Weekly Roundup, a bit about Me, and Why This Stuff is Important [Trenchant Edges]
Oooops, it's kinda a full newslettter.
Welcome to the first roundup newsletter of the Trenchant Edges, where we catch up on the rest of the week mixed with a short essay on who I am and why this project is important.
As with much of the newsletter right now this is very experimental so if you really like it and want me to keep doing it, let me know. ;-)
The Weekly Roundup
On talking w/ some folks about the structure of the Newsletter, the option to have a weekend email to connect all the week’s emails made a lot of sense.
So I guess we’re doing that thing.
From Monday, Natural And Supernatural a brief exploration of metaphysics and the occult. Terence McKenna once said, “the syntactical nature of reality, the real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” and this doesn’t have anything to do with that.
On Tuesday we did Inevitability and the Youth of Today unpacking another couple pages of McLuhan’s Medium is the Massage while addressing determinism.
Wednesday we discussed the core insight that motivated a lifetime's work from McLuhan
Thursday was about McLuhan’s second Book, The Gutenberg Galaxy
Finally, Friday was me asking for feedback on the newsletter.
All in all, it’s about a half hour of your time and pretty good. Being honest, I think the previous week was better, but for that you’ll have to go to www.trenchantedges.com/archive yourself.
A Little About Me
Me, eh? I’m in my mid-30s, mildly crippled thanks to my own pain tolernece, a copywriter by trade, and unqualified otherwise.
About, Christ, 13 years ago I dropped out of college where I was studying Industrial Psychology and went on a few years of wild spiritual excess. To mutilate a favorite line from Double Indemnity, “Well, I didn’t get the enlightenment and I didn’t get the girl.”
What I got was a broad understanding of several cultures mystical traditions, a confrontation with my trauma, a love for hunting down primary sources, and a deep love for humanity. Which, uh, I didn’t really sign up for. I was trying to transcend humanity.
So I spent the last decade or so drifting around trying to find some way to balance my newfound, uh, soul and society’s demands. Mostly I think I’ve done a pretty bad job of it. At least until recently.
I like passionate people interested in weird stuff. And then trying to break their ideas to see if they can take it.
Politically, I’m some kind of Anarcho-communist. Concentrations of power are bad, consent is good. Philosophically I’m something of a quasi-gnostic antimaterialist tired of haggling over metaphysics.
In some ways I’m very much the spiritual dilettante. I was very focused in my explorations of esoteric ideas, hunting for whatever key could get me past the lock in front of me. And because knowledge decays if not used there’s a bunch of stuff I’m vaguely familiar with but couldn’t really speak about without taking the time to refresh myself on the subject.
All of which is to say I’m a janky autodidact of a thinker whose interested in seeing what other autodidact put together.
Why This Matters
Something Terence McKenna said that I mostly agree with:
"So you know, read strange stuff, go to strange places. There's an old alchemical saying, something like this, uhh:
The highest mountains, the wildest deserts, the oldest books. There will you find the stone......
And so, it's all about you know- the common opinion should be rejected, on principle! I mean this sometimes makes you seem kind of quirky, because everybody's running toward fish, and you're talking about books to read. Everybody's interested in sushi and uh you know, you want uh fermented mare's milk uhh. But usually you find out that by behaving in this way, you end up uh ahead of the curve. And uh, and uh...
Life is beautiful without psychedelics, psychedelics simply make you aware of that primarily. And then secondarily lead you deeper into it. The affirmation of psychedelics is not the affirmation of an ideological position or a moral point of view. It's the affirmation of the existence of beauty itself.
The pursuit of psychedelics is the pursuit of beauty. The taking of psychedelics is a religion of platonic beauty. To know that it exists and to live ones life in the shadow of that knowing is transformative. And carries us and the rest of evolution forward. So that's the weekend folks. That's the rap. Thank you very very much. "
A thing I kept finding trying to reinvent the wheel was that other people already had done exactly that and they usually left gaps for improvement.
The upside of abandoning conventional thinking is you’re less constrained by assumptions. But the downside is you lose out of millions of manhours of effort spent refining the downstream consequences of those assumptions.
Sometimes that’s important, like when you’re building your own value system. But a lot of the rest of the time you’re not actually getting much in the way of benefit from trying to do all the thinking on your own.
These days I’m a border creature, hanging out in society with enough distance that my habits cause relatively little alarm.
If we’re going to get out of this historical crisis we’re all enmeshed in, we’re going to have to learn how to think more clearly and at higher levels.
Most of us will have to make some kind of transition there, relying on a few chosen has been what’s brought us this world of crisis.
So I look at McKenna’s wild attempts to synthesize everything into a single timewave gimmick and I think, “Yeah, this looks to be about the scale we need to build toward”.
But then I see his foundations weren’t even strong enough for him to get to the otherside of this crisis let alone anyone else.
So I’m impelled to look at how he developed those foundations to see if a better project can be built with the corpse of this one.
I see my role in this process as one of running a quarry to find suitable building materials more than anything else. Because a lot of our tools kinda suck right now.
So that’s a little about me.
This newsletter is the more intellectual work, as opposed to my political work. Which is more about building networks of trust and relationships than anything intellectual.
Anyway, if you like that, please consider kicking me a few bucks/month. It’s about 7-10 hours/week for me to put together and while I really enjoy it and y’all are stuck with me until at least 2022, those hours probably could be used better in my business.
For now I don’t have any plans on producing more content for subscribers, but I may change my mind about that eventually. You can also come hang out with me and a bunch of other smart weirdos on discord: https://discord.gg/M3DyQ7zX.
Alright, we’ll be seeing y’all tomorrow.