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Everything comes back around, sooner or later.

In the summer, I first started contemplating starting my podcast up again for real, and one of the first things I wanted to talk about was Trump. At the time I was envisioning a sort of esoteric media analysis which, even though he clearly couldn’t win, would take apart why and how he got to the stage he was, of nearly (at that point) winning the Republican primary. But every time I started to firm up an idea, I had this creeping feeling that it was premature. I felt like I didn’t really understand what was going on.

And that pattern kept repeating for another four or so months, and that podcast kept on not starting. And now here we are. Turns out I was more right than I knew to hold back a final judgement of Trump’s prospects, even if I couldn’t admit to myself at the time what it meant. That’s the thing about blind spots, though, isn’t it? In retrospect, part of me knew the crisis narrative that Obama inherited couldn’t possibly end well. And now it has ended, and not well. So it goes.

It would be narcissistic, even solipsistic, to imagine my contributions could have made any difference to where we’ve seemingly ended up over the last few years.  Still, what is true of  the one is not true of the many, of which the one is a part. It is completely clear now that an awful lot of people have misplaced their priorities rather badly for a long time, or else we wouldn’t be in this predicament now, and it would be a little too easy to let myself off the hook, just because I happened to be a typically overwhelmed student. I was content to pretend for quite a while that the winds of history were more or less at all of our backs, I suppose. But things rarely move in straight lines, and that bit of pretending is clearly over now.

The Bad Old Days are here again. Time to get off the bench.

What to expect:

My aim is to do at least 2 podcasts a month, indefinitely, sometimes more when I feel like it, or support/demand justifies it. I have a new patreon page up and running, so if you feel moved to support what I’m doing with a few coins a month, in whatever fashion, that would be excellent. Spreading the word to others would also be excellent. I will, as ever, strive to make it worth your while.

I have four episodes of the new program, which I have titled Solve Everything, in the can already and  the first of those will come out probably by the end of the week. Some of it is just working out the trauma of the election at first, but we quickly transition into more interesting philosophical territory, like Platonic theories of knowledge as applied to contemporary democracies, and meta-ethical treatments of things like genocide. I’m hoping to lay something down in the next week or so that is a McLuhan-esque analysis of political  regimes as forms of media. Should be a good head-scratcher.I have a very long game in mind for all this, and Solve Everything will be centrepiece. It won’t be totally obvious what it is at first, but those of you who have been around for a long time will have some inkling of what I’m about.

I’m also working on finishing my first novel. I will be making it available online  in the first half of this year. Those of you who have been around for awhile might find it in keeping with the slightly unhinged satirical tone of some of my more bad-mood-ish writing. In my more whimsical moments I think of it as a cross between Catcher in the Rye, Fight Club, and some really unhinged japanese anime like Ninja Scroll or Neon Genesis Evangelion.

It is an unending source of gratification that many of my original audience have done well and in many cases gone on to do interesting thinks of your own. My thanks to everyone who threw kind words and encouragement my way during the Great Academic Hiatus.  My brain simply wasn’t set up to do this and that at the same time. But  that is done, at least for the time being, so now it’s time for this, again.

I have changed in many ways, but the thing at the core is beyond changing. It does what it wants with me, always–when I’m not too messed up to pay attention, that is, which is rather often, alas.  Sometimes I feel like my entire life is one long shamanic ordeal. I can only hope it’s all for a good reason, which is just another way of saying I hope I eventually succeed at giving it all a good reason.  I’d like to think the intervening years have left me improved and not diminished, at least not very much, so I must be doing something right. For now I’m back, I’m healthy, and feeling strong.

The sun goes down and always comes back up again. Someday we all go to live outside of time, where there will be no more sunrises, but  that day is not today, at least not for me.

…and so, to the Work.



7 thoughts on “Perihelion

  1. Since nobody else seems to have taken the bait yet, let me be the first person to comment here again.

    Hi. It’s been a while. Welcome back.

    I remember this blog helped shape my thinking on a lot of issues back in the days when my usual concerns were as sophisticated as wondering if some particular girl liked me or not, and being too shy to find out. This is the first place I read about peak oil, or saw some inkling that things might not be as rosy in the world as my happy, carefree Norwegian surroundings would lead me to assume.

    It was kind of like that story about the Buddha sneaking into town and finding out that, oh gosh darn, people really do suffer in the real world. “Oh, our problems are *systemic*? Uh… shit.”

    And here we are, almost a decade later. I’ve had my own experiences with shamanic journeys, with hardcore meditation, with yoga and buddhism, with peak experiences and so on. Been on the brink, crossed the abyss – all that jazz.

    When I look back and wonder how my life ended up like this, it’s obviously too messy and too hazy to pinpoint any precise time, place or reason. More generally, life just doesn’t work like that. No causal chain is ever pure. But even so, this blog comes up a lot.

    In some ways it’s funny, because it’s clear to me now that we disagree on a lot of things.. I’m not very fond of Plato, although a lot of his thinking is clearly important for the development of subsequent philosophy. I’m more on the epistemic doubt train myself, mixed with a little bit of cynicism and stoicism and so on and so forth. Not the postmodern kind of “doubt”, though – just the kind that acknowledges that, as a species, we’re perhaps not so bright.

    I’ve also skipped over a lot of thee alchemical required reading in favor of other things that interested me more. I made a conscious decision to do as close to a left hand path interpretation of this whole “path”-thing as I could, and that’s taken me down some strange avenues in life.

    But a lot of it started here, with this blog. I’m grateful for that.

    Welcome back. I’ll be following with interest.

  2. It has been a while. Welcome back yourself. Someone had to be first to comment, so it might as well be you.

    You might be overestimating the degree to which we actually disagree (not that disagreement troubles me especially) — most of what I like about Plato is the dialectic manner of presentation, and his elegant way of framing debates. My considered views are rather more subtle.

    As for the left hand path…well keep in mind I started this when I was not quite thirty, whereas I am now not quite forty. I don’t talk much about my twenties, which were me doing the most vile and blood-curdling security work you can probably imagine, which is probably the modern equivalent of sitting in charnel grounds or hanging out with diseased hags. There was some drug stuff in there too, which was infrequent, but pretty ‘heroic’ in the terrence mckenna sense.
    Also, much of my twenties, before i switched rails onto the dharma, was spent immersed in some pretty sketchy left hand path martial arts stuff, and the sort of people that are either into that or don’t understand what it is they’re into. All in all, a lot of the stuff people see here is me *after* I’ve smacked my head on the signposts of the hard and nasty path to enlightenment and ultimately thought better of continuing in that vein, mostly because I wanted to live… But if there’s interest in war stories like that, I suppose I could be convinced to share.

  3. I may well be overestimating the degree to which we disagree. Although it’s fair to say Plato was meant only as a very loose example, and I’ve followed your work for long enough to have some idea of where the fault lines lie. It’s just that, as it were, I didn’t really even have such a thing as an opinion informed by experience regarding this whole body of work when I first got into it.

    Yeah, LHP stuff is something that I was very heavily into initially, but it somewhat loses its luster once you go far enough down the rabbit hole. I’m going to write some things about that myself in the near future, if I manage to get my head enough out of the whole having a kid and worrying about practical issues thing.

    I’d love to hear some war stories, but I think it’s fair to say my tastes are niche even by the standards of your own following.

  4. @Sindre — “Been on the brink, crossed the abyss – all that jazz.”
    You’ve crossed the abyss like my cat can sing the opera.

    @Zac — “I’m also working on finishing my first novel. I will be making it available online in the first half of this year. […] I think of it as a cross between Catcher in the Rye, Fight Club, and some really unhinged japanese anime like Ninja Scroll or Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
    Oh, Zac.
    Oh, no.
    Please tell me you’re kidding.

    1. An early warning system with a singing cat! Truly I am bless-ed. Can we get the cat to belt out a couple bars from Pagliacci when I’m about to take a philosophical wrong turn? Perhaps I can add it to the intro to my podcasts.

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