Fight Like An Animal searches for a synthesis of behavioral science and political theory that illuminates paths to survival for this planet and our species. Each episode examines political conflict through the lens of innate contributors to human behavior, offering new understandings of our current crises. Bibliographies: https://www.againsttheinternet.com/ Periodic outbursts: https://twitter.com/arnold_schroder Support: https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingularity
The Biological Singularity Is Near pt. 1
We are clearly reaching the end of this phase of human civilization. Does that mean that evolution's broad trend towards increasing complexity, scale, and self-awareness is also dying? Many futures are possible, and in this episode, we speculate about one that continues the evolution of ever-greater complexity. Exiting the fantasy of a “sustainable” extraction-based economy, we instead imagine a human society based solely on life itself, where organisms do what is now done with gas-fired kilns, table saws, and circuit boards. We examine the diversity of the metabolisms which are currently evolving in synthetic biology laboratories, and how a novel organism might alternate between photosynthesizing and devouring toxic waste in the process of, for instance, growing into a house. Careful to delineate near-term possibility from developments which would require a scientific (and likely social) revolution, we look from the strange world of self-healing buildings and robots animated b
22/11/2023 • 2 hours 16 minutes 45 seconds
Social Complexity after the Machines: Interview with Dr. Shane Simonsen
Rejecting both the empty promise of a future of magically sustainable resource extraction and a return to what has already been, Dr. Shane Simonsen examines possibilities for social and ecological complexity based only on biology and the human imagination. In his Zero Input Agriculture blog, Going to Seed podcast, and Our Vitreous Womb fiction series, Dr. Simonsen explores a set of themes strongly overlapping with those of Fight Like An Animal. He imagines futures in which the human evolutionary trend toward diminished reactive aggression has resulted in a nearly complete loss of the fear of death, hybridizes plants on his experimental farm in an effort to develop subsistence ecologies which will thrive after the age of machines, and looks for ways to condense the bewilderingly complexity of cur
03/10/2023 • 1 hour 46 minutes 38 seconds
Metanoia: How Worldviews Change
Fight Like An Animal has engendered a group, and that group has in turn engendered a new podcast called Metanoia: How Worldviews Change. Metanoia, which means "a transformative change of heart," examines why most people are so utterly unresponsive to witnessing the world die, while a few of us are deeply burdened. Abandoning Enlightenment notions of undifferentiated rationality, Tanner Millen and Arnold Schroder introduce their search for the embodied, experiential variables which shape people's paths to a state of meaningful ecological responsiveness. In the first episode, Tanner describes his unique path: how the lack of meaningful inquiry into possible human societies in academia disillusioned him; how childhood trauma and the exigencies of survival led him to disengage from broader realities, and concern himself with accumulating income playing poker; how winning a fortune provided the sense of safety necessary for him to begin exploring his pe
03/10/2023 • 7 minutes 34 seconds
Vivimancer pt. 1: The Water Carrier (excerpt)
Perpetually replenishing his organs by inducing his cells to behave like those of an early embryo, Arnold continues the 100th year of his podcast. In Fight Like An Animal 2120: Vivimancer, we examine the end of the Machine Age and the subsequent Biological Revolution, providing both an introduction for new practitioners and a history of the practice of vivimancy, which translates to “life magic,” a form of synthetic biology in which direct interaction with living systems replaces technology. In this episode, we describe the water carrier, an organism which desalinates the Pacific ocean with the same proteins found in human cell membranes, transports the water through its long cylindrical body to eastern Oregon, and gives birth to a vast forest operating at 100% photosynthetic efficiency, one of many such systems which radically shift the ratio of atmospheric to biological carbon. We examine the means by which vivmancers visualize and affect the status of such organ
21/09/2023 • 5 minutes 23 seconds
Seeds of the World Tree: Programs of Revolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Politics
Fight Like An Animal has generated an incredible audience consisting of rigorous thinkers who possess deep empathy. These traits, which are too rarely combined in political movements and institutions, mean that we have the potential to collaborate on truly novel, worthwhile projects. Thus is born, friends, the World Tree Center for Evolutionary Politics and Global Survival. World Tree applies the central logic and worldview of the podcast to six strategic initiatives, comprising institutions of both research and parallel governance. Find out about the Embodied Political Cognition Collective and its new podcast/video series Metanoia: How Worldviews Change, collecting narratives of transformations of temperament and corresponding belief systems. Hear about what appears likely to be Arnold's first formal contribution to the scientific literature, the beginning of an attempt to generate the revolutionary process described in so many Scientific Militant fiction epi
22/08/2023 • 47 minutes 19 seconds
Social Cohesion vs. the Internet vs. the Establishment vs. the Earth
A wide-ranging conversation between Arnold and Daniel of What Is Politics? concerning the prospects for social transformation in this dreamlike age of epistemic fracture. We talk about the impact of declining social cohesion on traditional modes of political organizing; whether the internet can do anything other than make people stupid and crazy; and how lessons from evolutionary biology and anthropology apply to our utterly novel environment. Somewhere along the way, we talk about the biology of the naked mole rat, whose societies resemble the “civilizations” of social insects; the Goldilocks magnitude of crisis, that creates political possibility without starving everyone to death; the methodological horror show of evolutionary psychology that talks about genes “for” complex behavioral traits; how the fragmentation of knowledge by academic discipline enables hierarchy; and how the inverse correlation between social dominance and social comprehension means its best not to
19/08/2023 • 1 hour 45 minutes 58 seconds
#66: A Saboteur's Moon Sheds No Light (excerpt)
Before this podcast began, a nascent version of Fight Like An Animal 2050 was called A Saboteur's Moon Sheds No Light, broadly following the same narrative trajectory of revolutionary transformation amidst ecological collapse. A variety of video, text, and music was produced for the project. As a companion to the most recent episode, and as a way to formally say goodbye to the phase of my life in which they were produced, here are two artifacts of these early efforts. The first is a script for a video segment, a conversation between the I-5 saboteurs Ingrid Harris and Jacob Ingersoll (really more of a monologue by Ingersoll, which Harris acts appalled by; the intent was to capture the banter of nomadic direct actionists who spend all their time in a car together). The second is a rap song! This was not intended to be released on its own terms, but to be material for media analysis that was going to pervade the project—conversations about the art that was assoc
29/07/2023 • 2 minutes 15 seconds
The Ashes of the World Tree: On Grieving and Fighting
Our worldviews emerge from our psychologies, from embodied states of being. In an effort to describe my framework for understanding social possibility beyond ecological tipping points, I have decided to tell a story. The story is of my life over the course of seven years, of the integration of past traumas, nomadic revolutionary politics, unmitigated grief, unsuccessful attempts at de-escalation, kidney failure, cancer, and the reading of a ceaseless torrent of scientific papers. This story, I hope, conveys the embodied state of being from which my perspective emerges, which I try to describe in contrast to the overly categorical thinking I frequently encounter with respect to our social-ecological crisis. I believe this thinking reflects feelings of helplessness which are mistaken for the products of rational deliberation. My hope in describing my own journey is to convey that my sense of possibility is not simply the result of unwillingness to cope with despair. I attempt to illus
07/07/2023 • 3 hours 1 minute 4 seconds
Metamorphosis pt. 3.1: The Rupture in the Fabric of Reality Model of Human Cognition
We continue to assess our future evolutionary prospects, this time picking up the story of the human journey where Homo sapiens emerges. Anatomically modern humans have existed for ~300 thousand years, but modern behavior is only evident starting ~100 thousand years ago. We examine this evolutionary process by describing humanity's unique capacities as an intensification of traits we share with other animals. We look at the ritual behavior of chimpanzees, the symbolic world of Neanderthals, and the increasingly elaborate sequences of abstraction that characterize human thought. We examine how for millennia human societies developed and lost traits repeatedly, in regional cycles of cultural growth and collapse, until 100 thousand years ago ... something happened.
21/06/2023 • 1 hour 49 minutes 45 seconds
Metamorphosis pt. 3.2: Integration across Landscapes and Brain Regions
We continue the story of humanity's journey to modern thought and behavior, examining how a mosaic of both cultural and anatomical traits existed throughout Africa for ~200 thousand years. Then, this patchwork of cultures and anatomies fused, a process of integration that is also reflected in increasing brain connectivity. We see how isolated populations lose traits, but connected ones generate feedback loops of characteristically human tendencies: tolerance, social comprehension, communication, behavioral flexibility, and mobility all encourage one another. We also introduce the notion of the vocabulary of temperaments, the features such as neurotransmitters and brain regions shared by complex animal life, giving us a common language of rapid, novel responsiveness to environmental conditions, henceforth official Fight Like An Animal nomenclature.
21/06/2023 • 1 hour 12 minutes 37 seconds
Metamorphosis pt. 3.3: Your Body Is a Map of the Sky
We examine the neurobiological changes that brought archaic Homo sapiens into behavioral modernity, despite negligible changes in brain size. We see how complex symbolic capacities are embedded in anatomy and behavior, and describe the human brain's progressive change to a more globular shape, the increase in our neural density, and the expansion of the parietal lobe, a part of the brain relentlessly dedicated to integration. We see how we conceptualize social interactions, tools, and environments by projecting our own bodies externally, blurring the ostensible boundary between world and self. Finally, we examine the putative mythologies and rituals of ancient African peoples, reconstructed from contemporary hunter-gatherers, with their emphasis on fusions of identity and flows of power between social categories.
21/06/2023 • 2 hours 3 minutes 3 seconds
Metamorphosis pt. 2: The Cognitive Evolutionary Avant-Garde
We assess the future of our evolutionary journey by asking what it was like, experientially, to be at the forefront of ancestral human cognition. We examine the role of choice in human evolutionary history, describing expression changes in synaptic genes of the prefrontal cortex as a key driver of our cognition, and see how such changes are driven by behavior, by our ancestors choosing to live at the limits of their cognitive abilities. We examine the embodied metaphors on which abstract thought is based, the original function of the brain region that was recruited for language, and the drawbacks to inhabiting a symbolic world. Does the experience of meditation parallel the greater self-control our ancestors found with an enlarging prefrontal cortex? Were those who saw beyond the confines of ancestral human abilities treated as outsiders, as deviants so often are? Finally, what would it be like to live at the limits of our abilities, and thus promote further evolution, today? What l
20/05/2023 • 2 hours 49 minutes 25 seconds
Metamorphosis pt. 1: The Age of Mutual Incomprehension
This series examines the future of the human evolutionary journey. Can we adopt behaviors other than the ones that are driving us to chaos, misery, and collapse? Building on the notion of developmental plasticity as the core driver of evolution we established in Revolutionary Biology, we examine the feedback loop between technology and biology that characterizes our journey to extinction. Each social system, we find, elicits only a subset of the range of evolved human potentials, and the one we inhabit fracture us, so that we express only a tiny portion of our abilities. We apply these themes of freeze and fracture across a wide range of situations pertinent to our converging crises: the epistemic fracture that makes communication impossible; the compartmentalization of painful realities at the heart of both individual trauma responses and societal dismissal of ecological crisis; the social role specialization that gives power to certain kinds of people; the narrow awarenes
13/05/2023 • 2 hours 6 minutes
The Incompetent Authoritarianism of Vladimir Lenin
(05/10/2023) Having grown up in a time when anarchism was the ubiquitous form of revolutionary politics, Daniel of What Is Politics? and Arnold talk with bewilderment about the current proliferation of authoritarian leftism. Heavily referencing the amazing A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924, we discuss the persistent myth that the Bolsheviks in some sense planned the Russian Revolution or deposed the Czar; ask why Ukrainian peasants succeeded in briefly defending an agrarian anarchist society while Russian peasants did not; and discuss the importance of having any idea what is happening around you if you want to run a country. But first! Arnold frames this discussion by reading from a draft of his book about the psychology of charismatic authoritarians, a psychology that unites everyone from Lenin to Trump, Hitler to the leader of the New Age cult he grew up in.
11/05/2023 • 1 hour 25 minutes 24 seconds
Revolutionary Biology pt. 2: The Development and Evolution of Sasquatch
As an illustration of the extraordinary plasticity of our species, we examine the story of Zana, whose genetics, described in a 2021 paper, establish her as a member of a modern human population. Zana, who was captured living wild in the Caucasus Mountains in the 19th century and held in captivity for forty years, was two meters tall, covered in hair, superhumanly strong, lacked speech, slept naked outside all winter, could crush bones with her teeth, swam in rivers during their full spring flood, and could outrun a horse. She was described by the many locals who were familiar with her as an Almasty, or Sasquatch. Building on early biological descriptions of two species of human and the contemporary evidence on feral children, we postulate that our own developmentally delayed, self-domesticated form of humanity has—as is the case among other species for whom developmental change has been central to their evolution—a developmentally accelerated, wild form, induced by a lack of care i
11/03/2023 • 2 hours 5 minutes 28 seconds
Revolutionary Biology pt. 1: Nature vs. Nurture vs. Synthesis
Nature vs. nurture thinking simply makes no sense: an entity can only respond to its environment via evolved capacities. Nonetheless, this binary reasoning is persistently attractive to the human mind, and is present in the theoretical foundations of all the major political tendencies. In this episode, we explore the persistent harm to our politics caused by an inability to reason about biology, and the many forms our confusion takes, particularly focusing on the eternally recurrent assumption that the more unvarying a behavior is, the more “biological” it is. We examine the Cold War ideological conflicts that pushed theorists on both sides of nature-nurture controversies to rigid—and not infrequently absurd—extremes, and see how phenotypic plasticity is reasserting itself in biology after decades of suppression, replacing outdated forms of evolutionary theory that involve genes “for” behaviors and ignore the means by which traits develop. In so doing, we assert the biology of socia
06/03/2023 • 3 hours 28 minutes 44 seconds
The Raven Politics of Terra Incognita
A uniquely stand-alone episode of the Fight Like An Animal 2050 fictional series usually reserved for Patreon, here we describe a future in which insights from anthropology and biology on the ecological determinants of social structure are used by revolutionaries to create a society capable of survival. Combining the rapidly developing possibilities of synthetic biology with the long-standing anthropological paradigm of egalitarian hunter-gatherers, our story envisions a world in which technology is used as a means of creating a surplus for everyone, in an evenly distributed fashion, negating the ability to concentrate resources on which human dominance hierarchies depend. We examine the subsistence strategies of societies in Papua New Guinea and highland Southeast Asia to validate the claim that, rather than the wild or domesticated status of food resources, what is salient in determining social form are their spatial distribution, abundance, and predictability. We relate
19/01/2023 • 59 minutes
Narcissists, Strongmen, and Technocrats pt. 2
(01/01/2022) Why are states incapable of navigating the ecological crisis? We progress to the third of our six explanatory levels for comprehending any sociopolitical condition—species-typical behavior—in pursuit of answers to this question, describing the process of state formation as the imposition of a dominance hierarchy onto an existing social form. We contrast this with the standard narratives of states (and many social scientists), which describe dominance hierarchy as necessary for social complexity, surveying the extensive evidence that sedentism, agriculture, and urbanism always precede the formation of states. We describe the cross-cultural and cross-species modes of egalitarian power that prevent aspiring autocrats from attaining dominance, the unique degree of cooperation found in despotic and egalitarian human societies alike, the role of costly infrastructure in generating social cohesion, the psychosocial profiles of despots, the relationship between civilization and
02/01/2023 • 1 hour 7 minutes 44 seconds
Narcissists, Strongmen, and Technocrats pt. 1
We examine a scientific case for revolution: the claim that modern societies are forms of dominance hierarchy that grant power to people with extremely narrow frames of awareness, who are incapable of grappling with the crises that beset us. Reading from the unnamed Fight Like An Animal book, we examine a tripartite psychology: that of the Narcissists, Strongmen, and Technocrats, corresponding, respectively, to charismatic, coercive, and technical power. In each case, we also identify an egalitarian counterpart to these hierarchical modes. We argue that a coherent sociopolitical analysis requires six levels of description that exist in a relation of reciprocal influence: 1) ultimate evolutionary causes; 2) proximate mechanisms of trait construction; 3) species-typical behavior; 4) individual variation; 5) environmental conditions; 6) culture and politics. We then examine the first two of these levels in our assessment of the relationship between individual variation and pow
23/12/2022 • 1 hour 22 minutes 26 seconds
Glitching Is the New Tweaking (excerpt)
(12/05/2022) This episode of Fight Like An Animal 2050 tells the story of the initial meetings, in 2025, at which a strategy was conceived for dismantling the I-5 Commerce and Security Zone, appropriating its resources, and thus saving the west coast from annihilation. We learn more about the early exploits of the I-5 saboteurs, the initial publishing efforts of the Scientific Militant, the epidemic usage of a drug called glitch, the experiential predictors of support for various scientific theories, the emergence of alternate economies as the old one crumbled in the first global famine, and introduce a new element into our story: the guerrilla cannabis growers who began to produce food in the mountains, beyond the control of the I-5 administration and its centralized infrastructure, in a continuation of the legacy of escape agriculture that has characterized state-evading peoples throughout much of history. To experience the entire, bewildering scope of this episode, ple
05/12/2022 • 4 minutes 14 seconds
Myth, Science, Power
(11/17/2022) Why is it that apocalyptic cults have been such a common aspect of the human experience, but are largely absent from our apocalyptic present? Does global collapse inherently invoke a mythical frame of awareness, and if so, what is the role of science in helping us navigate collapse? Here, we continue our examination of the relationship between science and political power, describing the inherent tension between specialization and egalitarianism, local and global survival strategies, rigorous and empirically-grounded inquiries which nonetheless have a mystical quality, the modes of awareness science often attempts to exclude (which continually reassert themselves nonetheless), and the revolutionary potential of structures for meeting human needs outside of the extant economy.
18/11/2022 • 1 hour 40 minutes 44 seconds
Red Sky, Black Snake: Eight Strategic Theses from Standing Rock
In celebration of the anniversary of the killing of Custer, to prepare for revolutionary efforts against the theocratic authoritarian regime which has taken over the US, and in hopes of a holy war against the forces that are destroying life on earth, Arnold describes lessons learned at, or illustrated by, the pipeline struggle of 2016-7 at Standing Rock. When moments of uprising occur, how do we gain the organization necessary for our strategies and tactics to evolve faster than those of the police? For as much as the police will inevitably surveil us, do they really have any idea what they're looking at? What is pipeline construction like? When is it time to concentrate, when is it time to disperse, and how do we coordinate diffuse conflicts? Is there an optimum of risk and difficulty for protest to progress into revolution? Are trainings, so often eschewed by more radical movement elements, the best way to organize people? These are some of the questions we ask in this episod
28/06/2022 • 2 hours 3 minutes 28 seconds
#52: Varieties of Scientific Revolution pt. 2
In order for scientists to start a revolution, the case for revolution must emerge from the scientific process. But that process is heavily influenced by the underlying psychologies which produce the different worldviews found in different disciplines and sub-tendencies within disciplines. We introduce a coarse classification of distinct segments of academia and distinct segments of the power structure, which, by sheer coincidence, are both tripartite schemes. In the former: technics, literary experimentation, and science. In the latter: narcissists, strongmen, and technocrats. We examine how these tribes within academia can be defined by statistical ideological bias, epistemology, relationship to manipulation of the physical world, and degree of representation in settings of institutional power, relying heavily on Gambetta and Hertog's Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection between Violent Extremism and Education. We describe how institutional power is inhabited
03/06/2022 • 1 hour 39 minutes 33 seconds
#51: What We Sang in the Mountains to Greet the Gentle Rain pt. 2 (preview)
(05/22/2022) The story of the epochal changes of the 2020s, told in 2050, continues. This episode tells the story of west coast forests in the 2020s and the three preceding decades, and the institutional inertia that existed with regard to fire. We examine the insane technical literature generated by environmental law, the failure of wildfire behavior modeling, the formation of parallel institutions by scientists, synthetic biology approaches to enhancing photosynthesis, the psychological foundations of various scientific models, how the internet is a map of the human mind, and the ecstatic religious movement that took to the blackened mountains to plant trees in the epic fires of 2025-6. Visit https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingularity for the dizzying entirety of this episode.
23/05/2022 • 3 minutes 55 seconds
Varieties of Scientific Revolution pt. 1
The year is 2250, and the participation of humanity in the global ecosystem is shaped by a council of scientists contemplating, with considerable reverence and humility, the various paths before us. How did we get here from the exceptionally stupid place we are in now? In this series, we will examine the relationship of science to power--this time, we'll examine the ideological discipline that prevented climate and ecological scientists from speaking up and acting out sooner, and the rupture of that discipline as our crisis deepens. Our guide to that discipline will be the brilliant book Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes Their Lives by physicist Jeff Schmidt. We'll examine the ways that professional training of all varieties, including in the physical sciences, is ideological, requiring a narrowing of focus and a willingness to perform alienated labor in hierarchies; how science needs a revolutio
09/05/2022 • 1 hour 40 minutes 44 seconds
What Is Politics? Interview with Daniel pt. 2
We discuss the many determinants of hierarchy and equality, and many other aspects of social form, in the cross-cultural record over time. We examine patrilocal residence and gender inequality, scarcity and abundance (and dispersed vs. concentrated abundance) of food resources, intergroup threat and its impact on intragroup dynamics, culture as a means of not going insane from having too many choices, territoriality under different ecological scenarios, the ability to escape existing social arrangements, monotheistic prophets in cattle-herding cultures, and more. Watch Daniel's videos here: https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/featuredOr listen here: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/what-is-politics-worldwidescrotes-OQXC56wtuz0/ or wherever you find your podcasts.
09/04/2022 • 48 minutes 6 seconds
What We Sang in the Mountains to Greet the Gentle Rain pt. 1 (preview)
In 2050, weary beyond reckoning but not quite dead, Arnold recounts the crises of the 2020s and the revolutionary changes they gave birth to: the synthetic biology and modular technology that allowed economies to localize and food to be produced amidst ecological calamity, the fires that gave birth to an ecstatic movement, the epic street battles over the construction of the I-5 security wall, and the seizure of industrial facilities in Portland, by those who had fought the construction of the wall and were beginning to evolve into the legendary I-5 saboteurs, for use in an ecology of survival. Visit https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingularity for the dizzying entirety of this episode.
08/04/2022 • 3 minutes 48 seconds
What Is Left Authoritarianism?
In this episode, we examine the relationship between psychological variation, social role differentiation, and power, presenting a tripartite scheme of Strongmen, Technocrats, and Narcissists: societies with supposedly radically different politics tend to converge on similar outcomes because the same types of people end up in the same roles. At the same time, we examine the world through the bewildering lens of a 2021 paper making a rare journey into the psychology of left authoritarianism. Somewhere along the way, we examine similarities between Marxist and New Age cults, an epidemic of genital shrinking through magic in West Africa, the real and the imagined in the overabundant genre of cancel culture commentary, and the need for a parallel project to that of institutional academia.
31/03/2022 • 2 hours 12 minutes 13 seconds
What Is Politics? Interview with Daniel pt. 1
It's easy enough to use exquisitely rarefied, niche terminology to talk about politics, but do we even have a foundation of shared definitions for the really common terms, like left and right, or market and state? Or, for that matter, the very term politics? In his podcast What Is Politics? Daniel argues that we don't, and does the hard work of defining terms that have meant everything at some point or another, to somebody or another. We talk about what led him to this work, the ideological discipline in academia, the ways in which both postmodernism and reductive materialism have mostly made everybody more confused and unable to exercise political agency, the political implications of hunter-gatherer studies, and his epic, marathon critique of the book The Dawn of Everything. Watch his videos here: https://www.youtube.com/c/WHATISPOLITICS69/featured Or listen here: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/what-is-politics-worldwidescrotes-
23/03/2022 • 1 hour 14 minutes 48 seconds
Return to the Circle
If last episode described how we become trapped in a suicidally destructive feedback loop between biology and technology, this one is devoted to escape. Again examining societies and their politics in terms of brain hemisphere differences, we look at the role of empathic embodied communication in catalyzing social rupture, in scenarios such as dancing epidemics and riots. We examine the depth and complexity of non-linguistic communication, the hyper-legalistic and ostensibly rational dialogues about religion of the Middle Ages, the fundamental symmetry between processes of traumatic integration at the individual level and revolution at the collective level, frameworks for confronting fear in various cultures, and the psychology of abuse in creating acquiescence to the power structure.
17/03/2022 • 1 hour 37 minutes 51 seconds
Philosophy or Schizophrenia?
Why is the world looking more and more like the paranoid delusions of 19th century mental patients? Why do political systems of disparate ideologies converge on the same nightmarish outcomes, always accompanied by cheerful rhetoric about the scientific perfection of society? Is it easy to distinguish the philosophy of Descartes from the ramblings of a psychotic? This episode is a mashup of Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World and James C. Scott's Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, examining the brain science of authoritarian high modernism, the ideology Scott describes as uniting Lenin with Le Corbusier. From the clearcut to the resettlement camp to the factory farm, from the sterile visions of the urban planner to the disembodied eye which frequently appears in the drawings of psychotics, let us examine the nightmare world we inhabit: the wo
25/02/2022 • 2 hours 4 minutes 9 seconds
Prison and Other Stories (excerpt)
Arnold's father, George, comes to visit, and tells stories of hanging out with a revolutionary pachuco poet, covering himself in tattoos at age eleven, breaking out of jail on multiple occasions, growing up with gangsters, using burglary as a means to redistribute wealth around the neighborhood, getting strung out, getting shot at by the police, starting a performance troop in San Quentin, and having a public ethical dialogue about suicide in the prison library with someone sentenced to life without parole. Father and son commiserate and laugh about their first arrests, both at age eight, what it's like to go through withdrawals in jail, the posturing of gangsters, and the fundamental similarity of the many forms of lockup this society has to offer. To unleash the dizzying entirety of this episode, check out https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingularity
22/02/2022 • 3 minutes 18 seconds
Life Is Holy War pt. 2: Asymmetries of Aggression
We continue our mashup of political psychology, the biology of aggression, and left-right brain hemisphere differences, in the latter case guided by Iain McGilchrist's The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World. We examine how themes of holism and context vs. reduction and utilitarianism in brain hemisphere processing styles relates to political perception, and examine descriptions from all three literature domains of empathy, bonding, gesture, expressivity, behavioral flexibility, fear, anger, and aggression. Then, we examine the bizarrely persistent cross-cultural record of what is perhaps best described as aggression towards the left half of the body by the right, reflected in everything from synonyms for the terms left-right to body modifications that impair or injure the left side. Finally, we examine the subordination of cultures with a broader purview by cultures concerned primarily with domination. In each case—left-right
10/02/2022 • 1 hour 32 minutes 17 seconds
Life Is Holy War pt. 1: Two Stories about a Mountain
In this, the most wild journey we have undertaken thus far, we examine the notion that reality consists of a tension between opposites reflected at any given level of analysis, from the big bang to the evolution of brain hemispheres with irreconcilable modes of processing to right-left political division. Arnold reads from the book he is writing, Fight Like An Animal: In Search of a Science of Survival, telling two stories of a mountain, which reflect the right and left hemispheres' respective modes, but which are also strongly suggestive of egalitarian and authoritarian world views. We explore the surprising notion that the very terminology of right and left to describe political orientations might be an instance of the brain hemispheres conceptualizing themselves, and thus set ourselves up to explore the bizarrely rich history of people and whole cultures seeming to intuit the divided nature of their beings. Finally, we examine a few examples of how a feedback loop b
31/01/2022 • 43 minutes 57 seconds
The Life and Death of Radical Environmentalism
As grief and terror about the ecological crisis intensifies, it seems increasingly curious that for many years a radical environmental movement—based on a deep sense of connection with, and rage on behalf of, all life on earth—existed, but is now largely silent. Neither a history nor an assessment of strategies, this episode is an examination of the perceptual framework that animated this movement. Starting with the observation that despite objectively worsening conditions, ecological sabotage used to be much more common, we examine the relationship between worldviews and tactics; the useless (and equally pervasive) construct of nature vs. humanity; the embodied experience of unity with all life; the baffling complexity of fighting for a survivable climate rather than a specific place; and the notion of the right and left brain hemispheres engaging in a long-term evolutionary war, in which the emergence of Earth First! could be described as one battle.
25/01/2022 • 1 hour 59 minutes 39 seconds
Destroying the World Destroyers
Because it couldn't possibly be more clear that existing political systems are committed to behaviors that will cause our extinction, one has to ask: can we just sabotage the fossil fuel economy out of existence? In this episode, we assess three answers to that question, and the underlying psychologies that produce them. One, the fossil fuel industry's, or in any case their proxies in the field of security studies. Two, the mainstream climate movement's, albeit a unique faction of it, represented by the Andreas Malm book How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Finally, the radical environmental movement's, as represented by a literature review I wrote in 2016. In the end, we'll see how worldview and tactics/strategy are deeply related, and how the climate justice narrative doesn't motivate the same confrontational behavior as the radical environmental narrative.
27/12/2021 • 1 hour 29 minutes 11 seconds
Ethnogenesis pt. 4: Becoming a People in Terra Incognita
In this episode, we conclude our broad sweep of human history, venturing fearlessly into the truly tangled wilderness of variables mediating the relationship between technology and hierarchy. We critique Graeber and Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything as a frame for our journey, examining the relationship between civilization, domestication, and human evolution; the cross-species relationship between social form and costly infrastructure; the trend toward technological mass society in early human evolution; the post-materialist shift in the upper Paleolithic; and the conditions necessary for escape cultures. We search for inferences about contemporary revolutionary efforts, examining how strategies of evasion involve social disaggregation and strategies of confrontation involve social cohesion, and emerge from the complexity with an overarching thesis: the strategic advantage of egalitarianism is in its greater capacity for social comprehension.
20/12/2021 • 3 hours 6 minutes 15 seconds
Times I Got Stuck in Albuquerque
Just for fun and for absolutely no other reason whatsoever, a very high, very post-surgical Arnold relates a youthful tale of desert, night and madness: A tale which will do nothing whatsoever to describe how acorn woodpeckers provide insights into the relationship between hierarchy and technology, or how population density affects strategies of evasion, or anything else he thought his next episode was going to be about.
30/11/2021 • 42 minutes 21 seconds
Ethnogenesis pt. 3: Sacrificial Child Gods and Social Complexity
Assuming a continuous legacy of political struggle from the earliest stages of human evolution to conflicts over power today, we speculate about the politics of societies in the distant past. We discuss the relationship between risky human migrations and political perception, ancient cities without states and states without cities, confrontation and evasion as two strategies against hierarchy, the monumental architecture of hunter-gatherers, the relationship between abundance and hierarchy from a cross-species perspective, the psychological tendencies evident in certain varieties of social science narratives, the notion of cultural behavioral patterning reflecting the personalities of the people who create new cultures, and the dreamlike beauty of the stone age graves of physically abnormal children. Along the way, we are looking to decouple variables like hierarchy and social complexity, sedentism and agriculture, and egalitarianism and cooperation, charting a course to ask more co
10/11/2021 • 2 hours 17 minutes 31 seconds
Ethnogenesis pt. 2: Evolutionary Anarchism
In this episode, we examine not how biology pervades politics, but how politics pervades biology: how the course of evolution has been shaped by millions of years of what can only be described as political struggle. We examine two types of ethnogenesis in human ancestors and other primates, fissioning events and internal changes in social structure, and how the formation of new cultures is sometimes equivalent to what we call in the modern world political revolution. Along the way, we see the evolutionary trajectory away from certain forms of hierarchy and aggression in humans and bonobos as the result of conscious agency exerted by ancestors of those species, present a bimodal view of aggression, and examine how even in despotic species (and human social arrangements) power is ultimately highly distributed. Finally, we examine more evidence for the inverse relationship between aggression and social cognition, framing egalitarian political struggle as a struggle for comprehension.
19/08/2021 • 1 hour 53 minutes 36 seconds
Ethnogenesis pt. 1: Hill Tribes Are Like Street Kids
When we speak of revolution, aren't we are ultimately speaking of the creation of a different culture? And if so, how plausible or meaningful is it to imagine deliberately crafting a culture? In this episode, we begin to examine the long history of cultures on the margins of civilization as political projects, which are often misconstrued by states (and their ethnographers) as archaic remnants rather than deliberate efforts at state evasion. While this history will ultimately take us through millions of years of evolution, we will start by drawing out the parallels between northern California's back to the land movement--a culture we are all well aware was deliberately crafted as a political choice--and hill tribes, as described in James C. Scott's masterful The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia.
07/08/2021 • 56 minutes 13 seconds
Addiction, Madness, Despair pt. 3: Despair
But seriously: is there any point to doing anything at all? Or is the world truly just going to end so soon we really might as well just kind of reach for whatever or whoever kills the pain and stop paying attention? In this episode, we examine what it means to come to terms with the crossing of climate tipping points, the dreamlike nature of the way the news babbles about collapse, the landscape of variation in ecological perceptions, and taking control of the world's infrastructure to begin the very uncertain experiment of halting feedback loops that have already been triggered as a revolutionary strategic frame.
30/07/2021 • 1 hour 6 minutes 57 seconds
Addiction, Madness, Despair pt. 2: Madness
We examine the hopelessly subjective and highly contentious (one could perhaps say psychotic) process by which the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called bible of psychiatric disorders, has been constructed. Relying heavily on Gary Greenberg's The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, we also discuss the consequences the DSM has both for individuals who accept its narratives about the nature of their suffering and for the prospects for social transformation. Somewhere along the way, we talk about secret societies that exert control through claims to exclusive knowledge in traditional cultures, optical illusions that only occur among industrialized people, and the ways captive animals go insane.
16/07/2021 • 1 hour 57 minutes 18 seconds
Addiction, Madness, Despair pt. 1: Addiction
As we emerge from quarantine and reveal to one another our many wounds, Arnold describes a recent, months-long period of psychological rupture as a narrative frame for an inquiry into the relationship between addiction, madness, despair and revolutionary social possibility. In this episode we examine the dubious origins of 12-steps programs like Alcoholics Anonymous in hallucinatory christianity, the neuroscience of addiction, and the relationship between addiction and pain. We also explore the fundamental unity of the changes to neural circuitry that result from exposure to drugs or exposure to all the other hyper-potent reward stimuli that consumer civilization has to offer.
07/07/2021 • 1 hour 4 minutes 16 seconds
Heal Like An Animal: Interview with Joshua Sylvae pt. 3
In this episode, Arnold asks Joshua a series of truly fundamental questions to which no one has decisive answers: questions about whether large-scale shifts in how we conceptualize our suffering are possible, and whether and to what extent this would inform possibilities for a less destructive society. We discuss the role of narcissism in creating coercive political systems, trauma and psychological distress in traditional societies, the mythical dimensions of both individual and collective healing, and much more.
27/06/2021 • 1 hour 21 minutes 54 seconds
Believing You're Trapped in a Simulation Is the New Punk Rock (preview)
We continue our examination of the revolutionary period of 2032-3, relying heavily on the psychographic researcher Sarah Kessler's book The Internet Is a Map of the Human Mind: On Technology and Psychological Diversity to examine the internet subculture of simulants, who believe (or claim to believe) that the universe is a simulation. We see how in a politics of undifferentiated appeals, simulants would be unreachable, but how the revolutionary coalition targeted messages to subcultures with radically different perspectives, managing to engage people in a project to save the world who didn't even believe the world existed. Find me on https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingularity to unlock the full bewildering extent of this episode.
21/04/2021 • 2 minutes 35 seconds
Group Mind pt. 6: Suburban Holy War
We continue the examination of the post-materialist shift, and the emergence of increasingly niche subcultures, that we began in The World Is a Lot Like the Internet. In this episode, we examine its implications for projects of political transformation. Relying heavily on Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, we examine how traditional organizing strategies assume a level of social cohesion that has largely vanished, based as they are on mobilizing people who are already organized into structures like community churches and labor unions--entities that have experienced decades of declining participation. We search for political projects that have taken a psychographically targeted, participatory approach--an approach characteristic of the post-materialist shift--and find only very depressing cases. Arnold, therefore, proposes a collaborative effort to take what marketers know and apply it to revolution.
07/04/2021 • 2 hours 2 minutes 3 seconds
Scientific Militant pt. 3 + Aggression and Specialization pt. 2 (preview)
In this episode, a 72-year-old Arnold reflects on how our species and the global ecosystem managed to survive to 2050. We discuss the Interstate 5 Security and Commerce Zone, and the revolutionary events of 2032-3 that brought down the I-5 wall. We examine the Scientific Militant's efforts to take control of industrial infrastructure to sequester CO2, and the distinctly psychographic approach they took to revolution. And we examine the formation of Green Spear Security Services, which militarily defeated the I-5 Security Forces, from the perspective of the aggressive differential theory of left-right politics and the tension between specialization and synthesis in complex societies. From this perspective, we attempt to answer the question of why prospects for egalitarian revolution, by means of physical force, seemed to gasp their last dying breath in the 1960s and 70s. Find me on Patreon to unlock the full dizzying scope of this episode: https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingu
24/03/2021 • 3 minutes 56 seconds
Group Mind pt. 5: Everybody Loves a Narcissist
In this episode, we take a rollicking journey through the minds of narcissists, the emergence of states, and the seemingly intrinsic relationship between authoritarianism and insane belief systems. We explore how individual personality variation affects group dynamics, and in particular, how a certain type of person is to be found in all times and places who wants to be in charge. Relying heavily on Boem's Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, we examine the notion that egalitarian societies are such because of collective efforts to subdue those with authoritarian tendencies. In this manner, we create a more variable account of human nature, rejecting the notion that sociopolitical structure automatically emerges from a given mode of subsistence, and thus indicate a wide range of potential future societies.
06/03/2021 • 2 hours 50 minutes 44 seconds
Group Mind pt. 4: The World Is a Lot Like the Internet
In this episode, we examine the way the internet is changing us through the lens of evolved group psychology. We follow the trajectory of increasing social differentiation that technology facilitates, and see how Ronald Inglehart's The Silent Revolution predicted events like the Jan. 6 capitol riots in the 1970s. We explore the tendency toward niche self-expression that emerges from post-WWII material abundance, and how the right-wing is finally having its 1960s.
12/02/2021 • 1 hour 17 minutes 31 seconds
Heal Like An Animal: Interview with Joshua Sylvae pt. 2
In our last discussion, Joshua described cross-species uniformities in responses to traumatic experiences, and how he works to help people access their evolved capacities for recovery. In this episode, we discuss why our society sees such escalating levels of psychological distress and the utter discontinuity between innate human needs and the structure of the modern world. We discuss our species-typical developmental trajectory (as characterized by the hunter-gatherer childhood model), the psychological function of initiation rites, debates about whether children are being coddled or brutalized by current social conditions, adulthood, loneliness, agency, and more.
06/02/2021 • 1 hour 15 minutes 7 seconds
Aggression, Specialization, Dysregulation, and Power pt. 1 (preview)
Unlock the entire episode at https://www.patreon.com/biologicalsingularity The year is 2050, and I have been making this podcast for 30 years. In this episode, I continue with the themes first developed in the Biology of the Right-Left Divide, using the revolutions of the mid-2030s to illustrate how social conditions amplify innate differences. We focus on two ways the social-technological trajectory is changing us: specialization (i.e. the development of hyper-competence in some domains at the expense of any competence in others) and behavioral changes resulting from alterations to the brain's reward circuitry, a consequence of living among so many easy, compulsive pleasures. We build a foundation for examining how these two types of change interact with the biology of aggression, and thus determine the nature of human dominance hierarchies.
31/01/2021 • 3 minutes 58 seconds
Group Mind pt. 3: Oxytocin Atrocities
We use religious cults as an example of extreme group psychology to make generalizations about the group dynamics that determine sociopolitical possibility. We investigate the relationship between ingroup cohesion and outgroup animosity, the oxytocin-laden war rituals of chimpanzees, the unique human developmental biology associated with social cognition, and the general neurobiology of the repetitive group dynamics we encounter.
20/01/2021 • 1 hour 27 minutes 39 seconds
Heal Like An Animal: Interview with Joshua Sylvae pt. 1
Joshua Sylvae practices and teaches Somatic Experiencing, an approach to trauma recovery based on a cross-species understanding of behavior and its evolutionary foundations. Proceeding from the observation that many species routinely encounter mortal peril without long-term traumatization, SE facilitates the innate recovery processes that our culture of restraint impedes, placing an emphasis on the embodied aspects of the trauma response. In this episode, Joshua describes the SE paradigm and helps us establish a foundation for an understanding of how our sociopolitical structures create and maintain trauma, and how our trauma creates and maintains our sociopolitical structures. For more information about Joshua's work see: https://sylvae.net/
07/01/2021 • 1 hour 5 minutes 8 seconds
Group Mind pt. 2: Concerts, Riots, Cults
We continue to describe extreme aspects of group psychology, delving into phenomena like death from social exclusion. We examine cross-species similarities in the drive for sociality for its own sake, discuss how certain varieties of evolutionary theory cannot account for the behaviors we observe, and how they also contribute to a culture war regarding evolutionary explanations. We look at results from experiments in group psychology, describe the notion of supernormal stimulus, and propose an explanation for the internet fragmenting, rather than unifying, our perceptions of the world.
27/12/2020 • 1 hour 30 minutes 6 seconds
Scientific Militant pt. 2
How scientific is science? In this episode, we further the argument that "science communication" about the ecological crisis is based on an unscientific understanding of what motivates people. Having described some of the innate components of an ecological worldview in the last episode, in this one we look at the raw empirical reality of public perceptions of climate change, the incessant liberal freakout about declining rationality, and more. On the fictional front, we imagine a scientific upheaval resulting from research into the foundations of scientists' own tribal epistemologies.
06/12/2020 • 1 hour 16 minutes 51 seconds
Scientific Militant pt. 1
Here, we try out a somewhat dreamlike new format. We will describe a problem in terms of the present day, but we will also describe the resolution of that problem from the perspective of this same podcast 30 years in the future. For the present day portion, Arnold tells his friend Evan about the failure of science communication as a strategy for saving the world, and the rich psychometric landscape that relates to ecological perspectives. In the future portion, we begin the story of Ghada Sabbagh, an Egyptian high school student who foments scientific revolution.
29/11/2020 • 1 hour 2 minutes 42 seconds
Group Mind pt. 1: Dancing Epidemics
We begin a series on evolved psychological mechanisms for group participation, evaluating the wild variation in behavior and belief that groups exhibit. We'll start with dancing epidemics, divine madness, possession states, culture bound syndromes, and a host of other particularly idiosyncratic forms of social contagion. We'll discuss the (unnecessary) tension between 'cultural' and 'psychological' explanations in academia, and how a more useful frame is simply the ability of groups to cohere around beliefs and behaviors utterly unfamiliar to other groups.
18/11/2020 • 1 hour 26 minutes 11 seconds
The Nine Elders and the Ancient Scroll: A Constitutional Crisis Comedy Special
In these difficult times, it is important to remember that no matter what we do, it should be entirely based on what the Very Powerful Magi wrote on the Ancient Scroll that they entrusted to the Nine Elders.
03/11/2020 • 11 minutes 10 seconds
GHG Removal and the Worldviews That Consider It
Movements for climate and ecological survival have largely eschewed talk of taking CO2 out of the sky. For good reason. We don't know if it will work and it shifts the focus away from ceasing the damage. However, if we have already crossed climate tipping points, it's probably a good idea to begin looking at our options: the uncertain, the dubious, and the overtly evil. Here, we examine emerging GHG removal potentials, the underlying worldviews that allow and prohibit different sectors of society from discussing them, and the value systems evident in how ecological issues are framed.
02/11/2020 • 1 hour 57 minutes 22 seconds
A model political program for ecological survival
Start by reading climate plans, then write your own. Get a zoning map, change it in Photoshop, and release it to the media. Blockade something. Establish parallel institutions. In this episode, we will use an oil train blockade in Portland, OR to illustrate some principles of fighting for ecological survival which can be applied in diverse contexts.
21/10/2020 • 41 minutes 56 seconds
What Elephants Can Teach Us About Civil War
Elephants are changing. The various traumas of extermination—witnessing the deaths of their companions, developing in atypical social structures—are making elephants more aggressive. In this episode, we discuss the relationship between resilience and adverse experience, the developmental plasticity of thresholds for aggression, and the notion of an envelope of stress tolerance. Faced with a panoply of intensifying, existential threats, we ask where and when people will find the rage that elephants are finding.
05/10/2020 • 1 hour 53 minutes 17 seconds
Do Not Worship the Deities That Came Before the Fire
"Climate denial" has the specific connotation of outright denial such a thing exists, but what about all the other forms of denial? The human mind has a general tendency not to come to terms with overwhelming input. The institutional and grassroots political responses to climate change, in most cases, are also forms of climate denial. Here, we examine the psychology of confronting unbearable truths, searching for cultural systems that can allow us to face our fears and thus affect outcomes. This piece originally appeared in Dark Mountain #15.
27/09/2020 • 33 minutes 47 seconds
Nature-Nurture Death Spiral pt. 4: Academic Gibberish vs. Life on Earth
Academic constructs, valid or otherwise, tend to diffuse into our culture at large. How has this impacted social and political conflict? Quite a lot, and mostly badly. In this episode, we look at climate activism, movements against police violence, and the book White Fragility to illustrate the huge range of contentious issues which are still burdened by the legacy of 20th century social sciences and the opposition to human nature. We see how even though scientific debates about human nature have largely ended, the rhetorical devices used in them are very much alive, with real consequences.
18/09/2020 • 1 hour 50 minutes 5 seconds
Nature-Nurture Death Spiral pt. 3: Foucault Ruins Your Meeting
In this episode, we trace the journey of 20th century social sciences through innumerable versions of the nature vs. nurture debate, talk about how the denial of human nature led scientists to torture baby monkeys, and do a blow-by-blow analysis of Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault's famous 1971 dialogue on human nature, describing how the reasoning Foucault employs is the precursor to many of the frustrating and ineffective aspects of contemporary political movements.
27/08/2020 • 1 hour 45 minutes 3 seconds
Nature-Nurture Death Spiral pt. 2: The Universal People
Because anthropology describes the observed range of human variation, as well as constants in human life, it is inextricably linked to the project of describing what is possible for a revolution to achieve. This episode examines cross-cultural universals, technological thresholds, and hierarchies. We assess the notion that small, egalitarian societies are such because they consciously subdue the impulse to domination, that there is no fundamental discontinuity between "traditional" and "modern" people, and that traditional societies, also, were shaped by social movements.
11/08/2020 • 1 hour 43 minutes 13 seconds
Nature-Nurture Death Spiral pt. 1: Margaret Mead Goes to Samoa
What kind of societies are ultimately possible (i.e. within the range of variation our biology allows)? Why are social movements so prone to division and self-annihilation? These questions may seem unrelated, but both imply a journey into the social sciences of the last century and the ideological conflicts that defined them. This series will examine how different political outlooks are the result of different assessments of human nature, and that far from being academic, an explicit description of human nature is an essential foundation for a political movement.
28/07/2020 • 1 hour 51 minutes 47 seconds
The Wilderness of Mirrors
A CIA counterintelligence chief once described his world as a wilderness of mirrors. In this episode, we ask how ecological and egalitarian movements can navigate this wilderness. The internet is opening information warfare possibilities to non-state actors, Cambridge Analytica is influencing elections, and Western media is striving for ever-greater hyperbole about the influence of Russia. Is it time for movements to use the same tactics against the powerful that the powerful have long used against movements? We examine the time-honored strategy of divide and conquer, FBI campaigns of disinformation, the psychology of subterfuge, and more.
15/07/2020 • 1 hour 25 minutes 53 seconds
We've looked at some of the psychological traits that correlate with ideology, but what about those that don't? Considering the tendency for systems of power to behave the same regardless of their overt ideology, what should we know about the psychology of power? We look at scales of empathy (or lack thereof), manipulativeness, sense of connection to the world, and more.
02/07/2020 • 56 minutes 51 seconds
The Psychology and Politics of Collapse: Interview with Ken Ward
Having described innate psychological tendencies associated with other political perspectives, in this interview we examine what makes an environmentalist. Ken Ward describes his path through professional environmentalism and direct action, the values he encountered among liberals and leftists, and how they are in conflict with ecological survival. We discuss the different forms of intelligence found in the human species; their evolutionary value; and the prospects for a legitimately pluralistic society, in which radically different perspectives can coexist. https://www.facebook.com/ClimateDirectAction/https://www.thereluctantradicalmovie.com/
21/06/2020 • 1 hour 36 minutes 36 seconds
It Isn't Nonviolent To Let People Hurt You
Having described the right-left spectrum in psychological terms, we will now examine the psychology of the liberal, an entity sometimes described as moderately left who has no real counterpart on the right. We will ask why the violence-nonviolence binary has proven so consistently psychologically seductive but also so destructive to social movements. We will talk about the book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolence, the bizarre elaborations on the 'outside agitator' trope currently emerging in American culture, and a whole bunch more.
13/06/2020 • 1 hour 23 minutes 11 seconds
The Biology of the Right-Left Divide part 3
Here we conclude our discussion of the biology of the right-left divide. We discuss how developmental delay shaped human evolution and how aggression and its correlated traits map elegantly to right-left politics. We also talk about the problem of self-referentiality and the capacity for hyper-technological societies to amplify cognitive bias, setting a foundation for future discussions of what the biology of human political conflict implies.
27/05/2020 • 1 hour 22 minutes 33 seconds
The Biology of the Right-Left Divide part 2
Having described the idiosyncratic collection of traits associated with variation in political outlook in humans, we will now look at the biology of aggression, and how it is correlated with a very similar set of traits. This will lay the foundation to ask the question: is political difference a reflection of differences between people in the biology of aggression?