As a lifelong Trekkie, I really wanted to like Discovery. It has its bright points — an extremely diverse cast, a novel concept, and excellent production values (except for the dialog audio which *always* sounds muffled to the point of me needing subtitles). But despite — or perhaps because of — the heavyhanded attempts to portray the emotional bonds of the crew, I feel very little attachment to most of the characters, and only a passing investment in the plot. The showrunners keep ratcheting up the OMG DIRE STAKES AND THESE PEOPLE REALLY LOVE EACH OTHER but past a certain…


This essay will attempt to answer two interrelated questions: “why is capitalism?” and “how did it get so bad?”. To do so, I will apply and extend Moishe Postone’s interpretation of Marx’s analysis as a basis for understanding contemporary economic phenomena, using concepts from Lazzarato’s Governing by Debt. While so-called orthodox Marxism has limited applicability in the postindustrial, financialized phase of capitalism, Postone asserts this to be based on a misunderstanding of Marx’s theory. Instead of a transhistorical theory of economics, applicable to any system of social organization, Marx limits his analysis to capitalism as an historically-specific phenomenon. Postone highlights…


We’ve reached an unfortunate point in the discourse where disagreement is almost universally perceived as either a personal attack or an expression of being offended. This occurs across the political spectrum — the Centre and Right calling progressives “snowflakes”, the Left imputing malice and inflicting hostility on those not adequately “woke”. What’s worse, on my end of the scale — the far Left — conflicts in the details can overshadow shared goals, spurring cannabalistic infighting among natural allies. The result is political stereoblindness: the depth and nuance of any given issue are lost behind the first objectionable surface detail.

How’s this for a hot take?

A…


I usually try to be coy about my partisan leanings to appear neutral as “Vote Sign Guy”, but at this point, I’m offering a full-throated endorsement of the federal NDP under Jagmeet Singh’s leadership, with a nod to Elizabeth May’s Green party. The NDP’s centreward turn under Mulcair seems to have reversed, and they now present a substantive progressive alternative to the purple status quo.

…plus Jagmeet’s charming af

Throughout the campaign and in the debate last night, Singh was the only leader to repeatedly and proactively highlight the inherent problems of extreme wealth, and *specifically* refer to the poor. Trudeau and Scheer promise…


The news lately has not been great. Reports from the scientific community suggest that climate change is happening faster than anticipated. Major storm events, droughts, and flooding coasts are becoming routine. The Amazon rainforest is on fire. And now, some are suggesting that it is already too late to prevent catastrophic global warming. And yet efforts at preserving the environment are halting-at-best. With all this happening, it’s easy to become demoralized — helpless, fearful, depressed.

dark red/orange sunset behind tree silhouettes

When we talk about climate change, it’s mostly in terms of what’s happening — the damage being done and what can be done about it…


So, City of London, you’ve declared a climate emergency; good! There’s plenty cause for alarm — and besides, all the cool cities are doing it. It’s a bold and well-meaning statement of intent, but will you now do what’s needed? Are you willing to make sacrifices, and unflinchingly exercise power to address the problem? I’d like to hope this is real, but I wonder if you realize the scale of this commitment. If you are serious, then there’s no half-measures — and no going back.

It’s one thing to market yourself as environmentally-minded, but entirely another to actually be. Performative…


Despite the liberating promise of democracy, the wonders of modern technology, and the breakneck pace of economic growth, the pursuit of universal human emancipation seems to be backsliding. Social, environmental, and material problems continue to arise even as measures of progress suggest unqualified successes. And although these challenges are solvable, political will remains largely absent. In this work, I will argue that the core problem is ontological: the dominant worldview of capitalism impairs necessary modes of thought and action. To remedy this condition, new mental frameworks are necessary. …


April 19th marks the anniversary of the first LSD ‘acid trip’.

In 1943, Albert Hofmann was working to synthesise new drugs derived from ergot fungus. Days previous, he had accidentally been exposed to one of these chemicals through his skin. Being intrigued by the effects, Hofmann decided to conduct a self-experiment by ingesting what he thought was a tiny dose — 0.25mg. Very quickly, he’d realized his mistake; having taken what would be considered a *very* strong dose, the world began to melt away into a sea of swirling colour. …


It’s difficult to have a meaningful discussion when deception is so central to mainstream politics. Incumbent parties lie about how great everything is, and imply that anything outside status quo is dangerous. Challengers portray themselves as rebel heroes — only to pursue a slightly-altered sameness once in power. So-called progressive policy is actually centrism — an agenda that ensures the capitalist system remains stable to forestall revolution. But (modern) “conservatives” are the biggest liars of all; their electoral success depends on it.

Right-wing populists consistently position themselves as the representatives of fiscal responsibility and individual rights, but their policies always…


Sitting peacefully doing nothing
Springtime is coming
and the grass grows all by itself.
- Zen poem (Anonymous, as quoted by Roland Barthes)

In coming to terms with a postwork society, among the greatest challenges for the individual is the question of what to do with oneself. It seems, at first glance, a simple matter: “whatever I damn well please!” But as anyone who has spent significant time unemployed (whether by choice or happenstance) can attest, the limitlessness of possibility quickly becomes tyrannical. When the world is one’s oyster, time tends to slip away; there’s always more nothing to do…

Eric Shepperd

Social theorist and activist interested in psychedelic phenomenology as a vehicle for social change in the face of the global environmental crisis.

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