Tag Archives: psychoanalysis

Why being able to think about a cat means we can change the world: consciousness, psychoanalysis, and spirituality on AEWCH 139 with Michael Lipson!

26 Jan

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Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep? For Michael’s books you should order directly from Steiner Books, for the other books mentioned on or related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 139 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
I sometimes think about the concept of world change, of political and economic change is getting ahead of ourselves. Why? Because we haven’t even begun to consider ourselves, consider what it means to be human, what thought is, what thinking is, and what consciousness is.
If we can’t hold a single thought, how can we create new structures for us to live in and dissolve the old?And it’s not helpful that everyone, from capitalists to communists to anarchists, generally think that questions of consciousness are fine to leap past and into creating theoretical abstractions to change the world.
Everything – everything – is tethered to the experience of thought and thinking.Don’t think so? Well, where did that thought come from? Have a theory about how thinking and thought is not the groundswell of existence? Well, where did that come from? Even the thought that consciousness is an illusion comes from thinking, of course. So there’s no way to get outside of thinking.
My idea has been: let’s start building from that, let’s get into the experience of consciousness and let our political, economic, and cultural work come from there.
I wanted to talk about this, and I wanted to talk about it early in this new year of incredible opportunity and trouble. So I asked therapist and author Michael Lipson on the show. Michael is the author of Stairway of Surprise: Six Steps to a Creative Life and Group Meditation. For nearly a decade, he worked with children with HIV and AIDS in New York City. Now he has his own practice and runs group meditation meetings each week via michaellipson.org.
We discuss so much on this episode, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way belief in materialism destroys freedom
  • Why solipsism is correct, but unrefined
  • Our everyday knowledge as an obstacle to seeing things as they are
  • Dissolving materialism is a spiritual path
  • That time I saw the pizza-being (Um, what?) – but don’t take my word for it!
  • The difference between spiritual substance and spiritual state
  • How to redeem the spiritual over Zoom
  • Why absorption matters
  • How psychoanalysis without spirituality necessitates law, and how its focus on childhood is a description of karma
  • The importance of contained nothingness
  • Certainties, bad and good
  • Creativity as the antidote to angry certainty
  • Psychotherapy in motion (literally)
  • Despair as a sign for hopefulness

SHOW NOTES

• Most of Michael’s work can be found on his website, including his short series of essays/meditation prompts on Simone Weil. And here’s Michael in conversation with author Allison Burnett is here.• The Nature Institute in New York state is where I managed to finally, permanently, alter my thinking from object-thinking to metamorphic-thinking.

The Work of Byron Katie changed my life, too.

• Emily Dickinson wrote, “A letter always feels to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. Indebted in our talk to attitude and accent, there seems a spectral power in thought that walks alone.” Here’s more on her letters.

• One of my first conversations at the top of the global crisis – and consequently, one of the first I did remotely – was with writer and theorist Mark O’Connell on AEWCH 105 about apocalypse, of course.

• A bit on Śūnyatā, or emptiness, in Buddhism.

• You can learn more about David Spangler’s work of incarnational spirituality and work with elemental beings via his organization, The Lorian Association.

• I talk about the problem of certainty in 2021 on AEWCH 136 and about nothingness on AEWCH 116 with Are Thoressen.

• “Who pours out like a spring, knowing knows him: and leads him delighted through the bright creation, that often ends with the start, and begins with the end.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

• Here’s Rudolf Steiner’s quote on faithfulness:“Let your loyalty to another human being come about in this way:  there will be moments — quickly passing by — when he will seem to you filled and illumined by the true, primal image of his spirit.
Then can come, yes, will come, long stretches of time when your fellow-being seems clouded, even darkened.  But learn at these times to say to yourself:  The spirit will strengthen me; I will remember the true, unchanging image that I once saw.  Nothing at all — neither deception nor disguise — can take it away from me.Struggle again and again for the true picture that you saw.  The struggle itself is your faithfulness.
And in those efforts to be faithful and to trust, a human being will come close to another as if with an angel’s power of protection.” (by the way, I had Duncan Trussell read this waaaay back on AEWCH 16!)

• Want another podcast to listen to? I love the The Fundamentalist Podcast, featuring Peter Rollins and Elliot Morgan from AEWCH 135!

Until next time, friends,
X
C

How do we believe in things without killing each other? I talk to Peter Rollins & Elliott Morgan of The Fundamentalists podcast on AEWCH 135!

16 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 Peter’s books, and other books mentioned on or related to this episode, please go to my booklist for AEWCH 135 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,
As the year comes to an end, we find ourselves surrounded by people holding seemingly incommensurable sets of beliefs and ideas – and those sets of beliefs and ideas are being held onto more tightly, not less, as the ship seems to be aimless. While some of you might be finding a sense of relief in the changing of the guard in the US, and the presence of a vaccine, many others feel agitated by both.
2020 was the year that one community, one group of people trying to dominate and humiliate the other, seemed to rule.At the same time, we’ve seen these amazing outpourings of mutual aid, of togetherness, of new demands for the structures that are supposed to be serving us. I wanted to understand all of this, I wanted to have a conversation about belief and politics, and the unknown.
So I invited my friends Peter Rollins and Elliott Morgan to the show. You might know Elliott as part of the YouTube comedy group The Valleyfolk, or from his standup; and Peter from his work as a psychoanalytic theologian, or his previous appearances on AEWCH 14, AEWCH 55, and AEWCH 70 (with Todd McGowan); but I was interested in having them on together because they’re cohosts of the philosophy and psychoanalysis chat show, The Fundamentalists. On each episode, Elliott brings his everyday but perceptive concerns about the world, and Peter pulls them apart with psychoanalysis.
This is, I think a special conversation because of that belief piece, that ideology piece – because we all have different pathways through belief in our lives, from Peter’s sport of strange revelation upon seeing an exorcism take place after leaving the theater – he’d just seen Gremlins 2 – with his friend, to Elliott’s church experiences with something called the Holy Laughter Revival, to mine growing up without much religion and then finding my life infused with occult philosophy.We also each have different psychological structures, which we discuss on this show.And we each have different intellectual mentors and perspectives. Lately, Elliott has taken up Jungian psychology, which stands in some opposition to Peter’s Lacanian/Hegelian view, and both in some opposition to my occult view deeply informed by Rudolf Steiner.
So we spend a lot of this episode fleshing out some of those differences and nuances – how current events, how thinking, how the unconscious, and more, can be seen from each perspective.Gradually, throughout the episode, you get a sense of a sort of peace process. Not because Peter and Elliott and I were i some sort of deep conflict to begin with, but because the ideas and ways of living and structures of psyche meet each other and rest with each other without violent disagreement. The show presents three people, not trying to resolve contradictions and certainly not trying to win out, but rather simply taking an interest in one another.

In some ways, it offers an antidote to clinging to belief on the mast of the sinking ship of our politics, economy, and culture.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Our journeys through belief
  • Different sorts of exorcisms and possessions
  • The interpretations of the concept of the lack in psychoanalysis
  • Why didn’t going to school for science make Elliott an atheist?
  • What the unconscious looks like for Freud, Jung, and Steiner
  • How each of – Peter, Elliott, and I – us fall into a psychoanalytic structure, and what those structures are
  • How to avoid turning anxiety into violence
  • How communism and liberalism have dovetailed with each other into a big mess
  • Comedy creating stability
  • The way love and knowledge meet to become violence in our time

SHOW NOTES

• For more on The Fundamentalists, my recommended episodes are “Success,” “Socialism,” “Fascism,” and “New Normal.” But you can really just start anywhere.

• Right off the bat we get Gremlins 2 and Alabama Snake references, which I feel like is a call to watch both.

• John E.L. Tenney went to a Catholic exorcism and we talked about it on AEWCH 133.

• Here’s a short video on the Holy Laughter Revival, and it is…well…funny!

Jodorowsky’s Dune is one of my favorite movies about magic and art. (Below are character sketches for the film by Moebius.)

• I love AEWCH 116 with Are Thoresen about nothingness and Christ.

• Here’s a brisk intro to Franz Mesmer.

• Here’s the episode of The Fundamentalists about hot takes and the global pandemic.

• The Duncan Trussell Family Hour I talk about re: my prediction of the occluding force is here. And the other episode I mention is here.

• Slavoj Žižek comes up a bit, and if you’re looking for a good book to start with that relates to the topics here, I would say The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity is as good as any.

Until next time, friends,
XO
CH

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

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

 

Let’s destroy nature together! (repost of AEWCH 22)

27 Aug

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Hello friends!

Re-upping this past episode of AEWCH because I’m starting to reinvestigate these ideas about how environmentalism is flawed at its foundation: nature. Nature is a concept that we must destroy if we ever want to see and engage with our planet.

To express the point, I pull in my pals Patricia Highsmith, Sigmund Freud, Paracelsus, and more.

This episode is becoming part of a larger project called Occult Philosophy Now!, a book and a set of courses and lectures coming your way in 2020. There’s a new intro to the episode, and I hope we see it with new eyes.

IN THIS EPISODE

  • Why “nature” is a poorly defined but totally accepted concept.
  • Why our main environmental narratives – going green/sustainability, neo-primitivism, deep ecology – depend on the flawed concept of nature.
  • “Nature is the word we use for the feeling we have of separation with other aspects of the world.”
  • “The concept of nature is the external exhibition of the death drive.”
  • Who are we if we’re imaging mass death to “save the planet?”
  • Have you ever fought just to feel?
  • Erasing the lines between the living and the dead.
  • The world is consciousness states, not objects.
  • Putting ourselves at the center of the world is the only way to encounter it, much less “save” it.

Lots to investigate more deeply in the SHOW NOTES

Peterson vs Žižek vs Lacan vs Deleuze & Guattari vs Psychoanalysis vs The Left: AEWCH 70 is the first ever Against Everyone event is me + Peter Rollins & Todd McGowan!

14 May

AGAINST EVERYONE WITH CONNER HABIB 70: TODD McGOWAN & PETER ROLLINS or PSYCHOANALYSIS vs THE LEFT

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Friends,

On my first ever Against Everyone live event, I talk about psychoanalysis, leftism, and identity politics with two of my favorite AEWCH guests, Todd McGowan and Peter Rollins! The event was part of the theology-meets-psychoanalysis conference Wake, in Belfast, in North of Ireland.

Peter Rollins is a philosopher and theologian who’s been on the show before (way back on AEWCH 14, and more recently on AEWCH 55). Todd McGowan is a psychoanalytic theorist and film studies professor; he’s also the host of the great podcast, Why Theory, and author of many amazing books. He originally appeared on AEWCH 47.

We talk about ID politics, Lacan vs Deleuze, Peterson vs Zizek, psychoanalysis and the left, and more!

This episode is very different than others, not the least of which because there’s a Q&A after – which I always long for with my epsiodes! and not just because it was in front of an audience. It’s different because there is some tension and conflict (though not any animosity, of course! I love Peter and Todd). It was even a bit difficult for me, for reasons I lay out in the introduction. That said, I also think it turned out great.

In fact, I’d love to do more live events, as this one was a bit of a test run for me. So if you’d like to organize an AEWCH event in your city (or a city nearby) with a locally-situated guest, give me a shout out, and we’ll see what we can do. Email me: againsteveryonewithconnerhabib[at]gmail[dot]com

(No show notes this week; the ep is pretty self explanatory, but back to them next week!)

Until next time!
XO
CH

Peter Rollins

Can art contain evil? I explore mystery and murder with crime writer Sara Gran on AEWCH 61!

5 Mar

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Friends,

When you follow a mystery, you see that’s it’s unending. And what better explorer of mysteries than acclaimed mystery writer Sara Gran, whose mystery and crime books rove through philosophy, the occult, and the hardboiled on their way to the murderer.

Sara is the author of mysteries and horror, from her acclaimed Claire DeWitt series (start with the excellent Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead), to her shiveringly creepy demonic possession tale, Come Closer.

We talk about why detectives in fiction are always wounded, how criminals are materialists but detectives are spiritual, being an outsider, the philosopher she invented named Jacques Silette, the unknowingness of writing, how our creative projects becomes spells & become our friends, whether or not people actually succeed in Hollywood, the difference between real genre and mere spectacle, fairy tales, why political solutions don’t work, why the presence of the dead is healing, why people can’t accept the supernatural even in fiction, Suspiria vs Texas Chainsaw Massacre vs Hereditary, Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, how art responds to and creates evil, and how psychoanalysis connects to the Western esoteric tradition and yoga.

Click HERE for show notes!

XO
CH

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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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Capitalism VS Wanting To Want Wanting: Psychoanalytic Theorist Todd McGowan on AEWCH!

9 Nov

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Friends!
Psychoanalytic theorist Todd McGowan is one of my favorite thinkers. He’s the author of many of my favorite theory books, including Enjoying What We Don’t Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis and Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets. He’s also a professor of English and Film Studies, and the co-host (with Ryan Engley) of the excellent theory/philosophy podcast, Why Theory.
We break down psychoanalytic terms for people new to the concepts. We also talk about why Freud matters now more than ever, how psychoanalysis lens applies to politics, Wittgenstein as a bridge between analytic and continental philosophy (don’t worry, we explain what those are), how capitalism works, why we need to want what we want, christianity and psychoanalysis, solipsism, symbiosis, why disseminating ideas matters, the important and dismissible Slavoj Žižek, and what constitutes clothing in a nudist colony, among other things.
One of my favorite things about this episode is the way that Todd and I find a balance with each other’s ideas. I had so much fun talking with him.
SHOW NOTES are available to everyone here.
Until next time!
XO
CH
FL

Zachary Schomburg vs The Refrigerator General: AGAINST EVERYONE with CONNER HABIB attacks poetry

4 Sep

 

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Friends,

On the 40th (!!!) episode of Against Everyone with Conner Habib, I met with poet Zachary Schomburg in an old bakery* in Portland to talk all about poetry.

Zach’s poetry is profound, frightening, eerie, and absurd. His book Scary, No Scary, which he reads a bit from on this episode, is a masterpiece, and a great bridge into poetry if you’ve never really gotten into it.

In this episode, we talk about:

Not-knowing and writing; the identity of a writer; what style is; ghosts, deer, and hummingbirds; the way certain words arouse us and why; how poetry is like a computer trying to come to life; poetry and Lacanian psychoanalysis; the index as your analyst; how writing is violence; light and death; how the poem on the page is not the poem; recreating reality, and more. 

Zach also reads poems from Hear Oars, and Scary, No Scary.

Show notes for the show are now available to the general public again, so go to my patreon to get them!

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