(08/19/2023) A wide-ranging conversation between Arnold and Daniel of What Is Politics? concerning the prospects for social transformation in this dreamlike age of epistemic fracture. We talk about the impact of declining social cohesion on traditional modes of political organizing; whether the internet can do anything other than make people stupid and crazy; and how lessons from evolutionary biology and anthropology apply to our utterly novel environment. Somewhere along the way, we talk about the biology of the naked mole rat, whose societies resemble the “civilizations” of social insects; the Goldilocks magnitude of crisis, that creates political possibility without starving everyone to death; the methodological horror show of evolutionary psychology that talks about genes “for” complex behavioral traits; how the fragmentation of knowledge by academic discipline enables hierarchy; and how the inverse correlation between social dominance and social comprehension means its best not to use big words when talking to venture capitalists. A good deal of what is discussed here provides a problem statement for which the next episode provides tentative answers.
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