Diet Soap Podcast #202: Fatalism and Falling

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The guest this week is David Blacker whose book The Falling Rate of Learning is currently out from Zero books. Blacker is a philosophy professor at the University of Delaware and a regular guest on Diet Soap. This time we discuss his book and the notion of fatalism. This is part one of a two part conversation.

I want to thank David W for his very generous one time donation as well as thank John L, Jacob L, and Andrew M for being subscribers. Right now I’m working on a new short story about Lucid Dreaming, a time travel birthday cake story, a rewrite of an old novel, the first chapter of a new novel, and I’m waiting for word on a book proposal for a nonfiction book about Marxism and Star Trek. When I manage to finish off any one of these projects I’m hoping to make advance copies available to you, my loyal listeners. In the meantime you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Or you can send me an email through my website, that’s douglaslain.com

In this episode you’ll hear a reading of Nietzsche’s madman parable, a clip from the Matrix, and the movie Reds.

From the Madman Parable:

How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us—for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.

[...] Fatalism & Falling, David Blacker & Douglas Lain [...]

You know, in listening to this discussion, I’ve come to realize something. There seems to be a kind of fetishism for the apocalypse on the left. We seem to think that the revolution will happen during some super dark period in history. I often hear things from people on the left that the masses aren’t ready for revolution yet because they’re too “comfortable”. They’re too distracted by all this crap capitalism gives them like IPods, Facebook, Football, American- Idol, and so on to realize they are being exploited and ought to fight back. Essentially it’s only when everyone has their fancy gizmos and gadgets taken away from them and they’re backs are up against the wall that they will start to fight. I’m starting think that’s crap and might fit in with what your guest was getting with this “underdog” mentality he’s observed on the left. The whole “only during our darkest hour will we find the means to break free.” I actually think most likely it might be the opposite. I think that the chances of a revolution spike exactly when things are doing pretty well. You look at a lot of movements like the civil rights movement and the emergence of the New Left in the 60’s and you notice this was during a time when capitalism was doing great. A great many people were in the Middle Class and lived prosperous lives. They were very well educated and became radicalized exactly when they tried to push things like ending racism, ending the war in Vietnam, getting more equal rights for women that they suddenly realized there was an obvious glass ceiling blocking them in. I think that right now any emancipatory or progressive movement will not succeed by the conditions just aren’t right. With the way the economy is basically everyone is too busy keeping their nose to the ground and trying to survive. It might be when things turn upward that a really radical change can come about. That’s my crazy little theory anyway.

 

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