Currently showing posts tagged the cynic and the fool

  • Artwork for The Cynic & the Fool

    This spring, my second book will go to print. I have been so excited to see this out there ever since publishing God Is Unconscious. While my first book was exactly what I wanted and needed it to be at the time, I've always felt there are definite limits to how much my work matters unless I also learn how to communicate a without the academic language. So I set out to alternate between writing academic and more accessible books every year or two. The Cynic & the Fool: the Unconscious in Theology & Politics aims to strip away the clinical jargon and deliver a critical philosophy mixed with more personal experiences and interspersed with stories in between each chapter. 

    I didn't, of course, plan for this to feel like so timely, but I organized the book around one question: when we hear a claim that cannot possibly be true, is the false claim pouring forth from the misinformed yet honest fool, or is the claim being twisted by a cynical nihilist who knows perfectly well know to manipulate and mislead? With everything going on in the world at the moment, there's never been a more important time to ask this question of those who have (unfortunately) found themselves in power. 

    Thanks to Jesse Turri for once again delivering the cover art. He won't tell you this, but he created the art for GIU and C&F without asking for anything in return except donations to nonprofits. 

    And if you know the writing of Kester Brewin, the forward definitely has his no bullshit style.

  • (Audio) The Cynic and the Fool

    “In various places people are surprised. What's eating them, these students, the little dears, our favorites, the darlings of civilization? What's up with them? Those who are saying this are playing the fool, this is what they are paid to do.” - Lacan

    “The ideology of the right-wing intellectual, is precisely to play the role of what he is in fact, namely, a ‘knave.’  In other words, he doesn't retreat from the consequences of what is called realism; that is, when required, he admits he's a crook.” - Lacan

    The Cynic and the Fool.mp3

    With the election tomorrow, it’s as good a time as any to post this short talk I gave at the LoftLA over the summer on the cynic and the fool.  Lacan taught that the progressive politician plays the role of a fool that directly believes in the causes promoted and yet depends on a logic of misdirection with regard to the cause underneath the cause, which is always economic.  On the other hand, Lacan noticed that right-wing politicians operate as cynics who will admit in private that they are far too educated to believe in much of the rhetoric they use in campaigns.  Groups of skeptics desire a leader that believes directly, and groups of fools desire a leader that will tell their ears what they want to hear.

    I wrote more on this in a previous post.

    I explore these ideas in my forthcoming book God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Theology.