I enjoyed the show. While I don't think John throttled Bellamy, I do think he made more clear his position in regards to the current fad of egoism and nihilism. I think Bellamy did a good job explaining his own position, but I also think John was right to call out the "reading into" egoism that Bellamy was doing. Bellamy's position seems pretty sound, but my reading of egoism didn't draw out the ideas that Bellamy was saying. Perhaps the new Modern Slavery stuff or reading some of the more esoteric individualists has these ideas? I think John did a good job here pointing out that Bellamy might be a cool and interesting egoist on his own, but how egoism is explained by its main proponents isn't the same (or doesn't seem the same) as Bellamy's egoism.
I'm also in the middle of reading Black Seed #2, which connects rather strongly with this episode, especially the points of anthropology. I'll return to these points after I finish my reading.
A final thought for this comment is the one on "good stories" which John brought up versus Aragorn's Black Seed piece on anthropology. I think both John and Aragorn talk past each other and this is common in Western thought. Certainly, one story can serve as good as any other. Words can be shaped and defined away from their original definitions, but the context of what is said is hardly put to paper. Most radical authors want to remove their subjectivity to present a more general pattern of thought that their readers can identify with. When this is done, it is easy to see things as just stories. When a context is presented, it is put in a way that often speaks of an abstract history, removing all details but the important ones to the narrative being created.
But how things are really aren't these stories. It isn't about believing in abstract things, but rather about tangible things. To borrow from Art's other thread, wiping out 3,000 Kurdish villages isn't part of some story to the Kurds. It is what has happened to them. They may of made up the story of agriculture to fit their narrative, but this narrative is shaped very much by the world they live in. In the end, this story is hardly important except to justify their positioning, but as a consequence, this story also reinforces progress and agriculture.
In the same vein of thought, the story of agriculture's expansion at the cost of other ways of living may be a good story, whether true or not. For those that still carry a memory of their context before agriculture, it is more than a story, the things they lost are real, have really happened and people still pass on the collective memory of what was lost. They may in turn create a mythology or perhaps rely on science to tell their story, but it is one that has a context, not just people were disempowered, but ancestors, relatives.
With this in mind, the story of "our people" is not one that is written, but rather lived and passed on. Just any random story isn't going to work. I'll try to build more on this later after I finish reading.
To kind of dig at the heart of Wombat's comments above, I think there's a lot of hair splitting. To me, it's this simple: experience is subjective, reality is objective. In a better circumstance, our stories have implications, but not necessarily consequences. There's a reason why we have stories. It's how we relate to the world. What A! has presented isn't something contradictory to AP thought, it's fairly in line with it, BUT (and this is a big BUT) that's SOLELY the case when applied to what we might call "the future primitive". In a world without civilization, a world without the grid, our stories can roam in any direction they want to. But to imply for a second that there's no objective reality when, to use the example given, 3,000 Kurdish villages are wiped out. The irony is applying AP critiques of the symbolic, reification and alienation to a perspective that can only ever be socially neutering is simply a philosophical journey. One that is particularly lost in an era of unquestionable ecocide. You can't think your way out of civilization.
If we can't recognize that things aren't as they should be, then we're just really worthless.
But to the egoist/nihilist stuff, I think there's a lot of defensiveness that comes down to people plastering what they've gotten from egoism and nihilism as what egoism and nihilism are. You can learn from something without identifying with it.
"There is no light at the end of the Carpal Tunnel." - Bob Black
Here's what I stated to them recently when they inquired about my latest critiques of egoism. Sorry, got all philosophical since they seem to like that shit:
I am listening to your defense of egoism and it's really just existentialist Sartre mauvaise foi out of Being and Nothingness. I dealt with that stuff when I was 14 and don't need to wrestle with it again. Yes, Stirner is earlier, but I think Sartre described it better. It's just a variation on Hegel's unhappy consciousness in the Phenomenology. Yes, Stirner is a master troll of Hegelianism, but like all trolling, it solves nothing. Non-egoist AP is a decided turn to the world, without, hopefully, falling into traps of "reification" because such paranoia about falling into traps is just intellectual hypochondria. That is at the root of Cartesianism, really, and even if you say that Stirner refutes Descartes, he really doesn't do it where it matters. The problem with Descartes is he wanted to reduce knowledge to mathematics, and only a turn inward, into the self, could give the intellect absolute, mathematical certainty. It is no coincidence that this coincides with the birth of modernity, of using nature as merely an instrument of desire and a means to acquire more power. Your goals may be admirable, but your method is defective. The only way to save the world is to turn to it. Hegel, with all of his other problems (mainly, his idealism, and the fact that he is basically wrong about everything) saw that. All egoism can muster is being right for the wrong reasons, like a bad student saying the solution to a problem is wrong but not able to explain why.
There is a gulf here that I don't think can be breached, and frankly, it is starting to bore me.
A civilized lens can lead to uncivilized conclusions, but that doesn't mean it's not a civilized lens. You can learn a lot about the earth through biology, but you learn more about our level of disconnect through looking at biologists and their processes themselves. You can recognize that trees are necessary whether you see a forest as a collection of trees or as an ecosystem, but a tree farm is not a forest.
"There is no light at the end of the Carpal Tunnel." - Bob Black