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Friends - This episode is a special episode of the Against Everyone with Conner Habib featuring writer, organizer, and artist Una Mullally for many reasons - but it’s special for you the listener because for the first time with the show, I’m extending the episode into some exercises for patrons of the show.
What do I mean? - On this episode Una and I grapple with a question that might seem counterintuitive but nevertheless is at the heart of what’s necessary for us now:
What if all the bad things are going away?
Put differently: Who are we if we are not engaging with the world in terms of struggle and the sense that we will inevitably fail and only confront another monster - but rather with the absolute assuredness that struggle is not what’s happening - Rather, that we are playing a part in the unavoidable and now unfolding process of the bad things going away? How do we play a part in all the bad things going away and the emergence of a utopian process?
So how does this play out for you the listener and how can you get involved in all this?
The episode is up today, obviously, and then by May 24, we’ll be posting a short recording of us offering two exercises that you can do right away to get involved in the utopian process.
The recording and the exercises are only available to patreon patrons.
After you’re done engaging in the exercises, you can send me or Una what you experienced by posting in the patreon posts or by using the emails we provide in that post.
In a week or so after that, Una will have a second discussion about your responses via the answers we receive. We'll be thinking with what you’ve been through, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve offered. We’ll also be talking about what we experienced when we did the exercises ourselves. That conversation will also only be available to patrons.
If you’re listening to this episode after May 2021, not to worry, the exercises and our discussions will still be up on our respective patreons, and available only to patrons.
Why are Una and I doing this?
We know there’s the potential for a question like “what if all the bad stuff is going away?” to sound preposterous. But nevertheless it’s where we find ourselves. In a world where dystopia overwhelms the narrative, there is but one true countervailing force - utopia. But the thing is, we don’t just want to countervail dystopia, we want to overcome it entirely. That’s why instead of talking about utopia as a state, Una and I talk at length about a utopian process. A new motion of thinking, willing, and feeling that brings about transformative directions in the cultural, political, and economic spheres.
We have both experienced the appearance of this, and I think many of you might be experiencing it too.
So, to recap:
1. Listen to AEWCH 151 (not mandatory, but it might help!)
3. Look on our patreons for the short recording of us discussing the exercises, posted only for our patreon patrons, by 24th. Follow the instructions given there.
4. Check back shortly after for our conversation and engagement with your responses!
Economics is changing. Culture is changing. Politics is changing. But also, time and space are changing. Consciousness is changing. Let’s get into the current.
Here we go.
ON THIS EPISODE
- What we were thinking about before, after, and during the pandemic
- St Patrick and the fairies as a portent of things to come
- The world as a fractal expression of the inner life
- Paralysis in the global crisis
- The role of volcanoes in our lives
- Black Lives Matter in a tiny town in Ireland
- The successive lockdowns and their themes
- Conner's foxes, Una's herons
- Losing who you were, understanding who you are
• For more on Una, listen to the first time she was on the show, back on AEWCH 87. Go to her website, or her column in The Irish Times. And here's the episode of United Ireland about imagining utopia in Dublin.
• I talked about my first memory - a dream - at a bit more length on AEWCH 90 with Amanda Palmer. And here's AEWCH 107 with Srećko Horvat where we talk about Mount Tamboura, the volcano which erupted in 1816.
• Want to watch the conversation I had with Heather Berg, Kathi Weeks, Cassandra Troyan, and femi babylon about sex work? Here you go!
• The book Una talks about with the scream being enough is Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today by John Holloway. "We start from negation, from dissonance. The dissonance can take many shapes. An inarticulate mumble of discontent, tears of frustration, a scream of rage, a confident roar. An unease, a confusion, a longing, a critical vibration." You can buy that book via the bookshop.org link above or get it free/online here.
• And here's the picture Una took of the hawthorn tree and the deer.
• It's not available in the US, but you can order (and have shipped to the US if that's where you are) Irish Customs and Rituals: How Our Ancestors Celebrated Life and the Seasons by Marion McGarry here.
• Here's the dancing handsome guy who totally inspired me. He's free. I love it.
• Please do sign up for this patreon or Una's patreon (or both!) to resonate more.