also very based and reflective and funny, too, which is why I asked him to do a podcast. We are joined by Rosie Hiscock, who is a working actress and musician. We recorded this podcast in Dan's home in London.

 

Notes with timestamps:

how to shut down a coal mine in South Wales (1:56)

activist guilt, and work guilt, and why they're fucked up (7:50)

doing direct action just for fun (9:05)

honesty as the only radical political obligation (9:40)

don't be insecure about seeming selfish (13:00)

don't do stupid activist shit if you don't honestly believe it's going to make revolution (15:00)

why I like Plan C (15:30)

Dan is against altruism and selfishness (15:50)

What if the joy of our relationships was the only thing? (18:15)

don't care what some random activist group thinks (18:50)

maybe we need a cult with no leader (24:30)

how does one become ungovernable? (34:20)

acting and performance as a political skill (37:25)

The power of self-observance (38:00)

Rosie teaches us the Alexander Technique (39:00)

the political significance of a slouching posture (41:40)

resentment and conservatism (52:30)

how is Dan so happy all the time? (55:00)

on becoming revolutionary or hating yourself (63:00)

how the fear of being offensive turns people off to politics (74:30)

the idiotic performances of activism (75:00)

refuse anything that does not feel like the liberation of your soul (76:20)

radical politics is learning how to live (83:00)

Feb 26, 2017

Most people think "communism" is crazy but actually it's really easy and hilarious. We're already doing it and it's great. Here, we teach you exactly how to start now.

Feb 17, 2017

Dr. Jonathan Havercroft is Associate Professor of International Political Theory at the University of Southampton. He has published work on the historical development and transformation of state sovereignty, 17th century and 20th century political philosophy, space weaponization and security, global dimensions of indigenous politics and hermeneutics. He is currently working on the ethical dimensions of international norms, theories of political affect, and the role of agreement in democratic theory and practice. His book Captives of Sovereignty (Cambridge University Press, 2011) looks at the historical origins of state sovereignty, critiques its philosophical assumptions and offers a way to move contemporary critiques of sovereignty beyond their current impasse.

# Notes

Why Jonathan loves betting on the ponies (00:06). I'm cool with eating animals because animals eat animals and would eat me (00:14). Academics who sell-out their expertise are pretty lame, but I have a plan (00:24). Why self-help gurus are usually full of shit but sometimes useful (00:40). Academic efficiency stuff (47:00). What Jonathan learned from hiring a personal trainer (00:55). Jonathan's kettlebell routines (00:59). Running and high-intensity intervals, pros and cons regarding stress (1:12). Jonathan's proposal for a national house-cleaning service to overthrow the patriarchy; fully automated luxury communism, etc. (1:35).

Jan 14, 2017

Adriana is a mental health worker based in London. She is a member of Plan C (http://www.weareplanc.org/).

Notes

How our ideas and speech can cut off liberation dynamics; the sociology of sorting in activist circles (00:07)

Why we don't gossip or criticize other political groups, the futility of objections in favor of looking for new weapons, relationships (00:11)

Adriana's experiences in mental health, NHS, CBT, etc. The power of meditation (fuck the haters). (00:15)

Just because you're high-functioning doesn't mean your mentally well; how we've lowered the standard for what counts as healthy life; capitalism at best is like "choose your own mental illness." (00:16)

Financial success is just profitable mental illness (00:18)

How we're blackmailed into saying our lives are good (00:19)

Learning how to become well together might just be the most viable program of revolutionary politics available. (00:23)

Mental health is not hippie shit. (00:25)

The need for immediate tools to deal with where the economic system enters our bodies; cognitive-behavioral therapy. (00:27)

Focusing on your own mental health isn't selfish. It transforms relationships and institutions; charisma and the ability to embody and effect a new type of being. (00:30)

People think "being radical" means saying and doing things within radical circles, but around most people at most times we are boring, lazy, and moderate. On revolutionizing everyday life. (00:44)

To spread revolution you have to let go of your fucking agenda once in a while. (00:48)

Political groups don't have to read Marx; just find the thing that makes everyone joyous and creative. (00:56)

Why we don't recruit, Plan C. (1:08)

Adriana's thoughts on the next steps; allow large groups of people to radicalize themselves in totally different ways and then aggregate and organize them. Note and record your own moments where you feel really good, show them, understand them, and ask: what is your version of this? (1:15)

Revolutionary organizations should be technologies of immediate liberation; they should be direct action on your being. Also true friendships and romantic relationships, but we still have to learn how to do it because we don't really know yet (although we all pretend we do); making revolution means figuring how this works. (1:27)

How much should we let ourselves be depressed? In kindness do we maybe flatter each others' depression? Should we be more aggressive, with each other and ourselves, in helping each other? How we balance these things in Plan C. (1:40)

Political problems around mental health that most people don't want to talk about; mental health's contagiousness; why I think one's own mental health should be non-negotiable; some people can't "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" but actually some people can somewhat, especially with external triggers and collective supports, and why it's maybe fucked up to suggest people can't pull themselves up. (1:49)

The wellness industry is fucked up, but to dismiss wellness throws the baby out with the bathwater; true wellness is radical because it spreads. (2:06)

What I mean when I say I'm a revolutionary. (2:09)

Even if nobody listens to this it was a success because Adriana enjoyed it and we feel pumped and connected. (2:13)

Jan 14, 2017

Dr. Jonathan Havercroft is Associate Professor of International Political Theory at the University of Southampton. He has published work on the historical development and transformation of state sovereignty, 17th century and 20th century political philosophy, space weaponization and security, global dimensions of indigenous politics and hermeneutics. He is currently working on the ethical dimensions of international norms, theories of political affect, and the role of agreement in democratic theory and practice. His book Captives of Sovereignty (Cambridge University Press, 2011) looks at the historical origins of state sovereignty, critiques its philosophical assumptions and offers a way to move contemporary critiques of sovereignty beyond their current impasse.

Notes

How I'm trying to achieve absolute disalienation and why Jonathan thinks I'm crazy; living in the UK vs. the US; childhood; why it's good to have goals even if you know you can't achieve them; Caitlyn Jenner; bathroom gender laws; is the news worth reading?; how and why my dad used to get in fights and hitchhike but I never did; the tv show Cops and cultural change since the 1990s; the rise of after school activities as social control; whether I should want to have kids and Jonathan refusing to give me advice; how to live in the most revolutionary way; the problem of charismatic power and cults; the life of Wittgenstein; left-wing stupidities; Michael Oakeshott; why Jonathan thinks I'm going to become a conservative; gambling, etc.

Jan 14, 2017

Aria Alamalhodaei works on art history and sells groceries for a wage. Her writing has appeared in the journal History of Photography and online outlets such as Blind Field. Her website is alamalhodaei.tumblr.com. (Aria is also my spouse, which is probably the main reason she agreed to humor me for this first test run.)

Also thanks and credit to Aria for making the cover art for this podcast. :-)

Notes

Why I'm starting this podcast.

How we're so cool and smart.

Are Jay-Z and Beyonce actual lovers or just a corporate ruse?

Can jet fuel melt steel beams?

If you're cool or interesting and want to be on the podcast, or know someone who might want to be on the podcast, please hit me up. Or if you just want to tell me what you think about this podcast or anything else in the future, it's my goal to actively respond and sincerely engage with people who are interested in all the things I am thinking about. :-)

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