Tag Archives: philosophy

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about Lacanian analysis * (* but didn’t know you were afraid to ask) It’s AEWCH 167 with Peter Rollins!

19 Oct

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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 Peter’s books and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 167 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! 

Interested in Lacan? Sign up for my patreon at the $10 level or higher to join me + other patrons for a live discussion on Lacanian analysis on October 30th!

Friends,

The core of AEWCH is the spiritualization of the material. That is, I want to present a truly non-materialist way of viewing the world, where spirituality is seen as the wellspring of existence, and informs how we talk about ourselves, politics, economy, art, and more. But to that end, I’m not just inspired by spiritual thinkers. Instead, I draw on the work of humanistic philosophers, dialectical materialists, political theorists, atheists, and more.

One of the thinkers I’ve learned the most from is French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan (1901- 1981). I think Lacan’s work has tremendous potential to be leveraged as a spiritual project (despite most Lacanian’s protestations!), particularly in its formulation of its three clinical diagnoses: Neurosis, Perversion, and Psychosis. That’s it. Just three. And they can all be used in radical ways to affect culture/politics/economy. But Lacan is notoriously hard to understand. So I invited my friend, theologian and philosopher Peter Rollins, back on the show to break down Lacanian psychoanalysis in an understandable and clear way.

Peter is the most AEWCH of AEWCH guests, with this being his fifth appearance on the show – we also talked on AEWCH 14, AEWCH 55, and AEWCH 70 (with Todd McGowan), and AEWCH 135 (with Elliot Morgan).

That’s because Peter is one of my most important provocateurs; we agree on so much and so little all at once. For me, talking with Peter is electrifying, fun, and friendly.Of course, Peter and I are friends so we wander out into the jargon-y weeds from time to time, but we always pull it back! This is as good a place as any to get your Lacanian start.

SHOW NOTES

• Support Peter’s patreon here. He gives tons of content to patrons. And listen to his great religion & psychoanalysis podcast (with Elliot Morgan), The Fundamentalists; some recommended episodes are “Success,”  “Socialism,” “Fascism,” and “New Normal.” But you can really just start anywhere.

• One of the best resources on Lacan is nosubject.com, which is basically a wiki for all things psychoanalysis, particularly Lacanian psychoanalysis.

• For a look at how standard psychotherapy diagnoses models differ from psychoanalytic ones, here an article using depression as the example: “The Failings of Depression: A Review of Lacanian Psychoanalytic Critiques

• Some other psychoanalysis-oriented episodes of the show not featuring Peter include AEWCH 162 with Dr. Gwen Adshead, AEWCH 101 with Katherine Angel, and AEWCH 47 with Todd McGowan.

Until next time, friends,
XO
CH

The weird foundations of everything. WEIRD STUDIES PODCAST meets AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB on AEWCH 166!

6 Oct

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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 the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 166 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,

One thing that’s come up many times on AEWCH is my dislike for the phony “radical” statement that “everything is political.” It’s enlightening I suppose, to people who have no political conscience or consciousness, of course. Yes, there’s a political dimension to the everyday, to entertainment, to design if we seek it out.

But the statement also relegates us to being subjects of the political sphere. As David Wengrow and AEWCH 99 guest David Graeber (RIP) point out in their latest book,The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, it’s not a coincidence that the word for politics shares its roots with the word for “police” and “politeness.” These are words of subjection and subjugation and submission. They are words of the polis, the location where governmental and religious decisions were/are made, a seat of authority.If everything is political, everything is extending, in a very real sense, from our subjugation to the political – it’s an infecting being, and one that does not deserve to determine the ground of being.

Maybe we can say something a little more definitive and truer and more interesting: that everything is weird. And that everything is weird defies the political. Why? Because if things are weird – and they are weird – then they can’t be contained just by politics. They are baffling, intense, unknowable, imaginative, uncanny. The weird is a question that gives us an individual vantage point. Everything unfurls from the infinite, from the plenipotentiary.

I talked about this a bit on AEWCH 148 with anthropologist Stuart MacLean; the way the imagination and what we call the real meet and inform each other. Go listen to it if you haven’t, but also consider the fundamental weirdness of reality. Everything, everything, is weird, especially the everyday, since it denies its weirdness. Just take a second: The space between things and the space between the atoms that make up things. The way literature works. The fact that different cultures experience things differently. Not being able to see your own face. And on and on.So this is where Weird Studies and its hosts, Phil Ford and JF Martel , come in. Each week Phil and JF explore the reality of the weird and weird reality. It could be the way Glenn Gould thinks or plays the piano, it could be the movies of John Carpenter, or the I Ching. Or it could be the episode we just did together: I was just on Weird Studies talking about Joy Williams’s bizarre novel, Breaking And Entering.

Phil and JF show us that the weird is everywhere, and may even be the groundswell of being.

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

SHOW NOTES

• For more on the guys, go to Phil’s website and JF’s website. We talk a bit about Weird Studies 67, which features the documentary Hellier, featuring AEWCH 46 guests, the paranormal investigators Greg & Dana Newkirk, and here’s their episode on the work of John Carpenter. Be sure to support their patreon.

• If you haven’t yet watched Twin Peaks Season 3 (or Heaven forbid Twin Peaks at all), watch it. • JF mentions the Secret History of Western Esotericism Podcast, which you can find here.

• Here’s the video for Bjork’s “hyperballad

• I don’t know too much about occult/magic writer Ramsey Dukes‘s work, but the guys have definitely gotten me interested.

• Here’s AEWCH 79 with Billy Bragg, all about a “socialism of the heart,” and AEWCH 162 about forgiving violent offenders with Dr. Gwen Adshead. And I talk about the nature of evil on AEWCH 165.

• “The hope is that (art) saves us in reality by damming us in art.” – JF Martel

• “The feelings excited by improper art are kinetic, desire or loathing. Desire urges us to possess, to go to something; loathing urges us to abandon, to go from something. These are kinetic emotions. The arts which excite them, pornographical or didactic, are therefore improper arts. The esthetic emotion (I use the general term) is therefore static. The mind is arrested and raised above desire and loathing.”from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Until next time friends, stay weird.
CH

On whales, water, and transformation with writer Philip Hoare on AEWCH 164!

22 Sep

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 the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 164 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 so happy I got to talk about animals at length on the show, given their importance in my life. And one of the best people to have a conversation about animals with is undoubtably Philip Hoare , an interdisciplinary writer and artist, whose books include his moving and almost unclassifiable memoir/nature writing/philosophy book, Risingtidefallingstar: In Search of the Soul of the Sea, his recent book about the evolution of art and how we think of animal, Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World, and what is probably his most famous book, The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea , which weaves together beautiful passages on cetaceans and images of whales in popular culture, particularly in the work of Herman Melville.

This was a beautiful and moving discussion for me, I hope it will be for you, too.

X
C

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Phil, visit his website. Here’s a short video of director John Waters praising Phil’s book, The Sea Inside. He curated (along with artist Angela Cockayne) The Moby Dick Big Read – where actors (including Tilda Swinton!) and other artists read Moby Dick chapter by chapter. And here’s Philip’s short film about poet Wilfred Owen, I Was A Dark Star Always.

• I wrote about the new rhythms of lockdown – including the new rhythms that the animals are experiencing – for the Irish Times.

• And AEWCH 155 is all about extinction, from an occult perspective.

The Natural History Museum in Dublin (AKA “the dead zoo”) is a great and morbid and wonderful place.

• Here’s a short article with a nice little video about Dublin’s Forty Foot – where you jump off the rocks into the green-blue water. And below is a photo of Irish writer Brendan Behan getting out of that same water.

• Here’s a bit on selkies – seal fairies that shed their skin to walk around in human form.

• I’ve been working on utopia with my friend Una Mullally, who appeared on AEWCH 151 and AEWCH 87.

• I’m still so taken by Phil’s statement in this interview: “I could list all those things (that hurt me most about the way we treat the ocean) here but I’d rather anyone reading this went out to their nearest water and prayed.”

Until next time, friends,
CH

PS: Here’s Phil looking through a whale’s eye.

Bestselling horror author Paul Tremblay joins me on AEWCH 158!

3 Aug

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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 Paul’s books, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 158 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 so excited to share this episode about horror, free will, and compassion with novelist Paul Tremblay

Paul is the author of multiple bestselling horror novels – including The Cabin at the End of the World and Disappearance at Devil’s Rock which are my two favorites – two hardboiled detective novels, and a whole lot of short stories.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Horror as a balance between free will and determinism
  • Horror as the withdrawal of love
  • The dreaded return to sociability
  • Kitchen table horror versus Irish Midlands horror
  • Slasher vs supernatural horror
  • Books that stand on the precipice of the supernatural
  • Does Paul believe in ghosts?
  • “What if there’s a God/Reader/Writer and he’s an asshole?”
  • The book you write has to be beyond you
  • The unreality of facts
  • Respecting violence in fiction and why bad art is worse than the content it portrays

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Paul, go to his website. Here’s a good interview with Paul at Gridmark Magazine, and another one in legendary horror magazine Cemetery Dance.

• One of my favorite episode of the show is AEWCH 93 with Sara Maria Griffin (and also, I was on Sara’s podcast, Juvenalia, talking about Clive Barker). And here are a few other horror-themed episodes of AEWCH: AEWCH 23 on postmodern horror with Brian Evenson, AEWCH 40 about horror and poetry with Zachary Schomburg, AEWCH 44 on the vampire as a theory with Kelly Link and Jordy Rosenberg, and AEWCH 58 on horror films with screenwriter (of The Invitation and Destroyer, among other things) Phil Hay.

• Paul and I both love Sara Gran’s absolutely scary novel of possession, Come Closer. And Sara was on AEWCH 61, talking Lacan and detective novels. It’s one of my favorite episodes.

• Paul mentions using George Saunders’s book on writing, A Swim in the Pond in the Rain. That said, the best writing book out there, I think, is a bit of a best-kept-secret thing. It’s Stuart Spencer’s The Playwright’s Guidebook.

• The (fun!) cellphone horror novel is Ghoster by Jason Arnopp.

• Weird Studies is one of the best podcasts around. Listen to it. The great quote from the cohost, JF Martel, is “The hope is that (art) saves us in reality by damming us in art.”

• “The Eighth Episode of Twin Peaks: The Return Is Horrifyingly Beautiful

Lake Mungo is a great horror movie. Here’s the trailer.

Until next time friends, hold each other close in the dark,
CH

(oh, and stop tormenting Grover)

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

13 Jul

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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

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

Back to the Future: Philosopher Srećko Horvat returns to AEWCH to talk with me about climate, capitalism, and reincarnation.

2 Mar

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker AnchorPatreon
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? Srećko’s latest book is available here. To buy his other books, or books mentioned on/related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 143 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too. (And once After the Apocalypse is available via bookshop.org, I’ll add it to the list!)

Friends,

A few conundrums:How do we deal with the fact that we keep envisioning a destructive future, yet so few of us are acting to stop it?

When we talk about systems that (like capitalism and patriarchy, for example) that are oppressing us, do we mean they’re…like…spiritual forces? Invisible vague laws of social nature? What?And how is being separated from so many people we love affecting our notion of space and relationship?

To answer these questions, and in what I hope becomes an annual tradition, I invited philosopher, author, and activist Srećko Horvat back on the show. You might remember out first conversation, about a year ago, was on AEWCH 107, just at the start of the global crisis in 2020. Well, obviously, things haven’t resolved themselves since then, and it’s because we haven’t taken steps bold and miraculous enough.Srećko is not a class reductionist nor an identity politics thinker, but instead, (like Michael Hardt on AEWCH 120) Srećko brings together strands of ,any different aspects of being human – philosophy, art, music, poetry, activism, economics, politics, and more – and tries to survey our current, future, and past predicaments. His new book After The Apocalypse brings his multi-layered perspective to the apocalypse, which, Srećko reminds us, has already happened:

People huddled in tents in their houses in freezing Texas evenings. Empty streets. Lines for groceries at Tesco, where the food is all wrapped in plastic. Borders closed. The threat of disease at every turn. Riots against murder by the authorities. This is what it feels like to be in an apocalypse.

So what about after? Can there be an after?

The answer is yes, but it will take a liberation of time and space and a reinvention of the political, economic, and cultural realms.So… let’s get to it.

PS: After the Apocalypse has a playlist, which I’ve replicated as much as I could on spotify. Here’s the playlist for the book.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • What we mean when we talk about capitalism doing things
  • The destruction and seizing of time
  • Why reincarnation matters
  • How to deal with knowing an end is approaching but still needing to live in the now
  • Does “climate change” help us take action? And how are climate change and failed communism related?
  • Why science can’t save us (and in fact can do a lot of harm)
  • The return of the power of the state, and the public health utopia
  • Silence as a commons
  • The need for mutual aid
  • What the world should have, but refused to learn, from the HIV crisis
  • How to liberate “problematic” thinkers
  • The importance of working with the dead
  • How do we use the tools we have without reinforcing the terrible structures the tools come from

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Srećko, here’s his lecture, “The Virus Mythologies,” where he breaks down the signs and signifiers And for a quick summary of his other work, you can read Subversion!. Here’s Srećko in conversation with Brian Eno about his book, Poetry From The Future. And here’s Srećko more recently (in January 2021) discussing the tangle of issues we’re in with his collaborator, Alfie Brown.

• I wrote about Wittgenstein’s quote – “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.” – and how it relates to the current crisis for The Irish Times.

• I talk with economics researcher and author Conor McCabe on AEWCH 76 about the entangled relationship between money and time (it’s one of my favorite episodes!). And I talked all about the way the vision of the Earth changed when we landed on the Moon waaaay back on AEWCH 5.

• Some of Günther Anders’s work is available online in translation here.

• Here’s a story on the the Tallaght wetlands. I can’t find the information on the murder investigation there, but I did read it shortly after the wetlands were destroyed. If you find an essay on it, send it along!

• I haven’t yet seen The Midnight Sky, but, okay, Clooney and sci fi. And here’s the trailer for the other movie Srećko mentioned, Space Sweepers.

• Here’s Walter Benjamin’s Theses On A Philosophy Of History. It’s, for me, one of the most influential theoretical works. From the essay: “The only writer of history with the gift of setting alight the sparks of hope in the past, is the one who is convinced of this: that not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious.”

• Bill Gates’s crazy plan to block the Sun is underway. Steiner’s warning (from 1913, I believe) is a bit complex if you don’t know the anthroposophical lexicon, but: “…the Ahrimanic beings strive to ensoul the living limestone with a kind of astral rain… If the Ahrimanic beings could realize their hopes the whole of humanity would gradually be dissolved into the earth…”

• I still can’t believe I got to speak with Fugazi/Minor Threat frontman and Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye on AEWCH 119. Really.

• Oh, Snapcase, the hardcore dreamboats. Here’s probably their most famous song, “Caboose,” and here’s their spotify page.

• A short, smart, (and still somewhat objectionable) response to philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s take on the pandemic in the Irish Times.

• Here’s a little on the Human Interference Task Force.

Until next time (get it?)
XO
CH

We don’t need to “re-enchant” anything. Religion scholar Jason Ānanda Josephson Storm on Against Everyone With Conner Habib 141!

16 Feb

LISTEN HERE VIA SOUNDCLOUD OR ON Apple PodcastsSpotifyBreaker AnchorThis 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 Jason’s books or books mentioned on & related to this episode, please go to my book list for AEWCH 141 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
I’ve always hated the term “re-enchantment” because it presupposes that the world lost its enchantment, or that somehow we just have to insert a fairy or into the landscape or talk to trees, or worse yet, see the world in terms of the Neil deGrasse Tyson “wonder of science”: the most banal way of seeing anything. Do that and then – voila! – we have a spiritual world again.But the world doesn’t need to be be re-enchanted or merely populated by astrological symbols in the night sky – instead we need to dissolve the kinds of knowing that obfuscate our understanding of the spiritual nature of existence. We encounter, each day, a tangle of bad notions of perception and concepts which get in the way of, more open, more honest experiences. Materialism is a form of bad enchantment; a kind of hex itself.

On the other hand, the idea that we need to purge spirituality from the left is even worse. Figures viewed as foundational to materialist leftist discourse like Hegel and Adorno are tangled up in hermetic traditions, not to mention even Marx’s works were published by initially by spiritualists.

To talk about all of this, I invited professor, religious studies author, and authorJason Ānanda Josephson Storm onto the show. Jason is the author of three books, including The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences, as well as the forthcoming book on how to theorize differently, Metamodernism: The Future of Theory.This is an intense episode – my favorite kind – because we don’t hold back at all, we just go as deep as we want into religion, occultism, academic dishonesty, and consciousness.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How did the tarot, astrology, and more show up in the left
  • Why the occult is not fascism and why we shouldn’t condemn Lutherans
  • The new materialists and neither new nor materialists, discuss
  • The desperate need for dewitchers and new theorists
  • The problem with trying to intervene in language
  • The way academics will develop “a whole vast edifice about the enchant(ment of) nature and it ends with ‘You should buy a Prius’ basically, and ‘Recycle!’ We already know that, we don’t need English professors to tell us that.”
  • My Bugs Bunny politics
  • Dissolving materialism rather than “re-enchanting the world” (and not hiding in dialectical materialism)
  • Why slapping furniture and saying “see, this is the REAL world!” doesn’t work, and also why Quentin Meillassoux is…not good
  • The failure of academia to keep the humanities valid, and why the theosophists (maybe) did it better
  • Why we can live and develop ways of knowing from that, instead of merely developing knowledge to shape and describe how we live

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Jason, here’s his Williams College website (with lots of info). Here he is talking to Vanessa Sinclair on the excellent Rendering Unconscious podcast.

• Here’s me with anti-productivity philosopher Brian O’Connor on AEWCH 89, where we also talk quite a bit (and positively!) about Adorno. And I talked about a lot of these themes from a completely different angle on AEWCH 137 with Mitch Horowitz!

• I have to say I have some hesitations about Jason’s claim that occultism was not central to the Nazi project or Hitler’s mission! I think there’s a very strong link, although I agree that it’s “overplayed” in many ways. See Hitler: The Occult Messiah, by Gerald Suster for a counterpoint. Suster’s book also has some mistakes, but he at least takes the occult seriously as something other than just religious mind-control and stupidity. That said, it’s a very difficult book to get!

Paranormal America (Second Edition): Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture is an excellent study (with TONS of data) on paranormal beliefs in the US.

• Witchcraft never disappeared in the UK, and I talk about it with Thomas Waters on AEWCH 98. You should also check out his truly excellent book, Cursed Britain

• The mountain that is there and is not there comes from Zen teacher Qingyuan Weixin: “Before I had studied Chan / Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers when I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains and rivers once again as rivers.”

Until next time!
CH

“Do not trust those who analyze magic. They are usually magicians in search of revenge.” – Bruno Latour

The paranormal is real. Reality is paranormal. Paranormal investigator John E.L. Tenney on AEWCH!

1 Dec

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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? For the books mentioned and some related to what we discuss, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 133 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

How to start this episode with paranormal researcher and author John E.L. Tenney?
He’s been working in the field of unexplained phenomenon for decades now, he’s the author of multiple books, has appeared on just about every paranormal/ghosthunting show, and gives lectures around the world on high and low strangeness. Well, I detail our crazy first meeting at the top of the episode, so you’ll hear it there.But also, I just want to say here, that something we learn from John, and why he is the perfect guest for this show is: When you see an “abnormal” thing that betrays the paranormal reality we live in, instead of trying to compartmentalize, think about what that aberration might mean for reality. And at the same time, work to make your personality ready for interpreting it.
The thing about John is that through him, you experience a different quality of life, a different way of living. His example reminds you how strange the normal world is. How if we just take life on its own terms, we find ourselves surrounded by a whirl of intensity – bizarre, alive, exciting, and frightening in the best way possible.So excited to share this with you, friends.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The usefulness of a failed paranormal investigation
  • Why documentaries about me and John would be boring
  • Why are people afraid of ghosts, and should they be?
  • Are ghosts erotic? Do we see them with the Svadhishthana or Muladhara chakras?
  • The way people talk about paranormal stuff at conventions now vs how they used to decades ago.
  • Does tech capture images/sounds of ghosts? If so, are they more powerful than our sense? Than physics?
  • Why making yourself ready to see ghosts matters.
  • Trump as an atheist President.
  • Why Flat-Earthers are right, and why Richard Dawkins is wrong about…well, most stuff.
  • Breaking away from myths and cycles + why I hate Star Wars and Lord of the Rings (no I am not sorry).
  • Why Moses had to turn his head from God.
  • The tension between being a trusted shaman at the end of the lane and witch who gets burned by villagers.

SHOW NOTES

• For more on John, visit his great website, Weird Lectures. John’s got a lot of books out (and you can find most of them on the bookshop.org page above), but the best look into his way of seeing paranormal investigation is Theoretical Weirdo. Here’s John talking to literally the most normal person in the world on Fox News.

• The paranormal investigators who introduced me to Tenney were the brilliant Dana & Greg Newkirk, who I talked with about haunted objects on AEWCH 46.

• I mentioned the occult technology radionics – and I did a whole episode about it back on AEWCH 113, featuring an old conversation I had with radionics pioneer Duncan Laurie. I’ve included the image below so you see some radionics devices.

• Would you like to mess yourself up considering space and time (and how it may or may not relate to ghosts, for that matter)? Well, read quasi-fascist (dang) occultist Massimo Scaligero’s The Secrets of Space and Time.

• Here’s John’s short essay on doomsday and desire.

Take Shelter is an incredible film, and if you haven’t seen it, you really should.

Norman Davidson‘s quote is:

“If you want to have any idea about the connection between astronomy, that is, the heavenly body themselves, and astrology, that is the influences on the human being, then you must understand that, in reality, the earth is still and flat, and the sun and the heavens circle the earth…”

• I’m trying to find some good collections of Isaac Asimov essays, but can’t! If you know a widely-available one, please post in comments below!

• I talk a bit more about the connection between The Great God Pan and our moment of “pan demons/pandemic” on the latest Duncan Trussell Family Hour. And I had a great time talking about the guy who coined fractalnoia, Doug Rushkoff, on AEWCH 125. And there’s so much about the value of dewitchers in our culture on AEWCH 98 with Thomas Waters.

Until next time, friends, keep your world happily haunted.
XO
CH

Why we need a new concept of time & space to create political change. Listen to me & Srećko Horvat on AEWCH 107!

21 Apr

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 107: SREĆKO HORVAT or DEMYTHOLOGIZING (AND RE-MYTHOLOGIZING) THE CRISIS

LISTEN HERE OR ON iTunesSpotifyOvercastSoundcloudPatreon

Thank you for your support in this time, friends. This podcast is only possible because listeners like you support it. If the show is keeping you company in isolation, please give what you can. Contribute to my mission by supporting Against Everyone With Conner Habib on Patreon!
Thank you so, so much.

Want to buy books mention on this ep? Go to my list for AEWCH 107 on Bookshop.org. It will help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

AEWCH107TitleCard

Friends,

We’re surrounded by terms that sound new, but that aren’t new. “Social distancing.” “The new normal.” And actions that seem new but are not new. Elevated police presence. Government overreach. Pandemic.

But these are old narratives that have been changed slightly to seem new. They’re mythic. So I invited one of the most important thinkers of our time to sort through what is new, what is old, and what is needed in our moment.

Srećko Horvat is an author, political organizer, and philosopher. Of his many profound and politically potent books, my favorite (and the one you should start with) is Poetry From The Future: Why a Global Liberation Movement Is Our Civilisations Last Chance. It’s a hopeful but evenhanded book about the possibility of interconnected movements in a world where neoliberal capitalism has won
.
He’s one of the cofounders of the Democracy In Europe Movement 2025, or DiEM2025 – a broad-based coalition of thinkers, rebels, and political theorists committed to creating a true leftist alternative in European politics, particularly in response to the disintegration of the EU.

Srećko is also currently giving live mini lectures, Q&As through the DiEM25 channel, and hosting conversations with luminaries as diverse as Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Žižek, and Seinfeld co-creator Larry Charles. (And on the 24th, he’ll be speaking with Franco Bifo Berardi!)

I’m so excited to share this conversation with you. It’s one that combines the political, the spiritual, and the philosophical, with activism. It identifies and creates new directions for us to move in during this crisis, and after.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • How and why we were dreaming about the global pandemic before it happened, and how we assisted it in happening
  • Why the esoteric, the occult, and border science matter now; and how the right seizes on them because the left is ignorant
  • the “libidinal” economy and why the left needs to take it up instead of opting for class reductionism
  • Why a leftist project needs to include a reappraisal of time and space (and why it matters now more than ever)
  • The fundamental fantasies of the left, the right, and the center
  • The generation of political will through meditation, poetry, reading, creating, gardening, and more
  • Why people are turning to plants in the global crisis
  • The possibility of money losing value over time
  • How to think about the value of laziness
  • The difference between mythic art and occult art
  • Why we should and should not applaud healthcare workers
  • The importance of using your own language
  • The necessity of new and strange directions for our activism
  • Meeting the stranger and loving the Other (and dating the Other, too)
  • Why lust matters, and how it’s connected to love

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Srećko, here’s his lecture, “The Virus Mythologies,” where he breaks down the signs and signifiers And for a quick summary of his other work, you can read Subversion!. Here’s Srećko in conversation with Brian Eno about his book, Poetry From The Future.

• I start off with a nod to the eruption of Mount Tamboura – to learn more about that catastrophic time, read The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History by William Klingman.

• I deeply appreciate Slavoj Žižek’s book, about the values of religion, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity.
• Unfortunately, I cannot recommend Eric Kurlander’s book, Hitler’s Monsters, which is filled with misinformation and (willful?) misinterpretation. The main issue is that Kurlander, like many “historians” of the occult, although Kurlander certainly knows exoteric history, he does not understand the occult. That said, I can recommend a better book on the same subject, Hitler: The Occult Messiah, by Gerald Suster. Suster’s book also has some mistakes, but he at least takes the occult seriously as something other than just religious mind-control and stupidity. That said, it’s a very difficult book to get! At the very least, read them both.

• If you’d like to hear more about psychologist and border science inventor Wilhelm Reich, and his challenging relationship with the left, check out AEWCH 59, where I talk with Reich scholar James Strick. And if you do want to hear about me talking Wilhelm Reich, here you go.

Here’s a bit on Subcomadante Galeono (known to many as Subcomadante Marcos, but who changed his name to honor the dead) and the Zapatistas.

• Marx uses the vampire metaphor a few times in his work, but none more famously than, ““Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.” (In Capital)

• Here’s Walter Benjamin’s Theses On A Philosophy Of History. It’s, for me, one of the most influential theoretical works. From the essay: “The only writer of history with the gift of setting alight the sparks of hope in the past, is the one who is convinced of this: that not even the dead will be safe from the enemy, if he is victorious.”

• And Srećko mentions Carlo Rovelli, whose work I have yet to read. But I think I’ll start with the one he suggests, The Order Of Time.

• To hear more about the problem with doomsday preppers, check out AEWCH 105 with Mark O’Connell.

Barthes-216x300• So much about the theorist Roland Barthes on this show. Including, here, How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces. Also, his classic, Mythologies. His book Sade/Loyola/Fourier is difficult to find, but here’s my essay on Fourier, and you can find excerpts of his book in A Barthes Reader (which was edited by Susan Sontag!).

• Here’s Michel Foucault’s essay, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias.”

• The prayer of Saint Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy;  O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love.  

For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

See you in the future, friends.
CH
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