Not Cancelled Yet

Hey everyone,

Daniel Schmachtenberger is not feeling well tonight so we are going to have to cancel tonight's Metamodern Stoicism session at 7:30 PM ET. A perfect opportunity for us to practice our Stoicism. This will be rescheduled.

As well, we will host another session with Daniel about his Dharma Inquiry questions.

Must-see sessions for this week:

  • Decolonial Futures w/ Maria Clara Parente and Camilla Cardoso. August 5th @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here

  • Praxis to Collective Wisdom: Presence, Warm Data, and Insight w/ Bonnitta Roy, Nora Bateson, and Ria Baeck. August 6th @ 1:30 PM ET. RSVP here.

Events for tonight and tomorrow:

  • Flowing With Unknowingness w/ Tyson Wagner. Every Monday @ 8:30 PM ET. RSVP here. 60 mins.

  • The Stoic Hustle w/ Peter LimbergEvery Tuesday @ 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM ET. RSVP here.*

*Watch a presentation on the practice here. You can come and leave as you please throughout the 5 hours.

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August 3, 2020

So I am not cancelled yet. 

HighExistence and Rebel Wisdom released a piece I created with Lubomir Arsov on Friday called the Cancel God. The premise of the piece: cancel culture summoned the Cancel God, which does not only want to cancel the politically problematic, but wants to cancel humanity itself, and it does this by making us afraid to speak our truth, and if we cannot speak our truth we cannot address the meta-crisis, hence we will suffer our way to extinction. 

The idea of this was to serve as a “minimal viable meme” with the hope of offering a different perspective on the broken discourse that cancel culture engenders. Reading the comments on the piece: most thought it was awesome, some people thought it was stupid, and a few people, mainly progressivists, found it unhelpful. I want to address the latter, and steelman their position.

This piece is not helpful in ameliorating culture war tensions, and in fact it will further add to the polarization. By framing woke folks and social justice warrior types as “adepts of cancellation” that are unbeknownst “useful idiots” to a nihilistic God that wants to end humanity is a fanatical rendition of some of the tired Intellectual Dark Web / Quillette type arguments against cancel culture. 

I think the essence of this criticism is fundamentally right. The original idea was to create a myth around our collective inability to dialogue, which prevents us from addressing the meta-crisis. The Cancel God was to serve as a superordinate goal that memetic tribes can unify around. While I think this will be grokked by some tribes, others will feel alienated by this, and others will simply weaponize this meme. 

In the ideation phase I wanted to highlight my belief that a lot of memetic tribes have their own version of cancel culture, and I wanted to create more distance between the Cancel God and woke ideology. How the piece shook out however, partly thanks to collaborating with others and having time pressures of getting it done, these parts got neglected and it came out the way it did.

So this is my mea culpa. While I am slightly disappointed, I am proud enough of the piece as an “artistic meme,” and I am happy now to let the art speak for itself. My sense is that it is too weird for it to go viral anyway, like most of my other writings. Hence I do not think it will further add to the polarization, nor do I think I will be cancelled for this.

I’ll be honest, I like playing chess with cancel culture (now the Cancel God) too much for me to get foolishly cancelled. While this might have been a risky move on the culture war chessboard, I felt it was a good exercise in taking a risk.

Now it is time to focus on other things. I will be spending a good portion of today inviting some people to The Stoa. I am bursting with things to say about this, but I will say them in an upcoming entry.

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