On this episode, I plan to talk about world events and wind up laying down some of my philosophy of history and get sidetracked in a million nuances and side-plots. That’s the beauty of improvisational radio! I dub this the year of “World Revolution,” following Wallerstein’s analysis of 1986 as such in his essay “1968, Revolution in the world-system. I look at the bubbling conflicts in Hong Kong, with the Uighurs, and in Chile, and discuss why revolution hasn’t broken out in United States. A learned listener calls in and we discuss the slave trade and indigenous people in South America at length. I remain ignorant about many things, but I don’t claim to speak definitively on them, either.
I’m starting an open-source think tank, if you want to get involved message me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or anywhere else, and describe your interest and/or skills
On this improvised recording, I brainstorm my idea for an open source think tank and possible research questions. I wind up talking a lot about my philosophy of life, the world, history, cultural anthropology, and much more. Not much jargon, just straight dope ideas. If you would like to join my research project, send me an email at SpeakingBroadlyShow@gmail.com or DM me. Talk about your research interests or what you think you can bring to the project. Also getting into providing affective/cognitive support for those struggling with circumstances and making a change. Hmu to get involved
Dr. Lindsay and I discuss the importance of getting students (or anyone we are engaging with) to be motivated to learn more about the subject, not simply to fill their heads with what we want them to think. We talk about the persona that a professor puts on to teach, and more dynamics that go into making a good classroom. I think that Dr. Lindsay’s ideas apply to our attempts to educate each other as well, and so their relevance extends far beyond the classroom into daily questions of motivation and conversational strategy.
Everyone’s making analyses of Joker, so I guess I have to also! Here’s 80 minutes of a deep dive into Joker and the first few pages of Baudrillard’s Carnival and Cannibal. It’s just the beginning, but I already get into the themes of whiteness, childhood and intergenerational trauma, world history, and aesthetics. Whew! More to come, sometime, but until then this insomniac recording will have to tide you over.
On this episode, I deliver the second part of my theory on abolition as it brings together “identity politics” in its highest forms, the movements to abolish race and gender. I show how these movements lead naturally, if uneasily, to the Marxist project of proletarian self-abolition, whereby the proletariat destroys itself, and all other classes, it its coming to exist for itself as a class.
This paradoxical notion leads us to Nagarjuna, who 1500 years before Marx was already working through the problem of mounting a global movement of awakening (Bodhicitta or the Buddhist project of eliminating suffering in all sentient beings) while not believing in categories. Nagarjuna was an early anti-essentialist and also shows there is nothing European about questioning essentialism.
Lastly, we turn to Baudrillard for his own views on abolition (of the distinction between life and death), and his own blend of imminent uptopianism. True revolutionaries “speak of the world as non-separated,” and these sense informs all transpolitical activity.
Stay tuned! Next week I’ll be interviewing Dr. Peter Lindsay of GSU, and I’m sure we will have another episode soon on this abolition business.
I’m going solo this week to share with you the fruits of a book I got at the Radical Book Fair: “What Is Gender Nihilism?” I draw on essays by “Nihilist Women,” Monique Witting, Noel Ignatiev, Laboria Cuboniks, and more as I delve into gender nihilism, which means the denial that gender is a properly existent entity. The effects of its perception are not denied.
This opens the conversation onto gender abolition, which immediately brings along race abolition and tends toward class abolition. Thus, we have great cause to discuss abolishing whiteness, abolishing gender, and how they fit into the proletarian project of self-negation.
This is only part one, because next week we have a couple more essays from the reader to get to, and then citations by Marx, Debord, Baudrillard, and Nagarjuna to round out the analysis. Because we are not just satisfied with funneling identity politics into Marxism; it remains to be seen how Marxism is an identity politics and remains to be transformed by an encounter with Buddhism (Nagarjuna) and Baudrillard.
My theory hinges around the idea of the unity of mystification and clarification, the unity of the worlds of symbolic exchange and scientific rationality. This is the endpoint I seek to reach.
The poverty of clarification
We can never capture the world in certain terms because the world is fundamentally ineffable; as such, there is no objective world in the sense that the world is, properly speaking, not an object for us.
As such, we can label the secret the set of salient “facts” which escape our perception due to the limitations of our own perspective.
The Secret encapsulates what would be called one’s “true nature” if such a thing could be an object.
The Secret concerns an alternately vague and foundational sense of complicity and antagonism which is not universal but transversal.
The glory of mystification
Mystification is valorized due to the veneration of skepticism. We seek to induce the state of the suspension of judgment because it is the most apt response to the challenge of the world.
The suspension of judgment is not an end, but a beginning.
Mystification takes places when given terms are destabilized.
When we encounter a math problem, 2 apples plus 4 apples, we expect to get something denominated in apples at the end. Our understanding of apples didn’t change the entire time.
Meanwhile, when we pursue critical activity, our object of study vanishes into its parts, or regional/global flows which constitute or determine it.
This insight gains its greatest traction when applied to the human faculty of reason itself, at which point reason defeats itself and we enter into the post-rational age.
After the inauguration of the greater game, which takes as given the mysteriousness of the world and the arbitrariness of communication, there begins a relentless competition of whimsical metaphors.
We have forgotten the game of specifying reality, of wondering who we really are. Instead we wonder how much of ourselves we can forget, and in what delicious ways we might provoke ourselves, our companions, our enemies, and the world.
Forgetting rationalism’s petty frame of the individual, we once again directly encounter the world as our symbolic challenger. It is the world that did this to us, that just had to go and exist. The world did this to everyone else too, so that you can almost feel bad for them; but that would require moving one’s focus for one moment from the challenge the world presents to oneself.
Mystification as Clarification
Certainly, we must hold that skepticism is the most logical doctrine to uphold, and the one which is most faithful to sensuous experience. Still, the highest form of expression must be silence.
Any symbols related to one’s understanding can only be understood as fingers which are close to the moon, or look just like the moon, etc. No symbol is the moon, is the ineffable substrate.
Hence, we are “reduced” to silence, in reality seeing for the first time a world beyond breath, beyond rhythm in its timelessness; and knowing, for lack of a better term, that we ourselves can be in no way delimited from this timeless silence.
We are already bored with the divine silence. There is a reason we have created the world, to forget ourselves, to forget the divine silence.
This is the spiritual analogue to Terror management theory, which says that people respond with anxiety when reminded of their death. Well, so too do people rankle at their immortality, in their communion with the divine which ensures that they are already set up with the spirit in the sky, that all of life may as well be in all good fun, a whimsy to pass the eternal moment.
We reject the silence because we are attached to seemingly determinate forms, in ways that are not immediately conquerable; for example, we are seemingly trapped in our corporeal vessels, only to see what must happen to us when we die. Yet since we cannot wake up from being in our bodies, we identify with our experience. Hence, we hate to break away from whatever passing forms have caught our fancy (meaning not just media images but psychological frameworks of self), since we have given ourselves over completely to this world. We fear that to be divine silence is to be nothing, which it is.
If something like skepticism is right, then it is a clearer way of looking at the world than conventional science, and has greater explanatory power, and all the metrics which scientists might value. It also musters the power to create the highest theory of all kinds, being able to dissolve all antagonisms into the root impasse of reason. In this way, the new skepticism will usher in a new era of theory, as positively pre-historic concepts such as linear time will be cleared away, and the ground made bare for the next phase of the skeptical project.
We have reasoned in a circle, defining Mystification as that which makes things less clear, but which in the end must make them clearer, if only because things are themselves unclear—Bigfoot isblurry.
The statement “things are unclear” sums up this contradiction, which hinges on the functioning of the word “unclear.” Is unclear a quality that a thing can have, or is it a status of qualities, so that to say things are unclear is not really to say that they are anything in particular.
Perhaps we can go further and clarify the problem by positing that things are “clearly unclear.” What can this mean? In this case, it is a discernable and verifiable fact that things are inscrutable and unverifiable.
So, if we want to say that the world is unclear, such that it is unreasonable to conceive of oneself as knowing or even believing anything, then the status of the clarity of this statement is called into question. What can it mean?
Mystification also clarifies by directly opening the door from science onto the metaphysical landscape of Nagarjuna, Nietzsche and Baudrillard. In this way, contemporary discourse is referred to a set of discourses which must overcome it.
Scientific discourse is itself an inadequate response to skepticism. It posits a mishmash of verificationism, vulgar empiricism, Platonism, and fallibilism in order to feel secure in its set of statements which are never contradicted in experience.
Science must take the world as given, it cannot give an inch when it comes to our certainty of an objective world, despite the fact that the science on the matter is, in fact, muddled. This betrays the fact that faith in science is the weakness of the age; as such, the weakness of science must allow for a new faith of the age.
The charm of science derives from its more intelligent participants, those who are able to retain intellectual humility and courage; most, like those in all fields, have succumbed to dogmatism. These sages proclaim that science opens up new mysteries for humankind.
A further charm of science is its predication as a field where statements need not be true, nor thought to be true, in order to have practical effect. In this sense, science is the highest form of poetry, since many a rogue may have wished to destroy a city at one instant, but only the US army finally accomplished it at Hiroshima. This special effect was accomplished in the same way as any ballad, for scientific theories are not presumed correct; they are simply trusted until they fail.
The fact that science works so well is an indication that we are on to something in our investigation of the cosmos, but also that the cosmos is on to us.
Yet as soon as we realize that the most ontologically pure discourse, science, is really simply a matter of poetry and ritual as all else, the weight of this statement is itself deflated. Science has been cast as what is reasonable, the straightjacket which the mad artist seeks to escape. Now, the artist finds the scientist inside his head, and the scientist finds himself in the world. What is so special about the flights of fancy found in poetry if science partakes of the same register?
The emptiness of emptiness. We have shown that science is empty, it is a paper tiger. For science is contingent on events, it awaits the appearance of the world, and tries to summon the primal forces of nature, as at CERN. Science waits for the world to appear, and then studies it. Hence all scientific knowledge is provisional, as no serious scientist can contradict radical new evidence, if plausible, with the credo “But it contradicts our theories!”
Yet the emptiness of science is also empty, which another way of saying that it is full of Gods as is all else. As such, it too is a fertile field of inquiry for the sage. Above all, we must do away with the allergy to radically other symbolic forms which all cultural milieus possess. Hence the direct thrust into the heart of the matter, and the need to confront each person with the radically indeterminate state of the world.
The object of mystical science is to respond to the challenge of the world. The challenge of the world is incarnation, the tying of awareness to a physical body and the attendant mysteries of identity and morality. Hence, all activity is directed toward responding to this challenge.
Response to the challenge of the world has to do with operating under the given terms of incarnation in ways which destructure the predominant modes of signification present in society.
There is no sense of vilification of society. We are fundamentally disinterested in matters of justice and dignity. What matters is that there is no drive toward anything except benevolence, as we seek to befriend all others in order to further our sense of the mystery.
The challenge has to do with what is set before us. This is obviously open to interpretation, and this is where a subjective sense of what is important enters. We all choose our own starting place, and this is an important method of individuation.
Responding to the challenge has to do with destabilizing the terms of the challenge. If I feel I am challenged as a person with a dysfunctional society, then how can I return serve and challenge my own sense of self or concept of society in order to move forward, or at least to move, relative to the problem space?
Hence mystical science looks a lot like normal science. It is simply that statements which imply certainty are heavily policed and denigrated as incorrect and arrogant assertions.
In addition, mystical science, through cognitive science, pursues the complete assimilation of philosophy and theory to the field of inquiry of science proper. All pretensions of “hard” sciences must melt into the quantum ether, and will be met in the middle by a social studies which will in the next years grow considerably more sophisticated and intricate.
On this week’s episode, I’m joined by Chris Gabriel of the Meme Analysis YouTube channel. In his work, he applies the theory of Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, and William S Burroughs, among others, to the study of memes and their import for today’s “society.”
We dive into Ultra-Instinct Shaggy, the role of 4chan in meme culture, and tips and tricks for those looking to become meme lords, or at least gain a foothold into this uproarious and fascinating aspect of modern society,
On this week’s show, we are lucky enough to have Zummi come back and try to explain the relevance of the arcane knowledge which is part of the r/SorceryOfTheSpectacle research paradigm, and how even everyday people can find an inroad into this deep dive on symbolism, language, technology, and politics.
A caller calls in to say that Zummi was “excellent,” and talked about her own practice of “self-parenting.” The upshot of Zummi’s analysis is that whatever task we have in front of us, we will be held back by our relationship to language and concepts as long as we aren’t aware of the long history that got us to the present age of hyper-specific terminology. He explains how this change to “voidal” language (which can be grasped by thinking about the relatively recent invention of the concept of zero) is part of the origin of the relentless internal monologue that we all experience, even if we are too ashamed or afraid to share this experience.
So, if you’re trying to understand what all the talk these days about narratives and frameworks is all about, or if you’re wondering how to take the arcane madness in your mind and be able to talk about it in meatspace, this conversation will hopefully be a great resource!