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Interview about The Culture of the Current + Last Chance to Sign Up!

28 Jul

CHJust a few more days to sign up for my four session online workshop, The Culture of the Current: A Workshop for Facing the World We Live in Now.

Registration is open until 7/30 at 11:59PM!  Below is a quick interview I did with consciousness scholar and pop philosophy writer Jeremy Johnson the new philosophy and consciousness journal, Metapsychosis.

Read the interview, sign up for the course, and spend your next few Sundays envisioning a better world with me!

Jeremy: I’m very drawn to what you’re implying in the description for your workshop. It speaks to our deepest anxieties and hopes right now, doesn’t it? Corrupt powers are consolidating into global behemoths of themselves just as new, revolutionary, political forces and conversations are taking hold. Amazing technology surrounds us, but we’re filled with that creeping anxiety, the dread of living at the edge of a cliff—in our case, the Anthropocene, climate change, etc. The glass is half-full and half-empty, collapsing into a singularity. A new world seems entirely plausible and yet it often feels like we’re about to implode before we get there.

It’s hard to keep this all in your head at once. Especially in your mentioning that some of the very structures of our reality, things we take for granted in modern society, like representative governments and even “religious impulses” are “relics” crumbling in the face of an entirely new way of doing things. So, I might start out by asking you the most preliminary of questions. It’s the big question we’re exploring here at Metapsychosis. How do we even begin to think about all this? What does that kind of thought even look like?

Conner: A kind of downward spiral can happen when you approach the state of the world: The disastrous US election! Mass shootings! Police Brutality! Taken alone, they’re bad enough, but they can build and build until you feel utterly overwhelmed and helpless. So as for how to begin, there are two ways: One is kicking and screaming, which is the tendency (and the one that many people and institutions in power feed on), the other is with some clarity. So that’s how we begin, or how not to begin. We don’t begin with fear, and we understand that whatever is happening is necessary for and even, perhaps, asked of us in this moment. That’s the foundation. If you can’t dispel the fear entirely (and who can?), you notice it, and let your thoughts run parallel to it rather than letting it intrude so much.

Then, one by one, you examine the phenomena. Not just with data — although of course data can be useful — but with an eye for patterns. These might be patterns in the phenomena themselves; for instance, that activist movements such as identity politics movements and Occupy both have profoundly important messages of resistance. It’s clear through them what is being resisted. But alternative positive politics are not articulated in them (that doesn’t make either of these movements lesser movements, by the way; it’s just an observation of what they are). Or there may be patterns in yourself; the expression and limits of your feeling and empathy during crisis events, for example. Why should I feel deeply moved when certain events happen, but not others? Where is that framework coming from? The individual is everyone’s starting place, so it’s ridiculous to look at world events without inquiring into the self, and vice versa.

meandlynn

Lynn and Me.

Which thinkers have contributed to your thought? You’ve got a few listed on your event page, like the biologist Lynn Margulis, and the anthropologist Bruno Latour. I’m interested to know how they helped to develop your ideas.

Lynn was my mentor and like a second mother to me, and I owe some of what I’ve already said to her. She studied two things, really: bacteria and earth systems. And she studied how they intersect. In other words, her view was both microscopic and planetary. Lean forward, stand back. As above, so below. So her perspective and approach was as helpful to me as the content of her work (which was also mind-blowing).

The anthropologist Bruno Latour and some of his colleagues have brought me a long way to understanding how important experience is. Since anthropologists have to take experience seriously, they are, in some ways, the foundation of all other sciences, because all science springs from human sense and experience. Of course, it’s not just my own experience that I need to take seriously, but the reported experiences of others. You can’t just dismiss someone else’s sufferings, desires, beliefs, etc as stupid or “un-evolved.” Anthropology had a tough time with that in the beginning, but has caught up with itself in many ways. But it’s even more than that. Anthropology insists we question our own beliefs and experiences and prejudices, not just of political concepts or whatever, but of reality itself. You have to (here’s a fun academic buzzword, but I think it’s really useful) decolonize your mind; Latour’s particular emphasis is in decolonizing our minds from the phony objectivity claims of scientism. You have to undo yourself to come close to anyone else. What would that mean in encountering not just the indigenous person, as anthropologists are typically thought of doing, but the religious fundamentalist? The Trump supporter? What might you learn if you engaged with them seriously? Anthropology is the science of compassion and real engagement.

I’m glad you picked out these two thinkers to ask me about, since, if I’m going to try to figure out what’s going on in the world, Lynn’s macro/micro perspective — and more importantly the tension between the two — as well as real listening and inner decolonizing, are key.

How does spirituality, or mysticism underpin all of this for you?

Spirituality underpins everything I do. The culture of materialism and consumerism is a specific kind of spirituality, after all, and it’s played a huge part (though it’s not wholly to blame) in getting us where we are now. To keep moving and changing, we’ll have to readdress our spiritualities, even if it’s the spirituality of not having a spirituality.

Does art, or imagination, play a role in this new way of thinking?

Yes, especially fiction and poetry. Poetry is obvious to me: Poetry is a refusal of the world, particularly the names of the world and everything in it, as it is. Poetry demands things be said on new terms, on the terms of the poet first, and then the reader. A poet does not have to accept that a table is a table, they exercise understanding of that object as a relation to their own individuality, and write accordingly. Poets have been saying this for a long time, though not enough people have listened.

Fiction is important, though I wasn’t always so sure why. Once Daniel Pinchbeck asked me what role I thought novels had in the upcoming world (this was before 2012, of course), because he couldn’t see any. He thought — back then, at least — that they were a distraction. I love fiction, but it took years and years for the answer to arise. Now I see clearly that it cultivates compassion and vision. When I read, I have to co-create the world using the symbols in front of me, and in fiction, those symbols are of a non-existent world.

Co-creating the world with the symbols laid out in front of us: What could be a better description of what is needed right now? We need to see what’s before us, learn to read it, internalize it, and then create it by combining it with our individuality. Fiction that pushes on the boundaries of the real is what is most instructive, since what is “real” and “possible” is basically owned by people in power. So we need to start our training in the impossible. As soon as, um, possible.

Was Rudolf Steiner saying something about the Culture of the Current in his own way?

Rudolf Steiner, as your readers probably know, was a late 19th—early 20th Century philosopher, scientist, mystic, etc. He created biodynamic farming, Waldorf schools, and more, directly out of his spiritual-scientific worldview. He wasn’t a prophet, but he had plenty of warnings for us about our time, which was his future. His idea was that the world was going to be slowly permeated by the influences of something called Ahriman. Steiner thought of Ahriman as a literal being, and I think that’s a good way to consider him. But to describe in totally secular terms: Ahriman names the vast realm of materialistic impulses. The dependence on technology, the dampening of feelings, the belief that love is just chemicals in the brain, the idea that we’re biological robots. I mean, he pretty much nailed it long before these ideas were popularized. Not a bad warning. The thing he also said about the age of Ahriman is something I take to heart and that is present in my course: there’s no way to stop Ahriman from coming. There’s no way to stop these impulses from growing and growing. They will do so on their own, with or without our consent. What matters instead is how we meet these impulses. How do we move with them, and eventually redeem them?

Thank you, Conner.  

Facing the Present Moment: Quote&Special Offer #2

14 Jul

Every few days, I’m going to post a quote and a special offer related to my 4-Session online course, The Culture of the Current: A Workshop for Facing the World We Live in Now. The course has a limited amount of space and is mostly a labor of love and excitement on my part. I want to work with interested and motivated people on the problems of the present moment. Today’s quote is from anthropologist Bruno Latour . The special offer is below the quote.

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“Be not the one who debunks but the one who assembles, not the one who lifts the rug from under the feet of naive believers but the one who offers arenas in which to gather.”

– Bruno Latour

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SPECIAL OFFER: 30-minute 1-on-1 skype session

  1. Sign up for The Culture of the Current by Sunday, July 16 at 12:00AM PST
  2. Send an email to connerhabibsocial [at] gmail.com with the subject “LATOUR” and you’ll get a 30 minute Skype chat with me to discuss whatever you want. It could be a follow-up on the workshop, questions you have unrelated to the course, etc. 

Facing the Present Moment: Quote&Special Offer #1

7 Jul

Every few days, I’m going to post a quote and a special offer related to my 4-Session online course, The Culture of the Current: A Workshop for Facing the World We Live in Now. The course has a limited amount of space and is mostly a labor of love and excitement on my part. I want to work with interested and motivated people on the problems of the present moment. Today’s quote is by cultural theorist Franco “Bifo” Berardi. The special offer is below the quote.

FBB

“Today psychopathy reveals itself ever more clearly as a social epidemic…

If you want to survive you have to be competitive and if you want to be competitive you must be connected, receive and process continuously an immense and growing mass of data. This provokes a constant attentive stress…

(the effect is) devastation on the individual psyche: depression, panic, anxiety, the sense of solitude and existential misery. But these individual symptoms cannot be indefinitely isolated, as psychopathology has done up until now and as economic power wishes to do. It is not possible to say: ‘You are exhausted, go and take a vacation at Club Med, take a pill, make a cure, get the hell away from it all, recover in the psychiatric hospital, kill yourself.’ It is no longer possible, for the simple reason that it is no longer a matter of a small minority of crazies or a marginal amount of depressives. It concerns a growing mass of existential misery that is tending always more to explode in the center of the social system.”

– FRANCO “BIFO” BERARDI, from Precarious Rhapsody

SPECIAL OFFER: EXCLUSIVE WRITING

  1. Sign up for The Culture of the Current by Saturday, July 9 at 12:00AM PST
  2. Send an email to connerhabibsocial [at] gmail.com with the subject “FBB” and I’ll send you two exclusive personal essay vignettes about isolation. No one else has these; they haven’t yet appeared anywhere in publication.

New In-Depth 4-Session Online Course! The Culture of the Current – A Workshop for Facing the World We Live in Now

29 Jun

book!

One of my great ambitions is to create new models of education that work in and are relevant to the world we live in. To be honest, I was always a little afraid to construct my own long-term course. But after years of work, I’ve finally gathered the vision and confidence to do it. The Culture of the Current is my in-depth, intimate, interactive, and network-creating online workshop on creating a politics and theory of the present day. The description below will lay it all out for you (and I’ve included some photos of thinkers whose work I’ll be drawing on). It’s limited to only 20 participants and it’s going to be great. So read the description below and sign up here. Onward!

Do you get the feeling that something is off with our present moment?

Do you wonder if we’ve taken a horrible turn somewhere along the way to Now?

Are you mystified by the present moment and have no idea how, exactly, we’re going to move forward?

Maybe you’re tuned in to the “this changes everything” advances and stumbles of recent history. Some of these changes seem beneficial and hopeful: alternate forms of currency, 3-D printers, advances in medicine, accessibility to information and creative tools, and more. Others seem terrifying: climate change, growing political unrest, disparity in wealth, ethnic/racial/orientation inequalities.

While people of all eras have felt that theirs was a special one, that their challenges were

LM

Lynn Margulis, biologist

leading to disaster or utopia, something is unique about our moment:

No one seems to have formulated a theory or politics to deal with the changes and challenges we’re facing.

It’s clear that the old structures — our representative government, culture of consumption, scientific theories, religious impulses, etc. — aren’t up to the task. They’re relics, trying — and failing — to keep up with the pace of The Current we live in.

This intimate, in-depth, and interactive four-session online workshop is an answer to those problems.

Instead of waiting for a theorist, economist, or politician to lead the way, you’ll join Conner Habib and your peers in co-creating a theory of the present moment, and developing alternative frameworks for politics and philosophies of everyday life. This is an intimate course, limited to 20 participants.

Together we’ll investigate the most pressing questions of our time:

  • How are the social phenomenon and movements of our day — identity politics, the changing face of governments, internet connectivity and dissonance, environmentalism, and more — connected?
  • What would a theoretical framework that binds all these changes and challenges look like?
  • What does it mean to be human in an era when we have new relationships to space, time, identity, sexuality, and more?
  • How can we best deal with the challenges facing us?
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Bruno Latour, anthropologist

The course will start with introductions and Conner Habib’s broad but incomplete theory, “The Culture of The Current,” which will draw from multiple perspectives: scientific ones, philosophical ones, anthropological, occult, and sociological ones. Conner will talk about such wide-ranging topics as the relationship between citizens and their governments, sexual identity, privacy, mass shootings, selfies, and more.

Then participants will work with each other to develop their own theories, which we’ll eventually assemble together. 

In this course you will:

  • Demystify the noise and rush of events of the present day, and find a confident understanding of our moment
  • Push the boundaries of your thought and what’s possible for action and activism, as well as everyday life
  • Leave with developed ideas on the current moment and a new politics
  • Have exclusive access to 3 lectures by Conner Habib during the course and 60 days after the course completes
  • Get 15 hours of ineraction with Conner Habib and peers with similar concerns
  • Create a supportive network of peers to engage with in our tumultuous time
  • Immerse yourself in the writing and work of cutting edge thinkers who are working on progressive initiatives
  • Find pathways forward in our changing world
  • Get an exclusive essay, article, book, and film list of related writers and artists, curated by Conner

Your theories can come from wherever you want, so completely different viewpoints, areas

FBB

Franco “Bifo” Berardi, philosopher

of expertise, and interests are more than welcome. When the world is in such a dramatic flux that it no longer seems real to us, then nothing is off limits, not even the unreal. No one will be “right” or “wrong” so there’s no pressure to create a totally complete or perfect theory. This is a class of cooperation, not competition.

Each group will present their thoughts, and then we’ll move on to creating viable paths forward: How do we now envision new politics? Philosophy? Art? Economy? Science? Anatomies? Religion? Interaction with the natural world? Creativities? Views of identity?

Most importantly, we’ll have a better sense of the answer to this question:

What will it take to enact a hopeful new current of politics and everyday life to flow in?

PRACTICAL STUFF:

DR

Doug Rushkoff, media theorist

The course meets four Sundays in a row, for three hours per session. There’s an intermission in each session.

There are readings which will be sent to you via email by Conner Habib. You’ll be expected to read a bit before the course starts, and then along the way.

This course will be fun, warm, and create a sense of community. It’s for participants who are serious about forming communities and developing real frameworks that address our present day. Participants are expected to: 

  • complete all required readings
  • attend every every session
  • communicate with partners
  • complete all collaborative projects on time

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and emergencies. That said, you’ll be generally expected to commit to all of the above for the duration of the workshop.

When you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email. About 10 days before the course starts,

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Rudolf Steiner, occultist

you’ll receive another email with the first reading and instructions on how to sign in. It just takes a few clicks, and it’s simple.

SCHOLARSHIPS

It’s so important to me to have dedicated and enthusiastic participants in this course, and I don’t want the fee keeping those people out. To that end, I’ve made two scholarships spots available, one for a full waiver and one for a half waiver. Since this course has taken me quite a bit of time and effort to put together, please only apply for a scholarship if you’re actually in absolute financial need and couldn’t take the course without it. To apply, send me an email and I’ll send you the scholarship application form.

SIGN UP HERE

Podcastmania!

10 Jun

If you want to hang out with me inside your ears (just let that be weird, it’s okay), you’re in luck!

I’ve been on a bunch of podcasts in the past few months and they are some of the best podcasts I’ve ever done. I’m not just saying that. People seem to be excited to talk with me about a variety of issues now, instead of just asking the basic porn questions, which at this point have become boring to me (and probably you, if you’ve been following along for awhile). So please listen and feel free to comment, and tell your fav podcast host to have me on. I love conversation.

Here’s a quick rundown:

First up, Rune Soup with the mighty Gordon White! I met Gordon through a series of synchronicities (that’s what people who aren’t crazy call “coincidences”) and suddenly, there we were, talking about fantasy novels (On A Pale Horse, for example), the problems of materialism in the occult, punk rock, and more.

You can click here to download, or just listen below.

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Sex

 

On futurist podcast The Singularity Bros, I got to talk stuff few people give me a chance to talk about, but that I love considering. Particularly: the end of work and why we don’t need jobs anymore. I also talked about the future of sex, dissed virtual reality and the occulus rift, and said Buddhist monks could probably fly. It’s good stuff.

Click here to download/listen!

 

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WTMatt Baume is the funny, thoughtful, and warm-hearted host of The Sewers of Paris podcast. I had no idea what to expect, and the episode wanders from topic to topic in a great, organic way. He’s an amazing interviewer. We start with The Superfriends and it all unravels from there. The book of spell I stole from my middle school library, the guys I wanted to fuck in high school. And at some point, I say I have superpowers. Click here to listen.

***

MiriamFinally, I got on Miriam Seddiq‘s podcast, Not Guilty No Way. Miriam is a criminal defense attorney and force to be reckoned with. We met via a scuffle on twitter. There were insults and jabs, and then we were both like, “But, um, why are we doing this, you seem awesome?” Not atypical for Arabs, by the way. There’s the fast and furious expression of anger followed by embrace and trust. We know how to do peace pretty well. Miriam is one of the only podcasters that said she researched me by watching my porn. Bravo to her. She’s brilliant, and I had a great time. It’s very, very conversational. Without the back story, you’d think we’d been friends for a long time.

You can click here to download or listen below.

Just a few days left to sign up for Pornworld, my online course on why porn is good for us!

2 Jun

Sign up for my online course + Q&A, Pornworld: Why Pornography Is A Healthy Part of Our Culture! It’s on June 5 at 1PM PST, only $15.00! If you can’t attend the day of, no worries, you get exclusive access to a recording of the entire thing for 90 days!

SIGN UP HERE!

Event! Pornworld: Why Porn Is A Healthy Part of Our Culture

17 May

barwithoutwatermark

On June 5, I’ll be giving a one-day-only live webinar with Q&A about why porn is good for you!

So take a break from watching porn and come hang out with me for  an afternoon. We’ll talk porn and hang out. And it’s only 15 bucks! If you can’t attend the day of, not to worry! Registration includes 90-day access to a recording of the course!

Sign up here!

Pornworld: Why Pornography Is A Healthy Part of Our Culture

People throughout the world have an uneasy relationship with pornography.

We love it! 

I mean, obviously we love it. With millions (billions?) of porn-content internet views per day, maybe some of you have even loved it today. Several times.

And we fear it. We hate it. It’s the subject of taboo, anxiety, and stigma. Porn is attacked regularly by legislators, religious fundamentalists, neuroscientists, and many feminists.

What that boils down to: Everyone is looking at porn, but not many people know how to stop feeling ashamed about their porn use, how to stop hiding it, or how to start enjoying something that brings them pleasure.

To bridge the gap between our porn use and our feelings about porn, we need to stop demonizing pornography and emphasize instead the positive functions porn serves in our culture. Why do we need porn? What’s it doing for us as viewers? What can it teach us about sex and sexuality, not to mention oppression, repression, and everyday life?

That’s why I’m offering this one-session live online course about what porn teaches us about sex, and the positive effects porn has had in my life as a viewer and my eight years of experience as a sexual rights activist and porn performer.  

In this course, you’ll learn:

  • What porn tells us about sex and sexuality.
  • How porn helps people in marginalized communities.
  • What makes porn porn, anyway?
  • How pornography can help us deprogram society’s harmful messages about sex and intimacy.
  • Why we need more open discussion about porn.
  • What being in porn is like, and why appearing in porn or doing sex work can be an act of positive civil disobedience.
  • And more!

The course starts with a live webcast lecture by me, and the second half is a Q&A, where I’ll engage with you and your questions.

Registration:

There are three kinds of registration:

INDIVIDUAL registration includes individual access to the course and the Q&A, as well as a link to a recording of the course for 90 days if you can’t attend. $15.00

PLUS registration includes the Individual registration, plus a 20 minute, one-on-one Skype (video or audio, you decide) follow-up meeting with me to talk more about the course topics, and ask to any questions you might have after the course is over (or that you feel may be more personal in nature). $65.00

GOLD registration includes everything in the Individual AND plus registration; as well as a list of Conner Habib quotes on sex; and a unique, personalized, short video sent from me to you. The Gold registration is limited to fifteen participants. $150.00

Practical stuff:

You must be at least 18 to sign up for this course. Signing up for this course indicates your statement of age.

When you sign up, you’ll receive a confirmation email. 24 hours before the course starts, you’ll receive an email from me with a link to the webinar and instrcutions on how to enter. The process is simple and easy. Just a few clicks.

For GROUP REGISTRATION (ie, more than one person in the room) please contact me at connerhabibsocial at gmail for a group rate.

If you can’t attend the day of the course, remember, you can always watch the course after. You don’t have to be able to attend the course to sign up or have access to the recording. And if you sign up for PLUS or GOLD registration, you’ll get all the follow-up perks as well!

WHEN

Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM (PDT)

SIGN UP TODAY!

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