The Other Others
By Tyson Yunkaporta
The Other OthersSep 21, 2023
There is more to the disinformation being deployed in Australia's referendum (for an Indigenous voice to parliament) than meets the eye. This episode is something of a diatribe. I'm tying together all our true stories of resistance and putting a firewall between them and the fantasies of white supremacists and disgruntled settlers who are co-opting the language and Lore of our ongoing occupation and struggle, to secure our support in extreme libertarian radicalisation and stochastic terrorism in Australia and abroad. These things have been under-reported, and you can't imagine how extensive and pervasive these networks of chaos are.
Racial Hygeine and the Jab
Tammi Jonas from the Australian Food Sovereignty Network despairs with me a while as we try to figure out why half our friends went crazy over Covid lockdowns and are now marching with white supremacists, promoting soft-eugenics and even calling vaccinated Aboriginal people 'pharma-colonists' who are pursuing genocidal policies against 'heterodox' settlers.
Thought experiment as data collection for a research project conducted by expert on digital writing and AI, Lucinda McKnight. I said I'd only give her my qualitative data in yarn form, on a podcast, and she was keen. It was a good idea, but as usual I ruin everything for everybody with my relentless blakpilling...
May the Forks be with You
Fella Sees Fallacies
Big mixed up yarn with Steph Beck and Ben Knight, Indigenous views on relational economics and logical fallacies, and where the two meet in cults and guru-generated content. How can we tell the difference between good faith and bad faith claims, and who has the right to be heard in this world? (Spoiler: we arrive at the idea that maybe bad faith discourse comes from people who have figured out they can skip meaning-making and go straight to change-making/decision-making by extracting authority from nothing, using logical fallacies as discursive technologies of despair...)
Episode art by David McMillan
Life in the Blade
Pete McCurley, Gumbayngiir wood carver and reluctant blacksmith, makes sense of the cautionary tales we need to find in the Dreaming of metals.
Nanna's House (in space)
Groovy de-colonial yarn with exo-ethno-botanist Cobi Calyx. Everything from Terra Nullius to Matt Damon.
You're in a proper yarn here, involving you, me, Beckett Carmody, a giant frog, wild cats and a robot. Beckett is finding adaptive Lore to bring cats and weeds into proper relation with place. There may even be room for AI fetuses like language model bots if somebody can tinker with the decision trees a bit. Best yarn ever if you want to learn about proper time, place, story and relation.
Vocal Warm-up Yarn
Yolande Brown and me are doing voice-work and writing for an animated film, and decided to yarn for a vocal warm-up before studio time. Recorded it just in case we said anything worth sharing. For me it's back-catalogue content, so skip my bits, but Yo says some calming and measured things that are a soothing balm in the world of thinkers and changemakers, that roiling sea of panic and doom and frantic hope.
The Regenerative Contrarian
Carol Sanford drops some pearls for me, you and the world, and offers teasers for her upcoming book, No More Gold Stars.
Warning: Suicide and libertarianism themes.
Deconstructing something I wrote in an altered state, which I don't remember writing, and wondering about the benefits and dangers of altered states. Sure, there are moments of genius that have utility, but you should never make decisions from that state, because you have no discernment. I believe that's why ceremony is secret and separate from daily reality, in our culture. Spiritual and secular realities need boundaries, when it comes to cognition and governance.
Denial of Context
Complexity Science Lineages
Children of Us All
This is the Way
The North Remembers
Rune Rasmussen returns for a messy yarn about the problematics and desperate need for rites of passage and a return to land-based culture for the Peoples of the Northern Hemisphere. Is it too late? Is it even possible to think about these things while speaking modern languages? Is dialogue and embassy between north and south possible while we are trapped in global economies of extraction?
Pilled and Shilled
Intimate yarn between two friends from two different families, cultures and online communities who ended up in... let's say incompatible algorithms, during Covid lockdowns, resulting in horrendously oppositional worldviews. Nothing we can't sort out with a good yarn. Because a yarn is almost like a 'conversation' but without the bullshit. Nobody is 'just asking questions' in a yarn, because you talk from your relation, not your position. The end result is not a resolution, compromise or any of that crap. It's... nah I'll let you listen through and find out for yourself.
Scaling into the Micro
An unlikely group of allies get together to resolve the housing crisis, Airbnb's bourgeois morality issues, and biodiversity loss all in one audacious action involving lots of tiny homes.
Jeff Yeo https://www.bigtiny.com.sg/
Mallika Robinson https://www.guardiansofearth.io/
Johny Mair https://www.ethic.com/
Live at the Human Kind Festival
Yau! JD, Chels, JMB, Josh and Tyson from the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab, live yarn at the Human Kind Festival in Sydney as we work through and develop a Ko-design methodology in which Aboriginal and non-Aborginal people can work better in complexity through nature-informed processes.
Yarning with Arabs
Ahmed Buasallay is working on a place-based dialogue process grounded in Arab customary logics, but is struggling in communities on the peninsula where it is becoming increasingly difficult to access nature. He is also finding it challenging to access communities of practice in the Systems Thinking space, and so we also yarn about those often invisible obstacles to change makers and sense makers far removed from the center of the Anglosphere.
Not All Climate Deniers
David Finnigan is an actor, playwright and game designer raised by climate scientists, here to tell us the story of that time Alex Jones and a million maniacs came after him about a play he wrote about the assassination of climate deniers.
Chaura Chigovanyika is doing his thesis on sustainable development, and we yarn on the question "Are Indigenous People Really the Best Conservationists?"
Snakes on an Infinite Plane
Enough is enough. I've had it with these MF snakes on this MF plane. (Samuel Jackson) Parul Punjabi Jagdish, a CEO at AIME Inc, is one of the most accomplished and wise young people I've ever met. We connected last year over serpent Lore from our respective cultures, and in a big yarn by a camp fire in New York, came to agree that snakes may be the foundation of living spirit across the earth, and probably the universe. We yarn about the way they set in motion the phenomenon of regenerative disruption (often mistaken for destruction) in our creation stories, and try to understand pathways to healing and understanding death through the metaphors and learnings that can be found in snake Lore.
Arab Metal Indigenism
Mark LeVine, author of Heavy Metal Islam and We'll Play Til We Die, brings a friend to dinner - Lucia Sorbera, chair of Arabic studies at The University of Sydney. I don't know either of them, but that's what yarns are for. Some unlikely connections here, finding common cause around developing better methodologies for co-design. A weird and wonderful yarn that kind of dropped out of the sky on us at the last minute. Opening music is Ankh by Egyptian death metal band Scarab.
Yarning with Celts
Great yarn across the drink with proper deadly Irish thinker Manchan Magan, as we continue the Irish-Aboriginal Australian tradition of yarning together about Lore and other important things. I am advised perfectly on my one-off shilalagh-making effort (and how to avoid cultural appropriation in the process). We end up agreeing on a mechanism for keeping bastards away from our business - you know, those ones who come sniffing around because they want to find some bronze-age or neolithic ancestral precedents for their muscular Christianity or blood and soil madness. Really good yarn, made me feel like I got some mojo back.
Arlo Davis, regular on the pod and my Coriolis Effect brother, talks through his misgivings about his new job, and what it's like for a Native Alaskan to be the diversity and inclusion officer in a US university, in an open-carry state. But brother Arlo got rope, he'll be okay! Arlo's hot tip for Land Acknowledgements: never go higher in a building than the length of rope you have in your backpack in case you have to climb down again. We also talk about the content minorities secretly prefer to consume, and his new book Snow Talk, which mostly only settlers will ever read. Arlo asserts that Indigenous knowledge probably will not save the world, but it will certainly save him, and he's fine with that.
The Pedagogy Wars
Twitter is not the front line in the culture wars - education is. Top pedagogy scholar James Ladwig and I yarn up about the last two decades of our struggle at the chalk face from the time when things got weird after 9/11, when curriculum became a weapon and students became collateral damage in the culture wars. Those battles were, and still are, a proxy war fought on behalf of billionaires who seek to deregulate all protections for nature and communities, increase extraction and never pay taxes on their hoards of stolen wealth. Education is a site of struggle, and pedagogy is the leverage point for change.
I guess in the end riches are made of stored relational energy from unequal exchanges. True wealth may be best described as an increase in relations, rather than growth in the surplus energy produced by them. This would be the difference between a growth-based and increase-based economy. We cautiously find ways in this yarn to imagine a pricing mechanism for nature. Dams may be evil, but the water in them is just water. Maybe money is the same way. JD, JMB, Chels 2Deadly Marshall, me and Josh the Gamilaroi bandit awkwardly grapple with fire-side economics and there's not a lot of answers, except to the troubling problem of rich people freezing their heads.
Land Is Not Real Estate
Jason Twill, expert in sustainable urbanism, creative city making, housing affordability and green building economics, in dialogue with Ishnie Dayara Kavindri Dahanayake, PhD candidate in ecology and urban design, working through the messy problems of planning a survivable future. It's hard when an extractive economic model must underpin all you build, and when the powerful cannot think beyond the idea of human societies residing separately from 'nature' areas.
Veteran of many asymmetrical skirmishes to save forests around the world, John Seed (founder of the Rainforest Information Centre) joins our yarns to share some pretty damn exciting stories about a legal victory that sets some world-changing precedents for the right of nature to exist.
Return of the King
Good yarn with lots of laughs with Jon Alexander, British author of CITIZENS, about some of the wrong stories emerging from his island home and the potential of harnessing a bit of that Brexiteer energy towards more distributed sovereignties. And a sober cold-take on succession in the monarchy.
Deadly in the Garden
Maren Morgan and Jake Marquez, film makers and hosts of the podcast Death In The Garden share an intimate peek at what it's like to be a millennial in Utah at this moment in history.
The Proud Boys on Ice
Bro talk with Native Alaskan thinkers Warren Jones and Arlo Davis, considering Indigenous solutions to the global issue of lost boys becoming radicalized into proto-fascist networks of 'brown-shorts' gangs online and in the streets. Warren and Arlo are seeking support to revive their community's tradition of men's houses and believe such traditions could be useful anywhere in the world.
McDonaldisation of Indigeneity
Yarn with Dennis Foley, veteran Australian Indigenous scholar, iconoclast, thinker. Brother Dennis reminisces about a lifetime of cultural embassy and inquiry with Native Peoples from around the world, from New Zealand to Taiwan and even Korea. He touches on a controversial paper he wrote a few years back about "the McDonaldisation of Indigenous research". McDonaldisation occurs when an institution adopts the characteristics of fast food chains - efficiency, calculability, predictability and standardization, and control. Foley once made the case that a lot of Indigenous research has come to reflect these traits, and revisits this critique. Turns out there's more to Indigenous Standpoint Theory than simply claiming an Indigenous standpoint...
The Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab team in our third yarn about impact investing in land-based systems of bio-cultural integrity. We're still struggling with this, but we know this is far more useful than struggling against it. John Davis sings us in - Chels Marshall, Josh Waters, Jack Manning Bancroft and Tyson Yunkaporta.
Surviving Dunbar at Scale
Liberty vs Sovereignty
Fresh yarn with Ferananda Ibarra from The Commons Engine, which sits in the Holochain 'ecosystem'. Is it possible to live by the patterns of creation in land, community and online all at once? Ferananda works in economics, governance and the commons, informed by living systems, the feminine and indigenous wisdom. Can truly distributed wealth and governance stand against imperialism and 'the mother of all DAOs?"
Villages Under The Sea
Lucky dip yarn this week where I close my eyes and pick a random stranger from my inbox. Jackpot! We pulled Martin Henke who is working on human marine habitats. We coin together an interesting term - 'The Underview Effect', and wonder about how learning from this project might inform change on the shore.
Surveillance, Policing and Empire
In the tradition of cultural exchange and embassy between Ireland and Aboriginal Australia ('proper deadly!'), here is a very exciting yarn with criminologist and surveillance expert Diarmaid Harkin about our shared experiences of colonial violence. The yarn follows a through-line of historical surveillance and oppression under English rule to today's post-covid escalation of dodgy tech applications in policing globally. There is also a bit of a book review of Irvine Welsh's Filth. Dr Diarmaid Harkin is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University in Australia. He is the author of the book Private Security and Domestic Violence: The Risks and Benefits of Private Security Companies Working with Victims of Domestic Violence. He has also researched the Consumer Spyware Industry and worked with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on a project examining National responses to technology-facilitated abuse in the context of domestic and family violence.
No Revolution without Education
A great yarn with one of Australia’s most respected Aboriginal educationalists. Professor Lester Irabinna Rigney is a Narungga / Kaurna / Ngarrindjeri man who has been generous enough to sing my family into country around Adelaide over the past few weeks while I complete a residency at The University of South Australia. He is Professor of Education in the Centre for Research in Educational and Social Inclusion, and was previously a Distinguished Fellow at Kings College, London. Mostly, he's one of the holy trinity in Indigenous scholarship that you always cite when justifying using an Indigenous Standpoint in your research. I'm privileged to be writing a paper with him now on education futures, and here we share some of the foundational thinking and yarning we've been doing, the collective sense-making that always must be taken care of before you even begin identifying a specific research question in our field.
Stories All The Way Down
A different kind of string theory here, with two geniuses Siena Stubbs and David Turnbull, running some thought experiments and yarns to answer the question, 'What is real?' Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs is a photographer, a young Yolŋu woman of the Gumatj clan of the Yirritja moiety. Her homeland is Buwaka. David Turnbull is a retired scholar whose work has been an inspiration for a lot of thinking around spatial cognition in our lab. He says that science is an Atlas. Yeah, it's like that. Get ready for a fast ride around the universe. If you want more of David's work, check out this generous online publication: http://territories.indigenousknowledge.org/
Second public sharing of an Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab think-tank session, in which we grapple with our ongoing thought experiment about Extinction Offsets.
Journey without Heroes
Strange, strange yarn with Aboriginal thinkers Lily McKnight and Claire G Coleman (sci fi author of Terra Nullius and The Old Lie) about whether stories without heroes are possible or even desirable, science fiction, and a deep dive into some thought experiments about the metaphysics of identity.
Aboriginal Mutual Aid
Star Thrower Story
We play with a fable, that might become Story if enough people and place can work on it, with Daniel Schmachtenberger, founding member of The Consilience Project. https://consilienceproject.org/ Daniel is a thinker/doer who works on catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.