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Episode 11: The Fragile Absolute with Doug Lain Part 2

Doug Lain this weeks guest
Doug Lain this weeks guest
Doug Lain is the publisher of Zero Books and the Author of Bash Bash Revolution

 

 

Have you had enough of Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Zizek yet? Never?!? Me Neither, these are important theorists of our time – we may recognize that we are living in the age of the analogue of Nietzsche and Marx and so on and so on although it’s not entirely obvious that that’s the case. Either way, in this episode we travel a little further down the road to knowledge and wisdom. This is part two of a discussion I had back a few weeks ago now with Douglas Lain. Doug is an amazing person and has taken the responsibility of running an imprint on successfully. I really think that you should be reading at the very least, Capital Realism by Mark Fischer and Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle.

Too often echo chambers form on the internet. Podcast’s, blogs, forums, facebook groups can get lumped into a “category.” For Zero Books or for that matter Sam Harris, SRSLY Wrong or Ben Shapiro this is intentional. But for others like School Sucks, the Peace Revolution and even Gnostic Media or Red Ice Radio (at some point in the now distant past for both shows) there is a drive towards wisdom. A curiosity towards understanding the nature of the discourse without having to immediately label it capital L LEFT or capital R RIGHT.

If you were to draw a venn diagram of Zizek and Peterson that juicy middle section would draw the eye. They have a lot more in common than they have in terms of differences. Yet, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum politically. When Doug and I sat down to talk in January of 2018, the heat of the three or four years of polarization in American politics was as hot as it still is in February of 2018 and probably March, April, May of 2018.

I don’t want to be called a Nazi and I don’t want to be labelled as an SJW or a snow flake. I just want to follow the bizarre path the Truth takes through all of this. So again, I want to mention that Doug is a Marxist, Critical Theorist with a Left leaning imprint that publishes Critical Theory. But that is one dimension of who he is, he is a father of four a husband someone who occasional digs up interesting life histories from the obituaries. Politically I am nothing like him and everything like him, always already becoming a Marxist, always already a free market Libertarian.

As complexity continues to domainant the very social interactions that are possible. You hearing my voice now, the ability to tweet at celebrities and cause twitter carnage, the ability for freshman undergraduates to form political coalitions that result in professors losing their jobs…

Any honesty in dialogue is now obscured by the lens of perception. In this episode, part two, as in all the episodes I want to smash together opposing ideas to see what sticks out. Listen to what is being said by each of the voices you are about to hear. Consider their view points philosophically, but most importantly be free to disagree with your heroes. It’s not enough to be able to think for yourself anymore, you have to be able to look your predecessors in the face and say FUCK YOU.

So to that extent FUCK YOU DOUG LAIN. I can’t wait to have you back on the show.

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Episode 10: The Fragile Absolute Part 1 with Doug Lain

Žižek vs Peterson round 1
Žižek vs Peterson round 1
Žižek and Peterson are controversial figures. Doug and I discuss them.

 

Žižek is a Lacanian helgalian or a helgalian Lacanian, I can’t work out which, he is also a continental philosopher, not just because of the work he draws upon but also because of the geographical location from which he was raised and emerged. The Lacanian aspect opens up the Freudian/neo Freudian split which includes everyone from Klein to Rank to even Wilhelm Reich, whilst the Helgalian aspect opens up the Kantian, Nietzschean spectrum which includes Sartre, Derrida Foucault through to Adorno and Fromm. On top of that he is a Marxist, if we can add another dimension to this matrix, but he is radical and violent in his radicalism so perhaps more correctly he is a Stalinist. This is such a diverse and unique mix that brings out such a controversial figure in the media that is somehow at the same time hypnotic. Certainly, he is not a one-dimensional celebrity like a will Smith or John Wayne or even to some extent a Jordan Peterson. So, the question for you Doug, in all this is, is there a difference between Žižek as the philosopher and Žižek as the celebrity. In other words, is something lost in his writings by his very stature in society?

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Episode 09: Game Theory, Set Theory and Trump’s Nuclear Bombs.

Nuclear war is despair personified
Nuclear war is despair personified
Is Trump pushing us closer to Nuclear war?

 

Today we take a sober look at a method for analysis when it comes to complex political strategy. Should Trump’s administration go full bore ahead with War against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea? Is Kim Jun Il a wild man or does he have a sound strategy in place? Well this is a podcast, so we cannot answer those questions directly, but through a brief and hopefully entertaining sojourn through Game Theory, we can begin to comprehend the best approach of both sides and especially of ourselves if the conflict escalates any further.

Game Theory has been a breakthrough in economics and mathematics but is versatile. Although it took far too long for John Nash to be awarded the Nobel prize, Russell Crowe’s portrayal of a haunted man goes a long way to highlighting some of the challenges that Nash faced. We can argue for years to come about whether Game Theory was his great original idea or if perhaps his later work has more theoretic huts par. We can’t however, argue over the practical use of Game Theory and its importance in understanding no-cooperative competitive environments.

But Game Theory can only go so far alone, and to fully embrace the power of mathematical models it helps to understand another crazy man, Georg Cantor. His ability to grapple with infinity eventually led to the breakthrough of set theory and that will serve as the second story in today’s episode. Much like game theory, exposure to set theory is useful in developing cognitive mechanisms for contemplating complex concepts.

 

 

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Episode 08: How to Build a Wall in the 21st Century.

Trump Wall
Trump Wall
Can Trump Really Build a Wall

 

 

Boundaries have been important to our on-going discussion so far. The boundaries of credulity, the boundaries of knowledge and concepts and the boundaries of sound quality which I am seeking always to improve.

Today, we take a more literal approach as we look to Trump’s wall and the various meanings that can be derived from it. We ask what does it mean to have a wall, a fence, a limit to our physical and personal space?

Another driving question in today’s episode is:
Why do good fences make good neighbours? We will hear from Robert Frost directly but think about the resonance of that idea. Limitations to space, demarcations of a perimeter allow for the construction of an identity, be that of a farm, a garden, a room or indeed a person.

To book end this discussion I have included one of my favourite biblical songs “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” and a reading from Joshua six which ends with the redemption of a prostitute who housed Joshua’s spies.

What would your world look like if you didn’t have boundaries, would you feel less safe if your room had no walls? How important are the limits of your personal and physical space? Is this what Trump is playing on at the deepest level in his election promise to build a wall, or is it political rhetoric about an infrastructure project? Today you will get a chance to decide that for yourself.

 

 

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Episode 07: Nazi’s on Ice

Do you remember as a kid looking up the facts for “on this day in history?” It was always some fun fact about famous people being born or dying, a great historical or social event occurring, that type of thing. For me though there it was kind of embarrassing. See I was born on April 30 and that is the reported day that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide.

There has been a lot of speculation about this since that time. For instance, was the body recovered by the Russian soldiers really that of Hitler? If not why is that date so significant? We can and will discuss in this story the implications of Hitler’s alleged suicide being a myth, but from a selfish perspective I always wondered why that date?

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