#240 Beautiful Trouble – crafting a political Alternative – and an independent Scotland – with Indra Adnan and Pat Kane

apple podcasts




you tube

The question of how we reshape democracy, walking the fine line between stagnation and populist rage – is the defining problem of our time – with a coherent strategy, we can shape anything. In its absence, we’re going to end up spinning in pointless circles, arguing about trivia while the world burns.

Indra is the author of The Politics of Waking up: Power and Possibility in the Fractal Age and Pat is a musician, writer, curator, consultant, activist and futurist and his substack is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to keep up to date with the ideas in our eco-system. The reason we’re here, they’re, Co-Initiators of The Alternative, which is a socio-political platform hosting #PlanetA: new ground to stand on for a flourishing future – and a daily blog and a forum, or perhaps a melting pot – for new ideas and new ways being. Acknowledging that the systems we are embedded in – media, economic, political – take our power away. The Alternative and Planet A ask us how we achieve the world we know deep down is possible.

You have to experience The Alternative really to understand what it is to explore ideas at the leading edge of our emergent inter-becoming, to think through the lens of cosmo-localism, to hold new truths of who and how we are and to frame radical new political options in this age of cardboard cut-out politicians spouting ever more stale lines that were out of date in the 80s and are certainly not fit for purpose in the third decade of the twenty first century.

So this conversation takes us deep into this territory. Recorded on the day after the EU elections, as France heads to the polls and the UK’s general election descends ever further into infantile name-calling and political posturing that no longer even pretends to be the adults in the room, it was – and is – really refreshing to explore ideas of what’s possible with people whose entire lives revolve around the concepts of emergent change.

In Conversation

Manda: Hey people, welcome to Accidental Gods. To the podcast where we believe that another world is still possible and that if we all work together, we can still shape the foundations of a future that we would be proud to leave to the generations that come after us. I’m Manda Scott, your host and fellow traveller in this journey into possibility. And this week’s guests are definitely fellow travellers running in parallel, if not scouting far ahead, as we look towards the possibilities that we would be proud to leave behind. This week we’re talking to Indra Adnan and Pat Kane. Indra’s a friend of the podcast. She’s the author of The Politics of Waking Up; Power and Possibility in the Fractal Age, and she was with us back in episode number 124. There is a link in the show notes. Pat is a musician with Hue and Cry, a writer, curator, consultant, activist and futurist, and his Substack is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to keep up to date with the ideas that are circulating at the leading edge of our ecosystem. The reason we’re here today, though, is that they’re both co initiators of The Alternative, which is a sociopolitical platform hosting Planet A; a new ground to stand on for a flourishing future. The Alternative has a daily blog and it’s a forum, or perhaps better a melting pot for new ideas and new ways of being. You have to experience being part of The Alternative really, to understand what it is to explore ideas at the leading edge of our emergent inter becoming. To think through the lens of cosmo localism. To hold new truths of who and how we are. And to frame radical new political options in this age of cardboard cut-out politicians who spout ever more stale lines, that were out of date in the 80s and are absolutely not fit for purpose in the third decade of the 21st century.

Manda: So this conversation takes us deep into that territory. We recorded it on the day after the EU electoral results came out, as France is newly heading to the polls and the UK’s general election descends ever further into infantile name calling and political posturing, that no longer even pretends to be the adults in the room. So it was and is really refreshing to explore ideas of what’s possible with people whose entire lives revolve around the concepts of emergent change. Andrew and Pat live in Edinburgh in Scotland, the country of my birth, if not currently where I live. So we did look a wee bit at Scottish Independence and how it might be an exemplar for the rest of the world, but we tried to keep this focussed on ideas so it didn’t become entirely parochial, focussed either on Britain or more narrowly on Scotland. Because we live in a global world, we have to change the entire global system. And it’s people like Indra and Pat who are thinking this through every minute of every day, that are going to show us the way forward. So people of the podcast please do welcome Indra Adnan and Pat Kane of The Alternative.

Manda: Indra and Pat, on this very interestingly charged, politically intriguing moment in time, welcome to the Accidental Gods podcast. How are you and where are you? We’ll start with Indra, this fine and sunny and interesting morning.

Indra: Yeah. Good morning, Manda. How am I? I am interested. Full of curiosity. I’m observing what’s unfolding in what is in the public space a really heightened moment. And I’m speaking from Leith in Edinburgh, where we’ve recently moved. Really enjoying the immediate environment here and thinking how appropriate, politically appropriate. And I’m sure we’ll go into that more.

Manda: I hope so. Yes, I have Leith envy, I have to say. As of last night, Faith and I were wondering where was going to be safe in the world, and I keep thinking that it would be lovely if Scotland were safe. But the only way Scotland is safe is if it’s not still attached to England. Anyway Pat, how are you? You’re in Leith, as we can tell. But how are you this morning?

Pat: I’m several degrees up from where Indra is in Leith. In fact, I’m in the room above. I’m in Leith because mentally I’m not in Glasgow for a period of time, I have disconnected from Glasgow just for the sake of a refresh. And how I’m feeling is as if it’s in one of those moments of history that people, historians in the future write about, as being on the cusp of something or being on the transition between two different worlds. And I’m kind of terrified and excited at the same time.

Manda: If we had a longer podcast, we would talk about what it was like to disconnect from Glasgow, because I’ve been out of Glasgow since 1984 and I still don’t feel disconnected from it. And I think it’s less time than that you’ve been away. But anyway, we don’t want to become a tiny, parochial Glaswegian podcast. This is a worldwide podcast.

Pat: No, please.

Manda: However, we are recording the morning after the EU elections where it looks like Steve Bannon has got at least a step in the way of what he wanted, which was a united, rightward marching Europe. Macron has just called an election in France, which I think is probably the only thing that he could sensibly have done in the hope of getting it over the line before the right really organises. But I think that’s, I would say, misunderstanding the degree to which the right is already extremely well organised. And then this morning, and this will mean nothing to anyone outside Scotland, but Douglas Ross has just stepped down as leader of the Scottish Tories. The Tories are now toast. That’s completely obvious. Where the rest of the UK, and particularly Scotland goes in this year, where 49% of the world is having some kind of an election.

Manda: Some of them have already gone. Taiwan famously managed to fend off a lot of digital assault by the PRC. Others have not managed to fend off the digital assaults. So already we have a number of areas we can go to. We’re in the middle of an election. Scotland is not England; I would like to explore that. I would like to explore the nature of the digital assaults that we are seeing, the general assault on our democracy, and the places where it could go if we were able to get the narrative out there in a different way.

Manda: So Indra, let’s come back to you. In your blog you talk quite a lot about the possibility of an incubator process that leads us to a different future. Can we begin with that and see where we might go, as opposed to where we’re actually likely to go? We can unpick the likelihood later, but let’s begin with the hope and the possibility.

Indra: Sure. And so much of the language that we’re obliged to use when we’re talking about elections, and talking about today relative to something else, that could be alternative to what we are experiencing today, it becomes very important. In a way, what I’d like to invite our listeners to do is to some extent detach from what is occurring in the public space. Not to completely let it go. You can’t avoid the reality of what is appearing constantly in our headlines and in our discourse. But to sort of locate in yourself, if you can, another part of yourself or another reality that might always be somehow present in your thinking and in your being. I like to describe them as a public space and a private space. There’s a public space self, the thing you’re obliged to witness, and then there’s a private self, which may be more to do with what you’re yearning for and what somewhere you’re hoping is possible. But these two things cannot quite easily connect. The public space we’re witnessing is really the demonstration of what we call the 2%. You know, 2% of people are members of political parties, and it’s their narrative and it’s their structure and it’s their power that we are obliged to witness playing itself out now in these general elections.

Indra: It’s extremely divided. It’s quite harsh. When you watch a general election debate, for example, everybody is obliged to act like gladiators in a ring. None of us can really feel comfortable in that space, and yet we still want our side to win. However, maybe like a football match, can you imagine switching that off and then returning to a more real world. Which might be the world where your friends, family, the community you live in are obliged to kind of get along, you know, want to be in good relationship with each other. Would like to overcome difficulties for the sake of the possibility of your friends, family and including the people you don’t know that live around you. You’d like everyone to flourish. You know that is really where we’d like to be in a possibility of flourishing. So what we’ve been doing for the last seven years with The Alternative is really trying to look at that as an alternative. You know, is there another reality that we can build on and really invest our human agency in, to replace if you like, or to at least offer something really different to people, about the future that we’re facing.

So the future we’re facing, let’s assume that’s called the poly crisis; meaning it’s environmental, it’s to do with social justice it’s to do with mental health. It all looks very dark, you know, and it looks darker from the point of view of the headlines than even from the point of view of our daily lives. So darkness is the thing that’s always beckoning. However, every day we have our own small victories around this. We overcome our own loss of connection with people, or we overcome our own pessimism. There’s so much that we can point at as if we really invest in this, we can overcome it. So then what is it that people need, and what is it that people could be investing in the bigger picture that really challenges this spectacle of the general election. It’s not only showing us it matters who’s going to be in Parliament in the next five years, but we’re now looking at all over Europe, this spectacle and this narrative about polarisation, which is really frightening. It’s a frightening level of polarisation, which we call the left and the right, and now we’ve got the extreme right. But also in the arenas of war, you know, we’ve got proper evil characters now who are doing real damage. And this is happening all over the world.

Indra: And then there is the spectacle, of course, the really overriding spectacle of an environment that is really properly deconstructing now. So what we’ve been observing, not only with real curiosity, but with real intention, is that over the last 30 years, this kind of very slow revolution has been occurring outside of what’s visible to the public eye. And this revolution has got at least three aspects to it. It’s the the growth of personal development in the light of the internet, what’s become possible for people’s personal development. The growth of community development; more and more people are beginning to revert to life at the community level, beginning to look for their agency there. And then also we’re understanding, in small bursts, what is the possible impact on the planet if this kind of return to connection between the health of the human being, the health of the community and the health of the planet were to become more prominent and become the dominant narrative. And then, of course, all of this enhanced by technology and in an ideal world, artificial intelligence too. Suddenly when you really begin to look at it with this lens, you see that there’s an alternative future for you to point at. Broadly speaking, we call this eco civilisation. It’s a very, very broad term.

Indra: But once you start to put eco civilisation into your Google, you’ll see that that term is actually taking hold in different parts of the world at a surprising pace. So if you could but turn your gaze away from the disaster that is being described by the dominant power structure at the moment, which you cannot avoid; I’m not saying that in itself is an illusion, because after all they are in power. If you can shift your gaze to another possibility and begin to invest in that possibility outside of the headlines. Discover yourself, discover your community, discover the potential impact upon your planet. You will find that there’s hundreds of thousands of people doing that already all over the world. And really, when we connect them up, they are already quite a significant force. Where we’re going politically with that and why he came to Edinburgh specifically, is that once that force really sees itself, becomes self-aware, becomes self conscious as a force, then it can be represented in Parliament. But only in a proportional system, because certainly in Westminster, you know, you could try your damnedest to register that kind of idea and that kind of movement, but the first past the post system wouldn’t allow you to become visible or to ever win a seat, to be honest, for too long.

Manda: Brilliant. Right. Yes. I was talking to Natalie Bennett of the Green party on an election special, andit will be out before this comes out. They’re looking at four seats that they think are winnable, in the whole of the UK. Which is horribly small, but it’s still three more than they had before. And I think their ideas are not so far off this, but even so, that’s not going to go up against a Labour Party with a greater than 100 seat majority. So Pat, what I’m hearing from Indra is an acknowledgement that we have Palaeolithic emotions and medieval institutions and the technology of Gods, and that this is not necessarily conducive to future flourishing of life on this planet at all. And I would say one thing that unites us, there are many things that unite us, but is a desire to see the continuation of complex life. You know, we are all the descendants of survivors of five past mass extinctions, but it has taken 64 million years to get us to here, and it will take another 64 million if we manage to eradicate complex life, this time around. The likelihood of that seems to me greater than it has been recently. So. How do you see the present moment? Would be question one, Pat. And then how do you see us navigating a way through?

Pat: Two parts to my answer. One would be to take the concept of cosmo localism and think about it intensely. Particularly the Cosmo bit. So the thing about the internet revolution is that it’s only just started. And so the potentialities for empowerment, for construction of projects, for measuring the complexity of mass opinion on a subject. I mean, Taiwan is one of the few places in the world that’s really beginning to go with this, but clearly not at a pace that we need. So the idea that the localism is parochialism, that localism is about not in my back yard defensiveness, I think is a busted flush. However, it’s a battleground at the moment. And certainly if you look at the post European electoral map of France, which is all the colour of right or far right parties; something has to be addressed there. The level at which it’s addressed is my key political focus at the moment. The reason why Indra and I are working on Spring and The Alternative is because cosmo localism would seem like a future form of human existence. We have the material power to shape our immediate environment, we have the we have the technology and the engineering and the willpower to do that. But we’re also planetary citizens. We also think at the level of planetary systems.

Pat: And I don’t think cosmo localism, and I don’t think many of the kind of political ideas of The Alternative are that far away from what one might call a sufficiently advanced anarchism. If anarchism wasn’t such a scary word. Social anarchism would be a more polite way to talk about it, slightly inspired by the work of Murray Bookchin. But really the big word that’s key here and I think does a lot of work and travels in a lot of directions is self-determination. In fact, another word: autonomy. So the forms of self-determination and forms of autonomy that empower 21st century people to be both in charge of their immediate material conditions and for that to feel ennobling rather than wearing and exhausting. But for that existence to be a planetary existence also, as enabled by international networks. That’s a real goal. And I think it’s a real goal on a number of tracks. One of them is about how people can be capable of citizenship and how they can have experiences of material citizenship, that allows them not to be hijacked by national or international political entrepreneurs and players and triggerers. So for a long time, we’ve thought that there’s a battle for the local and for the locally self-determining, which requires more than just keep these folk devils out of our existence and let’s pull up the drawbridge.

Pat: We think that there’s an argument for a different kind of localism that is also about embracing the future rather than defending against the future. But the other thing that goes on in my personal Pandora’s box is the way that to be in Scotland and be involved in the independence movement, is to have a belief, maybe foolhardy, that the system can meet the lifeworld, that top down can meet bottom up. You know, the establishment of the Scottish Parliament as the establishment of many national parliaments where they didn’t exist before, is a combination of the top down and the bottom up, of the legislative and the movements coming along and saying, we need this place to have power. We identify with this place, and we want the powers that be to help construct that effective power at the level of a national parliament. Although I want there to be political novelty and democratic innovation and I think that what is involved with the Alternative UK and Spring is about generating that. I always have an eye out, one eye curiously pointing in one direction, to how that meshes with state structures.

Pat: I mean, ideally the state is a partner to a vibrant, vital, social anarchist, imaginative, self-determining cosmo local society. And I think one of the interesting things about the fact that we’re here in Scotland, and Indra mentioned that proportional representation is a feature. Proportional representation in Scotland did not come out of nowhere. It was argued for by activists over decades. If we’re going to build a polity, are we going to do it in an optimal manner or in a suboptimal manner? And there’s enough pressure put upon for the proportional system to be there and for green parties to enter government, and maybe for other parties to enter government or have have a voice and influence as well. So there’s two elements: there’s an inspiring goal of how modern communities can avail themselves of their techno culture to live rich and full lives. And then there’s the question for me of political entrepreneurship at the national level; who is out to use the old media and the old narratives to capture people’s primal feelings and base feelings in one direction or another? And I think these two things sit very interestingly with each other. I would like us and people like us to be strengthening citizens. I would also like us to have an eye out and an ear out for how that can affect national reform, i.e for example, artists in Ireland have the universal basic income at the moment.

Pat: What’s the case for that? The case for that is the appreciation of the lifestyle of the artist, the need for freedom, but also the precarity. And the importance of arts for that society means that at the state level, they support the artists to generate beautiful trouble, healthy tumult and the society collectively, small society, small country collectively agrees that that’s what the state should be doing. Is they should be doing the job of generating unpredictable outcomes rather than predictable outcomes, because that’s an artistic life. So that’s an example of the relationship between the level of politics, at the cosmological level and the partner state. I would like it to be generating radical new collective settlements, but ones that don’t just come out of the mind of think tankers and PPE graduates from Oxford and Cambridge, but that are sourced by people’s experimental lives, at a local and graspable level. And I think that’s the kind of dynamic of politics that I’m interested in and that I think will strengthen the citizenry for a tough century ahead. And that’s a tough century on climate, on migration, on technology, on everything else. I hope that makes sense.

Manda: It sure does. So there is so much here that we could explore. We definitely have at least two other podcasts, if not more. But while we’re here, Indra, way back at the top, you were talking about taking ourselves to a different energetic level and experiencing the world differently and that being important. I would say for our Conscious Evolution and I think probably that’s where you’re heading. And that this is part of a cosmo local evolution of reality. So the first thing we need to do for people listening is explain what cosmo-localism is, because we haven’t done that yet. So can you give us that? And then let’s explore a little bit more deeply the energetics of how we become other than our tribal left/right old 20th century politics as a battle beings. Over to you.

Indra: So thanks for the question, Manda. And because it is such a huge question that you’re inviting me into, it’s like I’m looking at the black hole, you know, and can I disappear into this and take you with me?

Manda: Please feel free.

Indra: But I’m going to beg your indulgence, if you like, and just allow me to go with the spirit of the question rather than be overly scientific about it. Because cosmolocalism is not a word that we invented. It’s a word that we picked up really from the ether. There are other people who have not only worked out structures and systems of cosmolocalism, like Michel Bauwens for example, who have been much more focussed on the practical aspects of how do we really avail ourselves of the amount and the quality of information now circling around us all the time, from all over the globe, and land that in our local community. It’s the relationship between everything that is now available to us at all levels, but that we can, in practical ways, download onto our own computers, into our own heads, into our communities. This is the reality of cosmic localism. It’s really a contrast, as Pat was beginning to describe, not only to the idea of localism as being something small, but also that the revolution is a bottom up versus a top down phenomenon. Really, the revolution is moving into wholeness of everybody’s lives.

Indra: Each one of us that has access to a mobile or to broadband or to Wi-Fi, can begin to be connected to solutions and information that we could never imagine being part of our own responses to the polycrisis. But this is the world we now live in. So what is happening here in Edinburgh could be exchanged with what is happening, for example, in a small community in Mexico or in the USA, or in Slovakia in Eastern Europe. We’re able to compare notes about Cosmolocalism simply by getting on our screens, entering into a zoom room, and suddenly you have access to not only minds, but structures and blueprints and experiments that are going on globally. It’s very important to be living like that now, because if we don’t acknowledge that the kind of solutions that we’re coming up with in one part of the world, if we don’t acknowledge the impact they may have on another part of the world, then they’re going to be very partial solutions, and we’re going to keep on moving towards the cliff, environmentally especially. But that’s not only the case for environmental impact, it’s also the case for narrative impact. Meaning that if we’re not hearing how these things are being spoken about in China, in Russia, as well as in London and Edinburgh, then we’re going to lose sight of the inherently and essentially human aspect of the whole problem that we’re facing.

Manda: So can I interject there and ask a number of questions? First of all, is this happening? Are you having narrative and digital and communitarian connections with people such that you’re hearing stories of things that are happening elsewhere in the world, and if so, what are those stories? Because it seems to me, particularly watching the European elections and all the recent elections; I used to be a Steve Bannon follower, as in I watched him going around the globe. Steve Bannon, way back when Trump was still in power, committed 50% of his time to Europe and said Europe was his next big project. And I think last night demonstrated that he was very, very good at that. And part of what they’ve done is to stress-test their digital connections with each other so that the right across Europe is very well interconnected. They have a common narrative, they have a common strategy, and they have a common goal. And their goal is quite explicitly a white supremacist, patriarchal theocracy with the mores and values of the Middle Ages. They are pretty certain that the time when the Inquisition was in power was the last time that, as far as they’re concerned, there was moral rectitude throughout Europe. And they want to see that reinstated in a digital world. And they’re heading in that direction. They’ve got it pretty well locked up.

Manda: Given the concepts of cosmolocalism as being not the narrow localism of we only protect the people who look like us. You know, there’s an in-group that is defended but not constrained, and an outgroup that is constrained but not defended. And the outgroup is everybody else who doesn’t look or sound like us. Our Cosmolocalism is the whole world is our people, and we work locally with the things that need to be done locally, and we work planetary wide with the things that we can. But we’re not getting that narrative out there, partly because we don’t own the mass media in the way that the right does. So what I’d like to know from Indra, and then we’ll come back to Pat, is what kind of stories are you getting? And how can we express those in ways that will Land with the people who are being assailed all the time by narratives of scarcity, separation and powerlessness? Which is the narrative of the right that allows them to create the in-group and the outgroup. Does that make sense as a question?

Indra: Oh, it absolutely does. And of course, it’s a multi-layered question, but I’m going to for the sake of being on a podcast, and not necessarily knowing who’s listening in, I’m going to try and be as direct as I can about the problem and the solution. The problem as I can see it is that we don’t really have a strong alternative at the moment to the media that we are hopelessly being hijacked by all the time. And this media is a little bit in hock to the dominant system.

Manda: Quite a lot in hock.

Indra: It feeds off the dominant system. Plus it has a business model of the more we sell and the more numbers we get, the more we are going to be able to pay our employees. And what sells, Manda? What sells?

Manda: Outrage. Dopamine hits.

Indra: Fear sells. Outrage sells. Anything that jerks you. I mean, this is not something that we’re laying on people at large. I’m laying it on myself. You know, if somebody scares me or somebody threatens me, I respond. Whereas if somebody gives me something interesting to chew on, I might say I need to give myself a little space and I’ll read it and enjoy myself. But I need to give myself space first to take time with this. And the real battle in our daily lives is the fight for time and space to dwell on what is possible other than what is currently and constantly jerking me, triggering me, hijacking my time, my life. It takes a lot to decide you’re going to focus on something else.

Manda: So limbic hijack is a time hijack as much as anything else?

Indra: Absolutely. To me, time and space is the real politics of now. The fight for time and space. However, whenever you’ve done that and you’ve taken the time, whether you’ve taken the time to go and sit quietly in a room with a poem, a piece of music, a novel. Or just to speak to a good friend who makes you feel better. You get this feeling of, oh, goodness me, what was the problem? Why did I get so easily hijacked by that? You know, in my case, spider in the corner of the room. There is something else. There’s a lot more waiting for us if we take ourselves back. So for me, this is the core challenge of every human being, and I include myself. Take yourself back from your own public space. Create time. Remember what it is that gives you strength and hope and optimism. There’s a lot of evidence for this, that this works and that this is possible. Once you go into your daily life like that and you start to look for things that are evidence of your more optimistic outlook, you will find them, right?

Indra: So in our case, yes, of course there is the Steve Bannon’s of the world. However, are people aware of the growing not only narrative but scientific, geographical and ontological evidence that an eco civilisation is possible for us? Are people aware that the fear of artificial intelligence is more than mirrored by incredible possibilities of artificial intelligence? Are we aware that that person in our life who is really being a pain in the arse for us right now, actually, given the time to have a coffee or a drink with that person, you suddenly realise you knew nothing about them, and that there’s infinite depth in that person that you were writing off as either right wing or left wing according to whatever your political bias is. There’s so much that we’re going to gain from simply taking ourselves out of the fray, but not just for a moment, but to really invest in it. It’s like I’m going to consciously take myself out of the fray. I’m going to create my own alternative in my own daily life. And then I’m going to be able to see the result, as anyone who’s ever done this will know, it’s a bit like the yellow car phenomenon.

Indra: If you decide there’s no yellow cars, but I’m going to be the person who’s spotting yellow cars,suddenly you see them everywhere because you’re looking for them. And this is the same basic practice that we need to make real, not just for ourselves, but with groups around us, then with our community, then with the wider world, then in a cosmolocal way, linking up with other people. And then when you get to the point where you’re really seeing it happening everywhere, as we’ve been doing for over seven years, immense amounts of evidence that innovation is occurring cosmolocally, in human development, in community development, scientific development, in planetary development. When you really invest in that, then you have to add to that and this is the point we haven’t got to yet. The technology that can capture that reality, that can capture that certainty, that can constantly replay the evidence of that to people. Then you have the beginnings and an offer that might add up to a new politics.

Manda: Brilliant. And Pat, yes, come in.

Pat: But just to kind of say, how do we make that concrete? Well, doing something like a daily blog, turning that into a newsletter and having that run on taxonomies is something we would like many more communities to do. And what’s important here about the taxonomy is that a taxonomy is you deciding what is real and important, to you and your project. And you will gather information, you will see those yellow cars as appropriate to your agenda. Now obviously you can hear lots of klaxons going off. Well, that means everybody lives in their filter bubble and that means everybody just lives in their own world. We are as interested in slow truth as in fake truth. I mean, slow truth being how do you accumulate the knowledge that you need and the insight that you need? Not just the news, but the views as well. Not just the stories, but the research. And how do you put that at the service of what we would call a cosmolocal power, according to complex self-determination? I mean, if you want practical examples, I could read you this week or last week or the week before, but I’m looking at a project here this week on the Daily Alternative, AI for peace. Have you heard of AI for peace? You’ve heard of AI for war and AI for commerce, have you heard of AI for peace? Well you’ll hear it on the Daily Alternative. Another thing would be about looking at can novels offer power for individuality against official versions of history? Yes they can, I’m sure you would agree, Manda. But we think that’s news.

Manda: Definitely.

Pat: We think that’s news. We decide within our institutions and within our media related to our community that that’s important. I feel I am valued in my society, I can contribute valid ideas. I have something to share. Irish Artists report on the benefits of basic income. And on and on I can go. A friend, Edward Mueller in Costa Rica. If nature does not function, we do not exist. We depend on nature. If we learn from nature, we have a chance to move forward. There was a piece before that talking about how the battle to include humans in the term nature, when the term nature is used in research and journalism, rather than exclude humans from nature. I could go on and on and on, but the practice that’s the manifestation of what Indra’s talking about, as many can be direct work on the self. But it can also be I have the capability to create a world of an ontological epistemological world, using big posh words, through the available tool, the available media and communication tools, and through a deep dwelling on what kind of a working, functional, flourishing society that you want. So don’t bemoan the media, become the media, is still a very good and strong slogan.

Pat: But it’s not the only practice. And I think, again, one of the things that we are as interested in, we’re as interested in the economy as we are in culture. You know, we’re as interested in the use of technology as in the way that it alienates us from nature. That nothing is unknown to us, nothing is unfriendly to us in terms of human flourishing. So we’re quite explicit in that sense, particularly around technology, that we don’t see it as the alienator, we see it as possibly tying into a flourishing human nature at all times. But there’s a practice here. There’s a practice. We are doing a practice every week which I think demonstrates if you go back and look, we’d invite people to go and look at the archive of the Daily Alternative and you’ll see what it’s like to relentlessly try to create an imaginative and cognitive and emotional space that’s different from the Bannon’s, from the Murdoch’s. But the question is how many people do that? How do they feel amplified to do it? Where do they get their resources? Are those are those resources communal and inner as much as they are external and financial? There’s a whole set of questions here about the effective nature of modern activism, which says that the leaflet through the door, may be not. The newsletter that makes people feel as if they can change the world, yes.

Pat: So there’s lots of tactics and strategy that is still up for grabs, vis a vis terrible electoral results, right leaning electoral results. And you can kill it off by saying that I’m an anarchist. Or you can open it up by saying, well, let’s have that bravery that Indra’s talking about.That psychological and psychic bravery to experiment. And we actually have, and I’ll finish on this point, I’m a great scholar of play. And what I love about looking at play is that it shows that there is a need for imaginative wriggle room in every life, as a zone of experiment that’s required in every human life. And what’s the politics of encouraging that? And what’s the emotional attractiveness of it? A lot of what we’re doing with the Daily Alternative is showing how emotionally attractive a different set of emotional repertoires and emotional motivations are, as opposed to fear, panic, rage.

Manda: Right. Heading into Panksepp territory. We could go into neurobiology.

Pat: More than a wee bit. Maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we should.

Manda: We could. We’d probably have to explain all of that.

Pat: Yeah. Another hour. Another hour!

Manda: Yes. All right. So Jack Panzer was a behaviourist, and he was the one who demonstrated that play is not only essential, but that it increases cognitive capacity. You learn things orders of magnitude faster, if you learn them through play, then if you learn them in the other ways that we do it through rote repetition or hardship or negative reinforcement. Or even the general average quadrant of reinforcers. He also demonstrated that rats laugh when you tickle them which I always loved. And that everything seeks out play if it’s given the cognitive space to do so. So what I’m hearing from both of you is that we need a daily practice. We need a daily practice that is personal, and we need a daily practice that is collective, and that if we expand our daily practice to, for instance, writing a daily blog or putting out a daily podcast, or even possibly a weekly podcast, that connects people and shows them that there are alternatives, then those alternatives become something that people can aspire to at an energetic and emotional level. If I frame that in my own framing: dopamine hits are cheap, but they require the full limbic hijack of not just our limbic systems, but our time. Building a serotonin mesh requires time and effort, but is self-reinforcing once we get there. Does that sound fair to you both?

Indra: Very nicely summarised, thank you Manda.

Manda: Well, it’s easy when it summarises what I already think to be true. Go on Pat, you were going to say something else.

Pat: My abiding interest in nationalism is the degree to which it psychologically integrates different parts of our interior life. It draws on the past to build a future. It uses history, culture and archive as a basis for steering your way through a difficult and challenging world. And it’s what Benedict Anderson called the imagined community. Nationalism is the imagined community rather than the actual community. It’s a community that you imagine you’re connected with people on the basis of larger continuities and structures, rather than just on the basis of face to face encounter. And I think there are other psychological, cognitive tricks, or relationships to be tried out that we haven’t yet tried out. We would stick the name Cosmolocalism to that. But that question of how you play the full repertoire of evolved and inner human nature in politics, and be as alive to that as right wing populists are, and also be alive to what the right wing populists are really tapping into, which is people’s requirement for status, security, identity, etc., etc.. So it’s a messy, wiry terrain, the terrain of what it is that profoundly motivates action and agency, which we have always been prepared to go to. And I would say nationalism is a version of that. Cosmolocalism maybe a version of that. Obsession with football is a version of that. We need to get into that mulch and create politics that are responsive to the fullest, most emancipatory range of human emotions rather than just the toxic ones.

Manda: Okay. Yes, I can see Indra you want to come in. But before we go there, because I would like to nail this down a little bit. Because you’re both in Scotland and you are integral to and embedded in the the movement for Scottish independence. And I have a question and either one of you can answer this. So put your hands up and we’ll work out, so we don’t talk over each other. At the moment we exist in a world where Hobbes definition of a nation prevails. Which is for people who don’t know, it’s that political entity which claims a legal and to an extent, moral monopoly on violence within certain geographic boundaries. I have always been a real supporter of Scottish independence, because it seemed to me that Scotland was a socialist nation. It’s always been dominated by English colonialism, which is not remotely progressive and I felt that Scotland could become a federal nation within a federal Europe, and that it could be much more Scandinavian in a way. It could move us towards the possibility of what governance could be, of the people, for the people, by the people, instead of the 0.1%, for the 0.1% by the 0.1%, which is what we’ve got.

Manda: However, here is a question. I am now looking at the concepts of the Coordination, particularly as put forward by Primavera De Filippi, which is that communities do no longer need to be limited by physical boundaries of rivers or lines drawn on maps, and they become nations of community, built digitally. That we could have people who live in Scotland coordinating with people who live in England, because English nationalism is a very different thing than Scottish nationalism. It’s much more in-group versus outgroup, whereas Scotland seemed to me much more communitarian nationalism. So we could build a coordination which has its focus all around the globe and is in effect cosmolocal and no longer needs to be defined by a line that somebody drew on the map in 1605 or whenever. And I wonder whether now is the time. You said at the beginning, Pat, we’re in this time of transition. Whether we let go of the need to create an independent Scotland or independent anywhere, and start to build the coordinations, which are different to the libertarian nation states? Indra do you want to answer that?

Indra: Yeah. It’s probable that Pat and I have slightly different coordinates on this question, but I think they’re nevertheless complementary. So let me try to answer that first. I’m more inclined to think along the cosmolocal line that you described, manda. In a way, you might say that the whole of the internet now is already self-organized along certain lines. People who align with each other, whether they’re aligned emotionally or whether they’re aligned along certain forms of agency. For example the people that we described before who are creating communities heading broadly towards eco civilisation, already beginning to align themselves. And that is a reality that they would like to live in and they also believe that they will affect the planet that way and the global economy and give rise to new generations of young people who can take on responsibility for the world. These things don’t necessarily depend upon national boundaries, it’s true. However, my reality really is sort of accepting of what needs to be done first and the constant adjacent possible. And they’re always in parallel, you know, they don’t let go of each other. It’s almost as if any moment now that you have a possibility for your day, you also have an adjacent possible and anything could happen. Or if we’re lucky, this would happen. So I accept that there needs to be a political and national developmental progress alongside the cosmolocal emergence that is occurring. And at this point in my life, I’m really seeing the possibilities of Scottish independence in the way that I’ve never seen it before.

Indra: So when I was looking at it from London point of view, I was afraid. At a Westminster level, I was very afraid of losing the Scottish members of Parliament, which would really cause the Westminster Parliament to become an English parliament and begin to veer to the right. However that was achieved anyway by Boris Johnson and Brexit and so on. So I was really in despair at that point because I see myself as a global citizen, I’m technically an immigrant in this country. I don’t see myself as having any real loyalty to any country. The closest one I think maybe would be Holland, where I was born. However, here I am living in the UK, and I want there to be good conditions for a future that’s unfolding. Moving up to Scotland, I can feel viscerally the importance of a smaller country really coming together across its people, that the people themselves should begin to take ownership of something that even within Holyrood is not quite possible. Really the the agency has to shift towards people self-organising in response to the poly crisis across Scotland at a cosmo local level. Fancying themselves actually as a really great example of cosmo localism on the ground from Scotland. Now, you were talking before about different emotional theories. For me, I’m a psychosocial therapist and I’ve been taught along the lines of human givens; emotional needs audit. And I do believe concretely that all the emotions that are triggering us at this moment, we also have the core capacities to manage ourselves.

Indra: This is something that we don’t often talk about, that all the emotions that we’re seeking to get met, whether it’s belonging, whether it’s autonomy, whether it’s meaning and purpose, whether it’s even privacy, you know, all of the emotional needs we’re trying to get can be met, actually, by moving into community. So at every level, this could cohere really nicely. Human beings looking to get their emotional needs met, moving into community in a country that’s small enough to get connected to itself across its geography, with an ecological goal in their minds and having enough sense of self that we could be really unusual and special in doing this. That’s quite a moment, I think, for Scotland, and I think it should be seized. However, it can’t be delivered by Holyrood. I’m going to keep saying that. It’s got to be the adjacent entity; the communities and the people themselves being cosmolocal in their daily lives, being aspirational, looking for autonomy, getting their needs met in new ways. And really the power of the arts, which Scotland has in mega abundance, and it’s also the core of its soft power in the world. There’s a lot going on here, a lot of possibility. But it’s not only Scotland, obviously, there are other places. We’re learning actively, for example, from Costa Rica. How it actually moved from being an ecologically promising country to being a country actively for peace. It gave up its military service because it said we’re going to use this money just for people.

Manda: For better things.

Indra: Yes, improve people’s lives. It was a bold and brave action. It’s in my dreams that something like that could take hold in Scotland as an idea. It’s already on its way with its being anti nuclear and being largely anti-war. But I just feel fractally there’s a lot going on here and it depends really on us being able to communicate with and feel inspired by what’s already happening here.

Pat: Yeah. Just I mean yes to all of the below. And just to say that I’m a great believer in the Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis who used to talk about the role of the American states in the United States as laboratories for democracy. So I am also a follower of Tom Nairn and also Roberto Unger, two great philosophers and thinkers, who ask us to look at the variety of nations and national regions and regional nations in the world and see that as a virtue rather than a vice. Precisely because within each of these jurisdictions, if they’re all talking to each other and they are all involved in the global exchange of ideas, great experiments can happen arising from the particularity of each of these national communities. So the idea that you can have an independence movement that wants to use nation state jurisdiction to remove nuclear weapons from their soil is, you can say many things about it, but one of the things is that it’s a great moral act. It’s an act of de-escalation from a situation of collective madness that we’ve experienced since the end of the Second World War. It’s one of the noblest bases for an act of nation building or nation forming that you can conceivably imagine.

Pat: There’s a phrase the Germans use called constitutional patriotism. I am loyal to the idea of good governance. I am loyal to the idea that we can come up with optimal institutions and policies and collective provisions that maximise the complexity and richness of as many people’s lives as they possibly can. So it’s nationalism, like environmentalism, like feminism, like socialism, like capitalism as one of the engines, one of the ways in which modern imaginative people try to shape their future, is the way I think about nationalism in the Scottish context. It’s a laboratory for democracy. And one of the things I think that could be said that is a critique of the Scottish Parliament, is that you want it to create a culture of democracy, a fair amount of experiment that hasn’t happened. I’m much more into the idea of not Team Scotland but Teem, Scotland. And Team Scotland the first one, we’re all one, we’re all one entity, we can all sort of come together in some one great Scottish geist or mind and act in a coordinated way.

Pat: I’m much more into Teem, Scotland. This is a place where a million things will happen, next week and the week after. And the idea of being Scottish is that your citizenship is extremely active and imaginative. That’s what I’m patriotic to. It’s patriotic to a possible citizenship or a citizenship open to many possibilities. And I think I would love that to be what’s attractive about this jurisdiction. It’s what’s attractive about Taiwan. It’s what is attractive about Estonia. It’s what’s attractive about even Barcelona and Catalonia. These should be opportunities for human experiment, not reacting to immediate crisis. Let’s try and act in a way where we can build things that don’t just respond to mega shocks, in the way that we have four day weeks now as a consequence of our response to Covid. How can we find a way to build better structures in our life that are accumulative and are generated by our own passionate activity, rather than our fearful reactivity. That would be my hope for the Scottish experiment, always has been.

Manda: Okay. We’re running out of time, which is really sad because I have so many things I want to talk about. I think maybe there’s a whole other podcast in looking at technology, but I want at least to begin to go there, and Pat probably come to you first. But let me just recap where I think we’re at. We’re at Coordinations may be a thing, and they may be something that’s generated within the eco civilisation movement, but at the moment there are geographic boundaries of a nation that is Scotland, within which we may be able to get that teeming set of ideas moving, such that everybody has a sense of agency and input in their own Cosmo Local area, and bypassing what seems to become an increasingly rigid and partisan structure at Holyrood. That governance system doesn’t work. I think we can say quite explicitly that we’ve explored the limits of the current Democratic model, and it isn’t fit for purpose. We need something new. We need something probably that’s working from the ground up, and then we need the people that we elect to be the people who are best in place to solve the problems of the time. And that’s not what the current structure creates.

Manda: Let’s park that for a moment. Because we’re talking a lot about people connecting with each other online and with the possibility of AI. And we’re recording this the week after there was an open letter from previous employees of OpenAI saying, this is actually becoming extremely dangerous and they should not be releasing what they’re releasing. And I’m really interested personally and to explore with you two, sense making in a digital world, where it’s becoming increasingly hard to distinguish between something that has any basis in our agreed consensus reality. And I’m a shamanic practitioner; my concept of consensus reality is that it’s pretty limited. But on the other hand, you know, gravity is a thing, the world is round. And nonetheless, there are people who are becoming increasingly good at persuading others of flat earth philosophies that have no basis in any reality that you and I would understand. And it takes a lot of time. So just as a for instance, there’s a whole movement based on the ideas of food coming from vats, the precision fermented proteins, and almost all of the science on which they base that is really bad science. The fact that it was published and peer reviewed doesn’t stop it being really bad, if you actually bothered to go and look at what was done and the assumptions that were made, which do not hold any water.

Manda: But you need to understand enough of the baseline to be able to read those papers, to see that they’re extremely bad science. And most people don’t have the time or the understanding or really the interest in doing that. So big question is, how do we make sense in a world where AI is helping with the lack of sense making and the right are very, very good and have all the data, at targeting people at an individual level. They’re now in the US walking up with iPads that say you’re walking to the house of Mrs. Smith, she reads this, this and this newspaper. She reads this kind of blog. She downloads these kinds of things on Facebook. She’s on this Instagram, this TikTok. Here are the sentences that will make her feel what you want her to feel. And I imagine that you and I don’t want to play those kind of games, but it’s going to be increasingly hard in a world where that level of limbic hijack is happening. So, Pat, let’s go to you and then let’s go to Indra.

Pat: Just very, very briefly and very much based on my experience as a working commercial musician touring Britain, I think there’s going to be a long term and sustained reaction against that level of digitisation and simulation and gamification and instrumentation of everyday life, vis a vis soft media.

Manda: Why do you think that?

Pat: Because I think people have an alternative. And one of the alternatives is gathered under the general term, conviviality. People being with each other in shared spaces, doing either things ritually or enjoying performances, or perhaps participating in their own meaning making activity. And I think people are avid for that. I have a very, very clear example of this, a very empirical example. We used to only play Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and now we play Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Why is that? Because post-Covid, the four day week is becoming a norm for people. And so they come out literally to give us extra money on an extra day of the week, because political economy has shifted as a result of environmental and zoological impact. That’s tangible. People are voting with their feet to go out and be with each other. Now it happens in an entertainment context, and that’s very tangible for me and it’s helping me pay more bills, so I can’t get any more real than that. But what it is is a kind of beachhead or a new bit of the plateau that’s opened up, which is a politics of conviviality. And this is not a Luddite politics of reality, you can go and turn up and watch someone play with all the digital instruments that they want to do. But what’s being confirmed is we’re here, you’re there, you’re human, we are human. Even you’re human, you’re enhanced human, we’re enhanced human. We can take recordings of you on our camera phones. You can use AI in your instrumentation, but we’re all here. And there’s just been a furore about Taylor Swift taking over Murrayfield Stadium for three nights, costing each person about £800 to effect their entertainment.

Pat: What’s underneath that? A real appetite and avidity for collective epiphany, collective meaning. One might have one’s opinions on Taylor Swift, that’s fine. But there’s an underlying politics of conviviality that I can see growing. Whether it’s a pendulum swinging back in a certain direction and then pulling our use of technology with that swing of the pendulum. Or whether it’s something that we are interested in and we blog about every week: integration. Where visionary settlements of people think their way through to designing technology in a different way. The crypto people, for example, and the blockchain people are really interesting. Because they think that they can build money systems and commerce systems away from the state for the benefit of communities. Some of them want to speculate and rip you off, but some of them like Nathan Schneider, who we talked about before, and we blogged about, think that this is a revival of a new kind of empowered community. So I think there’s lots of indicators that the kind of matrix like or surveillance capitalism model, that just turns us all into dividuals rather than individuals or divisible individuals, I think can be resisted. And not just in a Luddite way, not ‘events are in the saddle and ride mankind’ as Emerson put it. But the other way around: we get back in the saddle of the things that are currently riding us. I think it’s possible and almost certainly on the way. I feel it.

Manda: Do you think it’s on the way in time for the next election? Because I am increasingly watching what’s happening and it seems that this is a digital election. I don’t know that it’s going to matter going out and knocking on doors in the way that it used to.

Pat: Indra, what do you think when you look at the current election? I look at it and see zombie politics.

Manda: Mmm. But they’re still going to get power. You know, the zombie party, formerly the Labour Party, is still going to take power and do what it wants. And until we change the nature of that paradigm, that’s what we’re stuck with.

Indra: No, we’re not stuck with it.

Manda: Go on then, explain.

Indra: I mean, I’m going to challenge all of us, that we need to hold our nerve a little bit more, and we need to have more courage for the future. Because really so much is happening in this moment, at this time, and even the fact that we can have the kind of conversation that we’re having now, where we can really observe our politicians and know what is wrong with what they’re doing. That we can call them zombie politicians, that we can accept that we have no choice, opens up a whole world of then we do have an alternative. We should never underestimate what is happening right now. When you hear young people, in particular to me, they’re all shocking me with their ability to reflect upon themselves and upon the reality that they’re in. Which in my youth, simply wasn’t possible. You could have confused feelings about things, or you could have an inner protest, or you could go spiritual and join a religion. But in the public space there was no room for steady, reasonable, provable assessment of the system we’re in now; what is missing from it and what needs to be done. Terms like fake news are not questioned at all anymore. Everybody knows what fake news is. It’s not that long ago that we never questioned the news at all. The BBC was just the truth. The BBC could say we’re just reporting the facts. Today we know that there’s no such thing. Everyone is choosing facts. Everyone is manufacturing containers within which things become true for us, in a way that we intend. So what I’m inviting myself to do all the time, but also inviting all of us, is to think about this less as a loss of something that then compels us to return to something.

Pat: Yeah. Take back control.

Indra: Yeah. It was never any good anyway. So why should we try to return to the thing that we had? How few of us really understood that it wasn’t the internet that scrambled our brains and made us vulnerable, we were already robots to the growth economy. How did we become people who believed that buying stuff was the answer to all of our emotional needs? How did we get to be those people who thought buying a can of coke actually means community, that buying these Nike trainers actually means status? We’ve been zombies all of this 20th century. This is a waking upness that we’re in. Let’s be patient with our waking upness. Let’s find new containers within which we can wake up the real people, as Pat’s describing. So that we not only try to move off in some sort of utopian direction, but that we understand we’re human; we’re going to dislike some people, we have to get on with other people, we have to create the right conditions for that.

Indra: There’s so much human development to be done in this birthing of a new world, but let’s at least allow that this is evolutionary. It’s not a corrective. We cannot go back to anything. If we do, we’ll be in the same trouble we were before. So hold your nerve right now. And in terms of AI, the more we question, the more we challenge ourselves, the more we actively be at play, the more we’re feeding the digital realm, the more data we’re putting into the AI that is trying to learn from us what it is that it believes we are expressing and what we want. If we keep that to ourselves and we’re not online, we’re depriving the AI of real information. Every doubt we have, every little breakthrough we have, every new relationship we make, we should be talking about it because that is us educating the AI for the future that we really want, not the one that the people that we perceive have the power, but they don’t really have the power. We’re the 99%, for goodness sakes. Right? Let’s reclaim our 99% ness. Let’s feed the AI with our own positive visions and breakthroughs every minute of the day, and then we’ll have a better future to look forward to.

Manda: Yay! Okay. Yes, that’s what we’re here for. There is definitely so much more I want to talk about. I think we’re going to come back for another conversation, probably with each of you, as this exciting political moment moves forward. Because I completely hear you, Indra. This isn’t an end point. And you’re right. I haven’t met anyone who is happy with the way things are going. They feel there’s an inevitability to it, but they want something different. And offering them something different is the challenge that we have. So, Pat, as we’re closing, I would really enjoy hearing what Scotland in ten years might look like. Suppose we get to another referendum and the vote this time is yes, even if it’s just 51.8 for a yes. But let’s say it’s an overwhelming yes. And you were called in to help with the structure of a new way of being in an independent Scotland. What would it look and feel like?

Pat: Well, it would look and feel like some kind of ideal active citizenship. So the very fabric of an achieved independent Scotland would be on the basis, I think, of people not being passive in the face of political spectacle or top level narratives. But that they have asserted their own power, asked for forgiveness not permission, in the famous civic society phrase, and acted as if already independent. So institutions would have been created that connect the strategic direction of a nation to the daily civic consciousness and activity of citizens. And that partly addresses Indra’s constant question: what is the architecture for this future? So I would certainly in ten years a visitation to vTaiwan to find out what they’re actually doing with with their digital voting structures, to see whether there is anything that can be learned from that and brought back to Scotland. I would like to see an independent Scotland’s citizenry being worldly, being aware of their world affecting possibilities. Both in the way that they can set precedents running and being brave and confident and bold about that, but obviously one of the problems with Scottish Government and governance at the moment is that people are declaring targets and they don’t fully have the means to execute them, because they do not have all the powers of a nation state, all the strategic powers, all the macroeconomic powers.

Pat: But that can be an excuse for inaction. So I think a Scotland in ten years time will have become a more stroppy Scotland. It will be defying the injunction that the writer Lesley Ruddock often talks about, which is the stand there and be fixed scenario. People won’t just be standing there waiting to be fixed, they will have created a whole level of micro and meso as well as macro institutions. It will be a society that makes beautiful trouble for itself. And on the basis of that, people will have a confidence about dealing with Scotland and Europe or Scotland as bearing an international currency, or Scotland demilitarising itself from nuclear weapons and maybe taking a more peace oriented stance towards world. All those kind of noble ambitions that you might want a 21st century nation state to have, must be rooted in a social and popular culture that is embracing of change at tangible level, change at a community level. Change at a level where the things that are in your hands do things differently than they otherwise would do.

Pat: I mean, the one thing I was thinking about through this conversation, was the sense in which we don’t really live in a situation of imagination deficit in our societies. We have movies, we have franchises, we have you as a novelist Manda. We have video games, computer games. We are super saturated with possibilities to imagine different worlds. And when we look at the worlds that we do imagine and the worlds that we consume, I think standards needs to be raised. I think people need to be able to talk about their imaginative practice in the way that they currently talk about their football team or the way that they currently talk about their favourite pop star. There needs to be what George Monbiot once called a metaphysical mutation of everyday life. Absolutely pompous and I don’t want to end on that note, but we need a we need a revolution of everyday life, as an old French lefty once said. And I think that’s Scotland. Why not Scotland? Never mind why Scotland, but sort of why not?

Manda: Yeah. Brilliant. Brilliant. Okay. Why not Scotland? I look forward to coming back in ten years time and holding another podcast where we explore what’s actually going on in an amazingly vibrant, beautifully troubled Scotland, that’s trying out everything and giving it a go and seeing where we get to. That would be amazing. And being an exemplar for the whole of the rest of the world. Wouldn’t that be good? Guys, we have so run out of time. Pat Kane, Indra Adnan, thank you so much for coming on to the Accidental Gods podcast. Was there anything as a closing statement either of you really wanted to say? Very short.

Pat: The only thing in ten years time I will be an information pattern uploaded to a space probe, sending my way out at the speed of light to explore brave new worlds and new civilisations. So I might not be here in ten years time, that’s the only thing.

Manda: All right. We’ll still talk to you. It’s fine.

Pat: One version of me will be here, but another version will be exploring the universe. So.

Manda: Okay, I think you might have been reading too much Cory Doctorow, but we’ll go with that. Okay, Indra.

Indra: It also sounds like drugs to me, which is fine.

Pat: I know. One could do it over a plate of shrooms on one’s living room table. I know it’s true. It’s true.

Indra: Exactly, exactly. My final thought would be that on a daily basis what excites me, what perplexes me, and what I put my faith in, I have to say, is this generation coming forward. I’ve got a son of my own, Pat’s got two daughters, but I meet them all the time. I meet a lot of young people up here. And there’s something about. It’s a complex, not a positive feel; it’s a determination. It’s almost like an arrogant insight into how things could be better that they’re insisting on. And I want to serve that thing. And as a parent and as a generation, it’s not as if there isn’t anything in our environment that I couldn’t hand over. I feel the baton in my hand and I can feel that I can hand it over to that generation. We could do a whole other podcast on that on its own, but that would be my closing. If you don’t quite know where to look, don’t look up, look down. From the point of view of the generation that’s coming through, I put a lot of faith in that.

Manda: Yes, it seems to me they know the system is broken in a way that we didn’t at their age. And so they know that it needs to be completely different and that we need total systemic change and nothing else will do. And that’s kind of cool.

Indra: But they also know what that feels like, that’s the thing. They know what it feels like to feel better than that and they’re holding on to that. Then they’re really carving it out. If anybody wants to understand that, go to #corecore and you’ll know, okay. They’re demanding a life that’s fit for a human being.

Manda: I will link to that in the show notes.

Pat: Yeah, check out corecore on TikTok. And by the way, just to say Manda, I had Primavera De Filippi on one of my Future Fest events and I’m aware of the network state and it’s, and I think there’s an awful lot to be done there, that’s on the Nathan Schneider end of things rather than the, you know, how are we going to carve out our little core centres and carve out little bits of sovereignty in some kind of mad libertarian way. But I think the nation state is going to be superseded at some point in terms of really effective sovereignty. And I’m scanning for it.

Manda: Okay. That’s another podcast then. I would love to talk about that.

Pat: Estonia is probably a lab for that in terms of using its national jurisdiction to be a laboratory for change. Estonia is almost certainly on that case.

Manda: Okay, right. We could talk forever, but for now we’ll close, put this out into the world, see where we get to. Pat Kane and Indra Adnan, thank you so much for coming on to the Accidental Gods podcast and let’s see you again another time.

Pat: Anytime.

Indra: Thank you so much.

Manda: Well, there we go. That’s it for another week. We did, of course, continue to talk for at least another half hour after we stopped recording. We could very easily have recorded two, perhaps three other podcasts right off the bat if any of us had had the time. Instead, I am giving serious thought to having a series of podcasts at the start of next year, really to explore the possibilities of where we could be going at a point when most of the world will have had the elections, that will be laying out the old structures, the ways that the old system sees itself cleaving to. We need to fork the governance not just of one nation, but of the entire world, so that we can create governance systems that actually work. So that we can show people how they might work. So wherever you are, whatever the current political state of your nation, if you can get together with people across the globe who understand that we can be better than this, that we need not to let the old men in suits, of whatever gender, fossilise their fingers on the wheel of the bus as it races over the cliff, then please get together. Please begin to shape the ideas of how we can be different. Because I think increasingly we’re going to have to be a bit like a hermit crab. We’re going to have to grow inside the rigid shell of the old possibilities until we’re ready to just sluff it all off and step out and do something different. So have a look at The Alternative. There are links in the show notes to everything that we talked about, and if you can come along and take part in some of the conversations and you can join up with other people who get that, the world needs to be different.

Manda: And if you’re in the UK, there is still time to make a difference to the election that’s going to happen after this comes out. Please do whatever it takes. It may well be that knocking on doors is still a thing and is still worth it, and it’s really inspiring to meet with other activists who feel the same way about the world as you do. So that would be my go to. But if not that, join the phone banking or just connect with the most likely progressive candidate in your area and find out what you can do that they need help with. Get involved. Not acting is a political act. There is no such thing anymore as being apolitical, if there ever was. So if we’re going to do something, make it something useful. There we go. That’s it for this week.

Manda: We’ll be back next week with another conversation. And in the meantime, huge thanks to Caro C for the music at the Head and foot. To Alan Lowells of Airtight Studios for the production. To Anne Thomas for the transcripts. To Faith Tilleray for wrestling with the tech behind the scenes and for the conversations that keep us moving forward. And as ever, an enormous thanks to you for listening. If you know of anybody else who wants to shift the political dial towards a place where all life flourishes on a thriving planet, then please do send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.

You may also like these recent podcasts

Election Special #4: What is Governance for and how can we shape genuine democracy – with Glen Weyl of the Plurality Institute

Election Special #4: What is Governance for and how can we shape genuine democracy – with Glen Weyl of the Plurality Institute

If the current electoral/governance system is not fit for purpose (and who could possibly imagine it was?) how can we lay the foundations for new ways of organising democracy, new ways of voting, new ideas of what governance is for and how it could work in the twenty-first century. How, in short, do we create space for future generations to be able to decide their own futures in ways that are not constrained by material or political strictures they’ve inherited from us?


For a regular supply of ideas about humanity's next evolutionary step, insights into the thinking behind some of the podcasts,  early updates on the guests we'll be having on the show - AND a free Water visualisation that will guide you through a deep immersion in water connection...sign up here.

(NB: This is a free newsletter - it's not joining up to the Membership!  That's a nice, subtle pink button on the 'Join Us' page...) 

Share This