The Other Others
By Tyson Yunkaporta
The Other OthersNov 04, 2021
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.
Ecuador Rights of Nature and https://www.rainforestinformationcentre.org/ecuador_endangered
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.
Wahled Fortresses for Armageddon
Big yarn with Daniel Christian Wahl, the expert of experts when it comes to intentional communities and cultural systems emergence. We talk about our discomfort when people use our work for purposes we're not really aligned with, why intentional communities fail and why so many people are into it at this moment in history.
The Subtle Fascism of Feedback
A beautiful unlikely connection - Carol Sanford doesn't like introductions - all the books, all the MIT's and the rest. If you Google her you'll find a lot of promo material on her work in regenerative entrepreneurship, corporate consultancy and a misleading headshot. She's calling in from an aged care facility where she lives, and she is wonderful. She has written a great book on the toxicity of feedback, and is currently working on a new one about the horrors of behavioural psychology.
Death by Wellbeing
Nicholas Gruen from Lateral Economics joins us to discuss his latest essays exposing the pseudo-science of wellbeing indexes in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Dead air warning - sometimes we need a few moments to think before we speak. Those silences are not dead, but full of life, so we didn't edit them out. Also some explicit language so earmuffs for the bubs. A 'think tank' session with some of the mob at the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab, beginning the process of how we might engage with financial instruments, how we might navigate the economic system in our work while maintaining a firm grounding in Lore and Law, and what The Big Lebowski might have to do with all this, because Nanna Davis was watching the movie in the background throughout. Also some interesting robot translations of JD singing in Aboriginal language at the start. Our first public sharing of our yarns and opening protocols when we begin exploring a potential research topic. Rough as guts, but right as rain.
Don't Drop That!
Arlo Davis, our Native Alaskan conscience regulator, calls in to growl me ('scolding' they call it there) about avoiding the colonial trap of vicarious trauma. He has good story from an Elder for 'taking that out of you'. We also devote a lot of time to applying Indigenous methods of inquiry to solving the riddle of steel. Speaking as Conan the Barbarian fanboys, we feel it's appropriate for us to do that.
Negative Entropy is a Team Sport
Jeremy Lent, recovering tech start-up whizz and author of books including "The Web of Meaning" joins us for a true mad deep yarn, and we connect in authentic relation, in a really beautiful way. He makes me begin to waver in my assertion that there is no way Indigenous Knowledge can save the world. This fella is magic - if he can make me happy, he can make anyone happy. Get some. It's good.
Hyperstition and Hyperobjects
Michael Garfield is the host of 'Complexity', the Santa Fe Institute's podcast, as well as his own podcast 'Future Fossils'. In this yarn he's off the leash in a yarn without boundaries, in which we cover consciousness studies, psi research, discarnate entities in cyberspace, psycheldelics, Jurassic Park, hubris, hormones, rage, the contagion of conspiracy logic and truckloads of other wild ideas that might be described as speculative non-fiction.
Native Languages in AI
Prof Michael Running Wolf is a software engineer and artificial intelligence ethicist who is deeply committed to Indigenous data sovereignty and cultural revitalistion. We yarn about his work at the intersection between Indigenous languages and AI.
AI and Info Warfare
Leonard Hoon is a senior research fellow at Deakin University and we did a few AI projects together before Covid. Been trying to get him on for a yarn for ages, and today he finally gave in. He has some great insight into the way the landscape has changed in Artificial Intelligence over the last couple of years, so we take a brief but deep dive into human agency and the best take I've heard about "signal and noise" which offers a more sober and useful way of navigating the theatre of information warfare.
What Doesn't Kill You
Vanessa Lemm, Executive Dean at Deakin University and secret Nietzsche scholar, explains how Will to Power is really Will to Relation, and how a 'return to nature' is not evolutionary regression. And how she tells my knife-fighting stories to her children as bed-time stories. Prepare to knock the misogyny and fascism off your Friedrich fetish.
Ukraine, CRT, Mal Meninga
We want Nicholas Gruen to make a killing on his substack, so we continue with our marketing strategy of trying to get him cancelled to drive more traffic his way. A mixed bag yarning up everything from Russian disinformation to the shortest (and greatest) political career in history. Lots of provocations to try and get Nicholas to say something terrible, but he can't quite shake off his decency and intelligence to get the job done.
Gamilaroi Feedback Loops
Josh Waters, the Kid Laroi of Indigenous complexity science, is one to watch over the next five years. He's doing his post-grad and has remarkable insight into systems and complexity, drawing on his traditional Lore to bring competing narratives together. We talk about scale, co-evolutionary fitness, positive and negative feedback loops, and the maximum power principle. And emus.
The Sky Disciplines
Associate Professor Duane Hamacher, astronomer and co-author of the new book The First Astronomers, in a yarn about why dialogue between Indigenous Knowledge and Western science is not cross-cultural, but interdisciplinary. We also explore the difficulties of writing and scholarship in an era of global information warfare.
Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
Two hefty fellas yarning about canoes and heretical notions of prehistorical ocean-going travelers and trade in Asia. Messing with some pivotal timelines. Victor Briggs is an Aboriginal scholar whose book on this topic is coming out in June - my hot pick for 2022 in igniting the next round of culture wars. He also gives us a bit of shake-spear from that time he played Othello.
Nice yarn with a Mum, Kylie Cooper, who is embarking on the increasingly perilous journey of homeschooling her son. She asked if we could help out with some advice on how to develop her curriculum to be responsive to her context, which includes relationships with land and community, but also inevitably with government, marketplace and institutions.
Indigenous Covid Narratives
Platypus, Love Magic & Teams
An honor to check in with Aunty Munya Andrews - Aboriginal Elder, barrister and author. Nice free-range organic yarn on totems, kinship, the hero's journey and optimal team size (we agree with Bezos' 2 pizza formula).
Alaskan Relational Rapture
Arlo Davis is a Native Alaskan living through the big thaw. He has journeyed through university life and even tried his hand at being a guru for a while. He eventually went down a three-year YouTube rabbit hole starting with Jordan Peterson (with some occasional Joe-caine from Rogan's show) and then touring all the usual suspects, trying to sense-make the apocalypse. He arrived at the conclusion that there's nothing much to be done except focusing on our relationships, and contacted me to try and convince me to quit my work, because nothing will turn this crisis of civilisation around. True community connectedness is the the only Ark that will float, and the only prepping that matters is coming into good relation with people and land.
Jack's back! Jack Manning-Bancroft from AIME, Indigenous CEO (a real one, not just one of these people who start a dog-washing business and put CEO on their LinkedIn profile) has the hard yarns about taking the woo-woo out of innovation, creativity and imagination, while still retaining a shred of hope and wonder.
Reverse-anthropologist Goes Native
Deen Sanders OAM has been assigned the cultural role of mitigating the risks that come with my work - the damage I might do the world and the damage the world might do to me. Culturally this is like a HR meeting, a bit personal too, but we decided to record it after half an hour because there were good governance messages that might benefit a lot of people. We deal with my problematic encounters with the Californian ideology and my addiction to yarning with Americans, and above all the slow untethering of my spirit from land and community in the inquiry role I've taken on in the last couple of years, while examining global systems of influence during the anthropocene.
Web 3.0 Xmas Special
Jordan Hall is our Christmas gift for 2021 - tech entrepreneur and sense-making guru in the lab with a high level briefing on Web 3, bringing that xmas spirit with tales of Moloch, Mammon, Satan and Steve Jobs. Mind blowing yarn. Seriously. Best Christmas ever.
Conceptually Flaccid Theory
Invention of the Wheal
Jamie Wheal helps me work through my issues with the Age of Reason, as I complete my audit of the Enlightenment. He is a peak performance expert and founder of the Flow Genome Project. His latest book Recapture the Rapture will probably not sell as much as his famous Pulitzer-nominated bestseller Stealing Fire, because it says a lot of things that are quite upsetting to oligarchs. Jamie knows the old narratives and institutions are finished, and is looking toward what comes next, as well as wondering what is worth retrieving forward from the grand experiment of the Enlightenment. As usual, we attempt dialogue without romanticizing our respective cultural traditions and seeking moral high ground, and we almost succeed this time.
The Liminal Web
Joe Lightfoot is the author of the 2020 game changer, A Collective Blooming: The Rise Of The Mutual Aid Community. He recently dubbed the complexity/sense-making/meta-modern/decentralised tech community "The Liminal Web" and the idea has had quite an impact in the space. We talk through our misgivings and excitement about being liminally involved with this community that seems to be gaining influence and leverage in the world. And about our fear of losing the most unspeakable parts of our male privilege. And we do speak it. And it helps us get to the heart of why change-making has never worked yet.
After the Bleed
This is not a comfortable yarn, but Felicity Chapman says it's a healing one. I don't like to "go there" but there we go. Felicity is an Aboriginal woman who uses weaving to facilitate neuroplasticity in her own recovery following a brain aneurysm. I'm interested in this cultural practice of memory that occurs in the objects that we make. She refers to her life post-aneurysm as "after the bleed" and this comes to mean much more in our yarn, which mostly explores loss, particularly loss of memory at the personal and community level following historical trauma and the greater bleed of genocide. Lost ancestral memory, lost story, lost family memory. And the darker side of colonial amnesia. And how to "look after yourself" in the fallout, after the bleed.
Processes of Emergence
Fritjof Capra in dialogue with fellows from the IK Systems Lab, Jack Manning Bancroft and Tyson Yunkaporta. Fritjof shares his accessible translation of a systems view of life - a four-part logic sequence that sits well in dynamic relation with Indigenous Knowledge. Creation is not just about patterns and replication, but the inevitable pattern-breakers that give rise to mutation, elaboration and emergence. What is intelligence, sentience, creativity and imagination? And magic? Well, that is simply what science might refer to as non-linearity. Wonderful yarn.
Disequilibrium and Musical Chairs
Friend of the pod, Nicholas Gruen, tries to help me get to the bottom of my theories about supply and demand. Turns out economics as a discipline is so opaque that it's turtles all the way down and there's no proof to be found - just interesting perspectives through stories about property auction smoking ceremonies and Mafia internships.
Afrorithms vs Algorithms
Ahmed Best and Dr Lonny Brooks yarn about everything from Civil Rights to democratizing the future through radical gaming, while my 4 year old daughter gets busy wrecking the house around me. We don't talk about Star Wars, because I figure Ahmed must be sick of answering Jar Jar questions by now. In the AfroRithms Futures group, Lonny and Ahmed are doing some time-traveling magic as they seek not to change the future from a point in the past, but instead ground themselves in a preferred future to change the present.
Hegel, Fidelio and Emu
Nicholas Gruen is a white Kant philosopher who keeps talking to me about Western philosophers when I'm supposed to be working. We kick this one off with a Fidelio monologue I wrote for the Opera House this season, while I try to finish a chapter on the Enlightenment and Nicholas tells me the best bits of the Age of Reason that will be worth keeping after the global economic system collapses. And I get schooled on my "vulgar Marxist interpretation" of Hegel, which I completely deserve.
Ego, Gurus and Sorcery
Precarious yarn with recovering comedian Nick Sun about the psychedelics community and its dodgy origins and deep influence across the interrelated fields of tech, coaching, business, sense-making, complexity science, design and more. Appropriation and dispossession. Civilisation and imperialism. This is a deep dark dive. Indigenous listeners are advised that this episode contains references to the effects of community spiritual violence and colonial desecration of sacred sites.
Monika Bielskyte the protopian futurist trickster is back, the second wokest person I know, to audit the yarns in our complex field here for everything from eugenics to Russian disinformation. She kills a couple of my babies here, including any lingering attachment I may have had to Gaddafi nostalgia, problematic sci fi and the weird genealogy of this podcast’s title.
Talk Jokes to Power
Brother Deen Sanders preps me for a writing retreat as we yarn through the sticks we've made each other for Story about governance. He is on Country where the Tiddalik Lore resides, an old Story that provides a template for bloodless revolution that involves multiple truths, zero murder and lots of laughter.
Bees, Growth and Moral Panic
Best yarn ever with Katherine Collins who is a sustainable investment guru and chair of the Santa Fe Institute. We mostly talk about bees, and the weird way people project the best and worst fantasies about reality onto those insects, and then spend the second half of the yarn trying not to do exactly the same as we riff on economics and complexity.
Will to Relation
A sedate and deep river of a yarn, no rapids today I'm afraid. Kianga Ford, a healer working with the walking wounded from gender skirmishes in the culture wars, yarns with me about cults, settler sexualities, relatedness, masculinity and femininity. We work together on the notion of "Will to Relation" as an Indigenous alternative to Nietzsche's "Will to Power".
Policy, and Other Illusions
Australian economist Nicholas Gruen, working at the dangerous space in between economics and policy, puts my pop-science brain through boot camp, which I always appreciate, and tells me why complexity science and systems thinking are policy fads that won't last beyond the next election cycle. He talks me through a paper of his that I really love. Only problem is he hasn't published it yet, so if you want to get a preview, you have to ask him nicely like I did. The password is "We need the eggs". email@example.com
Adah Parris is a cyborg shaman who will redefine what you mean when you say "technology". I won't spoil it. Except - The Matrix, Wonder Woman, gurus and cults. And what kind of ancestor do you want to be?
Complexity Myths and Gurus
Tech Bros and Violence
Helluva yarn with Arpad Maksay, Hungarian/Tamil marketing, tech and Kendo guru, on rule governed violence, gendered violence and the weird intersection of martial arts, finance and tech. We give our cold-takes on NFT's and wonder about how crypto can be called a currency when it's obviously just another class of digital asset. We also come up with an unlikely marketing angle for girls in STEM programs. And of course, lots of stories about fighting with sticks...
Return of the Viking Yarns
Picking up the thread again of our most viral episode "Yarning with Vikings" with Rune Hjarno Rasmussen, a Danish animist who is flirting with the idea of a Nordic resurgence and revitalisation of land-based Scandinavian cultures. Some great yarns here, but also a lot of laughs and an unlikely bromance that is always entertaining.
Space-time and Schwarzenegger
Latest in a yarn that's been going for four years with Danie Mellor, an Indigenous artist from the volcanic jungle soil of far north Queensland. He might be called a landscape artist except he's also a time-traveller, which is tricky when your culture's view of time is indistinguishable from space (especially when you're interacting with a marketplace and society grounded in real estate and the arrow of time). We talk about the haptics of ancestral objects and archival images, and apply a snake-eye lens to rain forest country to see what might be revealed about the physics of our reality through infrared viewpoints. And of course, this means we have to spend at least half an hour talking about the film Predator and Big Arnie's rumble in the jungle with an alien who sees in infrared...
China is a Thing
What does decolonisation even mean today, here in the master's nephew's house, and what will we do with the tools we find here? Motaung Thomas Mofolo is a futurist, a proud Mosotho, digital content creator, decolonial activist and media theorist leveraging the creative economy for social impact and sustainable development across the Afrikan continent. Our yarn here was authentically our first communication, and I think you'll like it. Particularly when we start whipping out our knobkerries...
Psycho-technologies of Memory
Lynne Kelly, the 'memory whisperer' in beautiful dialogue with Tyson Yunkaporta (the 'settler whisperer') about embodied, place-based, storied memorisation techniques used the world over by cultures retaining pre-industrial traditions. Lynne is the author of The Memory Code and Memory Craft, and if you're interested in how your entire life and community of relations might be transformed by engaging with and recovering ancestral psycho-technologies, this yarn will blow you away.
The Science of Relationality
The Weird Complexity Community
Dr Jason Fox, red-bearded, waistcoat-wearing, Melbourne settler-squatting complex systems hedge wizard, tries to help me make sense of the complexity theory community globally. We're both on the wrong side of the equator for this, and we struggle to understand our vigorous, confident US counterparts and our conflicted responses to them. I begin to unpack my racism towards orange people and Jason explores that annoying trope about westerners being uncomfortable with silences. Unfortunately I do way too much talking here and fall into my bad habit of indigi-splaining everything, so I will have to get Jason on again and try to honor my commitment to centering orange voices.
IK Systems and Climate
Chels Marshall is a Gumbayngiirr woman, a marine biologist who works across multiple disciplines with Indigenous Knowledge Systems applied through a complexity/systems thinking lens. Her PhD was on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and climate change. We've worked together on the Regenerative Songlines project and will soon be working together in the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab at Deakin University.
Beckett Carmody is a Bundjalung/Lama Lama fella who is one of the most exciting thinkers I've met in a long time. His Indigenous process of inquiry is uncut, undomesticated, but he employs these oldways processes with complete rigor and integrity, utilising a kind of natural experimentation methodology, in which you can see him verifying and falsifying findings and running complex simulations that are non-digital and involve mapping data sets onto naturally occurring cyclic processes and then observing them in real time. His thinking and practice blow my mind.
A yarn from a couple of lockdowns ago (important to know about time lag because of the seasonal knowledge in the yarn). Victor Steffensen is an Indigenous musician, film-maker and expert in the ancient tradition of caring for land through the use of fire. He is the founder of the Firesticks Alliance and author of the book Fire Country: how Indigenous fire management could help save Australia. A very interesting idea to emerge from this yarn is Vic's notion of 'allowances' as opposed to the idea of 'affordances', based on the way plant species share resources with each other. I'm interested to frame future cybernetics yarns around how things change if we say 'allowance' instead of 'affordance'.
Ethical Investing Can Be Fun
Yarning with Johny Mair, one of those rare beasts - an actual self-made man. An Australian ex-pat who went from casual labor in Brisbane for six dollars an hour to banking and investment magic in the US. He's the co-founder at Ethic - Sustainable & Impact Investing. I'm often rolling my eyes at the idea of sustainable finance gurus, but not this time. We yarn up about billionaires in space, our cold takes on Gamestop, and whether shareholder-centric market ideologies can be used to leverage change in the world. And Johny catches me stealing a joke from Bill Burr.
Slow Protocol Indigenous Tech
Angie Abdilla (Palawa), Megan Kelleher (Baradah), Rick Shaw (Gamilaroi) and Tyson Yunkaporta (Wik) tell the story of our work so far for Oldways New, in the IPAI (Indigenous Protocols in Artificial Intelligence) group. We share this work as part of our protocol of transparency and open collaboration, and invite suggestions as we reach a very sticky point in our project. We know how to develop something that could be groundbreaking, but now we must ask - should we do it? Is it even possible to be accountable for the externalities and knock-on effects of a new innovation?
Long on Trust for 2030
The Bezosian Power Principle
I was in a bad mood so my mentor, Worimi man Deen Sanders, threw me a bone and ran a bit of a thought experiment on how the maximum power principle and pos/neg feedback loops apply to billionaires who own the supply chains. Is there potential for equilibrium? We didn't arrive at a solution, but we did come up with a kickass name for one. And we had a good laugh, too.
Beyond Critique - Wot Now?
What Can I Do?
Frisian Tracking Methodology
Violence and Chivalry
Going Commando in Leadership
Consciousness and AI
Positivity meets Complexity
Queering Dignitas with Mana
IK in a Post-Truth World
First Law and Songlines
Red-pilling the Margins
AI Origins Story
Indigenous Venture Capital?
Indigenous Systems Thinking
The Original Augmented Reality
Heir to the silent fallout of multiple genocides, Monika Bielskyte is one of those ordinary people who has fallen through the cracks of industrial identities, gone through the fire, evolved some salamander traits and emerged to do extraordinary things. A denizen of liminal country, Monika's medium is cybernetics and intensive pluralist praxis in this area has produced some high level insights about global imperialism and its incursions into the realms of AR and VR. I once did a ceremony with Ainu people and I put myself in that headspace for this interview, to better connect with Monika's grandmother's people. Trigger warning - anti-woke folk might hear some things in here they won't like much. More on Monika's protopian future visioning here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAZLLW2y4eo
Wrong Story - Bad Faith, Disinfo
Prof. Deen Sanders OAM is a Worimi man who has wandered the intrepid space between Western systems of corporate life, law, academia, psychology and government; and the Indigenous culture and knowledge systems that shape his relationship with the world.
Brother Deen always has a nuanced analysis of wicked problems, to which he applies an Indigenous complexity lens and a mastery of many disciplines. We point that weapon today at disinformation and bad faith discourse, which have migrated from the digital world and into our lives. Parts of this interview also appear in another podcast I do called Disconnect, a show about Indigenous engagement with IT.