Tag Archives: AEWCH

If the world is ending, write a poem. Daniel Poppick on AEWCH 157!

21 Jul

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it!
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.

Buy Daniel’s books, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 157 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback! (Since Daniel’s books are on backorder on the site, I’m also including links to The Police and Fear of Description here, via amazon, until they’re back in stock on bookshop.org).

Friends,

I’m so excited to welcome poet and editor Daniel Poppick onto the show.

To start, Daniel reads “Rumors” which is in the style of a haibun (in the style of Bashō), which blends prose and haiku. Here’s an excerpt: “Back at Kristen’s house, staring into this oceanic jigsaw piece, I wondered how or if my friends would recount this evening to one another at some later date: who would remember things correctly as they happened, and what we would all get wrong, if we would ever verify it accurately among one another, being our only witnesses, before we slowly melted down to be sipped up by worms, the whole scene as we remembered or forgot it blown away and buried in the architecture of our dust.”

He also reads “Paradise” and “A Rubber Lion” as well as an excerpt from “The Hell Test (Seven Springs)

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Poetry as concussion
  • How do images become words?
  • How poetry allows for many many worlds and reincarnation helps us solve problems
  • Why a robot pterodactyl matters
  • How a podcast is like a poem
  • The poems we don’t get and why we still read them
  • Experimental poems as threatening generosity
  • Why poets are always writing poems about poetry
  • Hell as a technology for understanding the world
  • Two thoughts exercises on how to live

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Daniel, here’s his website, which has links to lots of great stuff – interviews, poems, essays – on it. • Some more AEWCH episodes with poets:

• Here’s an intro to Bashō, the 17th Century Japanese travel poet who was a huge influence on Daniel’s book, Fear of Description.

• If you didn’t catch the wheelbarrow reference Daniel dropped, it was to William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” which you can read (and read about) here.

• “I write poetry because I want to be alone and I want to talk to people.” – Allen Ginsburg

• Since Kathryn Davis’s novel, Hell, isn’t available on bookshop.org currently, here’s a link to it.

• “Poems in a way are spells against death. They are milestones, to see where you were then from where you are now. To perpetuate your feelings, to establish them. If you have in any way touched the central heart of mankind’s feelings, you’ll survive.” – Richard Eberhart

Until next time pals,

CH

The problem with environmentalism & conservationism on AEWCH 156 with science writer Michelle Nijhuis!

13 Jul

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! 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.

Buy Michelle’s book, Beloved Beasts, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 156 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

I’m very excited to share this episode with journalist and author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting For Life In An Age of Extinction, Michelle Nijhuis.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The tensions between environmentalism and conservationism (and why I’m more pro-conservationism)
  • Conservationism as globalization and/or a transformation of space
  • The need to erode the centralization of environmentalism
  • The need for science to be met with the social sciences and humanities
  • The death of the Earth
  • Conservation as a protection of possibility
  • The problem with “deadline mentality”
  • How Michelle talks about climate change with her daughter
  • What a non-materialist climate change would look like
  • The reason why “religion versus science” is almost a straw man argument
  • How the core of cryptozoology has become a mainstream conservationist message

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Michelle, go to her website, which has an extensive listing of her (many!) article. And here’s Michelle’s discussion with Judith Lewis Mernit (about Jonathan Franzen’s essay, “Carbon Capture”) which captures the tensions between environmentalism and biodiversity quite well. Here’s her essay on the book about color that influenced Darwin.

Some episodes of AEWCH on science and the environment:

  • AEWCH 34 on how sex confronts materialism
  • AEWCH 82 on why we need to destroy the concept of nature
  • AEWCH 91 with microbiologist and geoscientist Lynn Margulis
  • AEWCH 113 with Duncan Laurie on the un-science of radionics
  • AEWCH 155 on Occult extinction

• When Michelle was talking about how we are bound to consume the environment, I kept thinking about the Friends theme-esque song “Someone Has To Die” by a band I love, The Maritime.

The Quagga Project is one of many initiatives to re-engineer species back from extinction. Sort of.

John Dupré‘s excellent essay, “Are Whales Fish?” appears in the anthology Folkbiology.

• Here are some notes on how Rachel Carson was deeply influenced by the work of Rudolf Steiner.

• “If we want to attain a living understanding of nature, we must become as living and flexible as nature herself.” -Goethe

Until next time, friends!
CH

Let’s move to another layer of reality. AEWCH 154: Pilar Lesko & Conner Habib

15 Jun

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 154: PILAR LESKO or TIMELINES & THE END OF THE BATTLE OF GOOD vs EVIL

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Your support for Against Everyone With Conner Habib, as well as all my writing, lectures, activism, and the rest, are what keep me going. If you support my work via patreon, thank you! And if you don’t, please contribute on Patreon today!

Thank you so, so much. Buy books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 154 via bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback.

You can also access Pilar’s amazing course, Uplevel, and get $111 off until June 30 by using the code: CONNERDANCING

Friends,

So much to say about my conversation with spiritual…worker? Attuner? Do-er? Pilar Lesko.

But first things first, it’s difficult for me to describe her. Why? Well, I talk about that at the top of the episode: she expresses a new and individuated unfolding of religion and theology and spirituality that’s happening for so many of us.

Pilar uses her own language – loops, timelines, hooks, cords, cheat codes. Instead of being wary of the mechanistic tone of some of it, we find in her a redemption of the mechanistic, in her, it find its truer form. The language opens pathways up rather than driving us deeper into the merely subnatural.

I took Pilar’s class UpLevel (You can also access Pilar’s amazing course, Uplevel, and get $111 off until June 30 by using the code: CONNERDANCING) and found myself listening, through her, to a new pathway for spirituality being formed. But not one that asked me to replace my pathway, rather I found she was encouraging me to understand my own.

I recorded this episode with Pilar on the day of the solar eclipse, as St John’s Tide approached. The date was perfect timing; I’d just gone through some absolute intensity a few weeks before, and so had Pilar.

Pilar talks about Timelines, and I knew I’d jumped from one to the next in the span of a week. We discuss what that means, exactly on the episode. We also talk about why having a huge spiritual shift doesn’t clear everything up, even as we wish it would: Sometimes when great change comes, you can feel even more acutely the aspects of yourself that are stuck in the old. You achieve something great, you create a great work of art, you get a new partner, you have a breakthrough in your understanding of yourself. Suddenly, you feel liberated, but you also notice now, since you have more light, the knots not yet untied. The parts of you living inn old or artificial layers/levels/timelines of what was real.

But the capacity of change has guided you and continues to. To paraphrase Rudolf Steiner it gives you strength to be yourself, it is now brightening and enlivening the light within you, and it is expressing the warmth from your own soul streaming through you.

I’m so excited to share this episode with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Psychic and economic warfare as a training ground
  • Condensed timeline jumping
  • The will as an inappropriate magical tool until it meets the Will
  • Why do we have to do things twice?
  • That time a cockatiel gave me a spiritual message
  • What are “timelines?”
  • Aleister Crowley and Albert Einstein being part of the same oversoul with different faces
  • The presence of the dead in Pilar’s spiritual output (and all of ours)
  • The principle of ease and its absolute necessity
  • The uses and misuses of intensity
  • How our nervous systems live on other timelines
  • The way “plant medicine” and “magic” and “manifesting” have been infiltrated
  • The higher aspect is always hotter
  • “Good versus evil is still just a level of reality.”

SHOW NOTES

• For Pilar’s site (and her newsletter, which is great), go here. Here’s her post, “’11 Secrets’ to Running a Multiple 6 Figure Business With (almost) No Social Media, No Ads, No Strategy, and in General No F*cks.” And here’s a good discussion with Pilar on the Feeling Free podcast.

• For info on GameStop, here’s a quick and recent breakdown from Financial Times, which I’ve posted here so you can see the mainstream narrative about it and just how huge it is.

• No one called to claim Gino (as I called him), but he found a new and very loving home with one of my neighbors. I guess we were both ready for new worlds.

• I talked about supernatural politics with anthropologist David Graeber on AEWCH 99. And I talked about how consensus in consciousness creates materiality on a very recent episode, AEWCH 152 with supernatural scholar Terje Simonsen.

• Please of check out the work of Byron Katie, and if you’re interested, come to the Against Everyone Salon where I’ll be doing the work with patreon patrons.

• I talked about navigating uncertainty in 2021 on the first episode of the year, AEWCH 136.

What if all the bad stuff is going away?

Thank you friends,

CH

The history, benefits, and dangers of the paranormal, with Terje G. Simonsen

1 Jun

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

Your support for Against Everyone With Conner Habib, as well as all my writing, lectures, activism, and the rest, are what keep me going. If you support my work via patreon, thank you! And if you don’t, please contribute on Patreon today! Thank you so, so much.

Buy Terje’s excellent book and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 152 on bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

I’m so excited to share this episode with Terje G. Simonsen, paranormal/occult scholar and author of the multiple award-winning book A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal: Our Secret Powers Telepathy, Clairvoyance & Precognition.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • “All models are wrong, but some are useful” – George P. Box
  • What is the akashic field and what are our limits in describing it?
  • What does it take to be able to walk through walls?
  • Materiality as an agreement
  • The uses (and misuses) of clairvoyance
  • The military’s limits on understanding psi
  • Revelation after revelation after revelation
  • Using parapsychology to create a better world
  • Anthroposophy in Norway
  • Christian esotericism at odds with magic?
  • That time I did remote viewing
  • The paranormal as a proximity to death

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Terje, here’s his excellent appearance on Skeptiko (PS remember when Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris was on my show? Waaaay back on AEWCH). Here’s Terje summing the book up well in a short video. And here’s an interview with Terje where he discusses David Bohm and the nature of reality.

• My friend who had brain damage is Mira Bartok, author of the bestselling memoir The Memory Palace in which she details the damage a bit.

• If you’d like to learn more about G.I. Gurdjieff, this is a good place to start. And here’s a site on Padre Pio.

• I talk a lot about Daskalos on AEWCH 67 with one of his students, Daniel Joseph. And AEWCH 116 with occultist acupuncturist/veterinarian Are Thoresen remains one of the best episodes of the show.

• I didn’t know much about the healer Matthew Manning before, but I’ll be definitely be investigating!

• Want to learn more about the Servants of the Light and one of their central teachers, Dolores Ashcoft-Nowicki?

• The psychologist who posited the “trance of the everyday” was Erik Erikson.

• Here’s a little on Ulla von Bernus, but you’ll have to translate the page if you don’t speak German. And here’s an article on Milarepa, who, like von Bernus, had a change of heart about practicing black magic.

• The image below is taken from (AEWCH 128 guest) Dan Gretton’s excellent book, I You We Them, Volume 1: Walking Into the World of the Desk Killer, in the show notes of that episode, I refer to these points as “a list of factors is an inverse of spiritual development, a sort of path of black magic.”

• Norwegian psychic and healer, Marcello Haugen has a site (which you’ll have to translate if you don’t read Norwegian) and I’m now looking into his work. I love Terje’s lovely story about him and the hare.

• “Fairy bush survives the motorway planners.” I love Ireland.

• Here’s a brief correspondence between Rudolf Steiner and the anarchist writer John Henry Mackay.

Until next time, friends,
C

The most important question:What if all the bad stuff is going away? A new episode of AEWCH featuring Una Mullally AND utopian exercises for you to try.

19 May

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS:
Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. Do contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on PatreonThank you so, so much.
Buy all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 151 on Bookshop.org. The site sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends –

This episode is a special episode of the Against Everyone with Conner Habib featuring writer, organizer, and artist Una Mullally for many reasons – but it’s special for you the listener because for the first time with the show, I’m extending the episode into some exercises for patrons of the show.

What do I mean? – On this episode Una and I grapple with a question that might seem counterintuitive but nevertheless is at the heart of what’s necessary for us now:

What if all the bad things are going away?

Put differently: Who are we if we are not engaging with the world in terms of struggle and the sense that we will inevitably fail and only confront another monster – but rather with the absolute assuredness that struggle is not what’s happening – Rather, that we are playing a part in the unavoidable and now unfolding process of the bad things going away? How do we play a part in all the bad things going away and the emergence of a utopian process?

So how does this play out for you the listener and how can you get involved in all this?

The episode is up today, obviously, and then by May 24, we’ll be posting a short recording of us offering two exercises that you can do right away to get involved in the utopian process.

Those exercises will go up on my patreon, which you can sign up for here. And also Una’s patreon: patreon.com/UnitedIreland

The recording and the exercises are only available to patreon patrons.

After you’re done engaging in the exercises, you can send me or Una what you experienced by posting in the patreon posts or by using the emails we provide in that post.

In a week or so after that, Una will have a second discussion about your responses via the answers we receive. We’ll be thinking with what you’ve been through, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve offered. We’ll also be talking about what we experienced when we did the exercises ourselves. That conversation will also only be available to patrons.

If you’re listening to this episode after May 2021, not to worry, the exercises and our discussions will still be up on our respective patreons, and available only to patrons.

Why are Una and I doing this?

We know there’s the potential for a question like “what if all the bad stuff is going away?” to sound preposterous. But nevertheless it’s where we find ourselves. In a world where dystopia overwhelms the narrative, there is but one true countervailing force – utopia. But the thing is, we don’t just want to countervail dystopia, we want to overcome it entirely. That’s why instead of talking about utopia as a state, Una and I talk at length about a utopian process. A new motion of thinking, willing, and feeling that brings about transformative directions in the cultural, political, and economic spheres.

We have both experienced the appearance of this, and I think many of you might be experiencing it too.

So, to recap:

1. Listen to AEWCH 151 (not mandatory, but it might help!)

2. If you haven’t already, sign up for my patreon or Una’s.

3. Look on our patreons for the short recording of us discussing the exercises, posted only for our patreon patrons, by 24th. Follow the instructions given there.

4. Check back shortly after for our conversation and engagement with your responses!

Economics is changing. Culture is changing. Politics is changing. But also, time and space are changing. Consciousness is changing. Let’s get into the current.

Here we go.

CH

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What we were thinking about before, after, and during the pandemic
  • St Patrick and the fairies as a portent of things to come
  • The world as a fractal expression of the inner life
  • Paralysis in the global crisis
  • The role of volcanoes in our lives
  • Black Lives Matter in a tiny town in Ireland
  • The successive lockdowns and their themes
  • Conner’s foxes, Una’s herons
  • Losing who you were, understanding who you are

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Una, listen to the first time she was on the show, back on AEWCH 87. Go to her website, or her column in The Irish Times. And here’s the episode of United Ireland about imagining utopia in Dublin.

• I talked about my first memory – a dream – at a bit more length on AEWCH 90 with Amanda Palmer. And here’s AEWCH 107 with Srećko Horvat where we talk about Mount Tamboura, the volcano which erupted in 1816.

• Want to watch the conversation I had with Heather Berg, Kathi Weeks, Cassandra Troyan, and femi babylon about sex work? Here you go!

• The book Una talks about with the scream being enough is Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today by John Holloway. “We start from negation, from dissonance. The dissonance can take many shapes. An inarticulate mumble of discontent, tears of frustration, a scream of rage, a confident roar. An unease, a confusion, a longing, a critical vibration.” You can buy that book via the bookshop.org link above or get it free/online here

• It’s not available in the US, but you can order (and have shipped to the US if that’s where you are) Irish Customs and Rituals: How Our Ancestors Celebrated Life and the Seasons by Marion McGarry here.

• Here’s the dancing handsome guy who totally inspired me. He’s free. I love it.

• Please do sign up for this patreon or Una’s patreon (or both!) to resonate more.

XO
CH

Oh, and here’s the picture Una took of the hawthorn tree and the deer.

Talk with the dead. AEWCH 150.

4 May

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! 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.

Buy all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH150 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends, No show notes here. This is the 150th episode. I’m so happy to share it with you.

Enjoy it.
Talk to the dead.
Love, CH

Oh no I’ve said too much/ I haven’t said enough

28 Apr

Friends, what can I say? A few days ago, Against Everyone With Conner Habib got a shout out in the Guardian from one of its listeners: Michael Stipe from R.E.M.

I’m floored by this.

I am really moved and almost overwhelmed by this. This person has had such a huge impact on my life, and has provided such a profound directional force of imagination for me.

More and more, I realize that listeners and supporters of the show represent a very special group of people. You’re listening because you really care about the substance of the show. Not because it’s poppy or familiar or always easy to digest, but because you love meaningful engagement.

Just wanted to share. And to say to you who support the show, thank you for helping make the show possible.

Love.

CH

Desires, dark and light. Carmen Maria Machado on AEWCH 149!

21 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

FRIENDS: Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! 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.
Buy Carmen’s books and the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 149 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan once said, “there is no other good than the one that can pay the price of the access to desire.”

There’s a lot about this statement, which is, like a lot of what Lacan said, a riddle – but one thing in it – paying the price of access – so our desires are not accessible? So we must lose something, give something to meet them? To see them? To talk about them?

To discuss all of this, I spoke with Carmen Maria Machado, author of the memoir In The Dream House, the collection of strange tales Her Body And Other Parties, and the graphic novel The Low, Low Woods.

I think what’s really interesting to both of us, and this comes up quite a bit – is how desire functions, how it is somehow always ahead of us, appearing and disappearing like a friend or an enemy on the path in a fairy tale. Sometimes it gives something to us that is useful later on. A key, a sacred object, a weapon. Sometimes it gives us a gift that leads us to being stuck. Like the fairy market where someone accepts the gift of an apple from the goblin, eats it, and wakes up 100 years later, if they wake up at all. Sometimes it has a strange shape, it frightens us.

Why should desires be like this? How do they know us, in a way, before we know ourselves?

This is a conversation that finds proximity to creation, to danger, to repetition, to the abuse that Carmen writes about in her memoir In The Dream House,and to the abuse I wrote about in my essay ,”If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love“.

How do we talk about the desire and the horror in abusive relationships while still holding the abuser accountable. How do we make the necessary move of accountability while not reducing the complicatedness of the encounter and the relationship?

Again and again, Carmen and I touch on desires and on storytelling – almost like we’re knocking on wood to allow ourselves to go forward in difficult conversation.

What do we sacrifice to know our desires?
What are the prices of following our desires
Of not giving way to them?
Of not giving ground to them?

If all that sounds dark and complex, well, it is. but this is also such a warm and friendly episode. With lots of laughter and curiosity and affinity. 

I’m so happy to share this episode with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way desire  knows itself before you know what it is
  • Why is the fox from Robin Hood so hot
  • Evading the temptation of metaphor when we read
  • The response to the subconscious is determines the genre of writing
  • Horror as spiritual narrative
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s mission of mercy
  • Sexuality as a genre
  • The imagination of the abusive partner after you’ve left them
  • The missing language of understanding for the person who has been abused
  • Why we need to talk about resilience 
  • The importance of meta-devices and melodrama
  • The Law & Order SVU-niverse

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Carmen go to her website (which has a badass picture of her in a chair). Here’s an interview with Carmen that goes horrifically wrong on Electric Lit. Here’s Carmen talking about haunted houses and horror movies on the American Hysteria podcast. And if you’d like to read one of her stories, here’s the early version one we reference the most, “The Husband Stitch“.

• My essay from 2010 “Looking at Men” describes the clouded shower glass incident.

• McArthur Award-winning writer Kelly Link comes up a lot on this episode. Have you listened to AEWCH 44 with Kelly, Jordy Rosenberg, and me? It’s awesome. Also, here’s Kelly’s essay about the “silent partner.

• Here’s an interview with the great Argentine writer, César Aira.

• It looks like Grant Morrison’s Seaguy is not available on bookshop.org, so here it is from that, uh, other place. 

• If you haven’t read Susan Sontag’s essay, “Against Interpretation,” read it, friends. And if you have read it, read it again. Same goes for H.P. Lovecraft’s essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature“.

• And the Lovecraft quote is, ““The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

• Here’s my essay “If You Ever Did Write Anything About Me, I’d Want It To Be About Love” about the boyfriend who beat me up, which is mentioned at the end of Carmen’s memoir (and through which Carmen and I first communicated).

• I love author Sara Maria Griffin’s appearance on AEWCH 93. It remains one of my very favorite episodes.

• I have not yet read Jeannie Vanasco’s Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was A Girl but I definitely will now. I also (forgive me, Father!) have not yet seen Fleabag. I will, I will, I will!

• Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movie The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kantis one of the best films ever made. And also watch Lars Von Trier’s Dogville for another sort of disorientation.

Until next time friends, follow your desires!
XO
CH

The metamorphosis of reality. I talk with anthropologist Stuart McLean on AEWCH 148!

13 Apr

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker Anchor

HI! Do you find this podcast meaningful? Support it! 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.

The book we talk about most on this episode, Fictionalizing Anthropology, is currently out of stock at my favorite indie book distributor, Bookshop.org, but you can get it relatively quickly from Amazon by clicking here. Buy Stuart’s other amazing books and the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 148 via bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback!

Friends,

The other day, world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku tweeted “For 2,000 years, philosophers and scientists have searched for a paradigm, a theme, an equation to describe the entire universe. This week, The God Equation goes on sale, describing the greatest quest in the history of science. Have we finally found the theory of everything?”

I think even posing this sort of question reveals – if I’m going to be nice about it – a profound misguidedness.

Everything?

When we talk about reality, we are, of course talking about the world of objects, of planets, of material and motion. Maybe of time, of the microscopic and macroscopic. But we know that isn’t everything. What about the theory of everything that includes myth, stories, fiction, thoughts, feelings, the imagined world, the spiritual intensities of our lives, narratives, characters these – are all part of the picture of realityI suppose you could say, even though Michio didn’t put a space between “every” and “thing” that he Is truly just referring to “things” – the measurable and quantifiable. But that also takes a lot for granted, including the myths of quantity and measure.

Will such a theory tell us about hungry grass – cursed spots in Ireland where to trod on them means to be struck with eternal and deep hunger? Will it tell us about spirits? About the huldulfolk and elves who wander out of snowstorms and into vision in Iceland? Will it tell us about centaurs and how they would be imagined in the first place?

Even if you hold that these are just stories, will it tell us about stories? And will it tell you about why you consider some things to be “stories” and other things as “real?” What gets included in “everything” what gets excluded?

I talk about all this and more with anthropologist and writer Stuart McLean, author, of Fictionalizing Anthropology: Encounters and Fabulations at the Edges of the Human as well as The Event and Its Terrors: Ireland, Famine, and Modernity . We talk about the need to ask fundamental questions about creativity – the creativity of the world itself, of the cosmos – and how symbiosis and metamorphosis become key principles in that. We discuss how, when we start asking questions of what’s real and what’s not real, and how we’d know the difference between the two, anyway, strange things start to happen. And we talk about anthropology’s role and opportunity in all of that.I am still reeling from this conversation – we jump right in and don’t let up for the whole episode.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The importance of combination and metamorphosis
  • The role of aberrant movement and emergence in creation
  • Can anything be “new?”
  • How we create the world by continuously adding to it
  • Magic as seizing the formative force of the cosmos
  • The two way street of cultural conflict and why seeing how the colonizer changes through their own oppression is vital
  • Do words evoke presences or are they powerful on their own
  • How narratives of national trauma assist the nation state
  • How do we walk away from scientistic ways completely
  • How to think about extinction if we don’t accept that death is the end
  • The time I saw a skeleton walking down the street

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Stuart, here’s his website. Here’s his essay, “Stories and Cosmogonies: Imagining Creativity Beyond “Nature” and “Culture” which we discuss on the show. Here’s his University of Minnesota faculty page. Here’s his short essay on the “bog people” discovered in Ireland and Scotland.

• For a view of combination and metamorphosis from a biological perspective, check out the amazing book Chimeras and Consciousness: Evolution of the Sensory Self co-edited by my mentor Lynn Margulis, whose last recorded conversation appears on AEWCH 91.

• For more on the Donald Williamson discovery/scandal, read the amazing book, The Mystery of Metamorphosis: A Scientific Detective Story by Frank Ryan.

• Here are some of Anarqáq’s drawings for Knud Rasmussen:

• I talk with Thomas Waters about witchcraft and ethics and academia on AEWCH 98.

Cold Iron: Aspects of the Occupational Lore of Irish Fishermen by Bairbre Ní Fhloinn is such an incredible book. It’s a little hard to get in the states from book distributors, so I’ve included here a link to the publisher’s page.

• Stories of “hungry grass” have been collected by Irish Folklore Commission, here’s one of them.• Here’s an article on the road that was rerouted to accommodate a fairy bush in Ireland.

• I talk about the de-spiritualized nature of the un-mystery school of academia with • Here’s more on the performance artist Stuart mentions on the episode and in his writing, Kwok Mang Ho, or “The Frog King.”

• I think the song “Someone Has To Die” by the Maritime, with its jangling Friends-theme-song vibe captures the stuff Stuart was saying about extinction creating possibility quite well.

• I talk about how genuine in-community love can be a tool of hating the other on the first episode of the year, AEWCH 136.

• Stuart’s great question: “How to align an experimental understanding of knowledge production and an experimental writing practice with a no less experimental ontology of world making? What kind of anthropology would that be? What kind of world would that be?

Until next time, friends, create!
CH

Talking about my old job with Dr. Heather Berg (author of Porn Work: Sex, Work, and Late Capitalism) on AEWCH 147!

6 Apr

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Buy Heather’s amazing book and the books mentioned on and related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 147 on bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback

Friends,

Obviously pornography has been a profound and important part of my life, as a viewer, a performer, and an activist for sex workers’ rights, particularly the rights and quality of life of porn performers.

Seeing it from that many angles, and considering each carefully, I derived so much value from pornography – but I notice, of course, that many (most?) people can’t access that value. One of the main obfuscating forces is that porn always turns into an “issue” to take sides on, and generally what side is taken depends exclusively on how someone is thinking about the content of what’s on the screen and their feelings about it.

Rarely is porn viewed as commonwealth of value and interest in its own right. This especially affects the lives of performers who are considered a special class of workers not subject to the rights that others have who are stigmatized in culture and relationships, whose perspectives as laborers are devalued, whose voices are silenced, and whose autonomy and sovereignty are met with state violence, state regulation, and ideological oppression.

When I was scheduled to meet this episode’s guest, Dr. Heather Berg, for the first time, way back in 2014, I was cynical, I suppose. (But maybe cynical is too harsh a word – maybe justifiably skeptical is better.) She’d set up an interview with me for her academic research. At the time, I’d been poked and prodded by academics, journalists, and others many times in invasive ways. It’s something that happens to all sex workers who have any sort of visible and public voice – the academics come to study you. And often it’s with a substantial amount of arrogance, they forget that sex workers’ lives validate the existence of academic research, not that academic research validates sex workers lives.

But Heather was different – it’s not just that she wasn’t annoying, it’s that she was interesting, provocative in the best sense of the word, she was warm, and she also listened. My friends in porn and I talked to each other about her – “hey, she’s kind of getting it right, she’s listening to us.” It was a completely different feeling.That interview eventually became part of her new book, Porn Work: Sex, Labor, and Late Capitalism – which is the best book on porn ever written by someone who isn’t a porn performer. And I’m not just stating that because I’m quoted in it!

Heather took us at our word and used it to map out what we can learn about fighting capitalism, abolishing work, and ending the brutal wage labor relationship from porn performers and how they navigate all of that.

This episode was special for me it felt like a homecoming, finding each other after 2014; Heather and I following up on the interview. That said, as a result of that interview we became close friends after, and collaborators: We co-authored the article “The Problem With Sex Work Is Work” and you may remember Heather from her appearance (with performer Sovereign Syre) on AEWCH 69.We continue to collaborate: Heather and I are doing an event with Kathi Weeks, among others, as part of Red May, a celebration of radical art and thought. I’ll post the actual details when they’re available, but keep an eye out for it!

But also reading her book was a reminder of the work I lived in then, the performers, the work, the comrades I’d made, as well as what was at stake and remains at stake for sex workers, and for all of us when sex workers are subjected to state violence and drowned out by ideologues

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Why is porn work so often left out of sex work politics and activism?
  • The tangle of libertarianism, anarchism, and socialism in sex worker politics
  • The Marxist problem with pleasure
  • You don’t have to be miserable to be an activist
  • Managers can shutup, thx
  • Why disassociation is a skill, and even one that supports Marxism
  • Is porn racist?
  • Can Marxism give us the answers to cultural questions about sex?
  • How I shot a scene by talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • That part where I make Heather cry
  • The value of the Ljubljana school of psychoanalysis in looking at labor
  • Is there such a thing as a “privileged” sex worker?
  • Why decriminalization of sex work is not enough
  • Why we need to let go of the “last resort thesis” of sex work

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Heather, here’s her website. And here’s she and I talking on Snoop Dog’s network (yes, really!) about sex, work, and politics.

• For my other episodes on porn, here’s AEWCH 124 with performer Ty Mitchell, AEWCH 88 with performer (and my one-time scene partner) Johnny Hazzard, the aforementioned AEWCH 69 with Heather and Sovereign Syre, and AEWCH 38 with performer Missy Martinez.

• Heather mentions the work of Mireille Miller-Young and Ariane Cruz as feminists doing good work on representation in porn that elides the fantasy of the white viewer. (I’ve linked to their books in the booklist!)

Herschel Savage is a classic straight porn performer, and he’s also kind of a great guy and features heavily in Heather’s book.

• I wrote about Chris Hedges and all the phony anti-sex worker leftists and feminists in my essay, “If You’re Against Sex Work, You’re A Bigot

• Here’s that time I was on Chapo Trap House talking about sex work.

Jon Ronson‘s audible series, The Butterfly Effect, is a great effort to depict porn and porn performer’s lives.

• Here’s Bob Black’s excellent essay, “The Abolition of Work” which was a formative influence on younger me. I mention this in my anti-work solo episode, AEWCH 85.

• I talked about some of the challenges facing porn earlier in the year on Doug Rushkoff’s podcast, Team Human.

• You’ll need JSTOR access for these, but here’s Joel Robbins’s essay “Beyond the Suffering Subject” and Heather’s essay, “Left of #MeToo.”

Hacking/Hustling does great stuff and holds great events for all issues surrounding but also new visions of sex workers’ lives and struggles.

Until next time, friends, here’s me as a huge stereotype.
XO
CH