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Wang Yi's Other Life

A listener of the podcast writes me about a Christian pastor in China who was recently detained. The pastor Wang Yi has released a personal and theoretical statement that followers of my work (and readers of late Foucault) may find compelling. My listener summarizes the background:

In your podcasts I've often heard you talk about religion and revolution so I thought you might find some inspiration from this letter. Wang Yi was a former academic who became a leader in the house church movement in China. He, along with his wife and over 100 followers, was arrested the other day and has not been heard from since. This letter was written with instructions to release it if Wang Yi went missing for more than 48 hours. It's a profound combination of a statement of faith and a meditation on revolution.

Here is his statement. It's worth reading in full if you're into this kind of stuff. Here are some choice bits as a TLDR.

The goal of disobedience is not to change the world but to testify about another world...

This does not mean that my personal disobedience and the disobedience of the church is in any sense “fighting for rights” or political activism in the form of civil disobedience, because I do not have the intention of changing any institutions or laws of China...

From a positive perspective, all acts of the church are attempts to prove to the world the real existence of another world.

That's the "kynical" model of radical politics right there, dating back to Diogenes of Sinope, as discussed by Foucault in The Courage of Truth and by Peter Sloterdijk in The Critique of Cynical Reason.

There's also the following line, which encapsulate the Spinozan dictate "no hope, no fear."

Precisely because none of my words and actions are directed toward seeking and hoping for societal and political transformation, I have no fear of any social or political power.

I wish him the best.

Crypto-Current Religious Becoming with Jacob Lyles

Jacob Lyles works in the Silicon Valley crypto space. He was raised a Jehovah's Witness, went secular, then went Christian. We talk about  Silicon Valley, the problems with secularism, and why the pull of religion is more rational than people think.

Jacob is on Twitter: @cryptochamomile. Jacob hosts the podcast Unchartered Life and the Youtube show Conversations with Chamomile.

This podcast was originally recorded as a livestream. If you'd like to catch future livestreams, subscribe here and then click the bell to receive a notification every time I go live.

This podcast is supported by its listeners. Big thanks to all the patrons of the show.

Download this episode.

Early Christian Communism with Roman Montero

Roman Montero (@PantaKoina) is the author of "All Things in Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians." We had a long conversation about religion and communism (duh), Christianity, Protestantism, Catholicism, rationality, love, and marriage.

Roman's book can be found on Amazon here. Roman also wrote a short synopsis of the book available on Libcom.org. You can also find a video recording of our conversation here.

So what if I’m afraid of death

I must admit to feeling afraid of death. I am drawn to religious belief, in part, because I think I do want help with my fear of death. I don’t see why it would be an intellectual violation to want such help, and to experiment with solutions coming from beyond rational justification. If understood properly, I don’t think such recourse to the religious is intellectually dishonest or irrational (although it may be extra-rational).

I recently got high before flying in a plane and I thought a lot about dying. If this plane goes down, I thought to myself, I would much prefer to have an already developed and practiced confidence facing this experience, to die with calm and grace. I suppose it is possible to enjoy such a cool composure, in the face of death, through a rationalist practice of life, but in my view thus far I don’t see how it’s possible. So long as one’s orientation to human experience is organized centrally around the search for ever greater rational coherence, the moment of death must always be, at best, an unfortunate and bewildering event. For it cuts off the rational search, and in that moment one can know nothing other than the futility of reason in the final analysis. How this could produce anything but a sad and childish frenzy of confused anxiety, I really cannot imagine. I would quite like for it to be an exhilirating and exalted moment in which I genuinely believe that all is exactly as it should be. Looking around and considering my options, as a living person who could die any day, it seems that some kind of genuine religious commitment is the only available method of securing such a graceful end.

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