Pseudoxology: You Can Be Free

The Pseudodoxology podcast from Kantbot is a unique artifact in this time.

Somehow, Kantbot and his guests again and again are able to disappear down history holes and philosophy holes, largely uninformed by our present moment. It’s not complete. It’s not total. Kantbot is never able to resist complaining from time to time about ways people act idiotic on Twitter, for example.

Also that ep with Indian Bronson was all very right now.

Still, by and large, Pseudodoxology just ignores the contemporary politics, which has all the urgency of a world that has realized aliens are getting set to invade from the skies mere months away when in fact other than a global pandemic honestly life is good and getting better, even if some folks’ is not nearly as good as others.

On Pseudodoxia, the guys just chat and ponder on. It’s refreshing. It’s like an oasis. But unlike a comic book or sci-fi or sports podcast, it’s not as if contemporary drama isn’t right at the edges of whatever they discuss.

But that’s not really my point. If you’re like Golem Radio and feel beset by the present, Pseudodoxia illustrates that it is possible to be free.

So that’s really my main point about the episode. I don’t have much else to say. I usually try to keep the posts on here like essays, where they should all hang together. They should have a beginning middle and an end. One whole thing, but the prior thing ended with the word “free” above and this paragraph is an intercalary between that the first main thing and another little thing.

The latest episode, the one that inspired this post: “Episode 34: Cybernetic Robinson Crusoe,” is Kantbot jawboning with Logo Daedalus, largely about British history, explaining how it informs the West, particularly Anglo-American liberalism as we know it. Kantbot keeps returning to to the novel Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe, journalist, failure, recalcitrant.

Robinson Crusoe, Kantbot says, is a book about a young man who disobeys his family and goes out to sea (to see?) and has all kinds of bad luck on the way. Yet he feels drawn to the life of adventure, yet deeply regretful about the sin of disobeying his parents. So, in Kantbot’s view, the story is both about how he uses his works, such as the work of developing the island he’s finally stuck on, as penance for his sins.

It’s heavy, on that level.

It’s much like, Kantbot argues, the book and movie The Martian, but only insofar as Matt Damon’s character in The Martian goes on adventures and uses his ingenuity to overcome misfortune. The Martian is superficial Robinson Crusoe, a little way out in space.

Kantbot breaks down why this matters. He said,“There’s this fun adventure aspect of it but there’s also a deeper element of it like psychological-spiritual development, subjective development, that’s going along with the physical development of the island. This is one thing that was missing from The Martian — not that The Martian matters but just as an aside why I didn’t like it — it dropped that part completely.”

With a sweet rejoinder, Logo jumped in, “You can say that’s really the change of neoliberalism though, right? That it’s all about the process and there’s really no internality to the subjects creating these processes any more, right?”

Pretty good, you guys, pretty good. This is how you can be too if you find a way to be free.