Tag Archives: philosophy

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

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Thank you so, so much.

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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
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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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You can’t consent to consent. A challenging discussion on the new Against Everyone With Conner Habib, featuring author Katherine Angel!

3 Mar


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AEWCH101TITLECARDFriends,

I’ve been writing and giving talks about sex for over a decade now, and I often find it difficult to have truly stimulating conversation about it. I knew that having author and public intellectual Katherine Angel on the show would change that. Katherine is the author of the stunning work of vignettes on sex and fear and domination, Unmastered : A Book On Desire, Most Difficult To Tell, and Daddy Issues, which questions patriarchy by looking squarely at women’s relationships with their fathers. Her book, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again, will be out next year, and I’ll definitely have her on then too.

Katherine and I go at sex and especially consent at so many different angles, uncovering all the problems in the way we discuss it. As it turns out, there are quite a few problems there, and I am so happy to have had this challenging conversation, and to share it with you.

(PS: sorry about the popping in the sound. Your contribution is going to pay for a few pop filters!)

ON THIS EPISODE
  • How not knowing what we want needs to be a part of sexuality
  • Why psychoanalysis is important for our conversation about consent
  • Why every sexual encounter between two people is actually a threesome with whoever created the framework of consent
  • Why consent is not a good foundation for sexual ethics
  • How nonconsensual labor frameworks (ie needing to have a job) generate harassment and make sex the culprit
  • How we always place the burden of clear expression on women
  • How overemphasizing consent denies us our full humanity
  • Why Katie Roiphie and Laura Kipnis don’t get it
  • Why listening to people is so important whether or not they were utterly violated, and even whether or not we believe or accept that they were.
  • Words and pornography
  • The false assumption that men are having “real” orgasms in porn, whereas the women are having “fake” ones
  • How arousal is protective and the body doesn’t express the truth anymore than the mind.
  • Why we need Freud now more than ever
  • The erotic fantasy of banning pornography
  • Why desires have their own boundaries
SHOW NOTES
• More on Katherine: Katherine teaches at University of London, and her book, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again will be out next year. Here’s an excerpt from it, “Sex And Self Knowledge: Beyond Consent”. And here’s Katherine speaking about #MeToo at the Freud Museum.

• Katherine mentions Joseph Fischel’s book, Screw Consent: A Better Politics of Sexual Justice , which I am eager to read (and I’m also excited to have Joseph on the show!). Another good book on consent is Consent: Sexual Rights and the Transformation of American Liberalism by Pamela Haag.

• And here’s the Melissa Gira Grant essay on #MeToo – “The Unsexy Truth About Harassment.
• I’ve written about all the themes presented here before in the essay, “A Culture That’s Sick About Sex Will Never Be Able To Stop Harassment And Abuse“.

• A little write up of my talk about consent at Tufts University, moderated by Kareem Khubchandani.

• The Leo Bersani quote is “There is a big secret about sex: most people don’t like it.”

• Katherine gives a shout out to Laurie Brotto and her book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire.

AEWCH 34 about how arousal and desire are not the same thing, and how sex confronts materialism.

• The first time I talked about Wittgenstein’s theories and porn was way back on AEWCH 10 with Dr. Chris Donaghue.

• For more on how children experience violation when they’re sexually assaulted, read Susan Clancy’s profound book, The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children and Its Aftermath.

• Go forth and read Darwin’s Worms by Adam Phillips. I’ve mentioned it many times as a great book. Ancd also? What Is Sex? by Alenka Zupančič.

• I can’t vouch for Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography by Susanna Paasonen yet, but I’m definitely going to read it if Katherine thinks it’s worthwhile. And here’s a link to Amia Srinivasan‘s article, “Does Anyone Have The Right To Sex?

That’s it for now, friends.
Until next time, may you follow your desires!
CH

“Reverb-ing all of human existence.” A conversation with author Maggie Nelson on AEWCH 95!

7 Jan
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Friends,
What a way to start the year, with author, teacher, and intellectual, Maggie Nelson. Maggie Nelson is the author of so many deep and potent books, including The Argonauts, about art and politics and the body, including her partner Harry Dodge’s experiences of gender and culture. She is also the author of two books about her aunt’s murder, The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial and Jane: A Murder, as well an incredible book about violence in art, The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning. She was awarded a MacArthur in 2016 and is one of the most important  intellectuals of our time (though perhaps she’d reject that label!). 
This is an extremely wide ranging episode, as I’d expect from a conversation with Maggie, whose books move in and out of hundreds of different thinkers and artists, translating her encounters with them into a new kind of light. I love her writing.
I’m so proud to share this conversation with you.
We talk about (among other things):
  • Passion as an affirmation against materialism
  • Escorting as permission for desire
  • Why frustrated desire might be worse than death
  • The value of losing your self
  • Why a shrug against danger matters
  • Thoreau, Emerson, and being a good artist or a bad prism
  • The shapes and lives of art
  • The uses of occult perspectives
  • The ruse of the anti-social
  • Wittgenstein and the music of the spheres
  • The uses, rituals, and boundaries of seeing violence 
  • Why porn literacy is dumb
  • Bodhisattva vows

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Maggie, you can read some of her poetry here. Here’s a video featuring panel of people (including Maggie) talking about Maggie’s book, The Argonauts. And here is a great conversation between Maggie and her friend (and AEWCH 44 co-guest with Kelly Link!) Jordy Rosenberg in Out Magazine.
• Maggie mentions her partner Harry’s forthcoming book, My Meteorite: Or, Without the Random There Can Be No New Thing. You can preorder it now, and it looks great.
• Maggie and I were both provoked and interested in Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era by Paul Preciado (a dream guest for the show!)
• My essay on having sex at rest areas, “Rest Stop Confidential” feels a bit outdated now, but it’s still good, I think.
• John O’Donohue’s book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, is one of the most beautiful books ever written.
EKS• Please look into the work of the amazing critical theorist, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick who Maggie studied with. A good place to start is Epistemology of the Closet or Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire.
• The Rudolf Steiner verse, which you can try reciting inwardly, too, to see how it feels:
More radiant than the Sun
Purer than the snow
Subtler than the ether
Is the Self
The spirit within my heart
I am that Self.
That Self am I.
• The Emerson quote is: “It is not words only that are emblematic; it is things which are emblematic. Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.”
• Helen Keller’s mysticism informed her politics and her work in the world. You can read about in in her book Light In My Darkness.
• Maggie’s quote, “I think I give in the writing, mostly, but also as a teacher, and just by being. I don’t think of it as “giving back” per se. And mentoring doesn’t always mean holding someone’s hand. It’s often just by example… We can be for each other beacons of possibility. Often that’s the most important thing.” set me to thinking so much about being a beacon that I spoke about it at length on Rune Soup 195 with Gordon White. I also talk about speaking poetically on there, as well as on AEWCH 93, with Sara Maria Griffin.
• I haven’t yet read the book Maggie mentioned, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, by Stefano Harney and Frank Moten, but I am going to, now. It sounds so good.
• The dead spiritual teacher I prayed to for guidance after being exposed to violence on the guy’s phone, Daskalos, who I talk about at length with his student (a spiritual teacheDr in his own right), Daniel Joseph, on AEWCH 67.
Narrow Rooms by James Purdy is one of the most extraordinary novels I’ve ever read. Read it.
• A good quote on violence from Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta: “(Violence), by its very nature, to suffocate the best sentiments of man, and to develop all the antisocial qualities, ferocity, hatred, revenge, the spirit of domination and tyranny, contempt of the weak, servility towards the strong.”
• You can look at some of Tala Madani‘s work on the 303 Gallery website, including an excerpt of “The Audience” which Maggie talks about at some length.
• I loved talking with Franco “Bifo” Berardi on AEWCH 83 about the challenge of white noise.
• Maggie brings up the amazing British artist Sara Lucas. You can watch a conversation between the two of them here.
That’s it, folks, but it’s a lot, isn’t it?
Until next time!
XO
CH
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“Light Table” by Tala Madani

Do nothing and feel good about it! Philosopher of idleness Brian O’Connor on AEWCH!

5 Nov

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Friends,
Surely self-improvement is not a bad thing, right? Surely we should be doing as much as we can to make ourselves self-actualized beings and get shit done and follow the 7 habits of the 12 secrets of the 4 agreements of highly effective badass people with the secret to living the happiness project of our lives.
Wellllllll…maybe not. 
On this episode of AEWCH, I talk author and philosopher Brian O’Connor about idleness, and how – as Brian says in this episode, not having shitty jobs is not enough. Instead, wanting to be and do better might just be part of the capitalist trap we’re all stuck in. Brian is the author of the excellent and short book Idleness: A Philosophical Essay, a skewering of philosophical arguments against idleness. It’s not a how to be idle book, since that would be pro-self help! Instead, it’s just a good dissolving of all the reasons why we shouldn’t be just kind of lazing around enjoying life.
Since Brian is also a scholar of the great critical theorist Theodor Adorno, we talk a lot about him, too. To supplement our discussion, you should check out Brian’s very very good intro to Adorno called, well, Adorno. Adorno is a key to this discussion about idleness, because he identifies that even in a world without the same wage-labor relationship we have now, we’d still be working our asses off and trapped in the same arrangement we have now.
This episode was a huge challenge to my normal way of thinking, since I am all about self improvement. But it was a friendly challenge, and a powerful one. I learned a lot. Which I guess, um, means I improved.
In this episode:
  • Brian’s struggle with being idle
  • Why Kant got idleness wrong and right
  • Psychoanalysis and ending the perpetual cycle of productivity
  • That time I pissed off my friend when all I wanted to do was compliment her on being so chill
  • Why we lionize our own pain and struggle
  • Whether or not boredom is productive
  • How the military exploits idleness to kill people
  • How mental work and physical labor mirror mental illness and physical pain
  • How Bugs Bunny cartoons should inform our politics
  • Why good jobs are not enough
  • How sex workers can see how their jobs erode work
  • Why everything small thing deserves attention, but that doesn’t mean it’s all good. Also, why object oriented ontology sucks.
  • I nervously present Brian with my theory of phenomenology and occult critical response. But he was very very nice about it.
  • Why libertarians get individualism wrong
PS: Sorry for the breathing into the mic! I think I had Brian’s mic turned up a little too high. Anyway, just imagine him relaxing.
Want to check out the books we talk about and more? Go to the SHOW NOTES.
AH

 

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 62: WHAT IS THE OCCULT? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

12 Mar

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Friends,

People keep asking me to talk about the occult, so it’s time to define my terms a bit. So for this episode of AEWCH, I wanted to lay out what “the occult” means to me, as well as why it matters. After all, it’s at the foundation of my philosophies, politics, and perspectives, and it’s going to keep coming up.

For me, the occult is a way of being, but why and how? Listen to the episode!

I also offer up a small occult practice you can try out on your own, and talk about the occult development you’ve already undergone, perhaps without knowing it.

As you can imagine with something as elusive as the occult, I only SORT of give a definition. But, good news, I’ll also be offering an introduction to the occult in an upcoming one-off online course, so if this is interesting to you, keep an eye out!

SHOW NOTES are free and available to everyone.

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The State Of Philosophy 2019: Peter Rollins returns to AEWCH!

8 Jan

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Friends!
I’m so excited to welcome my friend – theologian, author, organizer, and Doctor of Philosophy, Peter Rollins – back to the AEWCH to kick off my “The State Of” series of AEWCH in January! For the next few episodes, I’ll be reviewing the state of something in 2019: what’s on the scene now and what to look for in the coming year.

Peter and I talk about what’s going on in the philosophical world and focus a bit on the big movement towards psychoanalytic philosophy (and why it matters!), how identity politics fail us, why Jung doesn’t work, Jordan Peterson as anti-philosopher, why postmodern philosophy is threatening to the right (and left!), the ways people dismiss philosophy from the right (and left!), how there are no philosophical communities, the rise of Peter Sloterdijk, why Judas is like the socks you get on Christmas, and more!

Lots to link to and read in the SHOW NOTES

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Fighting oppression is the most human thing of all: George Ciccariello-Maher on AEWCH + A special thank you episode!

20 Nov

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Friends,

Very happy to have the incisive and forcefully anti-capitalist presence of George Ciccariello-Maher – scholar, activist, writer, Marxist – on AEWCH this week.

We break down what dialectics are, if you’re unfamiliar. Then we talk about the Cuban revolution, why liberal centrists are a total failure, how we can’t expect to resolve every contradiction, why Marxism needs anti-imperialism, how inner struggle translates into action, how a skewed focus on our wounds can stop us from doing what needs to be done in the world, why solidarity requires struggle, Hegel vs the individual (AKA Geo vs Conner), whether or not everything is political, the value of Stormy Daniels, how struggle exists outside of capitalism, and what we can actually DO with all this theory.

SHOW NOTES are free and available here.

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BONUS!

I’ve posted an extra audio-only thank you episode for all my listeners and patrons.

I talk about how the podcast came to be (it was half Abby Martin and half tarot reading, believing it or not), why porn performers make almost no money, and what’s to come with both AEWCH and my patreon!

Here you go:

The occult power of music: Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) on Against Everyone with Conner Habib!

18 Oct
AGAINST EVERYONE with CONNER HABIB 45: BEN CHASY (SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE) or OCCULT VIBRATIONS

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Friends,

One of my favorite musicians, Ben Chasny (AKA Six Organs of Admittance) joins me on AEWCH to discuss the occult properties and relationships of tones, chords, and intervals. We don’t just discuss them, Ben plays them, and we see what happens; in particular we use Rudolf Steiner’s lectures on music (starting at 32:00) and the evolution of consciousness to lead us. Also, on the four occult bodies, feeling the music versus allowing music to grow out of itself, why we need to listen to and through the entire body, Billy Idol and Francoise Hardy, Deleuze and repetition in songs, Ben’s Hexadic system for composing, and why music makes us feel the way it makes us feel.

There are four (yes, four!) musical performances on this episode. Here are the songs and when they happen:

Journey Through Sankuan Pass: 59:20

Pilar: 1:18:10

Elk River: 1:20:30

Word for Two: 1:22:30

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9 Oct

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 44: KELLY LINK & JORDY ROSENBERG

or A VAMPIRE IS A THEORY

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Friends,
This is one of my very favorite conversations – I can’t believe I had the opportunity to speak with MacArthur fellow Kelly Link and brilliant new novelist Jordy Rosenberg! We had the conversation just a few days before Link’s MacArthur Award was announced, and just a few days after Jordy’s book was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Award!
Kelly Link is one of the 2018 MacArthur fellows. She’s the author of four collection of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, and Get In Trouble. She’s also the co-editor and co-owner (with her husband Gavin Grant) of Small Beer Press and the literary magazine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.
Jordy Rosenberg is the author of the absolutely excellent anti-capitlism, anti-authoritarian, love story, Confessions of the Fox. and of the nonfiction book, Critical Enthusiasm: Capital Accumulation and the Transformation of Religious Passion.
How fantastic elements in fiction can fall into reinforcing political power; how capitalism works like magic; how we turn social forces into entities; when characters becomes concepts and vice versa; autotheory; scent, senses, and pleasure in fiction; Mandy and zombies; murder; disassociation as a strategy; the evolution of consciousness through novels; and a whooooole lot of literature.
XO CH

How To Be An Occult Activist – I’m on the latest episode of Rune Soup!

6 Jul


Gordon White (who you might remember from episode 4 of AEWCH) and I talk about all sorts of stuff, but mainly, what activism infused by real spirituality and occult knowledge looks like.

We talk

  • the spirituality of identity politics
  • why the will is bad for magic 
  • Susan Sarandon
  • desire v materialism
  • how to include going backwards into activism and spirituality

It starts off a little slow and then builds and builds and builds. Until it becomes, in full, one of the best podcast appearances I’ve ever done.

You can watch/listen via YouTube above or go to the Rune Soup site to download or connect to audio.

me

Casting a spell, obviously.