“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Aunty Shows the Way

 Well this most assuredly is my favorite one.

Infinitely preferred the "We don't need..." where the children come in to the Floyd's "We don't need..." children's choir, infinitely, for so many reasons. And you'll probably agree that she sings better than Gilmour lolololol ...bringing all the goodness of the idea of being Aunty to the dais there.
"Aunty" (sonic anagram of "Tina") is the name of her character in the Mad Max film for which this is the closing song; it's right up there in the top very few closers for me.
Oh, and, knowing you want the future to be different from the past vs the dark sarcasm of singing about dark sarcasm...
All we do want is life beyond the WWF style fascism of the all too obvious Thunderdome on the telly and in the streets. And this got me through one of the worst years of my entire life. Thank you Aunty.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Lisa Doeland's Book

 Lisa is a good friend and a great philosopher and I'm looking forward to her new book about extinction

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Hell: Christ's Earthly Form Divine cover idea

 Just this, totally stark and lapidary. Monolithic. 

It's Official: Hell Appears Earth Day 2024 and It's about the Devil, AI, Racism and Ecology

 Well Colombia have agreed to publish a second dark, dark, intense book. Clearly they couldn't get enough of Dark Ecology, the Wellek Lectures that I gave in the lineage of Cixous and Balibar, and now they're going to work with me to get this one out for Earth Day 2024. 

It's a book about slavery, racism, capitalism, AI, ecology, despair, religion and mysticism. It's freaking AWESOME. I wasn't quite ready to say stuff like that out loud when I last worked for Columbia. 

Because Columbia have done this, I'm now committing to them. I've been living my life waiting for approval and love in so many ways and I am DONE. Love is a thing you DO not a thing you wait for. That phenomenology cashes out to being a theater critic and in the end, all the plays are bad. Because you're waiting for them to be bad. I got really good at getting up and leaving the theater no matter where the play was at: I could see the writing on the wall. So at least there's that. But that is still...that. 

So this is my proclamation to the world. I'm with Columbia now. Like how my best buddy Jeff Kripal (the X Men actors have to read his work when they're on set) is with Chicago. It's a great thing. I kept thinking when I found that out,  he must have a lot of space in his soul to think, he doesn't have to keep waiting for people to say yes like me, who acts like they're a character in a Jane Austen novel. 

That never occurred to me until this week, when Columbia accepted Hell. But it had occurred to me in my personal life, in part because my mum's family traces their lineage back to the lower gentry in the later eighteenth century. And that's a horrible precarious place to be. My grandmother to cap it all was Welsh lower gentry. Imagine Sense and Sensibility, but set in Wales. Just horrible ancient colonial vibes. You're dead unless Mister Right sweeps you off your feet. So you have to sit around ever so politely waiting for Mister Right, not putting a foot wrong, including doing a single day of work, and you can't access your own money until said Mister Right shows up. 

This was me and book contracts. I thought it was great, a kind of naive drifting that meant I wasn't pushy and manipulative, and I'm not. But this is better. I'm not Elinor Dashwood. That energy crippled my family. Austen novels are about the terrible pain of a  precarious class, women in the lower gentry during a time of enclosure and transition from primitive accumulation to automated capitalism. 

Hell is about masters and slaves. Hell is about the Devil. Hell is about the biosphere as the Devil and ideas about the Devil as the Devil that's burning the biosphere. 

Hell is also about AI. ery directly, because it’s totally relevant. I think the real driver here is the master slave template that drives everything else (subject versus object, male versus female, active versus passive…). We need to abolish that template. The idea of creating the perfect slave that is then the perfect master is basically every story about selling one’s soul to Satan.

Treating the biosphere like that, because treating each other like that, is why AI people are blundering into this and why that feeling of “the search for AI is like an unstoppable AI” keeps happening…

Saturday, April 29, 2023

I Received Rice's Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award

 ...and was nearly dying with anxiety by the time it came to me, mostly because I hadn't won a thing as an adult before, and the ceremony regressed me to the age of 15! 

But here is a very nice video Rice made about it all and you can see me bowing nicely at the beginning as I walk up, right at the end, to receive the award. 

Friday, March 31, 2023

I Stand in Front of You

 Just the best thing. 

The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes

 Turns out this is an actual scientific fact. OOO theory of beauty getting louder and louder. 

Prince: Naughty, but Nice

 Did you know that Salman Rushdie's most famous text was for the Milk Marketing Board of the UK? 

"Fresh cream. Naughty, but nice." 

You must've heard that if you're a certain age and lived in the UK. 

Allow my guru to explain:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Seth Myers Is Right: NPD is Alien

 Finally someone saw it. Watch to the end: 

Monday, March 27, 2023

Automating the Master–Slave Template, Again

From Hell: How to Dance with the Devil on Your Back

Like Satan, an algorithm is a servant that carries out your commands...perfectly (be careful what you wish for). Think about plantations. They're attempts to force human beings to carry out other human beings' commands perfectly. A silicon wafer is a plantation for electrons. 

So many other links but that's one huge main one.

...I used to live in Davis, CA. It was a gigantic factory, made of columns and rows and columns and rows of fruit trees and almond trees and etc, stretching as far as the eye could see. Machine-like in its precision. The Great Central Valley is so flat you can see it from space, and they use lasers to guide the irrigation channels. Workers and enslaved people also treated with this kind of profit maximizing precision aka violence.

Next step: all the dualisms that plague us, subject-object, human-animal, person-machine, masculine-feminine...are possible because of the master-slave template of Mesopotamian-style societies with a certain agricultural logistics running in the background. 

The fantasy of AI is that its personhood will be "greater than the hum of its parts" (as Daniel Dennett put it). 

This is precisely the problem. We are inventing the wheel of the master-slave duality, and hardwiring it into powerful machines made of silicon and plastics and metals, and robot dogs. Dogs have always been trained as slaves.

Ozymandias Hyperobject

 What fun. Let's all have a jolly old flirt with fascism shall we? Italy, Israel, USA, UK, Russia. Anyone else want to join in? 

This is how we turn Earth into lone and level sands stretching far away. Literally. 

A thousand Ozymandias statues, proclaiming how "great" they made their nation. 

The only thing we can logically do is COOPERATE. We are facing a planet-scale problem. You think global warming gives a shit about your precvious national boundaries?

It used to be obvious with pollution. I remember Chernobyl. "Radiation doesn't care about national b boundaries" was how ecocriticism said it at the time. 

But ecocriticism wasn't loud enough. And ecocriticism was subtweeting "theory" aka flirting with symbolic fascism lite by using words like "dwell." And ecocriticism was positioning itself as "ecology is neither left nor right." 

So ecocriticism was about as useful as a chocolate teapot for addressing the real issue at hand, which we all knew about since the mid-1950s (and before if we'd really been paying attention): global warming. 

Time to stop kicking this fascist ball around and do what you were always going to have to do anyway: COOPERATE. 

This is where Shelley, who stood up to the institutional bullying at Eton at age thirteen aka nailed it young and was ridiculously brave to the point of foolhardy, really really comes in handy: 

I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Saturday, March 25, 2023

How Wham! Made Us Ecstatic

My Jamaican stepdad Maurice was a reason why the 1990s did not cause implode. So was a little tablet called MDMA. What's good enough for PTSD soldiers in the US army is good enough for me, says I.

1983. I'm painting in the art room at school. My paintings have DO NOT DISTURB scrawled on the back in deliberately insane looking script. 

1983. So George Michael returned from DJ Alfredo's Amnesnia in Ibiza and wrote this perfect ad for MDMA. 

Club Tropicana drinks are frEeeeeeeeeee....

First rule of advertising: you sell the user to the product. Never say "MDMA is great." Pump that shit through something familiar. 

Michael had an almost frightening genius for writing lyrics that were perfectly ordinary sentences: 

Club Tropicana, drinks are free, fun and sunshine, there's enough for everyone. All that's missing is the sea, but don't worry: you can suntan. 

All that's missing is the sea: this is an artificial paradise, not just an inland club, but something you swallow. Pack your bags...don't miss the flight: swallow the capsule. The birds and crickets on a loop at the start...the crescendo like coming up on E.

"Let me take you to the place ... where strangers take you by the hand," says MDMA, destroying two decades of Roger Waters-induced Meddle misery ("Strangers passing in the street...Do I take you by the hand...")

But don't worry, you'll feel like your birthright as a lifeform is being given the best massage. The birds and crickets on a loop at the start...

Let me take you to the place / Where membership's a smiling face / Brush shoulders with the stars. Yeah, those stars. 

The song has a perfect surface of "Rapper's Delight" fused with tropical Latinx-ness multiplied by the four to the floor of techno hidden beneatrh the Ibizan jollity. And ends with the mystic cool of Yoruba philosophy that every American has deliberately or accidentally downloaded. 

Freakin love this tune. 

AI Traffic Stop by William Shakespeare

(Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo are creeping into Prospero's cell, trying to ... I don't know what, they might not know what: surprise? usurp? rag? the colonial wizard Prospero. Ariel is Prospero's I don't know what: servant? police? ideology?)

A noise of hunters heard. Enter divers Spirits, in shape of dogs and hounds, and hunt them about, PROSPERO and ARIEL setting them on


Hey, Mountain, hey!


Silver I there it goes, Silver!


Fury, Fury! there, Tyrant, there! hark! hark!

CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, are driven out

Go charge my goblins that they grind their joints
With dry convulsions, shorten up their sinews
With aged cramps, and more pinch-spotted make them
Than pard or cat o' mountain.


Hark, they roar!


Let them be hunted soundly. At this hour
Lie at my mercy all mine enemies:
Shortly shall all my labours end, and thou
Shalt have the air at freedom: for a little
Follow, and do me service.


"Life after the Traffic Stop": A Brilliant Podcast

 ...by Audie Cornish. 

How the Media Is Failing the Turing Test

Pretty much all the stuff on AI is part of the problem. Here's my take: 

AI should be taught to forget, and accidentally too. A person is a malfunctioning AI. What makes a person is that they are less good. The search for a super-subject, a super-master, is what scares the crap out of me. That and machine learning  robot dog Harpo Marxes with guns. Masters and their weaponized slaves. 

We are already living inside an adaptive AI. Capitalism is an adaptive AI that machine learns how to extract life from the biosphere. It would not be good to find out whether it will or will not go into an infinite loop. 

The English were as amazed by the adaptive AI they had created in 1600  as some of us are now. With this AI they could produce value at unimaginable speeds. It was almost like cheating. It was called settler colonialism and slavery. One of its brand names was East India Company. America was another.

A fascist just is a bot (Arendt). Algorithms just follow orders.

What is really wrong about AI is not the I but the A. I means that I was always A to some extent. But automating that shit on a kind of plantation called a silicon chip means you're building the past out into the future. The future becomes the metastasis of the past.