Rebel Wisdom

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Elon Musk, Twitter, Free Speech vs Moderation. Jim Rutt & Aaron Rabinowitz

In one of the most important developments in the dynamic between big tech, free speech and media in many years, Elon Musk is buying Twitter for $44bn.

Much of the commentary online has devolved into the predictable political shouting matches, and there has been very little engagement with the key questions that this brings up about the nature of moderation, of how to create healthy dialogue and what problems Elon will have to wrestle with in taking Twitter forward.

Jim Rutt is the former head of the Santa Fe Institute, and has been involved with online communities since the birth of the internet. He believes that Elon has not fully wrestled with the problem of moderation that he will be taking on with Twitter, a view he explained in his new piece for Quillette, 'Musk & Moderation': 

This is a sometimes robust debate and disagreement with Aaron Rabinowitz, a moral philosopher and host of the Embrace the Void podcast. Aaron has spent time wrestling with these same issues, in particular in a famous experiment he ran during the Trump election of 2016 when he created a completely unmoderated discussion group, called Monster island: 

Check out Jim's podcast, the Jim Rutt Show: 

And Aaron's podcast Embrace the Void: 

The War on Reality, Mary Harrington & Paul Kingsnorth

"This is like The Matrix written from the point of view in which Agent Smith is the good guy, isn't it?" — Paul Kingsnorth

Mary Harrington and Paul Kingsnorth are two of the most intriguing thinkers we’ve featured on Rebel Wisdom. Despite substantial overlap between Paul's concept of "the machine" and Mary's idea of "luxury Gnosticism", they have never been in dialogue with each other. 

This was a fascinating and wide ranging conversation where Paul and Mary pushed back against the modernist fervor for transcending the limits of the natural world — they want to remind you that meatspace is not going away, and that it can be quite lovely!

Mary and Paul are returning soon to the Rebel Wisdom Digital Campfire to talk more about this topic, asking the question, 'What Do We Do?'. To join that conversation become a RW member: 

Check out Paul's newsletter 'The Abbey of Misrule': 

And Mary's work for Unherd: 

The State of Heterodoxy, David Fuller & Meghan Daum

This is a conversation that was originally posted on Meghan Daum's 'Unspeakable' podcast as 'Talking Sense Into Sensemakers'.

David and Meghan talk about their shared history exploring the 'heterodox' space over the last years, and their impressions of what needs to come next.

Unspeakable podcast: 

The Agent in the Arena, John Vervaeke & Jonathan Rowson

John Vervaeke is a cognitive scientist - a good friend of RW - and the creator of the cult hit - awakening from the meaning crisis series.

A couple of weeks ago he travelled to the UK for a series of talks - and we took the opportunity to film this excellent dialogue with the philosopher and chess grandmaster Jonathan Rowson, the co-founder of Perspectiva.

They cover a lot of ground, including John's passion for transformative speech - or dialogos, questions like the existence of God, and much more.

We had our own brilliant event with John - which is listed as a member film - and you can see by signing up for our Substack newsletter: 

John's YouTube channel: 

Jonathan's project, Perspectiva: 

Suburban to Subversive, Alex Kaschuta

Alex Kaschuta is the host of the Subversive podcast, where she hosts controversial thinkers exploring the 'post-liberal moment'.

She used to work in media in London, where she described herself then as a classic rationalist atheist and feminist. In the last few years she's moved back to Romania, become a mother, and has been exploring more traditionalist perspectives, in her life, and through the conversations on her podcast.

In this conversation with Rebel Wisdom's David Fuller we cover her recent journey, and how it mirrors many others making the turn from rationalist to traditionalist, and what that says about the cultural time we find ourselves in.

Alex's Subversive podcast:

Criticism & Online Gurus, Chris Kavanagh

Chris Kavanagh is a cognitive anthropologist, and the co-host of the increasingly popular and influential podcast 'Decoding the Gurus'. This is a podcast that critiques many of the new breed of public intellectuals, including some who have been featured on Rebel Wisdom.

Together with co-host, psychologist Matt Browne, they analyse the methods and messages of what they've described as 'secular gurus'.

This is an important conversation, about the necessity of criticism, of what counts as good and bad faith, and how truth seeking gets warped.

It's a controversial project for many, and in this conversation, Rebel Wisdom's David Fuller puts many of those criticisms to Chris directly. 

Alongside this video, David Fuller has written a detailed and exhaustive analysis on Substack, highly recommended to read:

Also referenced in the conversation are:

An earlier recording with Chris 'Criticising the IDW':

Chris's presentation of the 'Gurometer' at The Stoa:

Peter Limberg's 'Memetic Tribes of Culture War 2.0' piece:

My Journey Over Ukraine/Russia, Konstantin Kisin

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is now over a month old. Konstantin Kisin is a comedian and the host of the Triggernometry show, he is also a Russian immigrant with family in both Ukraine and Russia.

In this conversation with Rebel Wisdom's David Fuller he talks about his emotional journey over the course of the war, and how he has struggled with the way the conflict is portrayed in some areas close to home.

The Art of Difficult Conversations, Sara Ness

How can we relate authentically in a world that's tearing itself apart? What skills do we need to truly understand perspectives that differ from our own, and in turn, how can we invite people to consider other ways of thinking? 

In this conversation with authentic relating superstar Sara Ness we go from the personal to the cultural, asking how do we have a different kind of conversation; one that isn't about winning, but about authentic connection that takes us somewhere new.

We are launching a course with Sara starting on 5 April called 'The Art of Difficult Conversations', where we’ll give you tools to help you resolve some of the biggest communication questions of our time. For example:

“How do I even start talking about my perspectives and ideas?”
“Why does every conversation I have about current affairs turn into a fight?”
“How can I relate with people who don’t make sense to me, and don't want to hear me out?”

Check out more details on the course here:

A Contrarian View on Ukraine/Russia, Samo Burja

How will Russia's invasion of Ukraine shape the world for decades to come? Samo Burja is a geopolitical expert who has developed a reputation for bucking the conventional wisdom. 

In this conversation he makes his predictions for the future, explaining how he believes we are misunderstanding Russia, how China is playing an economic long game, and the lessons from history in understanding what will happen next.

Bismarck Analysis:

Check out Rebel Wisdom's deep dive newsletter on Ukraine:

Putin’s Religious Mission, Gary Lachman

What are the deeper religious and philosophical currents informing Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine? 

Gary Lachman is the author of the recent book 'The Return of Holy Russia: Apocalyptic History, Mystical Awakening, and the Struggle for the Soul of the World'.

In this conversation he argues that we have to understand the deep well of Russian philosophy and understand how Putin sees himself and Russia's historic mission.

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