Yes, it’s true. I’ve started a podcast.
I’ve been hearing rumors for a fair span of time that many people very much enjoy traversing the galaxy of podcasts. I myself have in fact barely listened to podcasts over the years, with the exception of Yoni Wolf’s ‘Wandering Wolf’ and Open Mike Eagle’s ‘Secret Skin.’
Having dabbled in producing audio in the form of weird rap songs for quite a while now, transitioning into the world of podcast-creation was a pretty simple task, once I finally found the time to just sit down and do it (thanks, Canada).
The podcast is called ‘Jordan Bates Doesn’t Know Shit’ because, as I’ve discussed on multiple occasions, it isn’t clear to me that we can really know anything with absolute certainty (except, perhaps, that something exists), and so, in the words of Robert Anton Wilson, “I don’t believe anything, but I have many suspicions.”
The tagline of the podcast is “An Ambiguous Podcast in an Ambiguous Universe” for two reasons. For one, as I just said, I think the universe is an ambiguous place where clear answers are hard to come by. For two, it’s an ambiguous podcast because I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be about. It would be cool to be able to limit it to some neatly compartmentalized topic, but if you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not too good at limiting what I’m thinking about. This reality is far too fascinating and multifaceted for that.
And so the podcast will be a lot of things. On one hand, I hope to do a number of interviews with interesting humans because I feel I know quite a few of them. On another, I hope to do some more experimental/avant-garde podcast-y things—to mess around with some Dadaist improvisational riffing/rapping here and there, and maybe some other stuff. On another still, I hope that the podcast can be a fairly informal medium where I can simply hit ‘record’ sometime and start talking about whatever is on my mind.
Fortuitously, the podcast has already become all three of those things! I’ve actually published three episodes so far, and each of them is representative of a different vertex of the trifecta of podcast-intentions I just mentioned. Here’s a breakdown of the first three episodes:
EPISODE 1: JORDAN BATES & CHRIS JOHNSON TALK ABOUT IMMORTALITY, BIG DATA, & WHY WE’RE ALL FUCKED
“This first episode of the ‘JORDAN BATES DOESN’T KNOW SHIT’ podcast shares a dialogue between myself and Chris Johnson, one of the most brilliant humans I’ve met and one of my best friends. We talk about immortality, big data, why we’re all fucked, mental models, Facebook, how modern language and media are insufficient, and more.
I should add that at the beginning of this podcast, I say that this conversation was recorded 6-8 months ago. In fact, it was earlier than that: probably 11-12 months ago.
Also, I express a couple of views in this conversation that I have since changed my mind about. For one, I don’t think the world is necessarily “going to shit.” I think there are many serious risks which humanity faces in the coming century, but I’m generally optimistic about our ability to persist as a species. And although I think many things about our current human enterprise are awful, atrocious, and deeply frightening (“bad”), I think those things are balanced by all of the things which are marvelous and magnificent (“good”). I think the modern world is pretty amazing and exciting. I also just think the human experience is dope as hell. Amor fati, mang. That’s how I feel right now. Saying that things are “going to shit” is always going to be a relative value judgment, but it’s provocative and makes for an interesting podcast. ; 3
Also, on the topic of immortality, I state at one point in this podcast that I wouldn’t want to take advantage of immortality technology. I kind of revise that statement later on, but I wanted to clarify that I’ve definitely changed my mind and think that if immortality becomes available to me in my lifetime, I will likely try to use it, so long as I could commit suicide at some point when I don’t want to live anymore. I think it would be worth it to remain alive for a long-ass time simply to watch the drama of the human enterprise unfold over the next 100, 200, 500, 1000, or 5000 years, and beyond.
Anyway, those are a couple clarification things. I’m not sure why I insisted on typing that out. After all, there are many things I’ve said on Refine The Mind that I no longer agree with, but I haven’t taken the time to change those or publish disclaimers. I guess this is because I’m just starting the podcast, and although this episode was recorded one year ago, it’s going to feel fresh in y’all’s minds. All right, I’ll shut up. Happy listening.”
EPISODE 2: ODD COSMOS: AN EXPERIMENTAL, IMPROVISED RIFF/RAP THING
“I mention in the intro that this is a Reggie-Watts-esque, improvised freestyle riff/rap thing about nothing in particular. It’s an experimental, Dadaist adventure into absurd realms at the borders of that which is able to be understood rationally and that from which a coherent meaning is able to be extracted. I might have mentioned that it was *not* particularly inspired by Reggie Watts, unless that inspiration was unconscious. I was literally just sitting in my cabin in Canada one night and had the urge to spill some kind of a cappella freestyle thing, and so I started recording and this is what came out. “
EPISODE 3: JORDAN BATES SEMI-DRUNKENLY RANTS ABOUT LOVING LIFE & ELIMINATING GLOBAL POVERTY
“In this spontaneous and semi-drunken rant, I discuss some of the things that are on my mind: how much I fucking love life, why the world is so crazy and awesome, why it sucks that there are still a lot of impoverished people, why we should try to eliminate poverty, and more. I mention Vinay Gupta, the hexayurt, Riane Eisler, Effective Altruism, GiveWell.org (I mistakenly said “GiveWell.com”), and the Gates Foundation at different points during this impassioned monologue. Enjoy.”
So, anyway, there you have it. The world may not have needed one more podcast about nothing, but it got one anyway dammit. Hopefully my podcast about nothing will actually end up being about quite a lot of fairly significant somethings, and hopefully it will provide something useful and/or existentially nourishing to those who take the time to listen to it.
‘Skeptical Übermensch’ T-Shirts
Ah, one last thing: For the next ~26 days, Refine The Mind is selling THE COOLEST T-SHIRTS IN THIS UNIVERSE. Okay, that might be slightly hyperbolic, but seriously, I’m pretty jazzed about how these things turned out. These puppies come in both Men’s and Women’s styles, and there are 10 different colors to choose from. Nietzsche is sporting a pair of headphones with an updated funky design and is accompanied by one of RTM’s unofficial tag lines, ‘QUESTION ALL THE THINGS.’ What more reason do you need to snag one?!
Anyways, thanks very much in advance to everyone who plucks up one of these suckers to support freethinking and my various RTM-related projects. Your patronage is truly appreciated. Peace!