Anews Podcast – episode 64

  • Posted on: 20 May 2018
  • By: thecollective

Welcome to the anews podcast. This is episode 64 for May 18, 2018. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week.
Editorial by Chisel: Science is a relationship
TOTW: Clear Thinking

This podcast is the effort of many people. This episode was
* sound edited by linn o'mabel
* written by jackie
* narrated by chisel and a friend
* the music is 1 - Salva - Weird Science 2 - Tape - Dust and Light 3 - Cybotron - Clear
*the editorial was written by chisel
* Thanks to Aragorn! and Ariel for the topic of the week
* Contact us at

To learn more
Introduction to anarchism:
Books and other anarchist material:
News and up to the minute commentary:




I didn't get that implication from the totw. I was under the impression that clear thinking was about expressing oneself in a way that minimized confusion about what exactly was being talked/written about.
Because I have seen irrationality talked about I a clear way. I have read non-western ideas expressed clearly. So I am confused as to why clear thinking seems to be equated with Rationality.

"Is clear thinking Rationality? I didn't get that implication from the totw."

Great! Because I don't think this either. In the 'discipline' I come from, rationality means something very specific: that agents use all available information about a problem to act in ways that optimize how they accomplish a goal. Every time I read about this I think,"well that's just obviously fucking stupid". And of course I can refer to many examples and say more about this but just... yes. I don't think they're the same.

And what I appreciate about your comment is that it captures exactly what I tried to get at, which is that it's about "expressing oneself in a way that minimized confusion about what exactly was being talked/written about." Not finding "Truth With A Capital T." Not reifying concepts into permanence or enshrining western ideologies about the value of progress. Just establishing communication norms where people try to make plain what they mean and try to be charitable about what others mean so that the conversation can go somewhere.

And I'm not especially picky about what that might look like, because to be honest I don't even know yet! But see the comment below:

"I often hear Aragorn! struggle in communication because I'm taking it that he 'suffers' (as I do) with definitions in order to have a conversation based on mutual understanding of what each person actually means. Aragorn! will often say 'What I mean by that is...' and 'What do you mean by that?' Because language is almost useless, we have to be pedantic in obtaining mutual clarity which can really pedestrianize any dialogue as we trudge through the treacle of latter day use of language."

This is a great example of what I mean. Having conversations with people who don't 'get' this, and who condescendingly assert the validity and obviously-self-evident truth of their own perspective as if they can't comprehend how you could be so ignorant, is super fucking annoying. And I don't even think we have to get 'excessively' pedantic because communicators *can* be very flexible about arriving at mutual definitions, provided they have the rapport and motivation to do so.

So, yeah! Thanks for weighing in!

"And I'm not especially picky about what that might look like, because to be honest I don't even know yet!"

Upon a little reflection, I'm not *quite* as neutral as I sounded here. My worldview and communication preferences definitely *are* influenced by particular disciplines and not others (and Analytic philosophy is one). I think I'm reluctant to advocate those particular preferences, however, because (1) there are definitely tracts of those disciplines that I hate, such as the rationality theory of economics, and (2) when I encounter anarchists talking about science I think, "that's just... not what I mean?" And I am not sure how much of that comes from me being exposed to what science is through a different intellectual tradition, or me needing to understand more about what the Continentalists are on about, or me just being wrong. But, another interesting thing I am experiencing lately is how important 'rapport' is, because the IRC has a group of people who, even though we have entirely different intellectual traditions and therefore different contexts, definitions, and beliefs, we've gotten to the point where we can have conversations and it's very engaging and rewarding.

So yeah, I really value clarity and logic and science! But not everyone has to...

How inter-fuckin'-llectual. Who said @News is only read by dumbfucks? Might of Bertrand who said it?

Appreciate chisel's editorial, as usual.

Consider this: Science is the continuation of Christianity by other means. No, really. Both spend a lot of time trying to convince us their mode of belief is the only valid mode of belief. Both try to enforce their mode of belief by force.

thanks, but i don't think i made my case very well. i mostly said "i think science is this" without backing it up much.

I am devastated by your well reasoned rebuttal, lol!

Okay, I don't think what I say in this forum will change your mind just as your assertion doesn't change mine.

Let me put it like this: science & Christianity are twins born of the same mother; rootlessness, fear of death, the need for certainty, fear of life & alienation. Both see nothing as beyond their ken. Both think everyone should adopt their modes of thinking, often at the point of a gun.

When I say science is a continuation of Christianity by other means I mean the usefulness of the Christian mode as a power grab was waning and the scientific revolution came about just in the nick of time to save this totalizing scheme.

It is only superficially that religion/ Christianity & science appear as opposites. Both are expressions of a western mode of thought, the aforementioned totalizing alienating displaced mode.

Others here have pointed to texts to look at for further reading, and I will add And Yet It Moves by Boy Igor, &
The Reenchantment of the World by Morris Berman.

If you want to have a real conversation about it, let's! Anytime. (ok, not *any* time, I'm a bit busy with moving, but I promise you, I welcome it.)

An aesthetically pleasing show this week. Thanks.

Good commentary by chisel, but I disagree that the tools are totally inextricable from the worldview. The problem is not the scientific method; the problem is scientism:
- The materialist metaphysic that desacralized the living world, an extension of Christianity
- The Galilean epistemology mentioned by chisel, which says that that which cannot be numeralized does not exist
- The ameliorist faith that technology and increase in knowledge will solve social and ecological problems
- The ascendancy of the values of technique over all other values (Ellul)
- The diminution of all other ways of knowing (intuition, phenomenology, emotion, mystical experience) relative to rationalism
- And some other things, but I am tired at the moment...

People like Goethe, Hemenway, Sheldrake, Abraham, Harding, Margulis, Talbott, Abram, and so forth are/were seeking a holistic science that rejects philosophical materialism and reconciles rationalism and the scientific method with other ways of knowing. I believe this is also the path most sensible for anarchists.

I couldn’t more highly recommend the tyranny of science by feyerebend and geneiss my Michel serres for anyone serious about considering these ideas

Feyerabend is one of my favorite authors! IMO he is a very clear thinker and a paragon of what is good about science. I thought this article was a good take on what I mean:

hi bellamy :)
thanks for delineating/itemizing some of the things i'm referring to.
i recognize that there are issues with the tack i'm about to take, but here goes anyway...
1. i am not satisfied with adding -ism (or a capital letter, both things i have done), as a way to make a box for the bad things in a certain method or field of thought.
2. i think i'm arguing that the word science is too hopelessly baggaged (as are communism and a few others - lol). that it is not worth fighting for or saving, because it's too muddy and too implicated in too much bad stuff over too long a time. obviously, as i mentioned, this is a subjective call.
what to do?

Sure, that makes sense - any way of talking about things is going to appeal to and make sense to some and not others, and I think it is fine as long as terms are clearly defined. I will fight for the science/scientism distinction because I think it makes sense etymologically and because I use science in my life.

"terms are clearly defined"
isn't that part of issue? getting more and more explicit and specific requires a kind of focus that is troubling in itself.
but i'd rather have the rest of this convo f2f, if that ever happens. i'm beginning to bore myself!

The religion of science (scientism) is totally caught up in the methodology of science. Consider efficiency or technique, and the proliferation of hierarchies of expertise. Got a problem? Find an expert. Even "the method" has been lorded over other methods as the only (a posteriori) way of knowing. Yes it might be qualified as a way of knowing. By actual actual scientists, though?

It's good to see someone else abandoning a base/surface spook materialist way of looking at things for a multi-structural non-reductionist psychic approach. Good names dropped at the end. I would also point out Peter Sjöstedt-H(Ontologistics on youtube) as a guy to check out. He's been dropping good knowledge on a pan-psychic conception of reality. Science is fine grounded in nomadism or AT LEAST within a Renaissance model as opposed to this guilded gatekept nonsense.

I would add that a juvenile Stirnerian concept of knowledge is needed that is not geared towards apparatus building and maintenance. Knowledge must be dissolved overtime and created anew. I call and hashtag this neotenous knowledge.

is indeed great, though I've only read his short articles, not any of his books. He gives a great introduction to panpsychism.

How can anyone separate all this without ending up going insane? language is fucked. language is broken. language has peaked. nowadays it is just noise.

language is only fucked when the expectation is something pure and clear, right?
if every conversation is taken as a piece of art between the people involved, then a. mass communication becomes more obviously nutso (or just requires a really different set of criteria) b. maybe we could have a lot more fun with expressing ourselves and not being butthurt when folks go in surprising directions with what we say?
from here i go to scale. things like unclear communication are scary when there's too much riding on the outcome (like getting fired, being institutionalized, or nuclear war). that's why we're anarchists? maybe?

We all, varying frequencies, fall into believing we have been clear, it is the other who has misinterpreted. When there is too much riding on the outcome is subjective too. I often hear Aragorn! struggle in communication because I'm taking it that he 'suffers' (as I do) with definitions in order to have a conversation based on mutual understanding of what each person actually means. Aragorn! will often say 'What I mean by that is...' and 'What do you mean by that?' Because language is almost useless, we have to be pedantic in obtaining mutual clarity which can really pedestrianize any dialogue as we trudge through the treacle of latter day use of language. I've become aware of how much less I get into conversations, written and verbal, due to ensuring that I have been understood correctly and that I have understood the other person correctly. What's the point of communication if it unclear? Context is another addition to ensure mutual understanding of definitions. Being understood has become much harder to achieve in my experience. So much of counselling is based on trying to ascertain what is being felt and said via such techniques of reflecting and paraphrasing. Maybe we're becoming so atomised that this reflected in how much harder it is to understand the other: that mutual human intuition is disappearing?

eh, i associate clarity with western values, and the overvaluing of precision and purity, so while i have mixed (and contradictory) feelings, i'll just set that aside.
my only real response to your comment is to the final bit, which is that i think the current (modern) difficulty in communication comes increased diversity.
it makes sense to me that when people have grown up together, there's more of a shared understanding of what things mean, including not just words, but expressions, body language, etc. the more people come from different cultures (including microcultures, like neighborhoods, etc), the more confusion there is.
the two resolutions to this are usually separation (like nationalism) or cultural hegemony (like hollywood and dear abby and english-only legislation).
but there's always, you know, anarchy. :)

What do mean by anarchy? Surely, this requires a wade through the treacle as mentioned above? Anarchy has different definitions: as many different definitions as there are people? The more people, the harder it is to have anarchy would be the implication of this. 8 billion people, I would argue, equates to very long odds of anything approaching any form of anarchy. Yes, loads of potential 'diversity' but no anarchy? Chisel often ends up with a never ending list of questions after each editorial read out., which is not meant as a negative, just to clarify. Forever more questions doesn't get people that far. For example, a massive oversimplification here, but how could high tech anarchy live along side green anarchy? One would impact the other, right? so, to say, there is anarchy is not enough, nowhere near enough, smiley face or not!

there is (es gibt) anarchy.

totally enough. unless… something, something language of the polis…

blah, blah, blah.

smiley face.

*breaks loose with fury!*

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