KMO welcomes futurist, Eric Garland, to the C-Realm to explain why it’s still important to look to the future. Eric is well aware of the bad rap that “futurism” has gotten in recent years, but he wears the futurist mantle with pride. Even flawed thinking about the future is better, in his opinion, than just assuming that the present moment will continue indefinitely forward. Toward the end of the program, Eric paints a picture of a future in which there is no single, systemic collapse but the present governing structures and institutions lose their perceived legitimacy and carry on in the buffoonish mode that is the bread and butter of satirical programs like The Daily Show. KMO closes with warnings from WB Yeats and Tyler Cowen about framing everything according to stories of good and evil.
KMO talks with Marshall Brain of HowStuffWorks about the path that the United States is on with regard to jobs, automation, profitability and social cohesion. Marshall is the author of a novel called Manna that describes the dark road we're on and one possible alternative. Is automation finally bringing the so-called "contradictions of capitalism" to a head? Perhaps we're just going through a rough patch. Maybe the technological trends that are destroying middle class livelihoods and replacing them with McJobs will deliver us to the capitalist nirvana that the lords of Silicone Valley promise is just over the horizon. Maybe we need to revist some of the assumptions enshrined in the current economic orthodoxy. Music by Brodie Kinder.
KMO welcomes Hal Brill to the C-Realm to talk about the book The Resilient Investor: A Plan for Your Life, Not Just Your Money. In a future marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, investors need to overhaul their risk management toolkit. If the sorts of civilization-scale disruptions that are a regular theme on the C-Realm Podcast come to pass, being ready for anything means a lot more than just having your money in the right investments. Later in the podcast, KMO talks with Charles Eisenstein about living in the space between stories.
Music by Brodie Kinder.
KMO welcomes Professor James Krupa to the C-Realm to discuss his experience teaching evolution to college students in Kentucky. He is the author of an article in the new issue of Orion called “Defending Darwin.” Does accepting the theory of evolution by natural selection automatically make a person an atheist? Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, as well as the Pope agree that a scientific worldview is compatible with religious faith. Strident atheists, like Richard Dawkins, as well as some religious fundamentalist demagogues, insist that we all have to choose sides. Later, KMO and Doug Lain pay tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy.
New York Mayer, Bill DeBlasio, and his police commissioner, Bill Bratton, both hold fast in their support for a community policing strategy called "Broken Windows." Critics charge that the policy amounts to targeting black neighborhoods for absurdly stringent enforcement which sends people of color to jail for the most trivial of infractions; things for almost nobody living in more privileged neighborhoods would ever imagine they could be arrested. Is this an obviously failed policy, or has "Broken Windows" come to serve as a catch-all term for a wide variety of bad policing practices. Can relations between the black community and the police be repaired? Is it even coherent to talk of "repairing" something that has never been right? This episode of the C-Realm Podcast features excerpts from a panel discussion that takes on these questions.
An extreme position in the environmental movement is that activists should be engaged in deliberately trying to hasten the collapse of the global economic system. Nothing short of complete collapse, they argue, can save the rest of life on Earth from human rapaciousness and stupidity. In a debate recorded at the 16th annual Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, Australia, six thought leaders (including two C-Realm guests) weighed in on whether there is any sensible reason to advocate the collapse of the global economy. No one said yes, but only one person answered with a simple no. Hear some of the nuances that cannot be contained within a simple yay or nay in this episode of the C-Realm Podcast.
Music by the Formidable Vegetable Sound System.
KMO and Olga’s winter road trip is drawing to an end. This episode features two conversation recorded at their second to last stop, Bunnygoat Farm in Brewton, Alabama. The first conversation with Olga’s long-time friend, Chris “Bunny” Fields, focuses on his decision to leave NYC after 10 years to return to the small southern town where he grew up. In the second half of the program, the conversation moves to Brewton’s city hall and the office of the director of program management, Connie Baggett. Connie spent 20 years working as an investigative reporter before returning to Brewton and teaming up with Chris to bring some art and community vitality to her home town.
Music by Connie Baggett.
KMO welcomes the Archdruid, John Michael Greer, back to the C-Realm to talk about the two novels he published last year. The first is Twilight’s Last Gleaming, a geo-political thriller with a twist. That novel grow out of a 5-part series of blog posts. After the break, the conversation turns to JMG’s other 2014 novel, Star’s Reach: A Novel of the Deindustrial Future. The novel is set in a world shaped by that the exhaustion of fossil fuels, and JMG describes the social forms that have replaced our familiar institutions and ways of inhabiting the North American continent after centuries of climate change. Music by Jesse Miller.
KMO and Olga welcome Holly Grigg-Spall to the C-Realm Podcast to talk about the psychopharmacology of hormonal birth control. Guided by the mechanistic mentality of industrial culture, we imagine that drugs act on discrete components of our minds or bodies. We imagine that a pill can turn off our reproductive system without affecting our thoughts, our behaviors, our preferences or our understanding of who we are. Many feminists see the pill as an icon of female liberation and cannot accept that a pro-choice feminist like Holly has good reason to scrutinize the pill and to ask whose needs it serves.
Music by Lindsay Katt.
KMO talks with yoga teacher and oral history archivist Susan Kraft about listening and mindfulness. KMO echos some skepticism articulated by Evgeny Morozov around the popularity of practices and applications designed to facilitate “mindfulness.” While Morozov isn’t even convinced that “mindfulness” means much of anything, Jeffery B. Rubin argues that techniques developed to help monks deal with the causes of suffering prevalent in the time of the Buddha don’t necessarily answer to all of the needs of “cognitively oversaturated lay people in the West in the 21st century who want to raise self-esteem, heal emotional traumas or be more productive in a frenzied world.” Susan agrees that mindfulness practice is not a universal panacea for the ills of the information age, but it remains a useful tool among many that people can use to improve the quality of their experience. Music by East Forest.