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Hyperstition Americana

I like Lana Del Rey. She’s not super hot, and she's not a great singer — but she’s become an entity that is “super hot” and “great singer.” That’s true art.

She succeeded in the political game of occupying both of those categories, all the more impressively because she did it through an elaborate persona constructed out of thin air. Nobody thinks of her alongside someone like Andy Kaufman, but she’s more similar to Kaufman than she is similar to your typical female pop star. If you look at someone like Madonna, people always knew she was a performance artist. If you look at someone like Taylor Swift, she has achieved a remarkably duplicitous public image, but that’s mostly the work of her corporate leaders. The achievement of Lana Del Rey is epic mass deception, a conspiracy in plain sight, a long-term gaslighting of the entire spectacle, and by her own hand: True Art.

I admire this, it’s far more interesting and impressive than someone who just happens to be super hot and a great singer. Anyone can be blessed with those things. How many normal people with modest gifts for the criteria under selection, will use deep creative fabrications to counterfeit them on such a scale that nobody is powerful enough to stop it? You might only get a few of those per decade.

Teenage Internet Philosophy Tutor Txgen Meyer

Txgen Meyer is an artist, researcher, and philosophy tutor. Learn more about Txgen at http://txgenmeyer.com/.

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If you'd like to discuss these and similar themes with me and others, request an invitation to the Discord server.

This conversation was first recorded as a livestream on Youtube. Subscribe to my channel with one click, then click the bell to receive notifications when future livestreams begin.

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Cath-Pilled Shoplifting Theory with Dasha from Red Scare

Dasha Nekrasova is co-host of the podcast Red Scare https://www.patreon.com/RedScare We discussed the One Holy Apostolic Church, Simone Weil, the best and worst drugs, prayer, Pussy Riot, Zizek, shoplifting, abortion, Deleuze, accelerationism, and many other things.

They just shut down Google Hangouts so we're still adjusting to a whole new recording setup — the audio is a little wonky, sorry!

Big thanks to all the patrons who help me keep the lights on.

If you'd like to discuss this podcast with me and others, suggest future guests, or read/watch/listen to more content on these themes, request an invitation here. This conversation was first recorded on August 8, 2019 as a livestream on Youtube. To receive notifications when future livestreams begin, subscribe to my channel with one click, then click the little bell.

Click here to download this episode.

Depressive capitalist realism

I recently received an email challenging some of my past comments on depression and public political theorizing. Here is the main gist of the email and beneath it is my response.

I'm a pretty recent listener of Other Life and I was interested to hear your most recent release about your book project Based Deleuze… I think I agree with you about the cultural left's refusal to be unrelentingly "real" with itself… I was a bit taken aback, though, by the whole notion that 'depressives shouldn't be forwarding political ideas/norms,' or whatever point you made to that effect. (Forgive me if that's a mischaracterization or unfair reduction…) I'm interested to hear more about why you hold this position, or maybe why you come off as so unrelenting in it… I’m not sure of your position on thinkers that circulate alongside people like Mark Fisher…

I probably can come off as too harsh, and I don’t want to, so that’s unfortunate and I would like to work on that. I have no interest in being a dick for edge-lord points, but I guess it is a real temptation in this new model I’m working. It’s weird. So first of all I appreciate push back here, it will keep me honest and based.

I do not mean that someone with depression necessarily has wrong political views, or should not speak in public, etc. I really don’t. Of course I speak so loosely and brashly that I am sure I have occasionally been over the top about it...

What I’m really trying to say is that many people on the internet, Twitter and FB in particular, present themselves as knowledgeable and convincing and powerful and charismatic, grinding sometimes atrocious political axes, but if anyone could see the current state of their mind/lifestyle/relationships — one would become way more mistrustful of their opinions. I really think this is a massive thing going on, and a lot of really bonkers people are affecting the opinions and judgments of other people who would be much better off if they discounted the ramblings of these types of people. So I think that’s a fair and not inhumane concern of mine. I’m sure I express it stupidly and like an asshole, so sorry about that and I’ll work on it…

The more delicate issue has to do with people like Mark Fisher. He was my friend, and of course I’m glad he wrote everything he wrote, like I would never for a minute want to stop or prevent his writings from having come into the world… That said, I do think there is something very difficult here, which is almost never talked about.

The truth is that depressive people can and very often do project things onto other people and the world. And it really can and often does pull other people into their depression. I have a dear family member who struggles with periods of anxiety and depression, and I know perfectly well that when they get low, they sometimes cannot help themselves from describing things to me in catastrophic and morbid ways. And it can pull me in, it can change how I see the world and convert me to a depressed mood. Especially if they are smart and articulate.

It might sound cruel, and I can work on being less cruel, but I really really do think a non-trivial portion of the fashionable rad-left intellectuals are actually very confused and sad individuals whose personal lives are quite bad (blame it on capitalism, sure, fair enough — but nonetheless) and a lot of their intellectualized outputs are depressive projections that produce real, depressogenic effects on others. I mean, there is a whole cottage industry of Left-theory “against wellness” for example lol. I get the critique, OK, but things like meditation and diet and CBT and exercise etc., these really can and do have transformative positive effects for many, many people. I’m sorry but I really think there is some evil beneath intellectuals who write whole books systematically turning people off to something like “wellness.” This is just one example. Anti-natalism is another example.

Many of these cottage industries are based on something they alternatively deny and glorify: that the authors are often quite miserable people with many significant personal shortcomings and resentments and projections. I do think more readers should take this information into account when evaluating fashionable ideas. It doesn’t mean depressed people shouldn’t write what they think, if that’s what they want to do. I just think the depressive nature of a particular author should be discussed openly, and I think readers should discount for authorial depression much more consciously — kind of like how food manufacturers have to tell consumers how much sugar they’re packing, and healthy people will avoid foods with a lot of sugar…

Ethics of Shoplifting From Self-Checkout Kiosks With Xenogothic

From the rap sheet that nearly got me fired. I thought I made a very good case!

"Tonight's livestreamed disquisition will be on the ethics of shoplifting from self-checkout kiosks. Hint: I'm in favor. But I often feel guilty, so I need to think this through clearly and explicitly. Then we will be joined by @Xenogothic, a denizen of "acc twitter" and "cave twitter" and the batshit blogosphere. I believe Xenogothic is kind of an anti-leftist leftist type, kind of like me maybe, but I'm not really sure. Only one way to find out... Xenogothic's blog is at https://xenogothic.com

Big thanks to all the patrons who help me keep the lights on.

If you'd like to discuss this podcast with me and others, suggest future guests, or read/watch/listen to more content on these themes, request an invitation here.

This conversation was first recorded on July 3, 2018 as a livestream on Youtube. To receive notifications when future livestreams begin, subscribe to my channel with one click, then click the little bell.

Click here to download this episode.

Introducing Deleuze vs. Heidegger on Technology, Enslavement,
 and Escape

That’s the title of an online course I’m developing with Johannes Niederhauser. You may remember Johannes from his widely admired appearance on Other Life: “Heidegger, Ecstatic Time, and the Community of Mortals” (livestream, podcast).

Our plan is to produce about 8 hours of content, mostly traditional lectures and a couple of discussions. There is no firm date set for the release — whenever it’s ready — but it shouldn’t take more than a couple months or so.

We’ll be doing a livestream introducing the course project this Sunday. The watch page is here. Subscribe and click the bell to get a notification when we go live.

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