Mark, Erica, and Brian discuss the HBO Max show out Victorian-era super-powered feminine outcasts, helmed and now abandoned by the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, etc. Does this reduced-by-the-pandemic show still work? Does knowing the complaints about Joss Whedon affect our consumption?
Continuing from part one on The Vocation of Man (1799), Book II.
In this preview, we clarify whether Fichte is trying to keep the notion of a “real world” beyond our experience or not. It’s part of the progression of the text that while at first he assumes that there must be something real behind this experienced world we as individuals create, he gives up that notion in the middle of Book II. So how does he get to his startling reversal?
On The Vocation of Man (1799), Books I and II. What is reality?
Fichte’s armchair journey starts him considering nature and thus himself as determined, but then he backtracks to say that actually, experience doesn’t tell us whether we’re determined or free. In Book II, he argues that since our experience is always of something going on in ourselves, then causality, the external world, the self, etc. must be our own mental creations. So we’re free after all, yet everything is drained of significance!
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Rod released his first album “Solo” in 1975, played in some bands, but after losing on Star Search, turned to soundtrack work, emerging only in 2018 with three straight albums of acoustic singer-songwriter and instrumental material.
We discuss “My Father Was a Quiet Man” (and listen to “Whiskey & Pie”) from Normal Isn’t Normal Anymore (2021), “How to Forget” from The Man I’m Supposed to Be (2018), and “Working the Mill” and “Battle in Laketown” from The Hobbit Official Soundtrack (2003). Intro: “Driving to Dan’s” from Rage Original Game Soundtrack (2011). For more, see rodabernethy.com.
Why do people play video games, and what keeps them playing? Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by the host of the Psychology of Video Games podcast to discuss player types, motivation vs. engagement, incentives and feedback, as well as the gamification of work or school environments. We touch on Donkey Kong, Dark Souls, It Takes Two, Returnal, Hades, Subnautica, Fortnite, and Age of Z.
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In this episode, we discuss Ernest Hemingway’s last published work in his lifetime: The Old Man and the Sea. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and contributed to his being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954.
Continuing (without Stephen Phillips) on God and the World’s Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion. What does this treatment give us that’s fundamentally different than the Western version of the design argument? We talk about these readings in the context of liberation and reflect on reason vs. revelation in this milieu.
Thinking about the tech genius as villain trope in TV shows like Made for Love, Devs, Silicon Valley, and the documentary WeWork. They’re our modern mad scientists, able to unleash science to surveil, control, and possibly kill us. Mark, Erica, and Brian consider how it works in comedy vs. serious media, how it relates to real-life tech billionaires, and the feminist angle.
On God and the World’s Arrangement: Readings from Vedanta and Nyaya Philosophy of Religion with one of its translators, Stephen Phillips. Does nature require an intelligent designer? Śaṅkara (710 CE) and Vācaspati Miśra (960 CE), commenting on the Brahma-sūtra (ca. 200 CE) and Nyāya-sūtra (ca. 200 BCE), argue that it does against atheistic Buddhists, Sāṃkhya believers in a primordial matter that acts on its own, and the Mīmāṃsā conservatives who so venerated scripture that they ruled out a God who created it. But if we’re all Brahman (God), just trying to discover that we are and so escape the cycle of rebirth, then where is there room for a particular deity who created us?
Sponsors: Visit headspace.com/PEL for a free month’s access to a library of guided meditations. Get a free trial and save 20% on an annual membership of at TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL. Learn about St. John’s College summer programs at SJC.edu/summer2021. Get up to a $1000 donation matched at GiveWell.org/PEL (pick PODCAST and Partially Examined Life at checkout). Hear Wes’ “Stoic Guide to Happiness” at Himalaya.com/stoic (promo code stoic).
David played in perhaps the most revered line-up of King Crimson at the end of its original run from ’72-’74. He released his first “solo” album (as Low Flying Aircraft) in ’87, then eight more under his own name plus several collaborations.
We discuss “Predator” by Cross and Jackson from Another Day (2018), “The Pool” by The David Cross Band from Sign of the Crow (2016), and “Awful Love” from Closer than Skin (2005). We conclude with the title track from Crossover by David Cross and Peter Banks (2020). Intro: “Exiles” by King Crimson from Larks’ Tongues in Aspic (1973). For more, see davidcrossband.com.
Continuing on two of Hannah Arendt’s 1953 essays on totalitarianism. We further discuss its logic and in the full episode get into its relevance for contemporary political movements.
What drives someone to collect Star Wars figures or Transformers or LEGOs or whatever else?
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On “On the Nature of Totalitarianism” and On the Origins of Totalitarianism ch. 13 (both from 1953).
Is totalitarianism just an especially virulent form of tyranny, or something unique to the modern age? Arendt says that unlike other forms of government, totalitarianism is not animated by an active psychological principle that motivates its participants. Instead terror makes citizens incapable of agency altogether.
Sponsors: Get a free trial and save 20% on an annual membership of at TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL. Learn about St. John’s College summer programs at SJC.edu/summer2021. Get a loan to lower your monthly payments at Upstart.com/PEL. Get $75 off your starter teeth-straightening kit via CandidCO.com/pel (code PEL). Get up to a $1000 donation matched at GiveWell.org/PEL (pick PODCAST and Partially Examined Life at checkout). Hear Wes’ “Stoic Guide to Happiness” at Himalaya.com/stoic (promo code stoic).
Steve was in one of Minneapolis’ first big punk bands, The Suicide Commandos, but after one album in 1977, he soon left for New York City and eventually hit it relatively big with two records on IRS as Beat Rodeo, with a solo career continuing the country-rock style beginning in 1992 through nine albums.
We discuss “The Way I Treated You” (and listen to “Goodbye Nicolina,” featuring The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris) from Everywhere You’ve Been (2021), “Try Again” by The Suicide Commandos from their reunion album Time Bomb (2017), and the title track from Steve’s first solo record East River Blues (1992). Intro: “Just Friends” from Staying Out Late w/ the Beat Rodeo (1984).
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What is with the weird relationship we Americans have with our pets? Many of us treat them as our babies, yet of course they’re our captives.
Dog trainer Hannah Branigan, host of Drinking from the Toilet, joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about pets as entertainment, as hobby, and as pandemic companions. How can we make this relationship as beneficial as possible for all involved, and how can learning to be a better pet owner inform our treatment of other people?
Wes has developed a new course called The Stoic Guide to Happiness, available from Himalaya Learning. Use promo code STOIC for a 14-day free trial: himalaya.com/stoic. Can Stoicism actually make us happier? Isn’t it just an injunction to ignore our emotional distress, develop a stiff upper lip, and relate to life as robotic, Spock-like logicians? The truth is, Ancient Greek Continue Reading …
On Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) with guest Brian Hirt.
How does the form in which we receive media affect how we think? Education theorist Postman (building on Marshall McLuhan) claimed that television has eroded our capacity to reason and given us the expectation that everything in the world must entertain. Is this a viable piece of social construction theory? How does the critique apply to the Internet age?
Sponsors: Save 20% on an annual membership of at TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/PEL. See headspace.com/PEL for a free month’s access to a library of guided meditations. Learn about St. John’s College summer programs at SJC.edu/summer2021. Get a loan to lower your monthly payments at Upstart.com/PEL.
Though best known as lead guitarist for Wilco since 2004, Nels has recorded 30+ instrumental albums, often as band leader. We discuss “Headdress” by The Nels Cline Singers from Share the Wealth (2020), “The Nomad’s Home” from Coward (2009), and “Fives & Sixes” from his first solo release, Angelica (1987). We conclude by listening to “Imperfect Ten” by The Nels Cline 4 from From Currents, Constellations (2018). Intro: “You Are My Face” by Wilco from Sky Blue Sky (2007), co-written with Jeff Tweedy. More at nelscline.com.
A longtime listener and participant here on the PEL blog wrote in to suggest that we share our current reading list. Seemed like a good idea, so here is mine. I preface by saying that I typically have multiple texts to hand in different modalities (Kindle, Audible, actual book) on different topics and read/listen according to my mood and situation. Continue Reading …