Summary: The C-Realm is a weekly, interview-based program which features discussions on topics ranging from a possible technological singularity, to entheogenic exploration, the re-localization of community and agriculture, and the competing narratives by which we define ourselves and navigate our world.
Patricia Paul, one of the presenters at the 2015 World Technology Network's Summit on Technological Unemployment joins KMO on the C-Realm Podcast to discuss the unexpected form that technological displacement of workers is taking. Anu Kirk joins the conversation and shares his first-hand perspective on how and why people in the Bay Area tech industry are reluctant to discuss this issue and instead perpetuate the narrative that reduces the nation's employment woes to a multitude of cases of individual personal failure.
KMO welcomes Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll back to the C-Realm Podcast to talk about the role of memory in the writing of Gene Wolfe. One of Wolfe's characters, Latro from Soldier of the Mist, forgets everything. Severian, the protagonist of The Book of the New Sun, forgets nothing. Who do you think would make a more reliable narrator? Later, the conversation turns to roleplaying games, comics, dinosaurs and rock-n-roll. A full audiobook of The Shadow of the Torturer can be found on YouTube. Here's a short podcast about The Shadow of the Torturer.
KMO talks with financial writer Charles Hugh Smith about the themes of his new book, A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating Jobs for All: The Future Belongs to Work That Is Meaningful. Charles explains how information technology is creating "wormholes" in previously secure monopolies and cartels, which eat away at their profitability. Before we celebrate the death of the giants, lets remember that the less profitable they become the more motivation they have to shed the burden of their labor costs. Welcome to the Uberized economy. We need to find a way to keep the productivity gains that information technology makes possible AND provide well-paid and meaningful work for everyone who wants it.
Sorry. There is no new C-Realm Podcast this week.
KMO and Olga are moving to Bellows Falls, Vermont where the county sheriff, Keith Clark, hopes to bring some much needed humanity to an overly punitive criminal justice system. He proposes renovating a building which has stood empty for decades and turning it into a new justice center that will combine educational opportunities, community services, administrative offices and a detention center. Some Bellows Falls residents are less than pleased at the prospect. KMO speaks with Sheriff Clark about the center and the concerns of residents. Later, KMO summarizes some of the content of the presentations and discussions at the Platform Cooperativism conference.
This episode of the C-Realm Podcast brings together two recent conversations. In episode 474: MALIGNANTLY USELESS, KMO spoke with Kevin Dole about the pessimistic philosophy of horror writer Thomas Ligotti. In episodes 480: Assumptions and Preferences and 481: Comfort and Understanding (are Killing Us), KMO and Olga spoke with secular Buddhist meditation teacher Soryu Forall about the unconscious habits of mind which are leading human civilization and entire biosphere to ruin. Kevin and Soryu both return to the C-Realm to carry one both discussions.
Does consciousness emerge when the right kinds of matter are arranged in the right way with sufficient complexity, or is consciousness a primary quality of existence which precedes matter? Could both be true? KMO speaks with Dr. Neil Theise, MD about mind, matter, biology, longevity and the varities of "yogic practice." Neil, who is Professor of Pathology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also weighs in on the value of established religious, contemplative and shamanic traditions, even the ones which clearly need a little reformation. Neil will be the featured presenter at the East Meets West Medicine Fest, November 20-22 in NYC.
In response to an email from a listener, KMO explains why we can't reasonably expect Peak Oil or any variation of resource scarcity to save us from the effects of bad public policy which subsidizes automation and penalizes employment. He lays out a few potential scenarios involving human robots under the micro-managment of managerial AI. Thereafter, Jim, the host of Attack Ads! Podcast joins KMO for a discussion of how the Planet Money Podcast totally missed the mark in their attempt to examine the implications of a 1930 essay by John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren.
City slickers KMO and Olga have their hearts set on moving to Bellows Falls, Vermont. In this episode of the C-Realm Podcast, Olga explains why she's done with the Big Apple. Later, long-time Bellows Falls resident, attorney and music promoter, Ray Massuco, talks about the history of Bellows Falls and the community connections he has forged over four decades of practice. Ray is an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter, and there are a lot of Bernie haters in the collapse community, so KMO plays devil's advocate and elicits a calm, rational and confident defense of Bernie and his enthusiastic supporters from Ray. Music by James McMurtry.
In recent decades an increasing number of people have begun to identify themselves as "spiritual but not religious." In this episode of the C-Realm Podcast, KMO talks with Jonathan Thompson about the unintended consequences of this practice of loading the word 'religion' with exclusively negative connotations and investing all the positives aspects of religious practice and experience in the word 'spiritual.' It is of particular concern to groups looking for First Amendment protections for religious practices that involve psychedelic sacraments. In the second half of the conversation, they discuss psychedelic parenting and consider the dangers and challenges in speaking honestly to children about psychedelic practices. You can find the talk by Bob Jesse of the Council on Spiritual Practices here: https://youtu.be/lM-yinhpOgQ
Douglas Lain has a new novel, After the Saucers Landed, which depicts an alternate history in which fake-looking flying saucers land on the White House lawn in the 1990s. The aliens that emerge are Nordic space brothers like the ones described by Billy Meier. This comes as an enormous disappointment to most UFO researchers. KMO talks with both Doug Lain and Larry Lowe about the novel and about the subject matter that it takes as it's jumping off point for an exploration of the phantom of individual identity.
In May, KMO and Olga visited Katherine MacLean at Happy Acres Farm in Sherman, Connecticut. At the time, Katherine was pregnant and planning to have the baby at home under the care of midwives in spite of much pressure to give herself over to the care of the medical profession. Katherine talks about what she learned from the death of her sister, why she left her dream job, her thoughts on unschooling and the interplay between enjoying freedom and taking responsibility. Last week, Katherine checked back in with KMO via Skype about the experience of giving birth at home.
KMO and guest Kevin Dole consider why horror writer Thomas Ligotti considers consciousness to be the parent of all horrors. Consciousness is supposed to be the most marvelous phenomenon in existence right? Not according to Ligotti. In his first non-fiction book, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, Ligotti describes consciousness as the means to achieving new varieties of suffering by enabling us to dread things that haven't happened yet, like out own death, and to suffer insult in addition to mere injury. Better never to have been born, because, Ligotti asserts, non-existence never hurt anybody. Check out Ligotti's story The Red Tower to see if his fiction rings your bell. Please note: Thomas Ligotti advocates voluntary human extinction by attrition, which is to say by not having children. He does not suggest that other people commit suicide, though he defends their right to do so. Consistency and intellectual honesty do not compel him to take his own life. I will delete any further comments that call him a hypocrite for failing to commit suicide. Don't bother posting them.
KMO spoke with Kevin Carson while visiting Arkansas. Kevin is an avowed anti-capitalist, but some C-Realm listeners can't square that notion with Kevin's professed libertarian leanings and his failure to avow uncomplicated condemnation of private property and "the market." Whatever that is. The conversation touches on technology, labor, class relations, and life after capitalism.
KMO is visiting his family in northwest Arkansas, and in this episode he asks some of his Arkansan friends about the Confederate battle flag. Berryville-based writer and broadcaster, Dan Krotz, explains how people who display the Confederate flag are broadcasting the message that they are both mean and stupid. That's useful to him as it lets him know that he should avoid those people. Kris G, a young farmer who grew up in Sallisaw, Oklahoma shares Dan's assessment. He thinks that in a free country, people have the right to advertise to the world just how small-minded they are by flying the rebel flag from their pick-up trucks. In the final segment of the program, C4SS writer, Kevin Carson, explains why the claim that the flag is a symbol of "heritage not hate" is incoherent. Please do not post a comment unless you have listened to the episode. Comments that seem to be responding to the episode description and which do not reference the specific content of the actual podcast will be deleted.