James Howard Kunstler – The Geography of Nowhere | Legalise Freedom

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James Howard Kunstler – The Geography of Nowhere

March 15, 2018

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James Howard Kunstler discusses his book The Geography of Nowhere – The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape.

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First published in 1994 but sadly more relevant than ever, The Geography of Nowhere traces America’s evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones, and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots. In elegant and often hilarious prose, Kunstler depicts America’s evolution from the Pilgrim settlements to the modern car-centric suburb in all its ghastliness, adding up the huge economic, social, and spiritual costs that the U.S. is paying for its gas-guzzling lifestyle.

It is also a wake-up call for citizens to reinvent the places where we live and work, and to build communities that are once again worthy of our affection. Kunstler proposes that by reviving civic art and civic life, we will rediscover public virtue and a new vision of the common good. “The future”, he says, “will require us to build better places, or the future will belong to other people in other societies.”

The Geography of Nowhere has become a touchstone work in the decades since its initial publication, its incisive commentary giving voice to the feeling of millions of Americans that their nation’s suburban environments are ceasing to be credible human habitats. We examine what has changed during the intervening years and ask, in the shadow of looming political, social, economic, and environmental crises, whether anything worthwhile might be salvaged from the wreckage that America’s suburban sprawl must inevitably become.

Previous interview with James Howard Kunstler:
Too Much Magic

Bumper music: Cliff Martinez ‘Traffic OST’
John Foxx And The Maths ‘The Machine’
Kraftwerk ‘Autobahn’

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John Michael Greer – The Retro Future: Looking to the Past to Reinvent the Future

February 18, 2018

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John Michael Greer discusses his book ‘The Retro Future – Looking to the Past to Reinvent the Future’. To most people paying attention to the collision between industrial society and the hard limits of a finite planet, it’s clear that things are going very, very wrong. We no longer have unlimited time and resources to deal with the economic and environmental crises that define our future, and the options are limited to the tools we have on hand right now. ‘The Retro Future’ is about one very powerful idea: deliberate technological regression. Technological regression isn’t about ‘going back’ – it’s about using the past as a resource to meet the needs of the present, and maybe the future too. It starts from the recognition that older technologies generally use fewer resources and cost less than modern equivalents, and it embraces the heresy of technological choice – our ability to choose or refuse the technologies pushed by corporate interests. People are already ditching smartphones and going back to so-called ‘dumb phones’ and land lines, and e-book sales are declining while printed books rebound. Clear signs among many that blind faith in progress is faltering and opening up the possibility that the best way forward may well involve looking back.

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Thomas Lombardo – Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution

January 6, 2018

Thomas Lombardo

Thomas Lombardo discusses his book ‘Future Consciousness – The Path to Purposeful Evolution’. We stand at what many consider to be a pivotal juncture in human history. Just as technological advancements race ahead with digitization and automation changing the face of society at breathtaking speed, so too we face unprecedented economic, political, social, and environmental crises. In response, many of us attempt to ignore these pressing problems by simply shutting down, lost in the past or the future, the good old days or daydreams of better times to come. Meanwhile, practitioners in the burgeoning field of pop psychology urge us to live in the present moment, the only thing that apparently exists. Both mindsets, however, may prove to be psychological dead-ends.

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Ivelin Sardamov – Amused to Death: The False Promise of the Information Age

December 12, 2017

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Ivelin Sardamov discusses his book ‘Mental Penguins – The Neverending Education Crisis and the False Promise of the Information Age’. Sardamov draws on key findings in neuroscience to explain decreasing attention spans, a crisis of curiosity, and waning interest in and knowledge of complex social issues in the United States and around the world. Attributing this trend primarily to the effects of information overload, ubiquitous screens, and constant access to the Internet, he argues that chronic over-stimulation generated by the current socio-technological environment fosters addictive tendencies in today’s young people, many of whom will graduate from profit-driven universities both mired in debt and unprepared for life in the outside world.

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Joanna Demers – The Sound of the Apocalypse

November 2, 2017

Joanna Demers

Joanna Demers discusses her books ‘Drone and Apocalypse’ and ‘Anatomy of Thought Fiction’. The idea of apocalypse is truly ancient. Although the word essentially translates as a revelation of knowledge, today the term is commonly used in reference to end-time scenarios or to the end of the world in general. Almost every culture and civilization has or has had its own apocalyptic tradition, often believing the end-time already begun and the end itself imminent. Whether self-inflicted or supernatural, cosmic or divine, apocalyptic thinking infuses all corners of culture. From the mysteries and meanings of religion and art, to our beliefs about the past, present and future, and the values which guide how we see ourselves, others, and the world at large, the dread of impending doom never seems far away.

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Brendan Howlin – Modern Druidry

September 19, 2017

Brendan Howlin

“Have you ever thought that there must be a better way to live your life?” In his 2014 book ‘The Handbook Of Urban Druidry – Modern Drudiry For All’ and its 2016 follow-up ‘The Urban Ovate – The Handbook Of Psychological Druidry’, Brendan Howlin holds up a lens through which you and I, if we so choose, may reconsider the path that we are on. Distracted by rampant consumerism, browbeaten by scientific materialism, and fearful of a hostile world apparently plunging into chaos, a corrosive malaise is upon us in this still-new millennium, our lives stripped of meaning and purpose by superficial societies which deny the significance of either.

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Jay Dyer – Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film Part Three

May 24, 2017

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Jay Dyer discusses his book Esoteric Hollywood – Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film. Delving into the deep, dark and mysterious undertones hidden in blockbusters and cult classics alike, Esoteric Hollywood explores philosophy, religion, symbolism and geopolitics, and their connections to film. We probe the prevalence of cinematic propaganda and predictive programming in promoting an ignorant, apathetic, dumbed-down generation of compliant consumers concerned only with instant gratification, unable and unwilling to challenge authority or subvert the status quo. We break down some of our own personal film favourites and ask whether, in an era dominated by gaming and social media, movies are less influential on the youth of today than they were in the past.

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Doug Lain – Capitalism: Is There No Alternative?

May 10, 2017

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Doug Lain discusses some of the ideas in Mark Fisher’s book Capitalist Realism – Is There No Alternative? It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. After 1989, capitalism has successfully presented itself as the only realistic political-economic system, a situation that the bank crisis of 2008, far from ending, actually compounded. Fisher’s book analyses the development and principal features of this capitalist realism as the lived experience of our everyday lives. Using examples from politics, film, literature, work and education, it argues that capitalist realism colours all areas of contemporary experience, is anything but realistic, and asks how capitalism and its inconsistencies can be challenged. For Fisher, spiralling rates of poverty, inequality, depression, and disenchantment are warning signs that the system as we know it is in deep trouble.

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John Bunzl & Nick Duffell – The Simpol Solution Part One

May 4, 2017

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John Bunzl and Nick Duffell discuss their book The Simpol Solution. Energy crisis, fossil fuel depletion, wealth inequality, mass migration, economic collapse, environmental disaster, political instability, nuclear proliferation, terrorism – why are governments and major international organizations so hopelessly unable to solve our mounting global problems? The truth is, that in an age of globalization, free-flowing capital, and banking without borders, government hands are effectively tied. Regulations or other schemes which might reign in the worst excesses of business and industry are rarely enacted or even considered simply because they would lead to cuts in corporate profits. Taken with the fact that governments in general are adept at drafting bad legislation, often operate a revolving door policy with business in terms of recruitment, and are themselves hardly paragons of best practice when it comes to energy, economy, environment or any other stress point you can name, we face an apparently intractable situation.

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Dmitry Orlov – Shrinking the Technosphere

March 2, 2017

Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov discusses his book Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on the Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-sufficiency and Freedom. Over the past two centuries we have witnessed the wholesale replacement of most previous methods of conducting both business and daily life with new, technologically advanced, more efficient methods, but what exactly is progressive or efficient about this new arrangement is hardly ever examined in depth. If the new ways of doing things are so much better, then we must all be leading relaxed, stress-free, enjoyable lives with plenty of free time to devote to art and leisure activities. But a more careful look at these changes shows us that the rapidly evolving brave new world of gadgets, gizmos and constant connectivity is instead a metastasising matrix of manipulation and control in which we have become slaves to money and machines. Creeping ever closer to outright omniscience, the Technosphere is an emergent intelligence in its own right.

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