Podcast

Episode 10: “Capitalism does not fit on the Planet”

Podcast Image

This podcast explores themes raised in Against Capitalist Education by Nadim Bakhshov published by Zero books.

Elaine Graham-Leigh joins me again in an extended conversation discussing her Zero Books title “A Diet of Austerity: Class, Food and Climate Change” and the themes that emerge from it.

This is the second part of a longer conversation.

This is conversation worth listening to. ~ Peter Lato, CEO of Shovian Analytics

This podcast was built with kind support of Doug Lain and Zero books with music created by Nadim Bakhshov and readings given by Doug Lain and Chas Warlow. And thanks to Ashley Whitear for all his generous technical support.

Podcast

Episode 9: A Diet of Austerity – Class, Food and Climate Change

Podcast Image

This podcast explores themes raised in Against Capitalist Education by Nadim Bakhshov published by Zero books.

Elaine Graham-Leigh joins me in an extended conversation discussing her Zero Books title “A Diet of Austerity: Class, Food and Climate Change“. The book looks at how and why the working class are being blamed for climate change, and what we can do about it.

This is the first part of a longer conversation.

This is conversation worth listening to. ~ Peter Lato, CEO of Shovian Analytics

This podcast was built with kind support of Doug Lain and Zero books with music created by Nadim Bakhshov and readings given by Doug Lain and Chas Warlow. And thanks to Ashley Whitear for all his generous technical support.

Podcast

Episode 8: Politics, Trump and the EU

Podcast Image

This podcast explores themes raised in Against Capitalist Education by Nadim Bakhshov published by Zero books.

Andy Redman joins me in the first part of a longer conversation on politics, history, Trump, the EU, the legacy of Thatcher, Star Trek and education.

This is the first part of a longer conversation.

This is conversation worth listening to. ~ Peter Lato, CEO of Shovian Analytics

This podcast was built with kind support of Doug Lain and Zero books with music created by Nadim Bakhshov and readings given by Doug Lain and Chas Warlow. And thanks to Ashley Whitear for all his generous technical support.

Podcast

Episode 7: Science Fiction, Space Elves & Class

Podcast Image

This podcast explores themes raised in Against Capitalist Education by Nadim Bakhshov published by Zero books.

Doug Lain, publisher, author and blogger returns for the third part of a conversation to discuss science fiction, Spock and issues of identifying class through accents in UK and US. The conversation is lighter and more personal. At one point Doug’s family return but we still continue to chat.

This is the third part of a longer conversation.

This is conversation worth listening to. ~ Peter Lato, CEO of Shovian Analytics

This podcast was built with kind support of Doug Lain and Zero books with music created by Nadim Bakhshov and readings given by Doug Lain and Chas Warlow. And thanks to Ashley Whitear for all his generous technical support.

Notes & Annotations

a necessary stage – nihilism

[3, 13] Have we all become Akaky Akakievichs? – Akaky Akakievich is the central character in Gogol’s The Overcoat (1999). This story is a short darkly comic, pre-Kafkaesque, story about a lowly civil servant, mocked, pitied or disregarded by everyone he meets. It portrays a life entirely within the horizon of a ‘recognition calculus’ (Kojève, 1980). Akaky is a Nowhere Man (The Beatles, 1965):

Doesn’t have a point of view

He takes it upon himself to change how others see him and improve his social standing. He decides to save up over several years to buy a new overcoat. For a brief moment, after he possesses it he feels elated and others treat him with some respect. He is invited to a party. But then tragedy strikes. He is robbed on the way home. Traumatised by this sudden loss, he goes to the police. They have neither the inclination nor interest to pursue this case. He then goes to see a certain ‘very important person’ – perhaps an Akaky who in a parallel universe climbed up through the hierarchy. The scene, both beautiful and painful in equal measures, leaves our protagonist in a state of crisis: the loss of the overcoat and the indifference and cruelty with which he is treated breaks his spirit. He becomes ill and dies. But the story doesn’t end here – Akaky returns as a ghost to haunt St. Petersburg, like a feeling of shame that stains the living.

Is the only mechanism of rupturing the entanglement of the ‘recognition calculus’ an intellectual nihilism (Dostoevsky, 1993)?

Podcast

Episode 6: Writing, Hollywood and Politics

Podcast Image

This podcast explores themes raised in Against Capitalist Education by Nadim Bakhshov published by Zero books.

Doug Lain, publisher, author and blogger returns this week to discuss writing, authors, the influence of film and the role of politics in fiction.

This is the second part of a longer conversation.

This is conversation worth listening to. ~ Peter Lato, CEO of Shovian Analytics

This podcast was built with kind support of Doug Lain and Zero books with music created by Nadim Bakhshov and readings given by Doug Lain and Chas Warlow. And thanks to Ashley Whitear for all his generous technical support.

, ,

Notes & Annotations

The Republic of Reason never arrived

[3, 11] Everyone’s a policeman. Everyone’s policing their own behaviour. Why? There’s no God to do it for us.

Kant wrote a short essay “What is Enlightenment?” (2009) in which he described a human mind that relied on some external authority as immature (unmundigkeit) and that the courage to trust and use your own reason was the mark of enlightenment. For many of his contemporaries, modern science had consigned supernal authorities, in whatever form it came, to an historical dustbin. The general view was that, once rid of any external transcendent authority, the subsequent freedom would allow the emergence of a new republic of reason and a profound human flourishing. Close to a century later, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stated “God is dead” (Nietzsche, 2006) as if the deed was done and the matter was settled. Around the same time Dostoevsky asked: “‘But what will become of men then?’ I asked him, ‘without God and immortal life? All things are permitted then, they can do what they like?’” (Dostoevsky, 1992). It would seem humanity has indeed done what it likes – it has unleashed two world wars under secular ideologies and massacred around 100 million without religion or God. But is it fair to say unfettered human freedom led to these human catastrophes? Or was there something else that was missed in the Kantian formulae? Consider Jacques Lacan (2004): “The true formula of atheism is not God is dead …the true formula of atheism is God is unconscious”. When God vacated the explicit, metaphysical and mythical throne and all declared him dead he fell into an abyss. But he did not die. He rose, like Jesus, as an undead being and became, what the psychoanalysts, call a relentless demanding internalised drive – a zombie-God, avoiding the gaze of reason, issuing twisted injunctions, deformed by the fall and the abyss of the unconscious – pushing human beings harder towards a cliff edge, pushing harder than any fallen angel could have done so. The loss of an external authority was not the loss of authority but simply a move from the open air to a subterranean, unconscious realm. In making this descent this undead God became a force of pure irrationality. Like characters in Orwell’s 1984 (2008) humanity is not liberated but forced to stand guard over the abyss within them and against this undead God. Humanity is trapped in a deeper prison, left to police its own thoughts and feelings.

Notes & Annotations

vast labyrinthine bureaucracy

[3, 4] vast labyrinthine bureaucracy – an allusion to Kafka’s The Trial (2009c). In this book the central character, Josef K, wakes up one morning to be informed he has been arrested. He does not know why and spends the rest of the book struggling to make sense of this arrest and what follows. Each scene moves him through a labyrinth of indifferent figures, awkward situations and uncomfortable conversations as he tries to maintain a semblance of order. As the novel proceeds he is dragged further and further through bruising legal proceedings that continue to be unsettling as well as remain unintelligible. There is no consolation or humanity in this world. (Occasionally, there is a strange erotic encounter with a female character.) Without making any real sense the book ends – he is taken out into the open and stabbed and left to die like a dog. This anxiety narrative owes something to Kierkegaard (1981) and haunts the modern world. This narrative is very similar to the tragic tale at the heart of Gogol’s The Overcoat (1999). The labyrinth finds its fullest image, as an ontological principle, in the writings of Borges (Butler, 2010) where it becomes entangled in complex narratives of detective stories.