MonthJanuary 2007

The People Inside: The Viking Youth Interview Abbie Hoffman

In true Viking style we offer you this week a scoop 40 years in the making. Field correspondant Tom LaPorte brings us a 23 minute interview he held with anarchist, guerrilla clown, and stand-up revolutionary Abbie Hoffman back in 1969 during the Chicago 7 Conspiracy Trials.

We split the interview into 5 pieces, give listen and then comment upon each section. Topics range from the binding of Bobby Seale, the trial of the press, the meaninglessness of reform, and the future of judicial law in America.

Almost 40 years after the interview, Hoffman’s words still buzz with relevance and hum with an electrical current vital to today’s political climate.

Who will be the conduit for these words tomorrow?

Download it from the Viking Youth.

Magical Thinking: Why Do People Cling to Odd Rituals?

Psychologists and anthropologists have typically turned to faith healers, tribal cultures or New Age spiritualists to study the underpinnings of belief in superstition or magical powers. Yet they could just as well have examined their own neighbors, lab assistants or even some fellow scientists. New research demonstrates that habits of so-called magical thinking – the belief, for instance, that wishing harm on a loathed colleague or relative might make him sick – are far more common than people acknowledge.

These habits have little to do with religious faith, which is much more complex because it involves large questions of morality, community and history. But magical thinking underlies a vast, often unseen universe of small rituals that accompany people through every waking hour of a day.

Full Story: New York Times.

esoZone 2007

esozone 2007

Portland, OR. August 10-12, 2007.

Be there.

Mind control and the modern citizen

One interesting point, rarely considered by the mind control community or its critics, is that it is possible, indeed common, to have isolated or restricted psychosis-like experiences that are relatively benign.

For example, someone might hear voices, have unusual beliefs, or experience their thoughts being broadcast or altered from outside, while not being significantly disabled by their experiences.

Full Story: Mindhacks.

Shaviro on DeLanda’s new book, A New Philosophy of Society

As DeLanda explains it, an entity is never fully defined by its relations; it is always possible to detach an entity from one particular set of relations, and insert it instead in a different set of relations, with different other entities. For every entity has certain ‘properties’ that are not defined by the set of relations it finds itself in at a given moment; rather than being merely an empty signifier, the entity can take these properties with it, as it were, when it moves from one context (or one set of relations) to another. At the same time, an entity is never devoid of (some sort of) relations: the world is a plenum, indeed it is over-full, and solipsism or atomistic isolation is impossible.

Put differently, no entity can be absolutely isolated, because it is always involved in multiple relations of one sort or another, and these relations affect the entity, cause it to change. But this is not to say that the entity is entirely determined by these relations.

Full Story: The Pinocchio Theory.

Remembering the Dream

Most Americans today know that Reverand Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, but fewer know why he was there.

King went to Memphis to support African American garbage workers, who were on strike to protest unsafe conditions, abusive white supervisors, and low wages — and to gain recognition for their union. Their picket signs relayed a simple but profound message: “I Am A Man.”

[…]

Today we view King as something of a saint, his birthday a national holiday, and his name adorning schools and street signs. But in his day, the establishment considered King a dangerous troublemaker. He was harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. He began his activism in Montgomery, Alabama, as a crusader against the nation’s racial caste system, but the struggle for civil rights radicalized him into a fighter for broader economic and social justice. He recognized the limits of breaking down legal segregation. What good was winning the right to eat at a dime-store lunch counter if you couldn’t afford a hamburger and a Coke?

Full Story: American Prospect.

Meanwhile, 19% of college students don’t know what the “I Have a Dream” speech was about.

The legacy of Robert Anton Wilson

Jesse Walker’s wonderful obit for Robert Anton Wilson at Reason.

Also, here’s a post to Reason’s blog about Wilson’s influence in libertarian thinking. I chime in in the comments with some quotes by RAW about socialism, not so much to refute the idea that he was a libertarian, but to show the nuance of his political thinking.

R.U. Sirius’s Revolution Party platform was a great attempt at creating a reasonable fusion of libertarian and left-wing political thinking, though I think it was ultimately too heavy on goals and too short on solutions (Note: I once tried to found an official Washington State Revolution Party based on R.U.’s platform).

RAW’s diverse literary legacy includes the likes of Grant Morrison, James Curcio, and Damon Lindelof… but what about his political legacy? I’ve been impressed with the balanced thought of a lot of people at Reason Magazine (especially Walker), and I think Abe Burmeister is one of the most insightful commentators around (I’ve plugged his Nomad Economics book before). And of course, Ken Macleod. Any other “non-Euclidean” political thinkers I’m forgetting?

Obscure Robert Anton Wilson essays

Jeff Diehl, former editor of the late online tabloid GettingIt, has rounded up a selection of essays Robert Anton Wilson wrote for the publication.

10 Zen Monkeys: A Selection of Obscure Robert Anton Wilson Essays

RAW Memorials on Irreality

Ulysses Lazarus Benway shares his ode to Robert Anton Wilson, “O Captain! My Captain!”

Irreality Forums.

Sub Genius woman gets her kid back

January 6, 2007: Reverend Magdalen announced today that she has received a call from her lawyer stating the custody battle has been won. She will rejoin her son on Monday, January 8, 2007. The official judge’s decision will be made public then.

Full Story: The High Weirdness Story.

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