#06 Solo Show: Sauron's Mythopoeic Eye and Perspectivalism

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The inaugural solo show is finally live! I recorded this not long after my talk with Dr Becca Tarnas (episode 4). Glad it’s finally out there.

CONSTELLATING “FIGURATIONS” OF MEANING

Illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien

Illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien

In this episode, I’m linking Gebser’s insights on the phenomenology of awakening consciousness (Bewusstwerdung phänomenologie) to some of the existential problems of the hyper-mediated self, and how this all ties to the important mythopoeic image in J.R.R.’Tolkien’s Middle-Earth: Sauron’s eye.

Facebook and social media seems only to rev up the cultural fragmentation of communities into smaller and smaller siloed identitarian groups in a “post-truth world” (which, alone, is worth discussing in another solo show). In the age of networks, why is it that communication is breaking down? As I argue, and as Gebser points out, or Douglas Rushkoff has been articulating in his recent Team Human book (and elsewhere, such as Life, Inc), much of this has to do with the underlying structure of consciousness we’ve been leaning on since the Western Renaissance: perspectival consciousness and its potent but immoderate capacity of ratio, to divide. Extractive capitalism, deficient mental-perspectivalism’s spatialized “eye,” and the mythopoeic image of Sauron’s eye all offer us different ways of looking (pun intended) at the phenomenology and crisis of culture (kulturphilosophie) in our own mediated moment.

Illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien

Illustration by J.R.R. Tolkien

Leon Battista Alberti’s  De Pictura

Leon Battista Alberti’s De Pictura

SHOW NOTES // FLORILEGIUM

Watch Dr Becca Tarnas defend her dissertation

Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff

Same-titled podcast series, “Warm Data” with Nora Bateson

The Ever-Present Origin by Jean Gebser

Seeing Through the World: Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness (my book, now live on Amazon)

EPISODE CREDITS

Featured artwork by Archan Nair

Featured music by Lightbath

Intro/outro, “Guardian Suite”

Intermezzo, “Cathedral Rock”

Lightbath offers bonuses like patch notes, album downloads, livestreams, and one-on-one lessons at patreon.com/lightbath.

Subscribe to Lightbath on YouTube for brilliant live performances and check out his Bandcamp page for more tracks.

CONNECT WITH MUTATIONS LISTENERS ON PATREON:

Join my Patreon. Become a “Mutant” and gain access to the community forum (hosted on a private Discourse page), unpublished writings, participation in the MUTATIONS book club, and our regular, Sunday MUTATIONS salon hosted weekly on Zoom Meetings.

READ MORE & JOIN ME ON PATREON





#05 Michael Brooks on Jordan Peterson, James Hillman, Integral Theory and Building Planetary Meshworks

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For the fifth episode of MUTATIONS, I am pleased to bring you Michael Brooks. Michael is a political journalist, integral thinker, and host of The Michael Brooks show. Together we explore the Intellectual Dark Web (the subject of his upcoming book from Zero Books) and Jordan Peterson.

We also consider the alternative depth psychologist, James Hillman (who arguably speaks more from the left), the applicability of Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory to politics, a need in the consciousness culture for a historic grounding in economic theory, and building towards authentic, bottom-up planetary meshworks.

SHOW NOTES / FLORILEGIUM

  • The Michael Brooks Show on Patreon

  • Michael’s Twitter

  • The Michael Brooks Show on YouTube

  • Michael Brooks on Zero Books

  • James Hillman, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy—And the World’s Getting Worse

  • James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology (Recommended)

  • Rebel Wisdom with Doshin Nelson Roshi (apologies for the brain fog during the recording), “A Zen Master Talks About Jordan Peterson and the Shadow

    • Notes: This conversation and the heated, bifurcated response to it (200k+ views) is very interesting. So much so that there was a follow-up episode with Rebel Wisdom to reflect on why it hit such a nerve. Ken Wilber, in the late 90s and early 2000s, critiqued much of postmodern academia and the progressive left as “flatland reductionism,” “mean green meme” (via Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics), and “aperspectival madness” (an unfortunate hijacking of Jean Gebser’s term, ‘aperspectival,’ which means something completely different) many years before the Peterson phenomenon in popular culture. There is some substance in these criticisms, (i.e. “true-but-partial”). As we noted in this episode by way of Mark Fisher’s essay, or Angela Nagel’s Kill All Normies, a critique from within the left is needed, and as Rebel Wisdom says often, “the left needs to get its house in order.” I’m in support of this. However, a knowledge and literacy of leftist“theory” is something I often sense is sorely lacking in the integral movement. This is something that Wilber shares with Peterson: a postmodern “allergy,” a lack of progressive metabolism. Integral oriented thinkers from the progressive left desperately need to step forward and bridge that gap.

    • This is why I’m so interested in working with Jean Gebser’s insights into the aperspectival consciousness/integral culture to explore the phenomenology of our culture: the stasis of Gebser’s deficient mental-rational structure, and the crisis of late capitalism, co-inform my understanding of Mark Fisher’s capitalist realism and the Möbius strip of consciousness-economics-culture (much of the economic theory and critique of capitalism are arguably informed, in turn, by Gebser’s insights on the structures of consciousness and the larger process of cultural evolution at work). This is why we need a grounded-but-visionary counter-culture beyond the Intellectual Dark Web.

    • I appreciate Rebel Wisdom for holding conversations with the left, i.e. this conversation with previous podcast guest Matt Segall.

  • (Follow-up), “Back with the Regenade (Zen) Master

  • Mark Fisher’s article that Michael mentioned, “Exiting the Vampire Castle,” which struck a major chord at the time it was published

  • Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism

  • Angela Nagel, Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4Chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-Right

  • William Irwin Thompson’s Lindisfarne was a fellowship of economists, activists, mystics, poets, philosophers and scientists exploring planetary culture. In the spirit of Thompson’s work in the 70s and 80s, and the spirit of the integral movement’s underlying concepts and values, can we forge new meshworks today towards a genuine planetary culture(s)? What would this entail? How can movements such as the integral movement, or the contemporary consciousness culture, engage with the questions Michael is as a ‘public figure’? How can we bridge the gap? Can we offer an alternative to the IDW, economically grounded, but symbolically and spiritually engaged consciousness culture?

EPISODE CREDITS

Featured artwork by Archan Nair

Featured music by Lightbath

Intro/outro, “Planars of Existence”

Intermezzo, “Cathedral Rock”

Lightbath offers bonuses like patch notes, album downloads, livestreams, and one-on-one lessons at patreon.com/lightbath.

Subscribe to Lightbath on YouTube for brilliant live performances and check out his Bandcamp page for more tracks.

CONNECT WITH MUTATIONS LISTENERS ON PATREON:

Join my Patreon. Become a “Mutant” and gain access to the community forum (hosted on a private Discourse page), unpublished writings, participation in the MUTATIONS book club, and our regular, Sunday MUTATIONS salon hosted weekly on Zoom Meetings.

READ MORE & JOIN ME ON PATREON

#04 Dr Becca Segall Tarnas - Recovering the Imaginal with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.G. Jung

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For the fourth episode of MUTATIONS, I am very honored to bring you a conversation with Dr Becca S Tarnas. Becca and I have had the chance to work together to offer an online course at Nura Learning last fall, “Journey to the Imaginal Realm: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings,” which is now also becoming a book through Revelore Press (in the Nuralogical series), and coming up next Monday, Nura is launching her next online seminar: “Sub-Creating Middle-Earth: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.” You are most definitely invited to join the class and participate in the fascinating Q&A sessions.

Becca is a scholar, artist, counseling astrologer, and editor of Archai: The Journal of Archetypal Cosmology. Her dissertation, which is the subject of our podcast this episode, is titled “The Back of Beyond: The Red Books of C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien.”

In this episode, we explore:

  • The surprising intersections of two of the twentieth century’s most fascinating writers: C.G. Jung and J.R.R. Tolkien

  • The two Red Books, C.G. Jung’s Liber Novus and Tolkien’s Red Book of Westmarch

  • The nature of imagination as a participatory faculty of knowing the world

  • The gnostic influences, convergences, and divergences of Jung and Tolkien

  • Comparing the Atlantis “Complex” of Tolkien and C.G. Jung’s vision of a flood

  • “World building” versus “World discovering.” (Tolkien: ““I always had the sense of recording what was already there somewhere.”)

  • Fantasy as escapism vs. fantasy as “sub-creation.” The connections this has with philosopher Jean Gebser’s concept of Ursprung (origin) and the spiritually creative cosmos.

  • Imagination and myth as a means of self-knowledge: how we come to know what is true, and how The Lord of the Rings reflects truths about our own moment in history

  • How Tolkien’s historical moment — WWI, WWII — echoes and reflects itself in The Lord of the Rings without needing to become allegory

  • What Sam coming home and regrowing the Shire has to teach us about our own efforts in an age of planetary ecological crisis

  • The Silmarillion course — what to expect, what we’ll be focusing on, and how to sign up!

FLORILEGIUM / / EPISODE LINKS

Becca’s homepage

Archai Journal

Register for Becca’s course: Sub-Creating Middle-Earth: Reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion

Becca’s dissertation defense

EPISODE CREDITS

Featured artwork by Archan Nair

Featured music by Lightbath

Intro/outro, “Planars of Existence”

Intermezzo, “Cathedral Rock”

Lightbath offers bonuses like patch notes, album downloads, livestreams, and one-on-one lessons at patreon.com/lightbath.

Subscribe to Lightbath on YouTube for brilliant live performances and check out his Bandcamp page for more tracks.

CONNECT WITH MUTATIONS LISTENERS ON PATREON:

Join my Patreon. Become a “Mutant” and gain access to the community forum (hosted on a private Discourse page), unpublished writings, participation in the MUTATIONS book club, and our regular, Sunday MUTATIONS salon hosted weekly on Zoom Meetings.

READ MORE & JOIN ME ON PATREON

#03 J.F. Martel on Thinking Virtual with Deleuze and Past Presence with Bergson

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At long last! Episode three has finally arrived.

I am pleased to bring you my conversation with author, filmmaker, and Weird Studies podcast co-host J.F. Martel, recorded shortly before a series of trips in the fall of 2018. Bonus tracks to follow for patrons. 

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J.F. Martel is an author, screenwriter, and film & TV director from Ottawa, Canada. His screen work includes French and English-language documentary series and features focused on culture and the arts. He is the author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice, a book about the nature and power of art published by Evolver Editions in 2015, and released in Spanish by Ediciones Atalanta in 2016. J.F.'s writings on art, culture and philosophy have appeared in Reality Sandwich, Metapsychosis, The Finch, Disinfo, and other online magazines.

In this episode we explore:

  • The relationship between technology and the Real. What's the philosophical—perhaps ideological—difference between C.G. and technical effects in cinematic works of art?

  • Virtual Yodas and actual Yodas. You'll see what I mean.

  • Awesome puppets, scary puppets, ensouled puppets.

  • Does cyberspace, as a space, engender encounters with high weirdness, as it once purportedly did in its glory days? 

  • Can virtual reality create room for presence—Deleuze's concept of the "virtual"— or merely a simulacrum? 

  • Bergson, time and nostalgia (think V A P O R W A V E, Stranger Things, etc.).

  • Bergson on the idea that we can only 'grok' the quintessence of a period of time in our lives — a year, a season, a day — when it is past. The past and the future as more real, and accessible to us, than the 'now' of the present, because they are virtual.

  • Stranger Things and other nostalgic cultural movements as remembering the true quintessence of past decades; not merely sentimentality but reaching into a temporic Event .

  • Balancing the intellect (mental) with the other structures of consciousness (the mythical, magical, or the imaginal realities).

  • Chronological history is not the Event we remember. The latter passes, but the former is Real—and still accessible, presently.

  • J.F.'s meditations on Albert Camus and rebellion vs revolution.

  • Deterritorialization and reterritorialization.

  • Aristocratic, anarchic Taoism: letting people be.

  • The true meaning of the singularity in the Anthropocene.

ESSAYS MENTIONED: 

J.F. Martel, "Consciousness in the Aesthetic Imagination." Metapsychosis.

J.F. Martel, "Reality Is Analog: Philosophizing with Stranger Things" on Metapsychosis, plus the "Stranger Things Mixtape," which includes our previous podcast about Stranger Things, Season One. 

MUSIC: 

With much gratitude to Lightbath, who has given permission for Mutations podcast to use the following tracks in this episode:

- "Guardian Suite" (intro/outro segments)

- "Cathedral Rock" (interludes)

Lightbath offers bonuses like patch notes, album downloads, livestreams, and one-on-one lessons at patreon.com/lightbath.

Subscribe to Lightbath on YouTube for brilliant live performances and check out his Bandcamp page for more tracks.

VISUAL ART: Thank you to my good friend and fellow contemplative artist, Archan Nair for permission to use his visual art!

PATREON: Join my Patreon to get involved with the monthly book club (where some Mutations guests will be featured for Zoom discussion groups), early podcast cuts, and drafts of my upcoming publications!

#02 Matthew T. Segall of CIIS on Consciousness, Cultural Evolution and Cosmic Celebration

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Matthew T. Segall, PhD is a longtime friend, philosopher, and professor over at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he teaches in the Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness graduate program online. Together we discuss the evolution of consciousness through New Media, the "intellectual dark web," planetization through the Anthropocene, pansychism and a celebratory cosmology.

Join us for episode 2 of MUTATIONS, wherein we discuss:

  • YouTube and New Media creating alternative platforms and communities (and how we both got started on YouTube a decade ago)

  • The embroiled political climate of left vs. right and what that says about what's happening in cultural evolution

  • Matt's recent interview with Rebel Wisdom on Jordan Peterson (and this interesting thing that happened), anthropological perspectives on "dominance hierarchies," and the leap nomadic to agricultural societies

  • The non-human turn, cosmic creativity, and what Matt is thinking about a new mutation, i.e., a new leap of consciousness

  • A riffing answer to the question: what are the new myths?

  • The logos and the cosmos as a "multiform celebration"

  • Essay mentioned: Roaring Infinitudes: Self and Storm in the Anthropocene

I probably missed something here, but you simply must follow Matt Segall for more:

Thrilled to start pushing this series off to sea; do let me know what you think!

MUSIC: Thank you Billy Mays III of INFINITE THIRD for permission to use the tracks Vision(s) and In(to) off the fantastic album, Channel(s)

VISUAL ART: Thank you to my good friend and fellow contemplative artist, Archan Nair for permission to use his visual art!

PATREON: Join my Patreon to get involved with the monthly book club (where some Mutations guests will be featured for Zoom discussion groups), early podcast cuts, and drafts of my upcoming publications!

MUTATIONS - Episode 1: Le Guin, Fragments of Utopias, Deleuzian Flows, Teilhard

 
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Dear listeners, 

This was one of my first solo salon riffs. Topics are mentioned below, with extrapolations from livestream participants. 

The first few episodes are, of course, me getting my bearings for this format. If you've already listened to these - great! Hope you enjoy the audio format now, too. 

With the exception of these ongoing solo riffs, most of my interviews with guests will be audio podcasts for maximum syndication. Many of my guests will be involved with Mutations and my book writing. I hope you enjoy hearing some new voices in this nascent but energized community.

Editing is left as-is for these older episodes, but newer sessions are getting an intro/outro tune (suggestions welcome).

Highlight - On Jordan Peterson, "Cleaning Your Room" and planetary thinking:

As a project of civilization I don’t think we can retreat into cleaning our rooms, and working toward the Jungian state of wholeness alone. It goes part in parcel with helping society, and the individual is obviously constructed by their society. There’s a dynamic here that is inextricable. If you’re thinking about human societies as living cultural ecologies that are embedded in planetary systems, social ecosystems, etc. then the idea of the individual is only an instance, a kind of rhizomatic “nub” in this larger interbeing—that’s just as important! If you’ve emphasized one, the other gets neglected. I think we need a continuum here. A much more sophisticated understanding of what it means to work towards a kind of Jungian sense of individuation at the same time as having a part to play in making this world better. Empathizing with that, having enough wholeness and integrity to understand - saying, “okay, you’ve got that” - now help other people.
Topics: 

Cultural ecologies and the evolution of consciousness; Deleuze and DeLanda's geographical flows and Teilhardian super-organisms; political fragmentation in the Left and the Right and the push beyond cultural romanticism; Gebser as a post-war thinker.

Support me on Patreon. Thank you!