Author Archive

19
May

EP 043 Vinay Gupta on Survival and Enlightenment

I am, by temperament and experience, more sanguine about all of this than he is. I tend to think things will eventually work themselves out over time. My enlightenment experiences have been mild and pleasant; if mine had been as harrowing as his, I would probably feel as he does. As a technical note, there were some sound issues on our Transatlantic Skype call, which occasionally made it sound as though one of us was conducting the call while having a bath or as if we had ghost hunter-style EVPs from beyond the grave on the line. I apologize for these and hope they do not interfere with your listening enjoyment. Photo: Robin

15
Apr

EP 42 Camelia Elias on Clear Sight and Clean Cuts

Camelia Elias holds a PhD and DPhil and spent the last twenty years as a professor of literature, most recently at Roskilde University in Denmark. Recently, she escaped academia to start an online school, Aradia Academy, where she teaches cartomancy (card reading); that is, how to read—yourself, someone else, books, pictures, films, the situation, the problem, or anything else—without belief, emotion, preconceptions or other obscurations getting in the way.   She recently said, "Why is reading cards fascinating? Because their visual language allows us to bypass everything we know or think we know."   Boiling our conversation down to the keywords, we talk about: interesting—curiosity—dullness—belief—vastness—strategy—one cut—the present circumstances—"and yet"—concrete—psychomagic—Jodorowsky—Freud—Boom! (L to R)

29
Mar

EP 041 Gary Lachman on the Lost Knowledge of the Imagination

Today, I talk with Gary Lachman about his latest book, The Lost Knowledge of the Imagination. We discuss the need to balance the analytic "survival mode" consciousness of the external world with an older way of thinking that prioritizes the inner landscape and the imagination. We also discuss the necessity of creative outlets to regulate how much of the sensory world we take in and process, to open the valve all the way for peak experience and dial it down so we remember to do the dishes. I spend a good bit of the interview groping toward, but never reaching, the concept of a gestalt as a shorthand mental representation of external or internal objects. Some events do not pack down well to a gestalt representation, while others form

06
Nov

EP 040 Jason Fagone on Elizabeth Smith Friedman, Codebreaker

I used to see some amazing obituaries, often in British newspapers, detailing a remarkable life lived by someone who had worked undercover during WWII, escaped from Nazis, and gone on to live to a great old age. Frequently, these people were forgotten or never spoke of their adventures. Elizabeth Smith Friedman, the subject of Jason Fagone's new biography, The Woman Who Smashed Codes, is one of those rare people, though her story begins with a search for the true author of Shakespeare, runs through two world wars, includes a stint fighting gangsters and rumrunners (and the jealousy of J. Edgar Hoover) and the foundation of the NSA, and ends with more Shakespeare. It sounds like a whole series of detective novels rolled into one, yet Elizabeth was a real

24
Oct

Daniel Ingram has a successful career as an ER doctor, but he's best known on the Internet for being a meditator and meditation teacher. He's the author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: an Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book, which I first read about over on Scott Alexander's blog Slate Star Codex here and here. Daniel made some waves in the dharma community by claiming to have attained enlightenment as an arahat. On today's podcast, we talk about the different ways to assess that claim, what states and insights may occur on the way to enlightenment, and what to do if you get yourself into a spiritual crisis of one sort or another. We also talk about some of my meditative experiences and how to

04
Sep

EP 038 Lynne Kelly on The Memory Code

Lynne Kelly is a teacher, science writer and anthropologist of oral and pre-literate cultures. Her most recent book is The Memory Code, which deals with the use of memory techniques including rituals, songs, dances, portable devices, and large-scale geographic features and built structures as memory aids.   She has conducted a series of experiments to replicate memory techniques from the classical memory palace to handheld memory devices such as the Lukasa to rituals and storytelling. Today, we talk about how several early and modern cultures have used these memory techniques, why Stonehenge and Chaco Canyon may have been used as memory palaces, and why they were almost certainly centers for an oral culture's knowledge economy.   As with our other conversations with anthropologists, it's helpful to remember the following guidelines: Do not

25
Aug

This is an unpodcast episode, consisting of a transcript only. Read the full interview over at bottlerocketscience.net. Today on Startup Geometry, we're talking with Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, authors of the new book Coming Alive. Since we last talked to them, they've been keeping busy with their highly successful psychotherapy practices, where much of their clientele consists of Hollywood creative professionals; running multiday retreats and seminars; and writing their second book, which deals with Part X, the self-sabotaging part of ourselves, the devil inside. When we're able to overcome Part X, we become more engaged with life, more creative, and happier. As one might expect with a discussion about inner sabotage, we experienced technical difficulties with the audio version of this interview. We were able to recover almost

06
Aug

Eric Obenauf founded Two Dollar Radio to publish daring, experimental fiction that wouldn't otherwise find its audience. On this episode, we talk about how indy and small press publishing works, the importance of having your own taste, and the art of branching out (Two Dollar Radio now makes films, and they're opening their new Headquarters store to be a hub for literature in the city and a cool place to hang out.

27
Jul

Stephen Buranyi writes about science and the socioeconomic structure of the scientific research system in place today. We talk about the joys and sorrows of being a scientist who has escaped the academy, how to pitch ideas for articles for general audience news publications, intentional and unintentional bad data, and the incentive structures surrounding scientific publication. My apologies for the delay effect on Stephen's end of the conversation. I like to think that it's because we were using Mr. Bell's original transatlantic cable. Show Notes and Links Stephen on Twitter Stephen at The Guardian "The High Tech War on Science Fraud" "Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?" Podcasts associated with both of these articles are available through The Guardian site. The Metaresearch Center at Tillburg University   

11
Jul

Jonathan Taplin is Director Emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. he was a Professor at the USC Annenberg School from 2003-2016. Taplin's areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese's first feature film, Mean Streets, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and