A Podcast and a Telegram
It’s been several days since my last essay, and while I was planning on finishing a riff on of Russian polymath Vernadsky’s noosphere concept, I am instead nursing a hangover incurred from several hours of dancing with a group of very friendly and energetic Colombian exchange students. That actually got me thinking about some of the differences between Latin and Western civilizations, and whether the centrality of the Dance in Latin American culture may point the way to identifying the Spenglerian civilization-symbol of Latin culture. I’ll probably write something about that soon, unless - squirrel!
In the meantime, for anyone who’s ever wondered what my voice sounds like1, or pondered just how inarticulate I really am when I’m speaking off the cuff and don’t have the opportunity to edit2, now’s your chance. Harrison Koehli and Luc Koch invited me to hang out with them on their excellent podcast MindMatters, and the episode is now live:
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I got a chuckle out of the episode description:
Culture wars, political convulsions, social upheavals - you name it. If you're like us, we're always on the lookout for new voices giving their take on these strange times and just what the heck it is we're watching unfold in the West. There are a good many bloggers, pundits and observers out there, but...there can be only one. Enter John Carter (nom de plume), who writes "Postcards From Barsoom." A veteran of the academic world and all its woke garbage, John found himself transported to the fantastical realm called Substack, where he became a warrior battling various mythological beasts, alien armies and malevolent foes, armed solely with his mighty keyboard and nimble mind.
In just a short time, John has shown himself to be a voice worth listening to. And speak with aplomb he does. His writings are insightful, challenging, creative, and playfully hilarious. And in our conversation today, nothing is off the table: science, psychology, spirituality, philosophy, politics, sci-fi - whatever ideas have the explanatory power to help describe and understand the world we're facing. At a time when we're being barraged by the weapons of 'cognitive conquest' nothing is important than communicating the ideas that could provide a good sword and shield, and a means with which to face the future.
Harrison privately informed me that he wanted to add that Substack’s lower gravity makes me much stronger than the average inhabitant, which I thought was funny enough to share. Honestly, people have more fun with my nom de guerre than I do. It hardly seems fair.
I’ve been listening to MindMatters for a while now. It’s consistently fascinating, the hosts are smart guys with broad interests and great insights, and the subjects they discuss and the guests they bring on cover a wide array of compelling topics. It was thanks to them that I found out about Ian McGilchrist, for instance. Just to give you a sample, their last few episodes included an interview with Russell Gmirkin about his new book Plato’s Timaeus and the Biblical Creation Accounts: Cosmic Monotheism and Terrestrial Polytheism in the Primordial History; a discussion of a book by Peter Turchin of cliodynamics fame, Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth3; and a two-part deep dive on James Lindsay’s work uncovering the Marxist origins of critical race theory. All of those are probably more interesting than listening to me ramble on.
On another note, I started a Telegram channel, because why the hell not. Here’s the invite link to Postcards From Barsoom on Telegram. I figure I can use it to help promote the essays that get posted here, and maybe pick up a few more subs. However, since you’re the first to hear about it, it currently has one (1) subscriber: me. Which rather defeats the purpose. “But why join?” I hear you ask. “What do we get out of it?” Glad you asked! For your entertainment and mine, I’ll share short, random thoughts that don’t rise to the length of an essay, memes that make me laugh, and whatever random interesting oddities I come across in my daily perusal of the Intertubes4. Right now there’s basically nothing there because talking to myself seems pointless and sad. But if I get any subs I’ll certainly post, so come on over.
Telegram is cool and all, but the main thing is to subscribe here, where all the good stuff goes.
I’ve often been told I have a voice made for radio. Or maybe it’s my face. Fortunately for me, you won’t be finding out what my face looks like, so you’ll never know.
The answer is: pretty inarticulate. When I listen to myself, I discover that my favourite words are ‘um’ and ‘uh’.
Harrison wrote an essay discussing the book on his Substack in which he connected it to political ponerology concepts, which then inspired me to compose a fun essay describing the relationship between military technology and social organization, which Harrison then talked about on the Turchin episode. That was cool. It’s weird listening to people talking about your work when you’re not present to reply.
Also, Telegram has stickers. Telegram’s stickers are sick. It’s my favourite thing about that platform really.