Show! notes

Episode 03 "Legacy"

My Fake Spirituality is something James wrote a while ago. So is Awakenings. More information at his personal website.

Mary Jane was mentioned. More information available here.



Mary Jane's death
James' abscess
Infections in the First World
Rita's cancer
Acceptance of death
Things you want to do before you die
Lots of things happening
"Take it one day at a time"
It takes time to grieve

Seeing friends again
Time passes and you don't keep in touch with people as much
Getting in touch with people you have lost touch with
Out of contact, people stop being who they used to be and you don't really know them any more
Investing in specific people
"The shepherd going back for the one lost lamb"
When people need you, they become top priority for a time
Transition from one burden to another when you stop caring for one person (e.g. Mary Jane's death)
"Beautiful thing to be able to suffer for a person"

"Through grieving you keep memory alive"
Dying person "like a library burning down"
Mary Jane's interesting stories
LSD freeways

"Eventually everything will be memories"
James' bad memory
Difficulty in recalling, processing the past
Kierkegaard's journal
Generating, accumulating words
Time consuming to look through and process
"A trash can of having too much"

They Might Be Giants story
"We have like, a million songs"
The curse of having so many songs you can't release a good one
Writing a million words

How can you remember your own material; how it was made?
Old stuff loses its "life"
Life of Pi, eating poop
"Your mouth knows that there's nothing there"
Hard to sing old songs
James' college songs about working through "spiritual, romantic weirdness"

James: Prospect of re-reading My Fake Spirituality daunting, interesting, but "don't want to go there"
The chewed-over parts of life
Final cause, purpose, defeated by efficient cause

Future self doesn't remember past self's writing background
James: Defer to past self in editing
Author changes over time
Memories change
"Not the same person as a few days ago."
"What do I know about suffering now that I feel relatively good?"
If you can access your own suffering, you can empathize, see suffering people
How to be poor in spirit, but have resources to help?

Alain de Boutton (sp?) on charity
Charity not just finance portion
"Charity is about understanding suffering in all forms, compassion."
Hard to have empathy
Charity doesn't require you to have the exact same suffering
At the root, we are the same: "Deeper reality, basic thing, 'I am someone who suffers', fellow-person with everyone.  'I am a desperate person.'"
Kinship the base 

American Pickers freestyling digression

Companionship vs. kinship
Companionship, direct presence
Kinship, logical connection, image
Christopher Hitchens bashing Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa: "It's cool to be poor"
Hitchens: "No, that's a horrible thing to say"
Devaluing other people's lives and experiences

More dignity
But then it's a burden on the person who takes it on
Always a side effect
Even if you use different options, a mixture of microfinance and other things, there will be side effects, collateral damage
"Those who receive seem lesser, inferior"
Relating to people as real people
Objectification of people being helped
Helping people can be more about power than love

We think God is all about bringing about world without suffering
What if atheists bring about a world without suffering, can they dispense with God?
What about spiritual gifts?
What if atheists used "genetic engineering" to make it happen?
What if atheists could engineer a life that worked out?
God is always elusive
Apophatic vs. kataphatic theology
"It's all true, it's all there, but I don't know it"
Continentals vs. analytics
Continentals, postmoderns destroy sense of knowledge
Analytics more kataphatic
How can you have the answers you need, without the arrogance of having too many answers?
Need a connection with mystery, but it can't itself become a formula
"Can't even explain answer in words, but the real deal is out there."

People crucifying themselves in the Phillipines
Does this really get the point, does it really produce empathy with Jesus?
Focusing on actual pain, missing what pain was for.
"Good works, effort in spiritual growth build a structure, at a certain point they gel, the Holy Spirit enters you and you live the real life, but then that wasn't it either and you have to fall and rebuild"
Fractal staircase
Temporary wholeness lets you work, get a vision for where you will eventually go
Compassion has to be a whole lifestyle
"If you're living your life right, you should be suffering like Jesus, going to your execution"

Going to San Jose
Eddie the Blade
Mueller College


Episode 07 "Hawai'i"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to salad edition of this episode.


Going to "church for young people"
Church hold onto people with people
Rita's death
Trip business
Rita's passing: Reaction of people at church
James' lack of reaction

Job change
Interview - academic-like instead of like in industry, where correctness doesn't matter as much
Corporate scale, easy to dehumanize coworkers, customers
Want to know customer, coworker, transition to smaller company
Interview for an "internal position", no contact with customer
Working on self, versus connecting with outsiders

Richard's ability to comfort people
Problems made up in their heads
"Easier to help other people who overthink because you don't see their problems as deep as they do"
"Maybe if we all help each other's problems, maybe everything would work out."
"Isn't that just what society is?"
Sometimes seeing super obvious things is beautiful
Confucius - "Really simple, really obvious"
If you slow down, realize there's way more there
The saying of "But everyone's like that"
"President Clinton lied."
"But every president does that!"
"Dismissive phrase to move conversation along, but isn't it interesting that every president lies?"
Amazing views, even in familiar city
Walking on Saturdays
Sun-Tzu's Art of War, source of axioms
Society, people helping people

East of Eden
Large family story, like Brothers Karamazov
Demons/The Possessed, by Dostoyevsky
Funny, sad, sad because it's funny to the narrator
East of Eden
Visiting Salinas
In the middle of a bunch of books

The Book of Strange New Things
Having your reality where you are, can't track people at a distance
"All he can do is send words"
With email you can't communicate silent presence
Silent restaurant business idea
"Not saying things is the right thing to do"
"If you say what you're feeling/thinking, it's no longer true"
Pauses become a word
Non-verbal communication
"The word conceals because it simplifies, reduces"
Label distracts from the reality
Online profiles: 10 words is you?

Buber reading (Beginning of first chapter of Between Man and Man by Martin Buber)
The dream of the double cry
(Interrupted call)
Summary (in case of copyright issues)

Hawai'i book by Sarah Vowell
Missionaries, colonialism
Biography of David Livingstone
"Coercion, attraction"
Intellectual colonialism/imperialism coercive/seductive
Attractive evangelism -- how do you live that out?
Evangelistic contact precedes commercial/political contact sometimes
Pandora's box
Purity of message delivery versus need to communicate the message

Hawai'i book 2
Missionaries stopped being paid, had to turn to commerce
Descendants of missionaries end up being the worldly elite
Puritans in America, similar generational change
"When we're young and idealistic, we make declarations, we care, but as we get older we lose that"
Weeds in field, cares of the world
Students, children are going to go their own way -- but how do you keep it so that the message will be transmitted faithfully?
Drift in ante-Nicenes
Desert Fathers went off to be monks in order to preserve martyr experience
But they could have kept being martyrs, being missionaries to Persia, India, etc
That which needs to be passed on: may not even be a set of beliefs

Hard to pass on ideas through generations, conditions change
"Persecution is the condition, let's crack down on ourselves in the desert."
Martyrdoms not the point of Christianity, metaphorical ones matter too, for that matter
Martyrdom a big part of Christianity: at least you must be willing to die
Full trust in God involves a willingness to be a martyr
Acts 20:22
"If you ever have the chance to be martyred, take it."

Other interpretations of Paul going to Jerusalem: a free ride; an audience with the emperor
Emperor a juicy target, power perspective (converting empire by converting emperor)
But also compassion on someone exposed to Satanic influences

Pray for president, protect him from Satan
Ultimately all the people in power serving... Satan? Or is Satan serving "lifeless power"
Buber on Napoleon: had no lust for power, was just logical, which gave him power
No one realized that power is empty, nothing
"Total devotion to causality equals you have no freedom"
"Buber: I've been somewhere other than causality"
"We just live 'No' to causality"
Escape that by relating
"Would rather not put that into words, but somehow words help"
Problems happen when we're too successful without loving

Churches of Christ
Presbyterianism minus the Calvinism
Legalistic, okay with that
People figure out there's a lot of power in the gospel, if you live it out (discipleship)
Happened in Churches of Christ (Boston movement)
Zealous, practiced confession, turned hierarchical
"Talk about love, clap each other on the back, but what was there if the religious thing wasn't there, would we still love each other?"
Deep down, didn't love each other
Hard to be a leader, you will become a leader

Something good turns into something Satanic
"Getting the sense that people get a little too excited about power of discipleship"
"Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees."
A message for disciples
Disciples Pharisaical after Jesus' ascension?
Pharisees, people into power and wealth, especially in religious forms, and didn't love
"'Sketchiness?' 'Unreliability.'"
James' explanation of "sketchiness"
"'Judge things by love' to cut through sketchiness."
"Realistic, mature love, is how you discern things."




Episode 09 "Monte Cristo"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to salad edition of this episode.


Richard update
Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation
In college
"paycheck vs. passion"
quarterlife crisis
Being tired

Tunnel out of Monte Cristo
Wearing shoes
Pet peeves with shoes
"Something that used to be good for you isn't anymore and you need to get 
  away from it"
Umbilical cord

Online adventures
What the Internet used to be like
Groups for atheism, Christian apologetics
"To what extent is ridicule essential for atheism?"
Feeling of plausibility shapes what is believed
Atheist culture of contrarianness

Philosophy club
Unquestioned assumptions
Constitutional assumptions
"You don't solve problems with power"
"You don't bring a gun to the philosophy discussion and win"
Assumption that "might doesn't make right"
"You can question anything."
Act of doing philosophy puts you in a mode where you're trying to 
  establish an argument.
Saying it makes it not true
"Show, don't tell."
"Live it, don't declare it."

Speechlessness in action
Online group: is it worth it
"Know all the limits to my knowledge, make me realize how little I know"
Poisonous spirits: "a certain kind of certainty"
"physiologically" includes spiritual states
False certainty, can't trust it
Making plans
"Not sure they make sense"
"Something will occur to me to probe again"
Problem of Evil, development themes promising

Philosophy club, composition
Regulars (grad students, club president)
Undergrads (extra credit, genuine curiosity)
Secular humanist/militant atheist vein
Skews atheistic, but there was a young woman who was a Christian there
Christians okay with getting opinion from other people, philosophy 
  "is about having your own opinion"
Christians think they have enough answers to go off of, move on to do 
  other things
Philosophy club costs a certain amount of time per week, campus 
  fellowship could cost that time
Philosophy happens in Christian circles as apologetics spread in 
  church circles
"Christians don't reach out to world because whatever craving they 
  have for belonging and friendship taken by the church"

Comparison of secular with Christian philosophy
Ex: discussion of autonomy
"No discussion of 'maybe autonomy isn't a good thing'"
Sense that a lot of secular philosophy is, deep down, covert 
  anti-Christian apologetics
Ex: talk about "transgender stuff"
Dehumanization at root of identity politics
Buber's "Love your neighbor as one like yourself"
"Seeing someone else as one like yourself makes all kinds of things 
"Who cares if they're faking it?"
"Why do we have to come up with an explanation of what's actually right or 
  wrong, why not take agnostic position?"
"No, we need this in order to go after the institutions"
Gap between need to have visible power and the need to work in spiritual world
Secular world works in local world, has to build up tension to work in 
  specificities, "overwroughtness" (overbuiltness)
Everything matters and nobody sees anything the same way, so the whole doesn't 
  say anything in a unified way
You've gotta make it happen because there is no God, no Holy Spirit, have to 
  solve things through a mechanical and industrial, Roman, "roads built out of 
  thoughts", instead of organic, through healing"
"All we are are children"
Otherwise you have the insecurity of having to be the adult.
The entire project (transgender thing) wouldn't be as big a deal to a Christian, 
  would take a different approach
The assumptions runs through the whole of secular philosophy and subtly reinforces 
  the implausibility of belief in God.
Getting things off one's chest
Value in revisiting the past
Relistening to podcast

Wrapping up episode, business
Adding SF trip
Annual trips to Northern California


Main page

Episode 10 "Naming"

Here are the scans of the handwritten notes we took while trying to determine the name of the podcast. You might want to have them open while you listen, as they may in some ways be of help in understanding what we are talking about: Page 1 Page 2

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to "salad" edition of this episode


Plan of attack
Extrapolate from what we already talked about
Church history
State of the church
Social justice
Modern socioeconomic conditions
(Sense of deja vu
Recovering a lost memory)
Self-development, exploration
Patterns, recurring themes
Nautical imagery

Danger of names, reductionism
Descriptive rather than normative
Name fits existing episodes
xkcd is a madeup screen name
Vague, broad name
Trying different names for each series?
Names can change over time
ex. This American Life used to be "Your Radio Playhouse"
Directories of podcasts?
Will listeners have a problem with name changes?

"The hosting question"
Internet Archive
Uploader name?
"Richard Yeh and James Banks"

Back to name
"Pilot Program"
"Is this real?"
(refer to written notes)

I, you, the world at large
I, you, them
The cloud
Yous become them as in electron cloud
How to make a name out of this diagram?
Dimension of time
Culture, development of church/non-church culture over time

How to make a name out of this metaphor
Bad startup names
Pilot Bay
Pilot Ship
"Don't open up podcast name to derision."
The Cloud of Unknowing
The Atomic Self

Top-down model of a house
Mental possessions inside
Yous at the window
The horizon of them
Inhabit a house
Buber: the you can sit right on the threshold (would even mess 
  with the way the house works).  Often, all you have is a "possession" 
  in the form of a you, the real you outside, nobody on the threshold.
You is inside or not
Making decisions is like photon slit experiment
Shedding Light
Fiat Lux

What's the destination for the pictures?
Goal?  Destination?
What about the them?
People showing a slice of who they are.
Cashier sees that "customer" slice
A bunch of "customer" slices becomes "The Customer"
"The Them is a product of urban life."
"Contemporary society intensifies this."
De facto segregation
Home tribe; everybody else you just see the little slices
Class/educational segregation -- "Tribalism"
Opportunity to connect with the Them in cities, but there's fear 
  which disconnects in cities.
Fear trumping love
Intensifies negative sense of Them
Too afraid to find out what people are like

More experience with people leads to more manageable cloud, or 
  less-cloudy conception of Them
David Wong, Monkeysphere
Taking a break
Testing audio
Bragging about Tascam
1 dimensional Them, 2 dimensional You
"You have to have some Thems, so how do you approach them better?"
"Loving the them as them"
"Loving as in terms of patience, kindness... living in harmony, 
  but also changing stuff, dealing with evil."

Back from break
Better way to relate with them
Live in harmony with them
Dealing with system/culture
Social justice warriors fight the system
Fighting the Them... but the Them are just Yous
Mercy/compassion vs. law/justice
"Who do you really know?  How do you treat them? Seek out people 
  who are different to really know and love."
"Attack conservatives and patriarchal males as Thems, rather than 
  seeing them as Yous."
"People who are persecuted are radicalized, become militant."

Trust and love

Back to oppressed people group
"Oppressed group tends to get into tribalism"
"In-group constituted around outrage, have to maintain outrage."
"Can you be feminist, Marxist, libertarian, conservative, without 
Christianity has stumbling blocks -- only perfectly itself
Doesn't give you what you would want as a liberal, conservative
Ultimately, only have allegiance to it
Have to want it for what it wants you to want it for

What if somebody else saves the world, without Christianity?
There's something more than coming up with a society which is 
  compassionate and just
(Could there be a loving world without the Holy Spirit?  Maybe 
  just an equal and prosperous one.)
Star Trek

A name:
Them.  End goal.
Relate with Them as Them.
Loving the Them.
Them live.
The You and the Them.
The Them: an It is a Them that is You-ish?
"The ocean is a drop and the drop is the ocean."
Loving the Cloud.
"Them, plus confusion, uncertainty."
"Have to love the cloud before you can get out of it."

What would it be like to change the size of the I?
Would you seem bigger or smaller, or would everything 
  else change in proportion?
As you become smaller, does the Them become scarier?
Humility is not "the answer"
Can you make the Yous bigger in and of themselves?

Podcast roles
(Book from SJSU library about radio)
Is "Loving the Cloud" used?
Alternative names?


Main page

Episode 12 "Eliduc"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to "salad" edition of this episode


Getting away from home
"Media talk"
Recording test
Episode 2
"Gets good an hour in"

Lais of Marie de France in general
"Courtly, wise, worthy, brave, beautiful"
Love leads to adultery
Quasi-solipsism "This is everyone's life"
(Somewhat inexact) Plot summary

Eliduc 2
James: "Got the whole book for that story"
Becoming celibate out of romantic love appealed
Richard: "Courtly love: romanticized adultery"
Have to follow true love wherever it takes you
Love for people vs. romantic love
Do what's loving because you care about them rather than own interests or what you deserve.
Example of love shown could help people could change their lives for love
Life-changing love: romantic love vs. love-as-care
Random, brutal, chaotic, violating love vs. healing love.

Eliduc 3
Love stories neither comedic nor tragic
Irony of celibacy
Stories can develop into comedy, tragedy, horror, (etc.)
Eliduc turned into horror
Persona, by Bergman
Old wife becoming passive/passive aggressive, felt powerless, became a ghost, haunting the other characters
Not necessarily supernatural, just hanging around in some sense.
Werewolf story
Horror movie moral tropes
Real psychological horror vs. horror movies
Horror movies: bloodbath, slasher films
About judging people
Fear not necessarily the same as horror
Ghost vs. Lion, Freud
Ghost is uncanny, lion "kicks in adrenaline"

Stirner, spooks, Geist
Ideas are real
Seeing archetypes play out in real life, bigger than the person being dealt with
Ghost in the back of your head, deep in consciousness
Do ghosts exist as physical(/ish) manifestation of a some supernatural being?
Reality as a tree, we're into leaves, we're ants, reality goes way down, made out of wood and sap, goes down into the earth
Ghosts as elemental psychological force scarier than serial killers

H. P. Lovecraft
Tries to depict the undepictable, reduces cosmic horror
Speechlessness connected to horror.
Attractiveness/aversiveness of horror/awe
Algernon Blackwood "The Willows"
Lovecraft names his gods, Blackwood doesn't
Vague, mundane description produces less of an image, less of a visual concept
Beauty, of landscape and beings, awe
Fear, cosmic horror too

Going Clear, The Master, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology
1950s embraced Science, Progress
Hubbard captures psychological reality in "psychological folk art"
N-Grams like powerful, archetypal memories stored in the body
Purge them to become enlightened
Purging self of desires
"Coming to terms with something in your past" basis of mainstream therapy
"Purging of N-Grams/memory could lead to physical healing"
Placebo effect
Like a trainer

Vigorous exercise unnatural
1 hr of exercise, the rest of the day sitting
Modern day manual labor unnatural
Wears people out
Farm work, construction wear people out young
Gym could be more natural than that

Distribution of wealth
What to do?
White-collar worker $50k/yr income
Cut back to $20 or $30,000 a year
Leftover to give to charity
Thinking small and short term
Can focus spending for greater long-term multiplicative effect
"Every trend is messed up and weird"
Long term more in why is it that the other white-collar workers aren't engaged?
Decent amount upper-middle
A lot of money in >10% of income
"The rich are a different breed." vs. moderately susceptible to influence, susceptible to popular culture
The filter on culture "You can say anything you want in a movie and you won't really change their attitudes"
Friendships -- are rich people totally cut off socially from the culture at large?
The work of you as a cultural worker, not just white-collar income earner.
Everyone (almost) has friends, can work on that level.

"Starving Children in Africa" the phrase
Can bandy it about, but ignore actual meaning of it
"I" to "you" to "them" to "doesn't even exist category"
Not natural to take people as human
So, we have to be unnatural
World's major religions want us to have unnatural/supernatural ability to love
"Goal we can aspire to"
Beginning to begin
Try to get yourself to desire even if you can't desire
Universal love an emotional rather than rational idea

"Universal love said the cactus person" by Scott Alexander
Sidebar: Neoreactionary movement
"Get out of the car"
"What button do I push?"
Stuck in paradigm of reason/rationality
Can't really achieve ideal, but you have to feel it

We don't trust emotions, presupposes that the universe is not loving
But if you presuppose the universe is loving, then emotions are more trustworthy
They Might Be Giants' song, "No Answer"
David Foster Wallace "This is Water"
"How's the water today?"  Young fish don't understand
"What's it like to be alive?"
It depends, like a Buber idea
Feeling of being in control, being found in your own power
Feeling of being lost, lost in love, found in love?, contrast between "found in power" (Buber's "I-it"?) vs. "lost in love" (Buber's "I-Thou"?)
You were alive thousands of days, only died one of them, so many things went right in your life

Cloud-like trustings of openness, security trust
Openness to learning, sense of things working out
"Most people have those trustings"
Makes more sense if the universe is loving
Impersonal "How do we get personality out of the impersonal?"
Loving "Why don't things work out the way that we want them to, would consider loving?"

Humans have the same psychology due to human nature
Common starting point, in that way the world is one
Gives us empathy
Pragmatic "You have your story about neurons, I have my story about God" but look at these people!
How do you change human nature?
Eventually we're going to have to do some genetic engineering to change human nature to make life on earth work
Amputating part of someone's brain
Messing up connection to supernatural part of person?
Engineering away capacity to feel anger, e.g.

Pharmaceuticals already kind of do this
Idealism vs. Materialism
George Berkeley ripoff
All is consciousness, "physical reality" virtual reality
Real reality has no essential connection to physical reality
Not sure if that's true though
Don't worry too much, God will achieve his purposes
James: "I take bipolar drugs affecting how I experience the world"
Slippery slope, at some point have to put foot down

"It's getting late; any last topics?"
Exercise craving a sense of stress, kills stress, gets rid of stress
Engage impulses that kick in when you run from something
Releases neurochemicals
Little things to change moods
Moods effect how we approach the world
Japanese princess game [ed.: Long Live the Queen]
Affecting moods affects the options of what you can do or say
Upstream the mood, downstream all kinds of other things
Engage in disciplines to shape how you approach the world
Exercise, lifestyle choice
Ex: accepting minor tokens of poverty
Ex: Mass transit in San Diego
Ex: CD alarm clock that glitches out
Ex: Prayer
Irrational, but that's great
Tuned to other people
Petitionary prayer
Sidebar: My Fake Spirituality
Reasons to seek God: grace, reality, devotion, you love people

Wrapping up / Business
Evangelion next time
Absolute Terror Field
Live stream
Recording at San Diego State

Main page

Episode 14 "Zeus"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to "salad" edition of this episode


Philosophy Club fiasco
Resource depletion, thinking while hungry
"Think, fast, wait"
Reading while hungry
One-Dimensional Man
Food coma
Fillingness of Chipotle burritos vs. initial hunger level
"Inadvertent advertising startup"

Hunger, part 2
Hard to focus in class
Richard's intermittent fasting in college
Losing weight
Consciously aware, empathetic to hungry person's need
"In the short term it makes me more focused on my own hunger"
Skill to learn: physically hungry and connect with external world
Training at altitude
Cost of hunger on skills, even if you don't feel hungry
Lower capacity, clarity of mind
Lose some Mhz/Ghz, gain focus
Lower volume of thought output, maybe think better
"Go back and forth between periods of fasting and not-fasting"
Involuntary fasting
"Empathy for people through fasting?"
"Not my motive, but a good idea, intersectionality of resource depletion and compassion"

Consecrating things
Protestants don't understand it
Observance of Lent
Reasons for Lent/asceticism
See if you can live without something - self mastery
Focus thoughts on God - pious, direct relationship with God
Compassion on people who are hungry - relationship with other people - not emphasized as much
Empathy in Lent toward Jesus, in his sacrifice
The man who is God
Bridge between pious connection and connection to human beings

Jesus walled-off from human beings, mythical
Jesus' Really Long Day
Kinship with Garden of Gethsemane, crucifixion
Assuming mythicalness of characters makes them mythical

Jesus came in the flesh
Living Jesus' life
Disciples look forward to dying as Jesus did
"Look at Jesus as not unattainable"
We only sin in how we don't choose to not sin, same starting place as Jesus
The 5 Whys
The root sin might just be not turning yourself over to God to clean you up, lack of trust in God

East of Eden
Story of Cain and Abel
Story of brother who kills brother
Cain kills Abel out of jealousy and anger
Fears that God loved Abel more than him
Fearing that you're not truly loved for who you are
Anger arising from rejection
Cain had the opportunity to take mastery over sin but may not have understood exactly how
You want the shameful thing to not exist, get rid of reminders
Have to own the past
"So few easy answers"
Easy answers:
Rag on yourself all the time
"Kill your brother"
Pretend like nothing happened
Completely forget
Apologizing or making light, in the right form, but without the right spirit
Takes maturity to not do that, Cain didn't have that
Cain didn't have to kill Abel
Do well
Don't have to be ashamed of the past because you've learned what you needed to
Praising Cain and Abel story
Rich myth

Cain and Abel in East of Eden
Translation of timshel
"Thou mayest"
"Do thou" vs. "Thou shalt" vs. "Thou mayest"
Choice vs. trusting identity
If you believe "thou shalt", "thou may" and you will fullfil "do thou"
Buber's translation of "Love your neighbor as one like yourself"
Steinbeck could have mistranslated

"Do thou" "Kantian" deontological duties
"Thou mayest" existential
"Thou shalt" deterministic, "final cause"
Philosophical shadings of language in the Bible
Philosophical content
The Book of John, epistemology
"God is love"
Levinas, Buber, Heidegger
subject-object relations vs. intersubjective
"being present in totality to each other"
Two subjects relating to each other, not objectifying each other
Heidegger about ontology, being
Deep down being isn't personal deep down (???)
Buber, reality is personal, deep down (???)
Levinas, ethics comes before ontology
Intersubjectivity prior to ontology?
Dharmic: "Universe made out of love, compassion. So, love should precede all being."
James: Buber in between Heidegger and Levinas, just unify being and love, from 1 John
Not "ethics is God"
Not abstract force
How Can We Love? and Awakenings follow John

James: Berkeley influence
Outside the universe, spiritual beings including us, outside of that: question, personal or impersonal?
"Is reality fundamentally loving, or not?"
Problem of evil speaks against reality being loving
Could be not just in terms of justice/injustice
What does fact of suffering do to human capacity to believe the universe is loving?
Jewish friend goes to Poland, has ability to make sense of things in general compromised

"Not often given the opportunity to judge people" [misspoke?]
"When's our next judgment of God session?"
Religion about day-to-day experiences, during and after life
Emotions from great pain, suffering are personal
Great pain could disrupt faith
Richard: was blithe toward Problem of Evil
How much evil does it take to invalidate existence of omnibenevolent deity?
Arguments against religion can be emotional, because religion needs to be emotional

"People of faith connected to a reality beyond this physical world"
Emotions, intuitions, conscious states are connected to spiritual world
Conservative atheists, egoists
The vibe of conservative atheism: George Will
Max Stirner
Nietzsche - conservative or not?
Liberal atheists, humanists
"If you have a heart and you don't believe in God, you will feel emotion about here-and-now suffering"
Generous-hearted, liberal
Christians can be blithe because of the "greater reality", afterlife, Day of Judgment
Caring atheists: "You don't have faith, you just don't care"
"Jesus wept"
Things not worth getting afraid, maybe not angry, but worth having compassion, weeping, doing something

Dharma, Karma, real force in the universe of "ethics preceding ontology", moral force aware of good and bad acts, which will sort things out
Universe is not immoral in most religions, ethical logic, calculus
Human beings have traction on things, can do things that can bring about salvation
Heresy?  Faith is a work.
"You should hear and you should obey"
How could you ever know what transcendent reality is?
Anxiety of being alone
Is it God or is it Zeus?
"Zeus engineered my divine sign"
May not matter, as long as Zeus is powerful, loving enough
But what if there's a bigger god/alien than Zeus who's a bad god
Fates rule in the end
If reality is ultimately impersonal, you'd better be selfish
How can you create a trusting, trustworthy society without faith that you will "end in love"?
Two worlds: Worldly
Siddhartha as Max Stirner's "Man of the world"
Hovering anxiety pushes you egoistic
Levinasian atheism, stringent moral demand, but, strain of suspicion, as in Stirner
Union of suspicion, everybody is to be suspected
Everybody is suspicious of everyone, tries to take advantage of everyone
Suspicion ruins relationships, as in Othello, betraying out of suspicion
Pharisees' "men of this world" suspicion
Connection with a reality that's more intense, real, than fear, anxiety, suspicion
Fear of losing touch with reality
"What is the nature of truth/reality?  What filter to use?"

Suggestions for next time?
"If there's something in your brain, it will come out"
Bad and good
Mascot: cloud-shaped ghost



Main page

Episode 17 "Gestation"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to "salad" edition of this episode


Career changing
James: Caregiver job, bedbugs, book, applied to "major retailer", new intellectual project
Parents support, "cool with intellectual stuff"
Desire to connect with people, have a relevant message, work on day job good for that
How can you work a day job and still have something left over to give?
Didn't want to break flow of work

Richard: job about income, material concerns now or later, time and effort, able to devote to writing if you don't work


Sometime in the 21st Century
Feeling a strong negative feeling
Not about bedbugs
A strange weariness
Dispel a mood
Mood motivates words to come out
Words that can be put into intentional story
But in this, left unintentional
Met someone at open mic, put her in as character
A novel, but with noise
Taken over different days
"ebb and flow of me"
Richard: interruption in the middle of the day, how would that affect?
James: Not a lot of cases of that.  Cases of being intentional.  Intentionality jarring.
Out walking, write one little vignette, then another, these not in the same flow as the main stuff
"The thing that's more intentional messes up the art more.  But art's intentionality, I tend to think."
"Or is art just to express yourself in the moment?"
R: "Your project is against intentionality?"
J: "It is an aim to be anti-intentional, but it is intentional."
Phone conversation, unedited, and unself-conscious, then maybe you've escaped art
"Anything I write will be artistic"
Having some idea of a story, for more intentional parts
Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion, News from Lake Wobegone
Didn't read it until finished
"Looking forward to discovering what's in it."
"It becomes outside myself."

Richard's writing
Journaling, record-keeping
Creating snapshot of mental state
Looking back later "nostalgia machine"
This is art as intentionally unintentional
James: "Art is foundness."
Choosing an object to put us in the found place of appraisal and consumption
Overly intentional, outside art for its own sake, get propaganda or advertising
Propaganda of "we want you to consume art"
The vibe and culture of consuming art
"Kick back for 2 hours in front of the TV, read this novel in a week."
The cultural project perpetuates the lifestyle of wanting peace, kicking back
Even disturbing art keeps you in foundness
"Something fitting about" what you see, even disturbing things
Podcast discourse mirrors writing style of both James and Richard

Archaeology of old notebooks
Typing up old notebooks
Prayer journal
Seeing some of the same stuff happen, same problems
Digression, loop trail
"Departing from one point, returning only a little bit further along the path."
History, memory, going back and seeing that there's different time periods
"This too shall pass."

History student friend
Zakhor, Jewish historiography
The Bible is historical, about the nation and what happens in it, about God's dealings with people in history
But then historiography stops in later times
Not making history is an option you could do as a people for hundreds of years
People in different times having different assumptions and making it work

Richard's take on history
Personal archaeology
A lot of cyclical themes
Plans remade weeks later
The idea of "this time it's different"  
No bubble in the market this time
James: Repentance and return
Parallel with remembrance
Repentance is a practice
Remembrance is a purposeful action
Remembering well helps ground in identity
Remembering the law leads to repentance
There's a momentum, you come from somewhere which causes you to go toward somewhere
As soon as you forget your purpose, you're in a place designed to lead you astray

Sheep get really distracted
Captivated by stuff and wander
Universal, near-universal nature of humans
"In the moment we thought we really wanted to solve problem, but weren't really focused, dedicated to tracking problems"
Shepherds, perhaps, have sustained attention on something
Border collies genetically disposed to herd
If they don't herd, "they know they're not living their purpose"
Richard: no shepherds, really
Famous "greats" had a lot of focus, beyond typical social norms
Being able to sustain focus, continue along the path of intentionality
Note of caution on focus:  different ways to be focused, could produce bad as well as good shepherd
Sociopaths focused on their ambition
John 10.  The bad shepherds don't come in through the gate.  "I take it to mean they don't go by the way of Jesus, not becoming like Jesus."
They come to steal kill and destroy.
Also says there are hired hands.
Need to be trustworthy to enact role of good shepherd, else you're a bad shepherd
"I need to change, this is the direction I have to go."
When young, not as urgent to become a good leader
But most people become parents and have to be good leader
Leading your friends

I-thou trusting
Close enough involvement with the same person over time, together, don't know where necessarily, but going somewhere together.
Being on the same path
A leading, a progression
"You and I bounce off each other in such a way that we create this new thing, the individual elements of each of us interacting with each other in a new way, emergent, a mutual path, a form of leadership."
Drawn along with someone on a path you don't trust
Breaking paths
"Any social structure posits a horizon"

Talking with friends about inner state, asynchronous
Similar inner states not really shared
If you share an external experience
"objective presence" type thing
Open mic night, movie
Often these experiences fade into the background
But sometimes...
(Story about fake blood spewing open mic performer)
Those experiences simplistic, mundane
The internal states, those places hard to talk about, intense, the real world
Ironically, hard to share
Difference between loving the person right in front of you and loving the cloud.  Connecting to kin, connecting to someone who was there for the communicable event.

"What is your definition of a friend?"
"Friend", loose term
Enjoy company, trust enough to hang out with
Impulse to connect
Lovers (non-romantic)
Well-being of other person over the relationship, a limit to loyalty
Lover and friend often the same
Lover is working toward bringing about complete trust and trustworthiness, a final harmony that is our final home, for everyone, make a place for everyone in that
Donating to charity communicates "Someone in America cares about you"
Give people hope and an acquaintance with love
Love is appreciation, you want the other to be who they are fully, in themselves
Lover has to cut off the friendship
Friend has to have ongoing relationship (maybe "punctuated equilibrium", though)
Friendship is an intention toward each other, or openness
Friendship should be able to weather separation
"Lover" vs. "true friend"
Terminology: true friend is a friend who is a lover, but a lover could be a professional thing
Colleagues, around them but you don't really connect
Rich, but not really friendship
"Love to allow people to reach full self, potential, ability to be what they ultimately want"
"To be a better friend, to cease to be a friend"
"If you truly love her, let her go." but don't think of that in the context of friendship
Friendship less intense, loose
"The Best Friend"
A person you really bond with, a cognitive muscle that exists toward that person, unless they're also best friends.
Hard to find a best friend.
Tends to bring in intensity.
David and Jonathan, may be a good example of that kind of "best friendship"
Can go a long time without a best friend

SDSU security vehicle?
Good to leave pathways to come back to
Richard found a new job
Hard to capture what that was really like
"Good to live a lot in a short period of time"
Jobs: it's about what you spend the bulk of your day doing
Societal intervention to make you be somewhere you don't totally want to be
Is this something that leads you in a good way?
Richard: James and Richard both in a similar place, content with where they are

New season
10 months

The Spoken Canvas

Main page

Episode 18 "Victorian"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to "salad" edition of this episode


Gaining sharpness and energy, in exchange get slowness and distance from outside self
Short naps better
Sometimes that works
Sleep -- lapses in consciousness
When sleep and wake up, new person

Victorian era
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Victorians into promise-keeping, doing duty
We notice change in sexual mores, but not in promise-keeping mores
Keeping a promise even if it makes something hard for somebody else
Vox article (Sarah Chrisman (sp))
Living Victorian lifestyle
House, clothing, furniture, etc.
Re-enactors like the ethos / aesthetics of being
Victorians made things themselves
Recap of some of Wives and Daughters
Even "lazy characters" work all the time

What would you learn from living lifestyle of Victorians?
Going through the same motions of riding a pennyfarthing, making clothes would convey some of the spirit of the Victorians to the re-enactors
Seeing how hard it is to do physical tasks
Physical rhythms
Ritual helps teach empathy for other ritual-doers
Process of connecting with ritual:
Maybe then consciously bring to mind connection with ritual-doers through time
James' church's communion ritual
(Prohibition, church history)
"You have to get in the saddle, ride the horse"
A spiritual discipline, week in and out
Church is both a discipline and where the content matters
A lot of church is just, being in a group of people, not, what was the sermon about?
Small, unintentional rituals
"Dividing over the color of the carpet"

"We should have organs"
"We shouldn't have musical instruments -- except the piano for tempo and pitch."
A capella
"... plus clapping ... and beatboxing."
What do specific aesthetic qualities mean?
A capella music, simple and dry
Not as in your face emotionally
Organs can have powerful bass
"Expensive way to make a draft, but a cheap way to get people to have an experience of God."
The organ says something about God, a specific something
Communion: "A cheap way to get people hors d'ouevres, expensive way to forgive sins."
Communion: cannibalism?
Bread can be a daily walk, not just about sacrifice
Contemporary vs. traditional

Not vivid and obvious
Contention about being "too spiritual"
"Authenticity can be traded on the exchange of vividness and obviousness"
Consolation addiction
The consolation tends to be the reward
What do Mom and Dad mean to a 4 year-old
Beautiful, but also "Mom buys me toys"
I really like these toys
You love your parents for the gifts they give you
Do you love them for who they are?
Your parents love to give nice things to you
God would provide all your needs
But you need to learn to love for real
"God says" "I'm real"
How to become real?  Deprive them.
When they call for help, don't answer.
Desolation, if open to it, in a good way, leads to more good, less of the remainder that's "pure evil"
Too much consolation in church music
Have to connect with a lot of people only through feeling nice
What is there other than consolation?
In the end, you will be consoled, right?

Goal of spiritual life to be consoled at all times, at some level
Even in heaven, final harmony, can't have cutthroat competitors, still games with winners and losers
A certain kind of desolation in the midst of heaven
Tears of apprehending beauty?
Getting lost somewhere?
How do you get to a state where you're not addicted to consolation but you could still have it?
Like food addiction
Consolation as the nice thing that's the aftereffect of the objective thing that's deeper
Having some mental hangup resolved (therapy) makes you objectively better off
Sometimes subjective feelings are the reality (depression)

Culture of, psychological health is the highest good
How much are we willing to sacrifice for that?
"Is this a world in which we should feel good about the overall state of things?"
"If there was a right way to feel bad, be obsessed, might that be better in the short or medium term?"
Why are we so unwilling to take on other peoples' suffering -- in a way that helps them?
Alleviating suffering can get in the way of spiritual maturity.
"It's worth it to die, to suffer -- so it's worth it to live."
The "yoke" is a metaphor for a set of teachings.
A discipline the disciple wears.
They still have to pull stuff
Trusting the Master who says to seek first the Kingdom and "all these things will be added"
Learning to love God, become happy to suffer as long as you have him
There's stuff more valuable
More consoling for there to be something more than consolation
"If you want to be happy, stop aiming at happiness"

"Are you expecting to be consoled right away?  Or use it for a higher purpose?"
"How long can you wait?"
Intensely negative things can seem eternal, for a moment
In intense pain, a moment of abject nakedness
Could turn out to be a transformation to something good
Could lead to a permanent mark or disability

Discussion is abstract
Different approaches to pain and suffering
Hard to tell stories
Mary Jane's suffering
Couldn't believe in God because she couldn't trust her own feelings
Her lack of self-trust through suffering
Not cynicism, not a spirit of cynicism
More like disability
The length of a depressed phase
Check your own life
"What's my account of pain?"

Connection between doing the difficult thing and not being addicted to consolation
Keeping promise through thick and thin: to live, to be faithful to God, to get through things
When life is nicer, we don't need to rely on promises as much
You need people to keep promises
Not as much margin of error
Losing value of honor over shift to modernity
One more word: "Nihilism"

Outro and trailer

Main page

Episode 19 "Website"

Here are show contents broken up into timed segments. Links are to "salad" edition of this episode


Heart-shaped cloud
iTunes page
They did send the email

About page
Could get earphones
"What do we do on the podcast?"
Talking about everything
But "everyone" talks about everything
Need more of a concept
"Personal podcast about everything"

Bio page
Personal website
Goop tangent
Time delay
Long lines?

Back to About page
The various things that are or are not in Loving the Cloud, in varying amounts
In general, more about humanities topics
Cultural stuff
"life, love, and literature"
Not being too specific

Expansion of "Loving the Cloud" term
The podcast itself is a cloud
"Clouds all the way up"

Review of About page
Dead air
Competitive world anti-dead air
Aesthetic value to dead air
Reflective silence
Filling in with music
James' favorite podcast (Kings Podcast)
"Kids" having fun, using soundboards
What other people were like when they were 19
Groups of young people have very specific sets of things they're into

Adding graphics
Open clipart library
Putting stuff up forever (Kings Podcast on Wordpress, LTC on Neocities)
Distributed hosting
Show notes
Salad version

Prior episode
Worship at James' church