Health in a time of crisis: Legendary fitness and health teacher Paul Chek on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

20 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep, including Paul’s game-changing book, How To Eat Move and Be Healthy? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 129 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

We’re heading into another lockdown here in Ireland, and Europe is returning to conditions of earlier this year. The US is heading towards its election and people are being banned on social media and other people are gaining power and everyone is just trying to cope.

Amongst all of this, I’ve spotted a problem, or should I say the spiritual challenge, of the current crisis which is largely un-talked about and quite dangerous: the state of absolute yet unearned certainty which is accompanying so much of the way we talk to each other, the way we think about others and the way we form our lives and responses.

I’m not talking just about the mainstream narrative here, either. I’ve noticed that many of the most spiritually evolved and politically active and intellectually developed people – the people I love and trust for solid perspectives on most things – are all putting forth their various narratives with a sense of total certainty, accompanied with a sense of intense emotion. And I see them trying to dominate each other. It’s almost as if anyone not believing what you believe about this crisis is unbearable, that anyone and everyone must be pulled into our own dimension of intense feeling and righteous certainty to be heard.That means that no matter what the content of the narrative we have is – the gesture is the same. In other words, even if you think you believe in something different, this act of emotion-filled certainty is leading to the same consequence and action. This holds true for conspiracy theorist and mainstream liberal, spiritually advanced teacher and atheist materialist. All in the shadow.

In fact one of the most difficult things to do in this crisis is to look through to see what we actually know and to separate it from what we don’t know. So we need to come up with a counter-gesture – and it can’t be the completely disingenuous and ineffectual “well, I don’t know!” That’s completely impotent, it’s a failed attempt at inaction, and a totally smug posturing.

Instead, we have to find a way to meet each other in our conflicting certainties.

Certainty is a deadness. It’s a kind of dead knowledge that acts as if it’s an object (objective thinking some like to call it). There’s nothing wrong with dead knowledge, exactly. In fact, its deadness is what allows us to hold it, interpret it, examine it from different angles. We can reject or accept it. But holding the dead form of certainty only takes us so far – because we don’t have a question of what the right knowledge is here. And it’s becoming increasingly clear – just look around you! – that there will forever remain differing certainties of what’s right.

What the question is, then, is: How do we come into relationship with each other?

We don’t need a fixed type of knowledge, we need a living relationship to the truth that we’re all creating.

That’s the counter gesture to the certainty: finding a way to interact with others that helps us come together no matter what their narrative is.

How will the ant-mask person get along with the person who needs to wear a mask? Where’s the meeting point that’s not just the screaming fit in the Trader Joe’s or the histrionics of photographing people in the park who aren’t wearing masks? How do we find common ground between the person who wants to protect their grandparents and the person who wants to protect their business? How do we come to wholeness with one another?

Wholeness is a kind of health; the word health comes from the word meaning “whole!” So I knew I needed to talk with someone about this on a wholistic level.

Paul Chek is one of the most respected health professionals in the world and the founder of the CHEK institute (which shares his name but stands for Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology). He’s done health consultations for professional golfers, the Chicago Bulls, and many many more elite athletic clients. His book How To Eat Move And Be Healthy revolutionized fitness and personal health and wellness. He’s also the host of the complex and detailed and engaging podcast Living 4D with Paul Chek, on which he talks to health practitioners and experts from all modalities.

I found Paul’s work shortly after I’d moved to San Francisco, when I decided that I wanted to create a new kind of body for myself. I didn’t want to knock myself out of balance by doing what I saw many others doing – taking chemical steroids, eating whey protein, working out in haphazard ways.

Paul’s work is the opposite of all that. It’s layered and profound – He talks not just about how I should eat this much protein and carbs and calories or whatever, but about, diet, happiness, quiet, movement. And most importantly, how they interact with each other. How does sleep affect diet? How does moving the right way affect my ability to be happy? How do my relationships affect my posture? Over the years, Paul’s public output has grown even more wholistic and more comprehensive – I heard him talking more and more about spirituality and capitalism and God and sex (not to mention Rudolf Steiner!). You’ll hear it on this episode – we start to talk about health, and we end up talking about God and reality and death and listening to your soul – and in the course, I hope you as a listener can recognize that these are the questions of health – that questions of health are extensions of questions about reality, God, death, creativity, and paradoxes.This is a dizzying conversation about health and wellness.

And because Paul is funny, we start and end with dick jokes.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The options available for health, including doing nothing
  • The importance of webbing together concepts of health
  • The individuality of health and how to chose between experts
  • “It’s not a crisis, it’s an awakening…If you’re running away from a lion, it’s a bad idea to throw in a cartwheel!”
  • Why we need to be “world-centric”
  • The reason why the world absolutely depends on your existence
  • How realizing you can’t see your own face gives you a reality
  • God witnessing itself through us
  • The importance of reptiles for consciousness
  • The hijacking of alternative health modalities by fundamentalists and racists
  • Vegetarianism as a natural principle, not a rule
  • The world as a schoolyard of souls
  • Why we’re not actually afraid of death

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Paul, visit the CHEK Institute, of course, where you can sign up for courses, find practitioners in your area, and look into Paul Chek’s media. A favorite episode of mine for our moment? “Creating Stability In A Time Of Crisis” Also, Paul does a multilayered Q&A on his show every few episodes. They’re great introductions to his work and thinking. Here’s his second Q&A which I particularly like. You can also read the sporadic entries on his blog.

• My two essays on the difficult time of my life are here: on being assaulted by my then-boyfriend and getting a lymphoma diagnosis.

• The quote, “God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in man,” is attributed to Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Madame Blavatsky, and more. Anyway, it’s good.

• For more on the creation of elementals, listen to AEWCH 67 with Daniel Joseph. And for a bit on being the universe witnessing yourself, listen to AEWCH 116 with Are Thoresen. And here’s my conversation with Mona Eltahawy who says, on AEWCH 121, “If your community is ready for you, you’re already too late.”

• If you’d like to learn about Ian Stevenson’s reincarnation research, here’s a good resource.

• Here’s a lovely picture of Shankaracharya for you to put your attention to.

• My friend Mira Bartok is the person whose brain was damaged and suddenly got more input. She wrote about her brain damage in the bestselling memoir, The Memory Palace.

• I wrote an accessible intro to the work of French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan as part of my “The Sex Radicals” series.

• I talked about the changing nature of archetypes in relation to consciousness on AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbegal.

• To get an intro to biogeometry, you can listen to Paul’s conversation with Dr. Ibrahim Karim, and also this great intro to biogeometry with Dr. Karim on Nick Penault’s podcast.

Friends – stay whole and stay healthy.

Love,

CH

Talking about people who murder by policy – the lives of the desk killers with author/activist Dan Gretton on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

13 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep, including Dan’s book? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 128 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

Albert Speer – who was a close conspirator of Hitler’s said of the process of Nazi-fication that, “Each man should only think about his task and not be concerned with that of his neighbor.”

This was right down to the most menial functions – that each person would carry out their own labor without creating a networked understanding of what was going on.In other words fragmentation and compartmentalization are key for mass atrocity.

This is, potentially, bad news for us, as we seem to live more and more fragmented and compartmentalized lives. Fragmentation and compartmentalization is a kind of swaddling that keeps us safe from understanding what we’re doing to others. It shelters us from the harm our lives are doing, and also keeps us from seeing what others are going through. And this sense of safety can breed a sort of calm apathy.

“Wherever people feel safe (…) they will be indifferent.” – Susan Sontag

Another way of saying this is that we feel safe because we lack compassion. Compassion means, literally, to suffer with. If we were to really enact compassion, if we were to allow our lives to intersect with the suffering of others, could we ever feel safe? How could we bear it? Instead of ignoring the suffering of others, we need to look directly into it.

I invited author of I You We Them: Walking Into The World Of The Desk Killer, and cofounder of the artist activist group, Platform, Dan Gretton onto AEWCH.

Dan’s book is all about people who murder by policy – people whose participation in compartmentalized and fragmented work have permitted them to engage in murder while feeling safe. And through that safety being permitted a luxurious indifference.You may be one of these people. Or you may become one if you’re not now.How do we commit ourselves to atrocity? Could you do it? Could I?

Here are 10 points Dan identifies – a list of factors is an inverse of spiritual development, a sort of path of black magic: 

Have you engaged in any of these? Has your company? Your family? Your loved ones? How easy would it be to absorb you into a structure that required any of these and would you even know if it were happening?Furthermore, is your activism, your attachment to your own suffering, occluding the suffering of others?

If you want an intervention, I suggest you read Dan’s book. It is one of the only books of which I have ever said, everyone should read it. Everyone.

It is a voluminous book detailing genocides and murders – in Nazi camps, but also via the executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni men by the then Nigerian military government through their entanglement with Shell oil, in colonial Ireland and at Kenyan airports. Dan talks to the relatives of Nazis and people who work for corporations who kill. He seeks out the truth behind the desk killers – people who kill from their desks, whose murder weapon is not a gun or a knife, but a pen or a computer.

These are the killers that are most abundant.

At the end of the episode, Dan reads an unpublished letter to the future – it’s a beautiful moment, full of sorrow and hope.

Listen. Breathe.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why we focus on serial killers but not desk killer
  • How we pay attention to certain forms of activism to avoid bigger atrocities
  • Where some people who we think are progressive draw the line at human rights
  • Voting and not voting based on purity politics
  • The failure to reckon with national pasts of genocide and colonialism in America and the UK
  • Can we kill without reservation? Are we capable of killing? What stops us (and when will it stop stopping us?)
  • How do we allow such pain and suffering of the world in and then breathe
  • Who keeps their humanity in the midst of atrocity

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Dan, here’s a great interview with him on the BBC with Nihal Arthanayake. And here’s the art and activism group Dan founded, Platform. Here’s the link to a review article of I You We Them, “The desk killer and the spider” in Race & Class. (It’s behind a paywall!)

• Here’s the trailer for the serial killer series Dan mentions at the top, Des.

• There’s still not enough information on the Herero and Nama genocide, but here’s a very short article to get you started.

• Here’s a short video of Jan Karski talking about what he witnessed when Jewish people were being herded into trains like animals.

• My essay on anti-sex worker feminists, “If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot.”

• I mention the Democracy in Europe Movement or DiEM25. They’re doing good work, check them out.

• Below is a great photo from Joseph Beuys’s exhibit, “I Like America and America Likes Me”. If you’d like to learn more about Beuys and his work, go to the booklist at the top of this page.

• If you don’t know about human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution at the hands of the Nigerian military government, spurred into action by Shell Oil’s policies, you should learn more. Here’s a documentary (in parts) on YouTube.

Friends, one last push here: Buy and read Dan’s book, I You We Them. It is absolutely essential and it will make you a better person.

CH

Gitta Sereny and Franz Stangl

The Witchcraft at the End of the World. Peter Grey & Alkistis Dimech of Scarlet Imprint on AEWCH!

6 Oct

LISTEN HERE OR ON: iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud

This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? To buy books from Scarlet Imprint, go to their website and buy directly from Peter and Alkistis.

To buy the other books, go to my booklist for AEWCH 127 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
For a time now, we’ve been walking around with a stone in our shoe – an unavoidable feeling throughout the day. And that feeling is: it’s the end of the world. The end of the world shows up again and again in history, and we’re in one of those end times, it’s risen into public consciousness. That’s why I write it’s the stone in the shoe, we’re aware of it even when we’re not aware of it. How does this new presence change the way we walk, the feeling we have about the day and have about each other? How do we walk with the minor and major imbalances it creates? If something permeates the general consciousness, it has a different effect on us; it becomes a companion. So what does it mean to not just intellectually or creatively entertain ourselves with the apocalypse, but to actually experience it in our daily lives?

And there is, to paraphrase Marx using his own supernatural language, a spectre haunting the end of the world, and that spectre is witchcraft. It’s magic, the occult. Whether it’s the symbols of the political elite, the black magic conspiracy theories of Q Anon, the presence of new thought and new age in the US democratic primary, the resurgence in the interest in tarot and astrology, the aesthetics of witchcraft on Instagram, we see again and again the presence of a new and old version of looking at the world, paired with the constant presence of its end. The end of the world and witchcraft are siblings this time.Maybe it’s not surprising, since the end of the world is always brought by prophecy and oracles, always seen by the knowing in its portents. And the end is always changing the way we relate to time; when we think there’s an end of the road, so many of us move away from linearity and start to think in layers of time. In synchronicities and correspondences. In creative ruptures outside of the normal flow of things.

We think in witchcraft.

So, I needed to discuss all of this, and give it flesh. I invited two people I know working with witchcraft and art in the apocalypse – Alkistis Dimech and Peter Grey. They’re also authors, performers, and the founders of the occult/witchcraft publishers Scarlet Imprint.One of the most interesting aspects of this conversation is that Alkistis and Peter and I come from differing traditions – they’re working with Babalon – the being that appears in Revelations, in thelema, in enochian magic and more.Whereas I am working with The Christ and the Archangel Michael via anthroposophy.So there’s a tension between our traditions – almost a sort of antagonism. What’s important to remember here is that through me and through Peter & Alkistis, a conversation takes place between these end of the world and beginning of the world beings – through Christ and Babalon. Conversations – real ones – become sites for the interaction of spirit as well.It is through that that tension found only in friendship that we ask a lot of big questions for our big time.

ON THE EPISODE

  • The rise of apocalypse in consciousness
  • The way the spiritual world selects or discards people to give itself life
  • What to do when we notice what we’ve lost and what we depend on
  • Why to look for spirits in experience, not books
  • The way location interacts with spirituality
  • The nature of spirits, the spirits of nature
  • How spirits get crowded out by other spirits that live with electronic devices
  • How do we differentiate between spirits (and which ones to not mess with)
  • The problematic view of Babalon and Christ versus the ones that creates a real view of humanity
  • Encountering a Christian sex riddle in Vietnam
  • The importance of sex in spirituality

SHOW NOTES

• For more Alkistis & Peter: here’s Peter’s talk, “Becoming No-Man” and here’s Alkistis’s talk, “Where the Daimon Dwells,” both from the Trans-States conference in 2017. Here’s Alkistis’s performance, “The decollation of flowers” and another, “Visitation.” Both of them have been on the Rune Soup podcast multiple times, and here’s the latest (and I think greatest, so far).• Scarlet Imprint has published the work of other AEWCH guests, including Phil Legard and Gordon White.

• I talked quite a bit about apocalypse with Mark O’Connell on AEWCH 105.

• Here’s a short article on the style of dance that has influenced Alkistis, butoh. Pictured below is a performance of one of butoh’s most profound elaborators, Tatsumi Hijikata.

• As Peter and Alkistis and I try to define what spirits are, I am reminded by Alkistis’s comment about spirits being “semi-material” of Valentin Tomberg’s passage in Meditations On The Tarot about ghosts: “Ghosts exist. This is not a question of belief; it is a matter of fact. There is an immense literature, without speaking of facts that one can find in the sphere of personal experience, which bears witness to the existence of ghosts. Now it is no longer a matter of believing or denying; now it is a matter only of understanding and explaining. Ghosts exist therefore. Thus it happens from time to time after someone’s death that this person or “something” of him or similar to him manifests in an outward and physical way (noises, movements, etc.) in the guise of an active energy. It is as if a certain quantity of energy, freed through death, but remaining condensed and not dispersed, manifests as an entity or as an individual “body”. … (p. 358)What, then, is a ghost?A ghost is always constituted as a consequence of crystallisation, i.e., crystallisation of a desire, a passion, or a purpose of great intensity, which produces a complex of energy in the human being.”

• To understand what spirits are, you can find a good and easy picture (not definition) of them in Lon Milo Duquette’s My Life with the Spirits: The Adventures of a Modern Magician.

I talked about Wilhelm Reich on an “Against Saturdays” episode. And my saying about sex and individuality is “If you ever want to know how someone feels about freedom, start talking about sex.”

Until next time,
Love
CH

Meeting The Archangel Michael.

29 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloud
This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!  Thank you so, so much.
Want to buy the books mentioned on/related to this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 126 at bookshop.org.
It will help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,On Michaelmas, the celebration of the Archangel Michael, I wanted to present what I think is the most urgent task of our moment: aligning ourselves with the Archangel Michael.

SHOW NOTES

“Lily” by Kate Bush evokes the four archangels. And it’s a great song, isn’t it?

I talked on Rune Soup back in January about 2020 as the most Micahelic year we’ve ever experienced.

• The illustration of the adversarial forces on this episode is detailed at great length on other episodes, especially the most recent episode, AEWCH 125 with Doug Rushkoff. See also AEWCH 114 on how to abolish Silicon Valley with Wendy Liu, AEWCH 115 on the inner experience of the internet with Joanne McNeill, and AEWCH 105, talking apocalypse and AI with Mark O’Connell.

• Peter Roth’s beautiful book, Worlds In The Mirror, is only available through the Camphill Books.

• I wrote about helping stop suicide by the Liffey and sharing the burden of suffering here.

Love to you friends.
CH

How to be human in an anti-human era. It’s Doug Rushkoff on AEWCH!

22 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud
Friends, does this show have value to you?
If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep?
Go to my booklist for AEWCH 125 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
Fascists, intense weather, immigration panics, global health crises, authoritarian governments, ideological divisions, conspiracies, fake news and fake experts and fake press conferences, the singularities, the doomsdayers, the white power psychopaths.
What do we do?
I draw inspiration from my long time pal and this episode’s guest: media analyst, prolific author and the Team Human podcast host, Doug Rushkoff!
What do we come up with?
Well, that being human is the most radical and subversive strategy in an anti-human era.
And what does it mean to be human? Finding the others, of course. But also seeing the others, and seeing the other in yourself. This might sound like a simple answer, but getting there is complex. Also? It’s exciting and bizarre and intense.
In case you’ve been missing out all this time, Doug is the author of a whole shelf of books; my favorite of which are his latest, Team Human, a manifesto based on his podcast; and Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now.
Doug is always one (or five) steps ahead of everyone else. I’m so happy to have had this conversation with him, and to share it with you. It’s warm and full of laughter and connection.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What is the anti-human agenda, and what does it mean to be human?
  • Why Malcolm Gladwell, Steven Pinker, and Richard Dawkins are, uh, a problem, and emergence is stupid.
  • “Systems theory is spirituality for misogynists.”
  • Why localism still matters
  • How (and why?) to organize with oppositional people
  • The particular failure of straight people in dealing with coronavirus
  • Drawing on a commonwealth to meet with each other
  • Whether or not conservative conspiracy theorists are Very Online or not
  • Why being bullied helps us in later life
  • How to do judo with QAnon
  • The benefit of becoming an outsider to every group you’re in

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Doug, visit his website; and for a sampling of his podcast and its range, I recommend the episodes with Richard Metzger, James Lovelock, and Astra Taylor. All the intro monologues to Doug’s show are available as medium.com articles, too, which you can find here. Since so many episodes of my show focus on anti-work politics and postwork worlds, you may also enjoy Doug’s 2011 article, “Are Jobs Obsolete?” You can also find (most of!) his books available via the bookshop.org link!

• In some ways, this episode is a follow up to the run I did on the challenges of technology: AEWCH 112 on occult tech with Peter Bebergal, AEWCH 113 on the mysterious magical technology of radionics with Duncan Laurie, AEWCH 114 on how to abolish Silicon Valley with Wendy Liu, and AEWCH 115 on the inner experience of the internet with Joanne McNeill. (And the forerunner – on AEWCH 105, talking apocalypse and AI with Mark O’Connell.)

• Okay, I keep sharing eps of my show in the show notes, but I talk a lot about the idea of creating a heart for the machine being with Scott Elliot Hicks on AEWCH 122.

• Doug gives a soft shout out to EF Schumacher and his “small is beautiful” ideology. I’m on board. Check out the Schumacher Center for New Economics, they do good stuff.

The Social Dilemma is out. Haven’t seen it, but I guess I will, keeping in mind that they ripped off Doug.

• Doug brings up democracy and it ties into his conversation with Astra Taylor, who writes about politics and philosophy and collaborated with David Graeber.

• I talk about the wage labor relationship and sex work with my friend Dr. Heather Berg in the article “The Problem with Sex Work Is Work“\

• Tony Norman has written a short article on the crossover between Q and antisemitism.

• Here’s the Grant Morrison’s amazing presentation on sigils, magic, and how we’re all time-larvae. (And yeah that’s a picture of him when he was a young lad with a mop of hair.)

• In spite of my joke about Richard Metzger being a liberal, it’s difficult to overstate how influential his work has been on me, as well as attending the Disinformation conference at the Omega Institute in 2005 (NOT 2003, Conner!). Here’s Richard’s blog, Dangerous Minds. And here’s Doug’s talk at the conference (and links to the other talks except Paul Laffoley’s for some reason). And Lynn Margulis becoming my mentor was the other mindblowing event around that time.

Byron Katie is still very important to me, for her ability to separate thinking from feeling and also her lived experience of the Tao. She’s incredible. Plus, she wears cool lady scarves.

Until next time, be more human than ever,

XO
CH

Leslie Marmon Silko

My first scene (er, podcast) with Ty Mitchell! AEWCH 124

16 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud

Friends, does this show have value to you?
If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 124 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
It’s been a long time since I made a porn scene for public consumption that I got paid for and so much about production has changed since then. I was used to doing studio scenes for Raging Stallion and Hot House and Falcon and Joe Gage, but now things have shifted over to an Only Fans performer-produced model.
And while I’m so happy that workers have partially seized the means of production, so to speak, I’m not so sure I want to, uh, seize them myself.
I’m focusing on other things, and I’m also expressing myself in ways that are a bit more interesting to me.
But the fact remains that it is the most widespread and available medium for performers and viewers now. Because I stopped my just over 7 year porn career before these platforms existed, and because the world is changed, there are so many new challenges and enthusiams and tactics navigated by performers now.
So I asked adult performer and writer Ty Mitchell onto the show. Ty is a brilliant performer and an articulate and thoughtful writer. His scenes give you the sense of an immediate quality of performance, and his essays, including the now classic “Boy Problems,” about navigating age and power differentials in gay experience, have given so many of us so much to think about.
This is a long episode and for good reason: there’s SO much to talk about when it comes to sex, especially in our moment.Ty has emerged as one of the most thoughtful voices on gay sex & culture; and I’m so glad he has because we need people that can take this movement, and conversations that come out of it forward.
This will give you a glimpse of where he’s going and the fact that he’s so articulate that many will join hands and follow him there.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The guilt and doubt that follows pleasure
  • The mystification of porn production
  • The exploitative practices of self-produced scenes
  • The intensities of power differentials in sex
  • The reasons why women and gay men have trouble seeing eye to eye
  • The constitutive elements of homophobia
  • How should we view incest arousal?
  • Working class men in adult scenes
  • Joe Gage’s directing style vs other directors, and why the aesthetics matter
  • The expressiveness in performed sex
  • The benefits and perils of repetitive sex
  • The “mystery date” aspect of escorting
  • Queer freedom through blundering
  • The difficulties of rejecting and being rejected

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Ty, including his adult work, here’s his (SFW) account on twitter. Here’s his excellent essay on gay sex during the global crisis, and his essay on cruising basements, both for his column at MEL Magazine.

• I’ve talked about sex directly on the show many times, including about consent with Katherine Angel on AEWCH 101, about the good of adult work with Missy Martinez on AEWCH 38 and the not-so-good with Johnny Hazzard on AEWCH 88. About sex addiction and the problem of sex & culture on AEWCH 56. And with Whores of Yore historian Kate Lister on AEWCH 102 among others!

• I talked on a panel with other performers about consent in porn years ago.• Stoya’s disclosure that James Deen assaulted her was an intense but necessary event for the adult industry (and all involved, of course). It was also a forerunner of the #MeToo movement.

• Remember when Homeland Security raided the escorting hub rentboy?

• We talk a lot about Joe Gage on this episode. If you don’t know him, he’s a revolutionary director, and you should check into his work, whether you watch gay porn or not. Here’s a thorough interview with him in BUTT Magazine. Also, you can watch me watching one of my own Joe Gage scenes (from After the Heist which I had three scenes in and which became Joe’s best selling film ever for Dragon Video) with a straight guy from Buzzfeed. It’s funny, gotta say.

• Probably the best-known thing I’ve written so far is “What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars,” about the challenges of navigating a relationship while making porn and how that relates to anti-porn sentiment in culture.

• I talk about the intensity of desire and repetition with Maggie Nelson (still can’t believe I had that conversation!) on AEWCH 95.

Until next time friends,

XO
CH

Joe & Sam Gage

Dreaming of post-work utopias with Kathi Weeks on AEWCH 123!

9 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud
Friends,
Does this show have value to you? If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 123 on bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
As so many people face unemployment and uncertainty, many are also asking: how did it get to be this bad?
Instead of only scrambling for jobs – which many no doubt have to do in this time anyway – can we also take the time to reflect on the role of work and its function in our lives? How did we get entrenched in this insidious wage-labor relationship, where we are servants to that most repulsive of phrases, “making a living.” We have a living, we have lives, how dare tis relationship between wages and labor overlay itself onto life and pretend it is life?
To talk about all of this, I invited political theorist, feminist, author, and philosopher Kathi Weeks onto the show. Kathi is the author of two short but profound books: The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries and Constituting Feminist Subjects. The former elucidates the entire anti-work ethos from a Marxist feminist perspective, and uses a tactic to dismantle the crazed attachment we have to a “work ethic”: utopia. What if we employed utopia as a tactic against work to open new ways forward. And the latter shows how we can find solidarity and generate new tactics that we learn from our differing standpoints.
This is a great anti-work, pro-utopia episode, friends.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way a “sick day” enforces an identity
  • The problem of “just do what you love”
  • The problem with (sex work is) work
  • Making sure we critique work without dragging everything into class reductionism
  • How post-work politics come from work
  • The uses of utopia (and where Kathi and I limit our ideas of utopia)
  • Why the demand to know the future is counterrevolutionary
  • Living in a time of critique without proposition
  • The promise and pitfalls of universal basic income (UBI)

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Kathi, here’s her great essay, “Down with Love,” on how our views of love inform our views of work; here’s Kathi’s spirited defense of universal basic income as a PDF; and you can watch her on a panel with AEWCH 120 guest Michael Hardt, Peter Frase, and Charles Mudede here.

• For more on postwork and anti-work action/theory, well, I’ve talked a whole lot about it on the show, and from many different angles: including talking about idleness AEWCH 89 with philosopher Brian O’Connor, a solo episode – AEWCH 85 – Abolish Work,” AEWCH 83 with Franco Bifo Berardi, AEWCH 69 with Sovereign Syre and Dr. Heather Berg, and briefly on AEWCH 99 with the late and great David Graeber.

• For some reason, Miya Tokumistu’s book, Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success And Happiness is not on bookshop.org, so I’ve linked to it here for you. And here’s her article, “The United States of Work.”

• For more on lines of flight, check out the work of Felix Guattari (pictured below), particularly the book entitles, aptly for your purposes – Lines of Flight.

• Here’s a short essay on the Wages for Housework campaign in the Nation. And Sylvia Federici’s great (but also for me challenging) quote is, “We want to call work what is work so that eventually we might rediscover what is love.”

• For more on problems with the family, check out AEWCH106 with Sophie Lewis!

• Here’s my essay on anti-work/sex work with Heather Berg, “The Problem with Sex Work is Work.” And here’s my introductory essay to utopianist Charles Fourier.

• I love Kathi’s quote here – “The utopian practice is…a practice of expanding time.”

• A great Wittgenstein quote about the future: “When we think of the world’s future, we always mean the destination it will reach if it keeps going in the direction we can see it going in now; it does not occur to us that its path is not a straight line but a curve, constantly changing direction.”

• For more on prison abolition, you can’t do much better than following Mariame Kaba on twitter and checking into the resources she shares.

Until next time, friends, don’t work too hard!

XO
CH

Postmodern philosophy as a spiritual path? I talk with occultist, philosopher, and writer Scott Elliot Hicks on how to transform thinking.

1 Sep

LISTEN HERE OR ON: iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud

Friends, does this show have value to you? If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!

Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 122 on Bookshop.org! It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
Is it enough to just think new thoughts to change the world? Is it a matter of having the right knowledge, the right perspective, the right information? The answer may seem unfortunate given the urgency of our times: Absolutely not.
What we need instead is to actually change our thinking. That’s a completely different task, and one that’s much more difficult. But it’s also much more gratifying and powerful and transformative. I knew that I’d have to talk to someone about this on the show, and I knew that one of the most capable and thinking-filled people to talk about this with was Scott Eliiot Hicks.
Scott is one of a small group of teachers worldwide who have used Rudolf Steiner’s book The Philosophy of Freedom (also known as Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path) as it was intended – that is, as a living guide through occult development.What happens on this path is that you start to get in touch with not just your thoughts, but the actual direction, flow, and livingness of thinking.
Scott’s books are dense and dizzying and totally worth the journey. They include The Resurrection of Thinking: Steiner’s Anthroposophy & the Postmodernism of Badiou, Deleuze, Derrida & Levinas (available through bookshop.org – you can see how this title would appeal to me!), and two books only available via Amazon, Earthly, Transcendental, & Spiritual Logic: From Husserl’s Phenomenology to Steiner’s Anthroposophy and his novel The Shattering Light of Stars.
We go deep on this episode, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why thought is not enough and we must change thinking
  • Being stuck in a “spiritual eggshell” or “shell hell” after death
  • The unappealing-ness of doing spiritual work and why we can/should overcome it
  • Why do some spiritual events and encounters show up for some people out of nowhere?
  • The darker spirits we’re all full of
  • Why clairvoyance is often just a disguise for materialism
  • How to see what objects really are if they’re not material
  • Why you should forgive yourself when you move out of your spiritual developments
  • Why spiritual experiences are difficult to hold in memory
  • Language as boom tube – and how a new language arises when you are spoken by the spiritual world
  • Sex as an occult encounter and why sex is so “dark”
  • Why love cannot exist without the antichrist
  • The need for forming constellations of spiritual seekers
  • The coming struggles with AI

SHOW NOTES
• For more on Scott, visit his excellent website, which features many blog entires to alternately wade through and dive into the deep end of the spiritual development of thinking. His site also links to his excellent series of short videos on YouTube.

• I talked a bit about the difference between thinking and thought way back on AEWCH 20 with rogue anthropologist David Shorter. And I discuss anthroposophy directly on AEWCH 116 with Are Thoresen and AEWCH 68 with Lisa Romero.• For more on the spiritual double, check out the booklist for this episode.

• I love Scott’s expression of language creating “positive voids” like boom tubes in DC Comics.

• In spite of giving him a hard time on this ep, I like Jacques Lacan quite a bit, and discuss his work and psychoanalysis in general with Todd McGowan on AEWCH 47.

Yeshayahu Ben-Aharon‘s work comes up a lot on this episode. I suggest you look into his work, which centers around what he calls “cognitive yoga.”

Until next time, my friends,
XO
CH

Mona Eltahawy returns to AEWCH to say: FUCK THE PATRIARCHY!

18 Aug

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • Soundcloud

Friends, does this show have value to you? If so, I ask that you support it on Patreon! The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 121 at bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too. 

Friends,
The tremendous anarchist feminist writer, Mona Eltahawy, returns to Against Everyone With Conner Habib to talk with me about masks, bodily autonomy, poetry, and more.
Mona’s latest book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, is a tour through international feminist resistance, and it is powerful. Her first book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution is a total eye-opener.
Her first appearance on AEWCH 50, was the turning point for the show and for me personally; we deepened the conversation on the show permanently – we walked without small talk right into the un-illuminated contours of sex and feminism and patriarchy and autonomy and assault.
This episode is no different.
It is filled with intensities and new discussions on freedom and its nuances and challenges. Are bodies private and if so, how do we make them private without supporting concepts of private property? Should we organize with conservatives? When should we wear masks and when should we take them off? What do we do if sexual assault is subjective, not objective?
One thing I made sure to include was the fierce love of art Mona and I both read poems to each other; Mona chose June Jordan’s excellent “Poem About My Rights” – which she reads so passionately and beautifully! And I chose CP Cavafy’s lonesome “Walls”.
This is an intense episode, and it begins and ends with the direct message: FUCK THE PATRIARCHY

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Are masks a sort of veiling?
  • Can we organize with enemies?
  • What are many different kinds power that oppress us that make organizing a choice between a rock and hard place?
  • The marginalized and vulnerable people forgotten on all levels.
  • Why poetry matters now.
  • Inventing the power that our freedom requires.
  • Karma as a political perspective.
  • Why equality is not enough.
  • The walls we build around our own lives and the ways we self-stigmatize.
  • Are bodies private or public? And what would it mean if we said, “my body doesn’t belong to you, and yours does not belong to you?”
  • The trifecta of misogyny: state, street, home.
  • “If your community is ready for you, you’re already too late.”
  • Why I haven’t posted nude photos for a long time.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Mona: Mona has a patreon and she posts so much writing and so many videos on there. If you like her work, please do support her support her Patreon! Mona has also given a hugely popular TEDTalk about being a Muslim feminist , and here’s Mona’s famous essay, “Why Do They Hate Us?

• Here’s information on Barnes vs Glen Theater Inc., the Supreme Court case that said the state of Indiana could enforce g-strings and pasties because if they didn’t, the world would fall apart.

• I talked about the commonwealth of desire and bodies and property on AEWCH 120 with political philosopher Michael Hardt. And I wrote about some of it in my essay about utopianist Charles Fourier. I also talk about it with Sophie Lewis on AEWCH 106.

Shulamith Firestone is a daring and important thinker, and has influenced many of my guests.

• Hilma af Klint is such an incredible painter (see some of her works below) and was influenced by Rudolf Steiner (click here and use the translate option if you don’t speak German for more about af Klint’s esoteric life).

• Here’s what is probably my most popular essay, about how an ex-boyfriend couldn’t deal with me being a sex worker, and how that mirrored culture’s problems with porn: “What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars.”

• I talked about the ethics of consent at length with UK feminist writer Laurie Penny on AEWCH 64.

• If you want a briefing on the despicable smearing of Alex Morse via the degradation of sexual assault, here you go.

• Everyone should read Gayle Rubin’s writing, especially, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality“.

• If you missed AEWCH 39 with Lebanese novelist Rabih Alameddine, well, um, don’t! It’s great!

XO
CH

Assembling against empire. Political theorist and philosopher Michael Hardt on AEWCH!

11 Aug

LISTEN HERE OR ON
iTunesSpotifyOvercast  • YouTubeSoundcloud

Friends, does this show have value to you?
If so, support it on Patreon!
The show is funded exclusively by listeners like you, and your contribution is vital and deeply appreciated!
Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 120 at bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too. 

Friends,

Back in 2000, philosophers, political theorists, and activists Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri’s book Empire came out to fanfare, shock, and intense responses. It named the nexus of power currents and nodes across the planet that formed the net of neoliberalism. It couldn’t just be described as a problem of states or corporations anymore, it was empire. That meant new ways of understanding were needed, and new ways of resisting and creating.

The follow ups fleshed out different aspects of their arguments, only strengthening them: Multitude, Commonwealth, and, most recently, Assembly.

I remember having arguments about Empire with Marxists who thought the books were “too ontological” and that they discouraged activism because they seemed to indicate that resistance movements would just show up and save the day on their own. And yet it all seemed absolutely correct to me, in the diagnosis of the problem, and, in later books, how to solve it. And it in no way expressed a shallow reliance on spontaneous formation of movements. “Belief in spontaneity is a political position” they wrote – there’s so much happening, a congregation of factors. What we need to do is see what’s happening and enter into the gaps and the space between the known, to reclaim and realign the direction we’re going in. And these books do a lot to peer into what we weren’t seeing and to gather up everything that comes into focus: from Marx to Deleuze, the patterns of birds in flight to Star Trek, John Locke to identity politics.

These books are massive undertakings that deeply unearth and express the situation we are in today. You have got to read these books, but especially Assembly which navigate the tension between leader-led and leaderless movements, as well as how these movements arise.

So it’s with great excitement that I bring you my conversation with Michael Hardt, whose work has been influential on me and many others for decades.. This is a deep but also wide-ranging discussion.Enjoy it, friends. And after you’re done listening, think about how to prepare for the next resistance movement before it arises.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Identities as property
  • Differences between capitalist, communist, and socialist ideas of property
  • Why giving up private property doesn’t mean sharing your toothbrushes and pillowcases
  • The body as private property
  • Why fears of anarchism are merely extensions of private property laws
  • The commonwealth of knowledge available to all of us
  • Why private property will not protect us
  • Whether or not our suffering belongs to us
  • The buttonhole and button of desire
  • Wedding rings as BDSM gear
  • “The way Deleuze reads Nietzsche is the way Marx read capitalist society.”
  • Affirmation as a political move
  • The difference between mythic art and occult art
  • The magical activity in the space between megalithic stones
  • The lack is simply where we can’t see what’s there

SHOW NOTES

• Buy all of Michael’s books. Really. You’ll never see the world the same way after you’re done. For more on Michael And here’s a good interview with him on The Dig. Here’s an incomplete but nice little 4 minute intro to Empire. Finally, here’s a free digital copy of Declaration, a sort of anti-manifesto manifesto written by Michael and Toni.

• Here’s “The Same Old Song” by Russell Means. The actual quote is, “Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act.” Means’s essay is not actually an essay, for, as he states at the outset, “The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of ‘legitimate’ thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken.” The essay is also found in the book Marxism and the Native Americans.

• I talked about identities as nationalisms way back on AEWCH 7 (a solo episode: “Selfie Politics”), and I was pleasantly surprised to see the topic addressed in Michael’s work after the fact. It’s something that’s happened many times when reading his and Toni’s work: the happy shock of recognition. I also talked about the topic with Asad Haider on AEWCH 26 with Asad Haider, via his excellent book, Mistaken Identity.

I wrote an essay about utopianist Charles Fourier, and I think this it serves as a great introduction to his work.

Cal by Bernard MacLaverty is a great, slim novel. And it’s a good movie too (although I am told by Irish friends that it’s a bit too THIS IS AN IRISH MOVIE for their taste).

• The Irish activist who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer was my friend and AEWCH 87 guest, Una Mullally.

• I love Wittgenstein whether or not I disagree with him on this or that point. I believe what Michael was referring to was “Other people cannot be said to learn of my sensation only from my behavior, – for I cannot be said to learn of them. I have them. The truth is: it makes sense to say about other people that they doubt whether I am in pain; but not to say it about myself.”

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (pictured) is a wonderful writer and thinker and her work is needed now more than ever.

• Also interesting, Alexandra Kollentai. You can listen to Sophie Lewis and I discuss some of the concepts that relate to Kollentai’s work on AEWCH 106.

Michael’s book on Deleuze is pretty heavy philosophy, but I do love it. If you’ve got any foundation to start with, I think it’s a great book. And here’s Deleuze’s beautiful quote: “To affirm is to unburden: not to load life with the weight of higher values, but to create new values which are those of life, which make life light and active.”

• I spoke at length about nothingness and its power in a directly occult way with Are Thoresen on AEWCH 116. And on AEWCH 85, I discuss Frithjof Bergmann’s work against work.

• “Filling out the passage from multiplicity to multitude remains for us the critical project,” Michael and Toni write.

• If you haven’t yet listened to AEWCH 91 – which is the last recorded interview with Lynn Margulis before her death – you should really give it a listen.

Until next time, friends,
XO
CH