Michael died two days ago. I depended upon his guidance, as he was one of the smartest people on the Left. Michael gives a summary of his work and articulates a vision for our future. Drawing upon theorists many of us are familiar with, his message feels prophetic. This is a devastating loss for the Left. Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Thanks for sharing this, John. I was not previously acquainted with Michael or his work. He sounds like somebody who was onto our same wavelengths. A tragic, not yet post-tragic, loss. His idea of “cosmopolitan socialism,” for example, sounds like a cousin of what I’ve thought about as “a theory of everybody,” which would be like combining integral metatheory with particular compassion.
I also appreciate the title of Michael’s book, Against the Web. In the short clip, I heard multiple arguments and perspectives that dovetail with many discussions we’ve had here. I am going to order it. Perhaps we could read and discuss it in tribute. I also heard some interesting snippets of geocultural thinking that I would like to follow up on. The sub-title associated with Part 1 of “I AM THE SINGULARITY” is “Against Origins.”
An excellent idea. I will order my copy as well. Maybe there will be others who can find this a useful study? I imagine that we could go in many directions. What I loved most about Michael was his fast wit, his ability to catch the rhythm from the margins. I am glad you feel his vibe, too. He was a real comrade and we can feel , as we do with Mozart and Keats, what might have happened if he had lived a decade or two longer. But such great talents, even as we sense that lack of closure, may awaken many of us to persevere in the midst of great adversity.
Nice. I’ve ordered it. Well, it’s on backorder at the moment, so maybe there has been a surge of orders. It will hopefully arrive soon. We can ride the wave and set sails for Cosmopolitan shores…
I will order it on Kindle. I am glad that is a surge of interest in his book. He covers some uncharted territory. I believe you are a person who could make much good sense of his meta-theory.
It sounds like he had a nuanced view of Wilber’s work, seeing both the strengths and weaknesses of the AQAL model. That would have been an interesting discussion to have, if we could have had it. We’ll have to carry it on with the media he left behind. I look forward to my book arriving…
I think I love Michael Brooks. His passionate positioning is rare, a deeply honest intellectual and activist. I have been watching his cohorts continue with his mission and have been researching The Michael Brooks Show backlog. If I had been born just a little more to the left, I would be completely enraptured by his persona and the output he produced.
Yet I have a dilemma. I am a nomadic type able to stand my ground upon any ground; lay my head wherever and call it home. I am a political chameleon (yet always remain undercover). I am able to live in the belly of the beast and still survive in this strange, foreign place (Kentucky), hoping one day to make a lasting change in the perspectives of the narrow minded. How do I remain both within the conversation and without the conversation? My personal stance is to let your life lead and to leave the criticism to others. I have read Michael Brooks’s book and would much rather listen to him in conversation (though if we do find time to discuss this one, I’d love to join in). I found his book as solely an attack on the IDW which, in some circles of the world and YouTube, has considerable influence and probably needs a strong critic. Brooks clearly has and had a considerable influence on his audience and followers. But something is missing. His stance, and any stance that forms a deep cut into which waters shall flow, gradually move from dynamic to static.
I do know it is a powerful movement, this IDW and Brooks is right to criticize this group of individuals. And this power struggle is why I wanted nothing to do with it, only paying attention from the margins. Each of you taught me to take a step away from the vitriol of Sam Harris (when I first arrived here I listened to Harris’ podcast and liked some of his ideas; now I have nothing to learn from him). Each of you has taught there is much more out there than that of someone claiming the throne of the intellect. They had a few points and they took it into the realm of power. These are smart individuals tied to money and still voice that they are the ones fighting the man. But they too are the man, man. I have a personal conspiracy insight that the Weinstein brothers promoted the term simply to start a movement (for their own gain).
We are a truer form of the IDW. Our movement has nothing to do with Ben Shapiro and the IDW. Brooks and kin are in the business of kicking sleeping dogs but the problem is that all dogs are only asleep for sometime before they catch the kicker sleeping. Brooks was one to never sleep and kept the dogs of war on their toes. He was right all along because he was right there willing to take on the bites and barks. The far left of Brooks is an identity and to identify is also to form limits, gain a few blind followers and to sometimes miss the forest. I say all of this because I am still learning where and when and how to “take sides” on the issue. When I see that The Michael Brooks show spends time producing content on Ben Shapiro’s response to WAP, I know it is time to move on once again. It is a personal search and I mean no harm to your stance by my words. Maybe I bring all of this up because I often need help from the Cosmos in times like these to traverse this tricky terrain.
This is the political nomad that I have been and must continue to become. Wider and wider circles. Circle that are a few degrees from perfect, always and by forming more circles the arcs and circumnavigations meander more than ever while still retaining focus on those meaningful intents. Wherever I lay my head is home. I am both the problem and the solution. We nomads (lone wolves, content buddhas, children of nature, poetic shepherds) band together … monadic nomadic reverie. We are also sometimes oddballs, rulebreakers, outlaws, war machines. Our dreams are stuff that the world is made of. As I wander and dream, as we wander and dream, we will cross paths, we will split stale bread to remain nourished and we will share stories of our journeys.
Maybe this is an example of what we are up against: I sit and type while reading Rosi Braidotti’s book Transpositions on my laptop at four in the morning. I am spending the night at my grandmother’s house who had been caring for her son and needed immediate assistance after mixing up medications. A grandson caring for a grandmother caring for a son. (sounds like a Nora Bateson poem). I should be at home caring for my own children. A spider, leg lit by screen emit, a glimmer of string dangling in the periphery. I focus in and the spider enters full light, shifting from a glimmer to a dark body dangling, legs weaving a thread that may help the spider find its way back out of this mazelike path. I think about this for a moment and place this nomadic kin aside by pinching the strand and gently maneuvering it towards the edge of the couch. I am crouched between the couch, wondering if I am white or black, night or day, human or animal, here or there.
“They (nomadic subjects) express changes not of scale, but of intensity, force, or potentia (positive power of expression), which trace patterns of becoming.” ( Rosi Braidotti - Transpositions, p. 94)
It also sounds like a variation on Wordsworth’s The Child is Father to the Man.
I agree that Michael’s take down of the IDW was necessery, perhaps, but we could wish he had lived longer as politics dates itself very quickly. He was for Cosmopolitan Socialism, which our friend, Jeremy Johnson, is flowing with, too. We, on the left, are having to do a lot of homework. He was against being stuck in a sub-culture and he was for always working pre-mainstream. He was adroit and moved well on his feet in public forums, delivering through his scorn, some knock out punches. And some persons need to get punched out, like Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, who looks so obviously wrong after Brook’s analysis. The way to work with a bully is to smack them hard. He was willing to do that and I admire him for that. That he was over the top, sometimes, is true but his final words, show us the size of his heart, his love for justice, his compassion for everyone, even his adversaries . I often felt that some thinkers were distorting or deleting information and Brooks helped me make that explicit. The IDW is probably already over, and he was just shoveling dirt on their coffin. I no longer take them that seriously. Michael at 36 was way ahead of the curve. I grieve for him, as I mourn the loss of Chadwick Boseman, a great actor, dead at 43. Such good, beautiful men.
Good to see an update on this thread. Thanks, Doug and John.
After a few weeks on backorder, I did finally receive Michael’s book, “Against the Web,” a couple weeks ago and read it over the previous weekend. I have been meaning to return to this topic because I thought it would easily be worth a Café session…even though, personally, I never really felt under the sway or impressed with the IDW movement. I appreciated some of the contrarian POVs and attitudes, questioning dogmas of the left. But IDW arguments always felt reactive and shallow, lacking not only in empathy and but creativity and humor.
Michael’s polemic definitely clarified a critique of these thinkers for me, and could be edifying to review. I would be more interested in exploring the concept of “Cosmopolitan Socialism,” which to me sounds vaguely in the right direction, though it is not quite the open-ended future I feel most attracted to, which I think may require some new political categories.
My time has been squeezed lately by domestic concerns, but it looks like October will offer some openings. It might also be a good time to check in and work on some cultural somatics with respect to the upcoming US election. I did get a chance, too, to review the video on Healing White Body Supremacy — though I may not have the wherewithal to respond deeply on the thread. I am behind on many other things.
My takeaways were the importance of “settling the body” and carefully curating a safe zone to feel and express one’s deeper, subtler layers of experiential resonance. Almost all the time in that meeting was spent creating the conditions for the exercise. How would our politics change if we brought a similar embodied approach to our arguments about values and policies?
Brooks spoke of Cosmopolitan Socialism. Philosopher, Matt Segall, spoke of Libertarian Socialism. I have said before that Same-sex and Marriage, were once oppositional categories, with thick boundaries around them. That has changed due to the the evolution of language. I offer this personal reflection as an antidote to the tendency on the New Left to ignore the obvious. Just repeat something often enough it rewires the nervous system of large groups of people. This is why we must learn to better articulate what we want to have happen. The Religious right are often much better at this than the Left.
My Clean question for Michael," And what was Socialism before Cosmopolitan Socialism?"
My question to Matt," And what was Socialism before Libertarian Socialism?"
My questions are an attempt to model how we are evolving our political vocabularies, even as our politics are changing too fast for us to figure out. There is, as in the gay liberation movement, a strong aesthetic operating,too, usually under the radar, that is very influential.