Hi there and welcome to cow the pocast. online
I’m Ant Biggs and I’ ll be your host for the next 20 – 30 minutes or so
taking you on a trip into the strange and wonderful landscape of this here podcast.
This week a warning
Entrance not for every body – For Madmen only
Stay with me if you dare and all will be revealed…
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This week a warning, and the warning is this.
Beware COW-the podcast.
I get it, some of us have appearances to keep up…
you can’t just be seen sharing opinions on stuff,
What would they think at work?
You may want to stay away…
and that’s ok!
I’m not in the judgement business.
This might not be for you.
So apologies first if this warning comes a little too late
and if this isn’t the first episode that you have been subjected to
then I guess it might just be working for you
So that’s good sign
you must have some idea of why you’re back here
so that’s great and thank you…
What with all of the de-platforming that is going on all over the internet…
Patreon, Youtube, Facebook etc
at all levels,
I just wanted to give anyone new some sort of outline of the show,
and dive in…
Ok, You can only support this by going to cowthepodcast.online,
and clicking through from there.
Thanks in advance, if you are a subscriber.
You are what makes all of this possible.
and point out how COW – the podcast values the freedom of being platform independent.
Ok, so more about what I think I’m doing here.
Seems that it’s a journey, you know
and sometimes we change direction.
The whole thing cow started out for me
a little chaotic,
so much to share, so much to understand.
It came out of my own chaos.
I maintain I was in a process, of waking up,
and still am.
It’s not the sort of thing that goes away so easily.
and I thought this might be a process worth sharing.
Not only me going through it
At the very least it was going to be for me a cathartic experience.
That might have some value.
And it is all that.
The process of putting yourself on the line,
following a passion, so to speak.
Something we all do, all worthwhile, and long may it continue.
But what I have realised here
is that my journey took me way out the mainstream.
And not everyone can be comfortable there
This isn’t sensationalist celebrity click-bait,
just there to draw an audience…
No same old familiar stories.
It’s not even mainstream conspiracy theory
so now you’re in trouble.
The real thing here is hopefully an informative, entertaining narrative,
but it exists to question everything,
to strip away conceit
and examine everything we know.
To build anew.
And if you are going to follow that particular white rabbit,
to question everything,
then there is certainly a dark side,
it’s the shadow side,
and you join me to explore.
That rabbit hole gets dark!
It goes way down…
You see COW-thepodcast is about opening doors.
Like taking Neo’s red pill in the Matrix,
or trying Nada’s sunglasses in “They Live”
by John Carpenter.
You don’t know what lies behind the door.
And if you choose to enter, to answer your call to action,
to accept what is a fundamental primal invitation,
then you will be required to slay Nietzsche’s dragons,
to see Morpheus’s machine world,
and to battle Jung’s shadows.
The offer is a journey, of discovery, and adventure.
And at the end of it, is a new dawn,
light and laughter.
You open the door and somewhere shines a light bright on the cave wall.
But don’t you be drawn in too lightly.
The dragons inside will not be easily defeated.
Inside, awaits the dark night of your soul.
And as you wake, and begin to drag yourself around in the shadows,
you may find the path lonely,
and you will find that there is no way back.
No blue pill.
There is only forward, or through.
Come on in, yes of course but read the signs.
In Steppenwolf a book by Herman Hesse
the protagonist, Harry Haller suffers pain and anxiety
as he tries to overcome a crippling sense of dislocation and despair
at the futility of humanity.
He is disgusted by the productive,
and diligent optimism of society
but at the same time he is bewitched by its charms.
Caught between his half wolf, half man urges,
he is driven to distraction.
One night, walking unhappily through the old town,
he sees a sign over a door that he has never noticed before.
The sign reads “MAGIC THEATER — ENTRANCE NOT FOR EVERYBODY.”
And reflected on the street it says “FOR MADMEN ONLY!”
But there’s the warning.
What is it you seek through that door?
What is it Neo seeks in the red pill?
And I hear you ask why step through at all?
maybe you have chosen
to dedicate your life
to the pursuit of truth,
to follow the trail of the white rabbit,
wherever it may lead,
and whatever the consequences.
Maybe you have already
made that choice.
Or maybe you have no choice at all.
You may well already be at a point in your own journey,
asking What sense Politics?
And maybe that journey has already begun.
Or maybe the day delays.
And you shy away from it?
Got things to do here.. You can’t move on.
You can’t just get up and leave
your job, your family
And you’re strong,
At least you know that,
And you can keep it all under wraps…
Can you keep refusing the invitation…
The economic analysis of Adam Smith, and of Marx,
documented a struggle between capital and labour
wherein a rough balance was maintained.
The capitalist at the end of the day
thrived on the work of the slave.
Now even this precarious symbiosis is under threat.
As the rise of robotic labour makes the slave irrelevant.
And this is not just car manufacturing…
Check the apps on your phone.
This is truck driver, trader, solicitor, accountant…
Yes it will work,
but nor forever.
Something will show you the way.
Maybe even COW – the podcast.
Just be sure that the journey is there for you.
The journey out of all of this mess.
Just like all of the stories you have heard,
you will stand,
and you will be counted.
And you will Break through, to understand yourself,
and your belief systems.
Understand how you work,
and how things work,
how you fit in with all that whirling stuff around us,
so that you can break free,
make your own informed choices,
and take responsibility.
And maybe you think that’s where you are already?
Well maybe so…
but if you can feel that niggling anxiety,
at the back of your neck,
the disquiet in your stomach
or the jangling nerves,
from time to time,
maybe you could take a while to listen?
And to follow the sounds.
Suppose that evolution is broken.
Yes, suppose that evolution has equipped humanity to thrive
and to flourish and to expand.
And suppose we have never needed brakes before now
But that our expansion now, unchecked
has the potential to destroy everything we depend upon.
Check out Cognitive Bias, Cognitive Dissonance…
Check out what turns a peaceful grasshopper
into the nightmare locust…
Or a group of of browsing chimps into a murderous border patrol.
that we’re asked to flourish in,
and those flaws are fatal.
There is no help there,
and no help here really,
the only help on the journey comes from within.
Here’s the point. Here’s a few quotes.
“Suppose the need for creative, honest,
free expression, without coercion, is the basis of humanity.
Suppose your intelligence, your being, comes out of this expression,
Suppose we have a system that requires a total suppression of this expression.
And defines a human a factor of labour.
And suppose that if you are unable to sell your labour in the labour market then you have no right to live.
Then this is a totalitarian structure.
This is slavery.”
Those are the words of Noam Chomsky… chopped up and moved around a bit for effect but no change in their sense.
But the point?
Well from where I stand the point is that
it is not ok. You know..
the world we are leaving our kids.
To repeat, COW – the podcast
covers philosophy, physics, and neuroscience,
biology and social policy.
And yes, spirituality and religion.
And many more isms of all kinds.
And all are deconstructed.
What we think we know is examined and dissected.
So can we do anything?
Well, David Hume, said this,
“Nothing appears more surprising
to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye,
than the easiness with which the many
are governed by the few;
and the implicit submission,
with which men resign their own sentiments and passions
to those of their rulers.”
Suppose he said that in 1777, because that is what happened. And to continue
“When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected,
we shall find, that,
as Force is always on the side of the governed,
the governors have nothing to support them
It is therefore, on opinion only
that government is founded”
This is your opinion, that we are talking about. My opinion. Our opinions…
Now suppose your opinion could be manipulated.
Suppose that it was possible to control what people think.
And suppose powerful people were aware of this…
Suppose there were things in place, so huge, so influential,
so everyday that you had forgotten they were there,
hiding, in plain sight
keeping us believers.
Suppose everything you believe is a result of being hypnotised
by these giant structures.
And suppose everything you believe therefore must be a lie.
And now, suppose you see these things for the first time.
And suppose that’s you breaking out of a hypnotic trance.
And suppose you and your mind are different things.
Suppose you can manipulate your own mind.
Suppose you can see through walls…
the boundaries of cultural structures we’ve put up around us.
And suppose you could walk straight through them.
Out to the edge of the herd.
Here’s Jonathan Haidt
“You are trapped
in a moral matrix,
in a particular moral matrix
and by matrix I mean literally like the movie, the matrix,
but I am here to give you a choice,
you can either take the blue pill and stick to your comforting delusions,
or you can take the red pill,
learn a little moral psychology and step outside.”
Well, suppose you do take the red pill.
Suppose you do go down the rabbit hole…
Suppose you are shown all of this,
backed up, by fact after fact after fact.
OK, so part of stripping out all of the bullshit
is in order to create dialogue.
If you are ready
to prepare yourself for the mental task ahead
then the shadow work,
where you confront your demons,
and become aware of your subconscious bias.
It will pay off.
where you become aware of your self
and become the observer.
That will pay off.
And the knowledge
and the critical thinking,
The potential biases,
Of you and those of others.
This is where we are going…
Red pill yes…
But be aware
it can be a lone,
and perilous path.
We need to develop a voice,
or a new narrative between us,
individuals in communities,
We need to listen and to share,
to control our urge to be offended,
and to forgive,
to enable a conversation that includes and does not divide .
We need to change,
so that we are fit to join the community
and the only way that change will come
is through new answers.
It’s through new questions.
Everything is on the line with this
And sometimes its pretty scary,
but its worth every minute.
COW holds nothing sacred.
We must question everything and we do
in following contemporary thinkers
and critical thinking of course, for applying new analysis.
COW is not about conspiracy, be it theory or fact.
It is not about shutting down opinion
as an alternative to discussion.
Be it left or right, authoritarian or libertarian.
It is about the steel man, and not the straw man.
It is about breaking down the biases that are
within each of us,
even at the biological level,
and as society, and as systems.
And it is about recognising group-think and its mechanisms
and applying rational thought, so that we can move forward together and grow as individuals
in a process that justly and efficiently organises for the future.
For our children.
I know, told you to watch out…
Here’s Cypher, from the Matrix this time…
“I don’t want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? [pause] And I want to be rich. You know, someone important, like an actor.”
I know, that’s a tempting place to be.
That’s Cypher asking that he be plugged back into the matrix so that he forget everything he has seen on the outside.
if you can…
if that’s what you’re looking for.
There will be other ways of finding your path when you’re ready.
When the student is ready the master will appear.
Put this all down to the ramblings of a madman.
But if you’re still with me then
Look, thank you.
Thank you for dropping by
and thank you for hanging out for a while.
And I’m going to finish pretty soon
but before I do I’d like offer something I thought quite a pretty jewel in the psychological toolbox, something you can take with you.
Bear with me, if I go around the houses but it will be an attempt to just instil a little bit of trust in this.
I want to talk about Jonathan Haidt,
He’s an American, an author and professor of the psychology of morality.
This is not fake news. Ha! Not In my view.
In a TED talk entitled “The moral roots of liberals and conservatives”
he outlines the discovery that
it is possible to differentiate people’s political and moral roots
from a simple measure of a major personality trait
called “Openess to Experience”.
Those on the one hand crave novelty, variety, diversity, new ideas, travel…
On the other they like things that are
familiar, that are safe and dependable.
This scale can explain the difference between Artists and accountants, for example,
between engineers and architects.
This scale can predict which books people will read, newspapers, where they like to travel to, what food they like to eat, what they will choose to wear.
Open individuals have an affinity for liberal, progressive, left wing political views.
Closed individuals like conservative, traditional, right wing views.
Now, This has been backed up by research
that points to the separate areas of the brain that respond to fear and to pleasure.
In open individuals their pleasure response is more developed than their fear response.
Vice versa for closed individuals.
And their voting patterns follow.
Can you see where I’m going with this? Bear with me.
Across a spectrum of indicators,
Haidt identified 5 foundations for our moral behaviours.
The foundations were identified to exist across all cultures worldwide.
The theory is that a baby is born not with a blank slate,
but with a preset template,
with the foundations for moral development pre-programmed.
A baby is equipped to modify its responses according to how these foundations are stimulated.
Through repetition, through neural and hormonal programming, our moral go-tos become habit,
The foundations are as follow.
Firstly, we are programmed to care, to seek bonding,
to feel compassion for the weak and vulnerable
and to feel strongly about those who do harm.
Secondly, we are programmed to respond to fairness whether our efforts are rewarded,
whether they be reciprocated or not.
Then we are pre-programmed to group together
with like minded people.
We bond and feel affinity.
and do whatever we can to defend the group. Like through war or sport.
The fourth foundation is an axis of authority and respect,
not necessarily as a submission to power and brutality,
but often through love.
And the fifth is purity, and sanctity.
This might well relate to sex on the political right but for the left too this can be strongly expressed, through food, and the concept of my body, the temple…
Now, it turns out that both liberals and conservatives are concerned with harm and fairness, we agree on these. We hold them in high regard when it comes to our moral code.
But liberals, in effect reject the ideas of group loyalty, authority and purity as moral concepts. Liberals seek to speak for the weak and oppressed,
and in the main to champion only harm and fairness.
The conservatives include all of the indicators in a much closer 5 channel arrangement.
Haidt relates the moral necessities of group loyalty,
authority and purity
to a narrative of social entropy,
to a truth of decay,
a path from order into chaos.
Done very neatly with a nice slide of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.
And using game theory to illustrate that where there is a temptation to free ride, and there is no penalty if you take it, the outcome will tend towards chaos.
He sees in the effects of group loyalty, authority and purity,
the achievements of primitive man,
the ability to organise,
and co-operate in a fully moral schema.
Whilst it might seem that conservatism preserves the existing status quo
at the cost of the individual,
and therefore seems to lack empathy for the individual
the sacrifice that is being made
is being done so in recognition of the danger
of the slide
into chaos that may ensue
should we follow a path into the unknown.
between the open and closed moral frameworks
exists in symbiosis.
Without order and organisation
and an opposing will for change
the pyramids would not exist for us now.
The greatest achievements of mankind,
and maybe even the worst,
maybe evolution itself
has occurred as an expression of this dynamic.
in a healthy and natural way
there must be a balance between
change and stability within society.
Like Yin and Yang,
Vishnu and Shiva. And in the words of Sent-ts’an
“If you want the truth to be clear before you,
never be ‘for’ nor ‘against’.
The struggle between ‘for’ and ‘against’ is the minds worst disease.”
Our minds according to Haidt,
to unite us into teams,
to divide us against other teams
and to blind us to the truth.
Politics has become so good at expressing this primal tribalism
It no longer has any need to solve problems.
In fact, for a politician to reach out and find common ground across the divide is considered a losing strategy.
And this may be scientifically correct
but it can only be so if the central idea of politics is to wield power.
If the idea should be to create solutions then the game must be redefined.
Across the divide, if we may agree even on our problems,
they will only ever be solved if we can engage in moral humility,
and at the same time, agree on our truths.
And this stuff is so so deep rooted,
And stepping back from it is not easy…
As I said you have been warned…
The choice is yours. Is that enough for today?