Zero Squared #22: The Worm in the Core

Sheldon Solomon is the guest this week. Solomon is the editor, along with Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszezynski, of the book The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Solomon is a professor of psychology at Skidmore College and a researcher into terror management theory, a field that has developed out of the works of the late Ernest Becker. Becker won the Pulitzer Prive for his book The Denial of Death in 1974.

Solomon’s book The Worm at the Core was published by Penguin last month and Sam Keen, the author of Faces of the Enemy, blurbed the boo:

This is a wonderfully (terrifyingly) broad and deep study of most everything we know or have thought about death. It carries Ernest Becker’s work a long way further down the road.

I’m just back from the Left Forum in New York and you’ll be hearing at least one panel discussion from that event in a future episode along with conversations with Matthew Collins about his book Pop Grenade, Elaine Graham-Leigh on her book “A Diet of Austerity” and hopefully Mark Fisher about “Ghosts of My Life.” In this episode you’ll hear George M Cohan sing, voices from a clickhole video, Woody Allen explaining life to Annie Hall, Rick Roderick imitating Carl Sagan, BS Johnson talking about a motorcycle accident, Morton Feldman’s Clarinet and String Quartet, the theme from the 1980 television show Cosmos, and Chopin’s Funeral March.

Diet Soap Podcast #223: Death and Other Impossibilities

Death is the subject this week as I talk to Daniel Coffeen about his neurosis, his grieving, and his buddhist therapist. The inevitability and impossibility of death is the subject as the sophist or rhetor and I try to figure out what life is all about and how we might live on in the face of our inevitable end.

You might hear a bit of a difference this week as I’m trying out my new Snowball Microphone and I’d like to thank Andy Marshall for his generous donation. Andy will be receiving the old Snowball microphone in the next week, after I get a chance to sign the thing.

I’d also like to urge regular listeners to the Diet Soap podcast to find the paypal buttons at Also, the podcast is also available via iTunes and I urge people who enjoy this show to consider leaving a review at iTunes in lieu of a donation.

Diet Soap Podcast #164: Life as a One Way Time Machine

The guest this week is the philosopher and blogger Daniel Coffeen. Daniel Coffeen is a regular guest to Diet Soap and this week we discuss temporality and being, or to put that in everyday language, we discuss what it feels like to be middle aged in 2012.

Next Sunday there will be a follow-up conversation about this week’s podcast on Talkshoe, and I encourage everyone who is listening to participate and to donate or become a subscriber to the podcast as well.

Last week I promised to put up some old episodes of Diet Soap onto the new feed at the request of a listener in China and then failed to do so. I’m reminded to do that now, so keep your ear out for these reruns with Margaret Kimberley, Dennis Perrin, and Jodi Dean as they discuss the Occupy Wallstreet movement as they saw it about a year ago.

Before I start the interview this week I think I’ll read a few lines from Mr. Coffeen’s blog entry to put us in the mood.

We are temporal creatures. And life, well, life is temporal: it just keeps happening. That seems silly when I write it as it seems so obvious. And yet so much of how we think about things excludes time, excludes change. We think about change as something that happens after the fact rather than change being the fact.

We are always and already changing, transforming, evolving at every moment in multiple ways — our bodies, of course, as blood and oxygen and shit pass through our veins and intestines and noses and lungs and skin is sloughed, continuously; and the rest of us, too, as moods and desires shift relentlessly.

The music you’re listening to right now is Manipulated Living from the motion picture Donnie Darko, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Daniel Coffeen and I discuss Life As a One Way Time Machine.