Chaos Magician + Renegade Anthroposophist = Podcast

5 Jan

IMG_4011Happy to announce I’m the first guest of 2017 on one of my favorite podcasts, Rune Soup, hosted by author and occultist, Gordon White. (If you want to skip past this stuff, just scroll down to the podcast.)

I found Gordon through a series of synchronicities: Last year, I spoke to an occulty friend of mine in San Francisco after three years of not communicating (nothing bad, we just sort of dropped out of each other’s lives). “Conner, you’ve got to read this book called The Chaos Protocols! It’s a completely new take on the economic climate and how to engage with money and the world we live in now,” he said. Or something to that effect.

I trust my friend’s taste, but to be honest, I did what I often do when people recommend stuff to me – I  thought, “Sure, sure. Another magick book. I’ll get to it in 2052.”

Later that day, I turned on a podcast that I love and am often happily frustrated by, Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris (you may remember my conversation about scientific knowledge with Alex from December 2014). The guest? None other than Gordon White. It was a great interview.

Okay, okay, I’ll look this guy up. When I checked twitter, I saw that we followed each other. Huh? I had no memory of following him, nor of him following me. He must have just tweeted something awesome and I instinctively hit the Follow button. A few months later, I’d read The Chaos Ptotocols (it’s excellent, as are his other books, Star.Ships and Pieces of Eight) appeared on Episode 24 of his podcast, Rune Soup (which is also the name of his excellent occult-meets-politics website), and was becoming fast friends with Gordon.

My second appearance is even better than the first, in my opinion. We talk about 2017, gwwhy you shouldn’t despair, what the state of the world can mean for us spiritually, why it’s important to decolonize our thoughts, the power of forgiveness, and more. It’s all part of my work this year to radiate empowerment to you, dear reader, dear viewer, dear friend. This includes my upcoming online course, Radical Undoing: Decolonize Your Mind with Sex, Science, the Occult, and Philosophy (sign up!); which I talk about on the podcast.

Let’s become the prisms through which inspiration, imagination, and creative engagement refract and illuminate.

Here’s the podcast! Enjoy!

HUGE SALE on Writing Coaching! + New Course for 2017

19 Dec

Hey hey folks, 2016 turning into 2017. No bang, no whimper, this isn’t the end, a new beginning is waiting for us. Awesome. So let’s finish the year and ring in the new one with some good news! 

I’m offering a huge sale on my Writing Coaching Services!

Buy any service:

between 12/19 – 12/31 and get 10% off!

Buy any writing packages:

between 12/19 – 12/31 and get 15% off!

Stop putting off your dream of writing, writing more, writing better, getting published, and achieving your dream. Hire me, get it started, and Get. It. Done.

NEW COURSE

insideAlso in the good news camp: I have a new online course in 2017 that you can register for now! Radical Undoing: Decolonize Your Mind with Sex, Science, the Occult, and Philosophy is scheduled for January 22nd. You can think of it as an antidote to the pain of Inauguration weekend; a way to see hope in an otherwise unhopeful moment. More on the course in upcoming blog posts, but for now, you can check it out here!

After the year turns over, check back for my best of 2016, which I always post in 2017, since you never know what amazing things are going to happen in the last few weeks of an amazing year. And yes, I do think it was an amazing year!

Big love,

CH

 

New Online Class Sunday 12/18! Good Sex, Better World: 8 Ways Your View on Sex Can Improve the World+ Q&A!

11 Dec

SexI’ve got a pop-up live online course Sunday 12/18!

My last pop up course was on writing, this one’s on sex and culture.

While my longer online lectures/courses are very in-depth, these pop up lectures are aimed at accessibility for everyone. Accessibility in content: giving you talking points and things to think about after the lecture is over. Financial accessibility: each pop up always has a donation option so people can buy a standard ticket, pay whatever they can afford, or donate even more if they like what I’m doing. Also accessibility for me as the creator of the course – I think of the material and the course is set for just a week out, rather than all the planning/promotion that goes into my other courses.

This time, it’s Good Sex, Better World: 8 Ways Your View on Sex Can Improve the World, followed by a Q&A! Sign up here and/or read the description below.

If you ever want to know how somebody feels about freedom, start talking about sex.

Talking about sex and sexuality pushes people to the limits of their moral, ethical, and political frameworks because it’s all so highly individualized. What one person enjoys sexually – an act, a type of person, a set of features – is unintelligible to another.

For instance, have you ever been attracted to someone and pointed him or her out to a friend, only to have your friend make a repulsed sound?

Him? your friend says, incredulously. The one with the belly and big ears?

Meanwhile, you can’t take your eyes off of him as he walks by, talking on his phone.

Or maybe you like a sexual act or type that you fear is “abnormal.” You like fat men in their fifties, you like almost non-existent breasts, you like anal sex, you like sex with people dressed as stuffed animals, you like being urinated on, you like wearing a leather mask shaped like a pony’s head, you like dressing like a baby, you like…

The list goes on and on. It starts with what features you’re attracted to and ends with how you live your life…and how you think others should live theirs.

At some point or another, everyone comes across a sexual act or attraction that makes them cringe. How we think about and deal with that offense will tell us how deeply our principles about freedom go.

That’s why sex – so individualized, so active and reactive – is the perfect sphere for political and cultural progress! It’s also why sex is so over-legislated and controlled by people and institutions in power.

In other words: If you want a better world, get your perspective on sex – the sex that you and others have – worked out.

In this live, one-session-only online course, Conner Habib will tell you 8 ways to improve your views of sex and how those new viewpoints extend into a better world.

Together, we’ll investigate:

  • How sex and culture intertwine in the realm of individual freedoms and political rights
  • The current sexual landscape and not find what’s “natural” or what’s “normal,” or “real,” but what would would be ideal, what would allow the most cultural space for everyone to understand what they’d like, without restricting that access for others.
  • Why not talking about sex is so damaging
  • The benefits — and problems — of consent and boundaries
  • Why immersive and connected sex isn’t “better” than a casual, anxious hookup
  • What sex workers have to teach us about sexuality and politics
  • Some messy sexual gropes of history, the unwelcome and forcible restricting grip of power, and the pleasurable moments where we seemed to get it right
  • and more!

The course is followed by a 45 minutes sex advice Q&A with Conner, where you can get in on the conversation and uncover your own sexual ideas.

You’ll leave the course with a deeper understanding of sex’s role in our cultural psyche, a whole host of sexual stuff to think about (aside from the usual sexual stuff you think about!), and strategies for a new approach to sex and politics.

And you’ll get exclusive access to a recording of the course for 30 days after the course ends!

SIGN UP HERE!

 

Update: What Do Dan Savage, Peter Rollins, the CBC, & A Flying Golden Penis Have In Common? Me!

5 Dec

Lots going on in my funny version of the world.

HONOR/AWARD

First, I won a Sexual Freedom Award! Hurray! The Sexual Freedom Awards in the UK have been running for over twenty years now, honoring people who are working for progressive sexual values and pushing on our culture’s fundamentalist sexual boundaries.

I was honored with the Best Publicist Award – “publicist” because the Best Writer categorysfa has been absorbed into this one, but it’s largely an award for writers. Past winners include Frankie Mullin, Brooke Magnanti (of Secret Diary of a Call Girl fame), and Carol Queen. Whoa!

It’s a huge honor, and the golden flying penis statue is probably the most, um, functional trophy I’ve ever received. *ahem*

***

MEDIA APPEARANCES

hmwds

DAN SAVAGE

First, I’m on Dan Savage’s new Audible.com radio show, Hot Mic! Here’s the gist: Audible started doing something called Audible channels, which features podcast-style web shows that you can subscribe to. Dan asked me on to discuss sex work, porn, LGBT issues, and more. So there you have it!

Click here or on Dan’s mug to listen.

 

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-11-34-07-amPETER ROLLINS

You may or may not know that for some of 2015 and most of 2016, I lived with my friend, the philosopher and theologian, Peter Rollins. Before I met Peter, I was a huge admirer of his work after having read his amazing book of zen-like parables, The Orthodox Heretic. In fact, I was a big blabbermouth supporter, as follower of mine on twitter who pulled up this 2013 tweet (which apparently no one cared about at the time haha) recently to remind me. Anyway, a few years later I met Peter, we were fast friends, and he was moving in to my apartment for a year. We had lots of deep (sometimes contentious!) philosophy talks while we lived together but never did any sort of public event. So on the day before he moved out, we recorded a short conversation about spirituality, faith, marginalized identities, and psychoanalysis, which you can watch below!

CBC’s OUT IN THE OPEN 

I appeared on The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s show, Out in The Open, hosted by the excellent Piya Chattopadhyay! Totally mehonored, because my favorite podcast, Writers & Company (hosted by the forever amazing Eleanor Wachtel) is on the CBC. But also, it’s kind of great that I was on a government-sponsored channel talking about having sex in bathrooms. The producer reached out to me after having read my essay about sex at rest areas on Salon.com a few years ago. Anyway, it’s me, discussing where sexual tensions come from, why men have sex in bathrooms, and why that’s not going away any time soon.

I say stuff like, “If there’s a place where men are going to stand next to each other with their genitals exposed, there’s going to be sex happening there at some point or another.” Well. Yeah. They erroneously label me as a “former” adult star (I’ve got a movie coming out soon!), but that aside, it’s a fun show. Click here to listen to my segment!

WHAT ELSE?

I’ve got a few things up my sleeve before the year ends! A huge Christmas/New Year sale on my writing coaching services, a one session pop-up class, my annual year-end round up, and info on my upcoming projects!

The Future-Non-Future of the Adult Industry

2 Dec

image1In 2013, I wrote an essay (called “Facing the Torsos”) for The Stranger about hook-up apps (like Scruff, Grindr, etc) having the potential for becoming individuated pornographic experiences. Actually, let me restate that – these apps have already become our new porn, whether they claim to be or not. I’m presenting it again here because, porn companies have still failed to realize better models and structures for delivering erotic and arousing experiences to viewers. Basically, studios/producers are still doing the 1980s/1990s VHS model of things: Record a scene, deliver it to viewers, hope they’ll pay. What they don’t realize is that the potential for new realms is not in the platform or even the content, but the INTERFACE. This is why something like VR where you wear a giant occulus goggle thingy is still ultimately a boring extension of the VHS model: You’re still just watching it happen. Sure, it’s a different sort of watching, but the interface is essentially the same, panoramic or not.

I’m tired of constant complaints from producers in the porn industry about piracy and how people not paying for porn is why the industry is failing; ultimately using that as an excuse to justify docking performer pay.

No, it’s not piracy, it’s lack of innovation (or better said, lazy refusal to innovate) on multiple levels, and one of the big ones is interface.  

But producers won’t get this till they understand: porn is not a set “thing,” it’s not just a scene of people fucking on a website. It’s a set of aesthetic rules that inspire a way of watching by individuals.

I’ll write more on this later (I’ve given talks on this at a bunch of art schools now, so the essay is imminent). What might be “porn” for you may not be porn for me (for example, did you masturbate to the Macy’s underwear catalog when you were a kid like I did? Or The Real World Season 2 whenever that blonde surfer dude came on?).

Until people get a handle on this, porn payouts will continue to decline, decline, decline, and at the same time drag performer wages, quality of experience, and producer integrity down with them.

And let’s not forget that all the while, anti-sex bigots and internet censorship dressed up as anti-porn legislation will keep coming at us.

Innovate happily, adapt, or die.

If you’re a producer, feel free to hire me to consult on this.

Anyway, here’s the article again. Hope you enjoy it.

***

fttFACING THE TORSOS

You’re at a gay bar with a group of searching, horny guys, and you’re talking to a bunch of them at once. “Pull your dick out,” you say to one of the cuter ones. He does, and it’s hard and good-looking. “Nice dick!” you say, naturally.

“Sup,” someone else says to you while you’re admiring it, but you don’t pay him much attention.

One of the guys in the group has been talking for a while, but he’s so boring that you turn your back on him mid-sentence and ignore him.

Just a few feet away is a guy who’s really attractive but doesn’t seem interested. You go up and say hello. When he doesn’t respond, you say hi again. Nothing. Well, you’ll see him again a few days later anyway, in the same spot, and you’ll say hello again.

But look, there’s that boring guy you turned your back on. Now that you know what it feels like to be ignored, you reluctantly say, “Sorry. I had a phone call.” Or whatever. Then you pick up the conversation right where you left off.

These are the absurd in-person equivalents of phone hookup apps like Scruff, Grindr, Mister, and Jack’d: brief hellos (“sup”), the trading of nude pics, the dance of expressing interest, dropping in and out of conversations, and picking up chats you abandoned days ago.

It’s obvious in the imagined bar above that our in-person behavior doesn’t mirror our behavior and expectations on the apps. But there’s a good deal more confusion as to how much of our behavior and expectations on the apps should mirror real life. This can be seen most clearly in the common declaration of many profiles: “I wouldn’t talk to someone without a head at a bar, so have a face pic.”

I don’t like when profiles don’t have face pics, and I wouldn’t talk to a headless person in life, either. But neither would I—at least for the most part—ask to see a guy’s dick at a bar and expect him to pull it out. And I wouldn’t suddenly stop talking to someone with no explanation. So there’s a tension and confusion between how much “real life” we’re supposed to enact on these apps. This is, in part, because when we download an app, we don’t just download the standard features, we download a narrative.

The narrative we’re sold is a nice one, and sometimes it plays out: You create a profile, you chat with guys, you meet in person and fuck or even go on a date. I’ve had the good fortune of having this happen, but that’s not what usually happens. Just last night I was on Scruff while in bed, facing the gay man’s dilemma of too-horny-to-sleep-but-too-tired-to-go-out-and-get-some. Typical. With my phone hand, I was scrolling through pics, and with my other hand, I was casually and lazily playing with myself. I talked to a few guys, unlocked my photos, jerked off, and called it a night. Also typical.

Masturbation cued me in, as it has more than a few times, to something valuable: These apps are geared not specifically toward sex but toward stimulation, masturbation, and desire. Put another way, hookup apps are pornography—individualized, participatory pornography.

As a porn actor, I’ve been hearing fearful noises from porn studios and misguided journalists for years now, bemoaning how porn isn’t as lucrative as it once was. While a lot of these concerns are aimed at the internet, what’s overlooked is that a lot of our sexual attention is being diverted to our devices and hookup apps. Instead of writing about how apps compete with bars, we should be looking at how apps are dovetailing with other forms of sexual imagery. Because the substance of these apps isn’t hooking up—it’s browsing. All the traditional elements of porn are there, and more. By creating a profile, we agree to put ourselves on display. Many of the photos we post are borderline pornographic, even if they’re “G-rated.” They’re chest pics or pics of us looking seductive, or they’re goofy because we’ve sexualized goofiness. Exhibitionism is part of the agreement of these apps. We turn ourselves into desirable objects for others to look at.

Meanwhile, we’re voyeurs, looking into everyone’s little windows. The interface is similar to the way we view porn now, not fixating on one scene until we come but flipping through scenes—bringing up the next and the next until we find the one we want to stick with. The ability to chat with the person whose image you’re getting off to amplifies the individualization of the experience. While I’m looking at someone’s dick, I’m also wondering: Is he a top or a bottom? Does he like the same sexual acts as me? But it goes further than that—everyone on the app has access to what turns them on about personalities, too. Does he like the same movies? Is he into comic books? Will he wear that Thor helmet in his pic when he fucks me?

And the best thing is—unlike porn on the computer—we get to be on the screen, too, displaying ourselves to the other player.

But these encounters often do not lead to meeting. When you get to the point of hooking up, the person you think you’re about to hook up with disappears. Or the person says, “I’m busy.” Or you call it off because you don’t feel like cleaning out your butt or going all the way over to that neighborhood because that’s like a 20- minute walk!

And of course, there’s the possibility that the person in the photo is not who he seems to be, that he’ll look different than his photos, or that maybe he’s expecting too much from you.

So instead of meeting up, the next step is turning the app off (or leaving it on) and masturbating. After the interaction has, um, come and gone, you “star” or “favorite” a guy’s profile and revisit the scene again—like a replay, only better.

With apps, we create living pornography on the spot; they embody exhibitionism and voyeurism par excellence. They’re portable, they’re accessible when we want them to be (in your office! In the Starbucks bathroom!), they’re not one-way like much live cam porn, they’re not expensive, and everyone who signs up is agreeing to the same basic premises.

Some features are even optimized for the pornographic experience. The Global feature on Scruff, for example, allows you to engage in chatting and pic sharing without the promise of an encounter. If the person you’re talking to lives in Papua New Guinea and you live in Chicago, you’re probably not getting it in anytime soon. In other words, the Global feature presents a more realistic expectation of what’s probably going to happen when we sign on.

This kind of realistic expectation can help save us from becoming dependent on these new technologies or trapped in the nervous energy that propels them. We’ve all seen people at bars staring into their phones, chatting up the very same sorts of guys they feel unable to approach in person. When we use the apps too frequently or depend on the narrative we’re sold—one of meeting rather than browsing—it can become a crutch and diminish our skill sets for approaching others. We all know someone (or may be someone) who checks his apps constantly or inappropriately. I’m guilty of saying hi to someone via app when he’s sitting four tables away from me at the coffee shop (embarrassingly, he didn’t respond even as I watched him check his phone).

If we can see most of our time on these apps for what it is, we can access the apps’ potential. Seeing the apps as pornographic allows us to interact with our desires rather than try to approximate in-person experiences. Engaging in—rather than just receiving—personalized sexual imagery can afford a degree of healthy detachment through which we can explore the contours of what gets us off. Right now, because the apps are clinging only to the prepackaged narrative, their potential isn’t yet realized. Not expecting our devices and apps to approximate the same experiences we have via in-person contact will let us drop real-time expectations for them. Then we can face the torsos, whether they have faces or not.

 

 

BLACK FRIDAY SALE: TWO OCCULT LECTURES FOR $10.00!

25 Nov

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-10-30-59-pm

BLACK FRIDAY FLASH SALE!
Right now, you can get access to TWO OCCULT LECTURES by me for just $10.00! Yeah, I said it!

OCCULT PHILOSOPHIES: RUDOLF STEINER & THE WESTERN ESOTERIC TRADITION

and

BANISHING THE WORLD: POSTMODERN PHILOSOPHY & THE OCCULT

Both recordings offer tons of content, meditative exercises, follow-up Q&A sessions, and more. Descriptions of each below! Registration was originally a minimum of $15.00 EACH ($30.00 total ) – but you get 30 days of access to BOTH lectures for just $10.00. Magick!

But sign up before noon on 11/26, because that’s when this deal will…Okay, don’t make me say it folks. You see where this is going.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

1. Buy a ticket by going to the eventbrite page and clicking on the ticket button on this page.

2. In 24 hours, you’ll receive a link to both recordings. Ta-da! That’s it! Simple. You’ll have access until 12/26!


meandrsOCCULT PHILOSOPHIES

“There is not one truth, but a coincidence of all truths.” – Rudolf Steiner

You’ve probably heard Rudolf Steiner’s name, or about his efforts – including Waldorf schools, biodynamic agriculture, Weleda, Camp Hill communities, and more.

Maybe you know him as a Da Vinci-esque polymath who contributed to philosophy, mathematics, biology, architecture, and more. Or you’ve heard that he’s the inspiration for Marvel comics’ Dr. Strange; Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring; Saul Bellow’s fiction; or the work of the literary group the Inklings, which includes J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis.

But getting into Steiner and his work (called anthroposophy) can be daunting, to say the least. With thousands of lectures and dozens of books filled with esoteric terms and philosophical gestures that would make a postmodernist blush, it’s difficult to find a way into his vast body of work.

This lecture will give you multiple doorways into Steiner’s work, as well as a glimpse of the Western occult tradition, through one of its most developed branches.

Together, we’ll go through some key aspects of Steiner’s work, engage in some anthroposophical exercises, and create a pathway for you to go further in your study. It’ll be fun, deep, complex, weird, respectful, and irreverant all at once.

BANISHING THE WORLD

Like the two snakes that twine around Hermes’s staff, the occult and postmodern aphilosophy embrace the same deep revelation:

The world is not as it seems.

But while the occult has been pushed out of serious academic study, postmodern philosophy remains much-discussed and influential. Of course, philosophy’s roots are in the occult: initiates in classical cultures discussing the meanings and substances of the universe. Then, as religion rose to new heights of power, philosophy rebelled against the magical, supernatural, and mystical. Now, after the distractions of the modern era, philosophers – as much as they may deny it – have once again found themselves at the altar with the occultists, the witches, and the mystics.

The postmodern philosophers are in many ways the mystics and maguses of our time. They speak in strange languages, presenting uncanny riddles, and exiling the old world by revealing the new. They’re renaming the gods, influencing cultures, changing medicine and science, and more.

With writer, radical thinker, and activist Conner Habib you’ll explore:

– How the theories of postmodern thinkers like Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Jacques Lacan, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, Michael Taussig, Michel Serres, and more, overlap with occult ideologies and practices.

– Why it’s all so complicated, anyway, and how using the occult to approach postmodern philosophy and vice versa can make both easier to understand.

– How to use both occult and postmodern ideas to re-envision the world you live in.

– How occult ideas have found their way into academia, science, and activism through the conduit of postmodernism.

Conner will guide you through the complex ideas of the occult and postmodern philosophy in plain, easy-to-understand language in this live, online course. It’s for the beginner and the adept alike.