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

2 Mar

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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? 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