Leaving Pleasure Island

Pleasure Island


Pinocchio is a morality play masquerading as a kids film. One of the most important symbolic metaphors in the film (and book) is that of Pleasure Island. In this article I will attempt to unpack the significance of this symbol and dissect how it applies to my life. At a very basic level, Pleasure Island is a place where the pure pursuit of hedonism is the only motive. The question that’s

Pinocchio lost his way.
Pain is all that emerges from Pleasure Island

asked is “What’s wrong with the pursuit of pure pleasure?” Even as children, this question can be answered. Although a full articulation of it is not always achieved. I say, what’s wrong with the pursuit of pure pleasure is the overwhelming hangover at the end of the party.

Pinocchio narrowly avoids becoming a donkey, a full blown jack ass. Taken together with Peter Pan, these stories could be an attempt to express St. Paul’s famous dictum: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” We have all been to Pleasure Island, we have all suffered the oppression of victim-hood. In this article I seek to find my way off Pleasure Island and to avoid becoming a donkey. What I discover is that to  avoid being a Jackass, I need to bear the teeth of a wolf.

Teaser Quote

My great big ears are now matched by my great big eyes though. These are all the better to see and hear you with. And my great big teeth are all the better to eat you with too. So beware, be brave and most importantly of all, be honest with yourself.


It is definitely a place that is wonderful and strange. Pleasure Island is a land that has an aura of freedom and anarchy. It is of course the furthest thing from that. It’s a cursed placed that will turn naughty little boys and girls into  donkeys. First called the Land of Toys in Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, it became Pleasure Island in Walt Disney’s 1940 film adaptation. Today,

Frivolity at Pleasure Island.
What’s wrong with the pursuit of pure pleasure?

Pleasure Island is a physical location you can visit at [Walt Disney World] in Orlando Florida. Pinocchio of course, is led astray by some wicked minded scoundrels and that’s how he wound up there. Luckily, he escapes. Jiminy Cricket sounds the alarm and Pinocchio gets out of dodge.

The Land of Toys or Pleasure Island is of course one of the embedded morality plays in Pinocchio. It is demonstrating within the tale how easily it can be to get lured into treacherous frivolity. I maintain here though that a certain amount of frivolity is necessary. Pleasure Island however, clearly shows how there can indeed be too much of a good thing. Going further, this fable becomes a metaphor for us to use as a guide. There can be many places that could be called Pleasure Island in our lives, and Jordan B Peterson suggests that Post Modernism is one such real world example of this metaphor in action.




There is no helping someone who brays. In order to leave the island I first need to see it for what it is. The coachman who runs the island wants to create jack asses ready for slavery. That is the challenge I face: recognize the peril ensconced within the pursuit of pure pleasure. Just like

Pinocchio - The Coachman
He’ll Steal, then sell your soul

Pinocchio and Lamp-wick, we have been tricked by the glaring lights of Pleasure Island. The window to do this is very short, and the challenge to look – really look, at personal responsibility is tough. After all, the coachman banks on his axiom “give a bad boy enough rope and he’ll soon make a jackass of himself.” The danger is real.

However, the danger for slaves who retain their voice is worse. The thinking slave faces the double punishment of being a slave and knowing they’re a slave. What use is it to speak up at that point? This part of the metaphor, which neatly echo’s Plato’s allegory of the cave, perfectly encapsulates the depth of despair at Pleasure Island. As Chrissie Amphlatt once sang: There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain. To experience pleasure is to immediately recognize the inverse capacity to experience pain. When I first fell in love, I knew how much it would hurt to lose my girlfriend then and there. So talking only makes it worse.


Sadly Pinocchio is the only one in the film to get out “alive.” Furthermore,  for the remainder of the film as a puppet, Pinocchio retains the ears and tail of a Jackass. Only when he becomes a real boy does he lose the scars of Pleasure Island. As far as we’re aware Lamp-wick didn’t survive the ordeal. This reveals how important it is to recognize pleasure island for what it is and escape as soon as (humanly possible). Even though I’ll always have these ears and tail, I and desperate to preserve my eyes and my mouth.


I’d like to write this with the full benefit of hindsight. Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure I’ve  recognized it. I was never drawn into typical identity politics (- perhaps because I’m a white

Last Week Tonight's Pleasure Island
The smarmy voice of John Oliver denouncing escapees.

male?). However, I was drawn into conspiracy identity politics. All the worlds a stage and we men are merely actors – and someone named Rothschild is directing? No. If the butterfly effect is anything to go off then one person or even family is directing the mess we are in.

Free thinking, being creative, pursuing art, making films and now a podcast; these are what form my pleasure island. I smoke, but I’m not spending my days swilling brandy and puffing cigars. Instead I am spending my days contemplating the great thinkers of the twentieth century. I’m searching for authentic ways to make meaning in the 21st. I can’t, or won’t, be able to do this forever – or at least that’s what society says.



Fight or flight. I eluded to the sense that my time is short. I feel as though I already have a tail and ears. Now is when I need to escape, or fight my way off this island. The fight however, is a fight against victim-hood. I lose all responsibility if I see myself as a victim, or in other words – a victim has no ability to respond. In New York in the early nineties there was a saying: “Victim’s ask for it.” Dwell on that.

Consider what “victims ask for it” means. We have, as humans, the capacity to be both predator

Responsibility is important
Reject this offer!

or prey. So the coach man victimizes us and convinces us we are prey. Yet he fears the voice. The coachman fears the teeth of the predator.

Perhaps then, the way to fight my way off Pleasure Island is not to run and hide and play the coachman’s game. Instead the flight is internal and it’s a fight between Predator and Prey Identities .Just as I needed to recognize I was in Pleasure Island and see it for what it was. I also need to see myself as a vicious monster capable of doing harm. Once I snarl, the coachman will run. Once I snarl his goons will hide. Yet, as soon as I snarl the ears and tail go from that of a donkey, to that of a wolf. In other words, I need to be prepared to inflict pain in order to accept responsibility.


Pleasure Island is not one place. Instead it is a state of mind. Anytime someone can convince you you’re ill, sick or a victim then you become susceptible to the slave trade. There is no glory in wearing the coat of the victim, only the self-induced suffering with comes from wearing Medusa’s poisoned fleece. Ironic that Medusa is now a clothing brand. Rather, there is a need to be willing to inflict pain. To bring all my resentments forward and recognize them for what they are.

The cost of any activity is paid in full when you partake. I have paid a price for spending time at Pleasure Island. That price is steep and the escape continual. Even Pinocchio found that he had no home to go to one he left the island. My great big ears are now matched by my great big eyes though. These are all the better to see and hear you with. And my great big teeth are all the better to eat you with too. So beware, be brave and most importantly of all, be honest with yourself.

You, as I did – as I do, knew instinctively that Pleasure Island was anything but. Do not be seduced by victim-hood, instead learn to tame the beast inside that is the beast you are.

Please follow and like us:

The Problem of Post-Modernity


The Problem of Post-Modernity

The Problem of Post-Modernity
Welcome to the Weird indeed!

Teaser Quote:

Today it’s no different, the same discipline is required of an individual to call themselves a Marxist, they must read and read closely and read carefully and read intelligently the full three volumes of Das Capital. And in fact those who wish to call themselves Capitalists must do the same.  Otherwise how can we begin to understand the problem of Post-Modernity?


What is the problem of Post-Modernity? If I was to ask you who was the most influential figure of the 20th Century, you might facetiously say “Homer Simpson,” then you might think about it a bit and say it was “Henry Ford” then you might really think about it and say “FDR” and before long you might convince yourself that the most influential figure of the 20th century was Hitler. I doubt very much that you would say Jack Kerouac or Jacques Derrida. I doubt very much that you would even say it was Henry Kissinger or George Soros. But, despite the enormous impact each of these figures has had on the 20th Century I don’t think any of them really account for the shaping of history in the same way that Karl Marx did.

Our continuous eternal question of the 21st century is the question of Marxism. Marxism broke a dichotomy wide open and also created a new dichotomy in the process. Dichotomies are always dangerous and rarely absolute, yet with the split between East and West, between Capitalism and Communism the dichotomy plays as closely to reality as a dichotomy ever  can. One of the major problems we have today with Marxism and why it has endured as far as it has is that it take on an individual level an enormous amount of work to understand what he means. As such, in the same way that Hegel and Nietzsche and Freud have been distilled propagandistically by those who wish to extract power through their work, Marx too is susceptible to easy and inappropriate interpretations.

The Need to Read Carefully After the Author has Died

What Foucault demonstrates in his own writing is the level of attention to detail that is truly required to grapple with complex social ideas. The responsibility an individual must take in their own engagement is extreme. Take for example my work on Society Must be Defended and the need to really break down each paragraph and examine what it means in the context of the broader idea being portrayed. I argue that one of the vectors Foucault was enacted by writing in such an incoherent and obfuscating manner is that he was attempting to demonstrate how incoherent his contemporaries were. Therefore, he was signalling a call to action, I may be dead, the post-modernists may have killed me (in the sense of the author’s intention) and now you have been born as the reader so read very carefully and take the task seriously. What does that mean? What does it mean to read carefully and seriously? I propose it means that you have to read on multiple levels simultaneously. If no longer there exists an intention that we can draw upon from the author then the message as a whole and the individual words that construct that message have no inherent meaning.

In other words, we as readers, must first grasp the message as a whole in a low resolution form – for example: Discipline and Punish is a book which demonstrates the manner in which we have not become more, but rather less, humane in our treatment of the excluded members of society. However, our task doesn’t end with that, we have to rip apart, screw up, shred twist and perform a sort of “convolution” on the very establishment of the argument. We need to settle for ourselves why this is laid out in the order: Torture, Punishment, Discipline, Prison. We have to contemplate why the Panoptic model makes so much sense in the context that Foucault puts forth and then wrestle with his fallibility as an author and consider whether it actually makes sense or whether we are being pursued.

Post Modernity Requires Active Reading

We must then determine how Foucault has represented his influences. Has he actually taken Bentham on appropriately. So does that mean we need to read Bentham? And if we do, how are we to read Bentham? The same way! So now the task of reading is far more complex than simply absorbing the words as they lay on the page. No longer is it a passive exercise but requires a deep engagement with a set of ideas that juxtapose the concepts being presented. Well FUCK! Who has time for that anyway?

Worse! Who has time for that in World War 1 when there are enemy armies marching forward and ready to kill you. This is the problem with Marx, it is too easy to reduce his oeuvre to sound bites:

Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks

The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.

From Each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

The Power of Das Capital

The economic pressures across Europe were real, were evident and as Rage Against the Machine state so eloquently “Hungry people don’t stay hungry for long.” So it becomes a matter of survival who you are going to listen to. It was a major matter of life and death what ideas you considered, and in the early 20th century the less ideas you had to consider the better. Today it’s no different, the same discipline is required of an individual to call themselves a Marxist, they must read and read closely and read carefully and read intelligently the full three volumes of Das Capital.

A True Post Modern Text
The knowledge we need the most is in the books we wish to read least.

And in fact those who wish to call themselves Capitalists must do the same. In fact the task is even more difficult. You need to read the full three volumes of Das Capital in German. Who has the time or the inclination for that? So we face a huge conundrum, because when that task isn’t undertaken earnestly the seductive power of the veneer can be overwhelming. The charasmatic voices that speak it far too alluring:


“A fairness for all and a responsibility from all”

Responsibility From All?

What does that even mean? What are you talking about Obama. A responsibility from all could mean that each and every person in the set of “all” has responsibility. Or it could mean that Obama’s vision will alleviate you from the burden of any responsibility. What does the word “Fairness” mean? What is the particular etymology that Obama is enacting when he speaks this word? You can see already how difficult it is to think in the shadow of Marx (and for that matter Kant, Descartes, Aristotle, Plato) and how easy it is to abandon that responsibility that you have in coming to terms with what these messages are. Coming to terms of course being a pun here. However, if you abandon your responsibility, you have abandoned your ability to respond.

I can’t foresee that people are going to heed this message, that there will be a critical mass of people on either the Left of the Right who will go and read the German version of Das Capital and face the gargantuan task of distilling it into their own lives. But it is crucial to understand that this is at least the task. It is crucial to understand that this is the root of the problem of Post-Modernity. What we desperately need then is a figure who can diminish the impact of Marxism. What we desperately need is a figure who is so large and renowned that they can present a knock down argument against Marxism and then settle some of the dust. What we need is a hero, in the mythical sense. We need a figurative Hercules to take on this task for us.

Academics and Post Modernity

Steven Hicks may have highlighted the problems of post modernity twenty years ago but he was twenty years ahead of his time.
John Taylor Gatto may have identified the major employment opportunity was security guard fifteen years ago, but he was fifteen years ahead of his time.
Jordan Peterson may have become to deconstruct the problems with tyrannical government in Maps of Meaning revised 10 years ago, but he was 10 years ahead of his time.
And Brett Veinotte, Steven Hicks, Jordan Peterson, and many others are speaking out about the Humanities and Social Sciences at University now, but they too may be two or three years ahead of their time.

None of these figures are that hero, Foucault wasn’t that hero. Derrida, Fromm, Marcuse, Reich, Wittgenstein, Zizek the list goes on – are not that Hero. They may be considered prophets to begin to mix metaphors, but they are not the Savior. We need St. George to go and find the fire breathing dragon and slay it, to continue to mix metaphors. I am not that figure either. What is the cost here? To what level of sacrifice are we expecting this Savior to submit? Is it that, like Neo at the end of the Matrix Trilogy, like Jesus on the Cross, they must dies for our academic and intellectual sins against the Father? It’s no joke to start to put Marx in the mix with words and concepts like Anti-Christ. It’s only a very serious wonder why Mein Kampf was thrown away culturally speaking but The Communist Manifesto still persists.

We Need a Hero

Jordan Peterson, who I talk about a lot, regales his students with a story of his nephew and how he had to face a dragon in his nightmares. First there were trolls, mean nasty little trolls hell bent on destruction and turmoil, then the dragon came into view. This is an important story and you need to hear it spoken by Peterson himself. I wish only to point out the enthralling image that’s presented in this tale – that being of the trolls formation: The trolls are formed from the embers of the fire that the Dragon breathes. The trolls are infinitely reoccurring and will only start to dissipate once the dragon is slayed.

Post Modernity as a dragon to be slayed
Who shall slay the Post Modern Dragon?



If Post-Modernity is the dragon then social justice  warriors are the trolls. Now it is unfair to say, and I am not saying, that there is a one to one correlation. Put another way, I am not suggesting that all social justice warriors are mean and nasty little trolls. But they do represent the problem with seduction. Once they have been seduced by the doctrine, there is no point in defeating them on an individual level, you need to defeat  – impossible task, we can only ask for a diminishment of influence – the doctrine itself.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, communism has two or three hundred years left to run before it is relegated to a form of subjugated knowledge. Perhaps by the 24th century we as a people (if we survive) will look back and wonder with astonishment why people abdicated their responsibility so freely. Why people accepted their enslavement so willingly. Two or three hundred years of history can see an almighty amount of bloodshed though. So yes! We are still ahead of our time. We haven’t located the lair this dragon calls Post Modernism hoards it’s gold. And there is gold in Post Modernity worth rescuing. We also haven’t found our St. George who is willing to sacrifice themselves in order to slay this beast. But we have some clues. We have a rough understanding of the terrain.

I ask you to consider reading the English version of Das Capital, at the very least open the first few pages. I will struggle to do the same. Perhaps we can create the environment from which St. George can emerge.

Please follow and like us:

Conspiracy Narratives in Contemporary Society

Conspiracy Narratives in Contemporary Society

In 2012 I began a Masters Thesis looking into the role that conspiracy theories have played in the construction of our modern society.

The results are that conspiracy theories allow otherwise discarded knowledge to be retained and re purposed in our social narrative.

You can now read the full thesis (or download it) from FigShare:



Please follow and like us:

Dealing With Fake News In the Modern Era


What is Fake News?

You may say “there is too much media and I’m suffering from information overload!”

But… is this a true statement? I am not sure… Certainly, that statement identifies a major problem, but does it offer the correct analysis?

Information overload is an oversimplification, I think that the problem comes down to a much more nuanced situation and that is understanding how we approach and digest the information that we are continuously exposed to. How do we come to narrow our scope to understand the message in the information? How do we extrapolate the most important thesis from each argument we come across?


In the age of the internet this problem becomes even more pernicious. Why? Because the internet offers a level playing field for all media. Consider YouTube for a moment, everyone with a YouTube account can compete for your attention, whether they are big players like CNN, RT, BBC etc. or a little guy like the Tangent General. Now there are algorithms to assist us to categorize the information that’s on offer, but they don’t really solve the root of the problem, simply give us a filter to minimize the experience of the symptoms. Instead what we need is an internal program that allows us to see the information for what it is. Just like having the ability to see the edges of each puzzle piece on a completed puzzle.

Currently there is a battle going on. The battle is between those who want to control the distribution of information and media to shape and ultimately direct the flow of public consent. Prior to the invention of the printing press this was achieved through the preachers in the churches limiting the availability of the bible to their congregations. Once the printing press emerged though things changed rapidly and it took a long time to reach a new equilibrium. One of the major consequences of the printing press was of course a religious revolution that birthed Protestantism. Rightly or wrongly this change has impacted society with a schism that can never be fully reunited. Many have said the internet has had the same impact upon the social world, and perhaps the next big institution to suffer will be the university.


The university has until now been the ivory tower – the castle that contains and guards the knowledge about our world. To engage with the knowledge it has to be on their terms, both in regard to financial governance (think student loans, scholarships  etc.) and more importantly cognition governance. However, this is all changing rapidly. Not only can everyone access the course of their choosing online, with many institutions such as Standford uploading their material free of charge, but the grip on cognition is necessarily loosening as a result. This is not necessarily all to the benefit of us “the people”.

One of the blessings of cognitive governance is that we would not risk becoming drawn into sloppy or loose argumentation and that in fact we stood before the Giants in each field and worked to get into a position such that we could stand upon their shoulders.


This sudden shift that the internet has slowly been administering over the past 25 years is coming to a head. Like a rubber band that has been stretched too far it’s about to collapse back upon itself and we are going to face an interesting decade or so. No longer can we, in good faith and conscious, delegate our responsibility of cognitive governance to the university, to the anchor on the nightly news, to the editor of the major newspaper. Now we are confronted with a panoramic view on each and every issue, we are exposed to extreme bias from radical propagandists, we are in a knowledge free for all with limited allies to support us. On the one hand we can learn amazing things about history, geography and society that was largely inaccessible before.

On the other hand we are constantly bombarded with messages of fear and terror. Major platforms have emerged from the need to have accurately knowledge about the world, personalities have risen to guide us back to the promised land of simplified knowledge dissemination. Yet, just like the protestant schism, the internet  schism cannot be breached. Those of us who have found ourselves on the other side of the gap simply cannot and probably will not go back.


There are groups out there who will never be convinced that Al Qaeda was  responsible for 9/11, or that JFK was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. You may label these people with the pejorative “conspiracy theorist” and that is reasonable from your side of the growing chasm. But now there is a breach in the social contract and you will never agree with the other side on these issues. One side is labelled crazy the other naive.  Fighting words for sure. So what do we do?

I propose that we engage in a system of thought that Jan Irvin, Richard Grove, Gene Odening, Kevin Cole and many others have done a masterful job in outlining and bringing to the public attention. I propose that we study something called the Trivium Method of Education and that we learn to understand Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. I will have much more to say on this as my website grows and matures, but for now I offer this:



Cognitive Governance is now your own personal responsibility and you now need to take very seriously the ability to learn how to learn. Keep in mind that Alvin Tofler the famous futurist proscribed illiteracy in the 21st century as the inability to learn, unlearn and relearn!

Please follow and like us:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)