This one is deep so see tons of explanatory resources below. The philosophy talk turns to political talk (easier to grok) after about 15 minutes, but the philosophical context adds a lot of richness to the latter conversation. Patricia MacCormack is driving productive tension between philosophy and political action. Her Ahuman Manifesto is strongly recommended, even to those who may take issue with it in principle (anti-natalism! anti-idpol! anti-human!), because it makes a forceful argument for a politics based in empathy and care as applied to everyone and every thing. Core concepts you might not be familiar with:

  • Posthumanism — if you recall, a kind of running theme of the podcast is "posthumanism is kinda sus.” As a philosophical stance, it means an expansion of categories of agency and vitality, thought and creativity, to forces beyond the mere human. Rosi Braidotti (Patricia MacCormack’s PhD advisor) was one of the first major forces in this field, and Patricia has written extensively on it as well (see her Posthuman Ethics). In practice, of course, posthumanism gets confused pretty quickly — Reza kicks off the first episode of the pod with a brutal critique that Patricia sustains here: many people tend to use posthumanism to advance a kind of hard anthropocentrism applied to everything, a way of accidentally inflating the human all the way out to the cosmic level. It’s likely good to critique anthropocentrism at all scales, but it is a very challenging thing to do in practice without carrying out what Reza calls “inflation”, assigning anthropogenic models to everything from fish to stones to electromagnetism. E.g. "my politics include this rock" turns pretty quickly to "this rock has some vital characteristics I'm imposing upon it through my own human gaze."
  • Transhumanism — kind of reversal of the posthuman project. Think Neuralink, human cloning, or dramatic surgical alterations. Transhumanism is humanism transcended, the human project continues but with greater veracity, constructed to conquer the future. A nice quote, per the Xenofeminist Manifesto (not quite a transhumanist project but also not not one) is "if nature is unjust, change nature." If the human as presently understood is insufficiently capable to handle its futures, change the human, make it live longer, act more efficiently, move faster.
  • Asemiosis — the absence or breakdown of traditional semiotic processes, where signs cease to function within the established systems of meaning. This is what happens when we operate within a superabundance of signs and references on massive scales. Don’t worry about this one too much.
  • Potestas to Potentia — lmao ok. Potestas in Spinoza refers to the word “power” as we most often understand it, authority, domination, or control. Power OVER. Potentia, on the other hand, refers to power as an intrinsic capacity or potential within an individual or entity. The, uh, power within… so to speak. (Michel Serres concept of “grace”, that MacCormack refers to occasionally, is similar to potential). It's a nice way to think about power without the coercive connotations.
  • Irigaray “letting be” / Serres “stepping aside” — many people have theorized political inaction as a type of action. Check out Bifo Berardi’s latest interview on Acid Horizon where he talks about “defection" so sickkkk. This doesn't mean doing nothing, but rather not doing (opting out).
  • Knowledge — this isn’t as hard as it comes across. Patricia is basically attacking the need for us to know each other to help each other, to understand each other in order to have empathy for each other. Why? Well, understanding requires communication, which means that information is moving through protocols (e.g. language, digitization, facial expressions, etc…) that are always already encoded with...

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