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The Saturday Update [Trenchant Edges]
In which I space out and forget to send it hours after finishing it.
Welcome back to this Saturday edition of The Trenchant Edges, where we put on our hip waders and chug through rivers of bullshit to find the good stuff on the fringe. It’s often not where or what you’d expect.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 39 seconds. Contains 930 words
Since we’ve got a lot of new people I thought I’d do an extended update today and elaborate on why I’m doing the newsletter, what you can do to support it, and a reader who’s been here the whole time’s suggestions on what to read.
Ready? Alright. Let’s get to it:
The Saturday Update
Monday: Operant Conditioning and the cybernetic hacking of the Human mind continues our discussion of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
Tuesday: Facebook And The Art and Science of Making Deals With Dragons is about understanding how to recognize and live with the Dragons in your life.
Wednesday: Checking in was me filling for time. The comments are few but interesting.
Thursday: The Troubling Difference Between McKenna's 1975 and 1994 Invisible Landscape continues our investigation of Terence Mckenna’s Timewave theory.
Friday: Welcome New People and one year anniversary was a brief celebration of readers and old readers alike.
An Old Head’s Recommendations
Yesterday, Sinoglowy posted a list of favorites so I asked if I could share it with y’all here:
If anyone wants to know where to start, here is list of top Trenchedges hits by random person from internet! From newest to oldest, it's just easier that way.
-UFOs: The Cosmic Rorschach test (wow, four in a row)
-OK, So I Lied About There Not Being an Email Today (about UFO again)
It’s a pretty good list, I have to admit.
Why Trenchant Edges?
We can simplify the reasons for this newsletter into personal reasons and Big Picture reasons.
On the personal level, there are really three things that motivate me: First, I mostly just want to do whatever I want whenever I want, which mostly means learning something. So much of my life has been tricking people into getting me paid for learning. This newsletter thing has been one of the more honest examples of it.
Second, I’ve gotten really comfortable with short-form writing on facebook. Which is fun and satisfying, but limits what I can express to things that fit in the format of a facebook post. So as a writer I want to put in a little more work and hit stuff in the 1000-10k+ range.
Last, I like the idea of a platform I’m not dependant on facebook for dealing with.
But those are kinda minor reasons compared to the Big Picture reason.
TLDR: We’re in the middle of the historic crisis of Neoliberalism and the American Empire. And there’s nothing resembling an alternative to what we’ve got now. That sucks. This whole era sucks. Not a fan.
While I’m a communist, I don’t think we’re going to see things fall into anything resembling the lines predicted by Marx, Lenin, or Mao. The world’s a lot weirder now.
And I think any alternative will probably come out of something just as weird.
So I look towards the better class of fringe intellectuals. I don’t think they’ve got the answers, but many of them saw the same trends growing we see today.
I’m not a doomsayer, I think we’re going to survive the next hundred and probably next thousand years. But how and in what condition is widely up in the air.
Maybe some of this will help. Maybe not.
Worst case scenario is I wasted my time and yours unpacking useless stuff and that process didn’t teach either of us enough to be worth the effort. Which doesn’t seem true for me so far, and I hope isn’t true for anyone else.
Alright, that’s the big picture. If you want more details on it, I wrote about that here.
How You Can Help
This is the bit where all the substack guides tell me I should ask for money. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m gonna do that. But right now there’s no practical reason to. None of the content is locked off and I’m going to keep do this for at least another year at this point.
Nothing is held in balance.
Furthermore, even if there was, I’ve always held a position that anyone who asks me for a comp’d subscription gets one. Supporting weird internet weirdos is a luxury and while I super appreciate it, if someone’s interested enough in what I do to ask that’s payment enough of my part.
So, what can you do to help? I love seeing big numbers on emails opened and comments. Truth is, I spent more than the last decade mostly writing for my own gratification and understanding. I’m gonna write no matter what. But writing for y’all is a hell of a lot more fun.
Mostly though, I want y’all to read what I write and ask questions or tell me I’m wrong. Feedback is absolutely golden. It’s the best shit in the world.
And you can share it or talk about the stuff going on and that’s cool too.
Alright, that’s what I’ve got. if you’ve got a couple bucks to spare and want to kick me some, that’d be cool as hell. Let’s get a button going for that:
Bonus button too. Whew.
Alright, so that’s what we’ve got today. Looking forward to talking with you a bit tomorrow and then back into our usual week stuff.
Sounds good, Stephen Fisher