The Other Others
By Tyson Yunkaporta
Through the Deakin University Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab, we have unlikely, borderline seditious and kind of inappropriate yarns with surprising people about how an Indigenous complexity science lens can be applied to solving the world's most wicked problems. There's gold at the margins, but almost no trigger warnings, so enter at your peril. Podcast artwork "Blackfulla Ratatouille" by Baradha woman Eden Thomas. Intro music by The Murri Ghibli Fangirls.
I guess in the end riches are made of stored relational energy from unequal exchanges. True wealth may be best described as an increase in relations, rather than growth in the surplus energy produced by them. This would be the difference between a growth-based and increase-based economy. We cautiously find ways in this yarn to imagine a pricing mechanism for nature. Dams may be evil, but the water in them is just water. Maybe money is the same way. JD, JMB, Chels 2Deadly Marshall, me and Josh the Gamilaroi bandit awkwardly grapple with fire-side economics and there's not a lot of answers, except to the troubling problem of rich people freezing their heads.
December 09, 2022
Land Is Not Real Estate
Jason Twill, expert in sustainable urbanism, creative city making, housing affordability and green building economics, in dialogue with Ishnie Dayara Kavindri Dahanayake, PhD candidate in ecology and urban design, working through the messy problems of planning a survivable future. It's hard when an extractive economic model must underpin all you build, and when the powerful cannot think beyond the idea of human societies residing separately from 'nature' areas.
December 06, 2022
Veteran of many asymmetrical skirmishes to save forests around the world, John Seed (founder of the Rainforest Information Centre) joins our yarns to share some pretty damn exciting stories about a legal victory that sets some world-changing precedents for the right of nature to exist. Elephant film PNG wokabout somil Ecuador Rights of Nature and https://www.rainforestinformationcentre.org/ecuador_endangered Terania Creek film Working with adivasis (tribals) in India
December 01, 2022
Return of the King
Good yarn with lots of laughs with Jon Alexander, British author of CITIZENS, about some of the wrong stories emerging from his island home and the potential of harnessing a bit of that Brexiteer energy towards more distributed sovereignties. And a sober cold-take on succession in the monarchy.
November 23, 2022
Deadly in the Garden
Maren Morgan and Jake Marquez, film makers and hosts of the podcast Death In The Garden share an intimate peek at what it's like to be a millennial in Utah at this moment in history.
November 17, 2022
Jason Fox and Ishnie Dayara Kavindra Dahanayake having a good yarn/induction into the vibrant space of Regen movements and refi, beautifully balancing the WOW with the WHAT?!
November 08, 2022
The Proud Boys on Ice
Bro talk with Native Alaskan thinkers Warren Jones and Arlo Davis, considering Indigenous solutions to the global issue of lost boys becoming radicalized into proto-fascist networks of 'brown-shorts' gangs online and in the streets. Warren and Arlo are seeking support to revive their community's tradition of men's houses and believe such traditions could be useful anywhere in the world.
October 26, 2022
Sweet yarn with my friend Euvie Ivanova from Future Thinkers, an intentional community/metamodern/heterodox/sensemaking organisation. http://euvieivanova.substack.com/ She has interviewed everyone from Jordan Peterson to me, and shares with us her experience of a largely male complexity science community encountering females being... well, complex... at the Emerge Conference in Austin, Texas (where good ideas go to die).
October 01, 2022
McDonaldisation of Indigeneity
Yarn with Dennis Foley, veteran Australian Indigenous scholar, iconoclast, thinker. Brother Dennis reminisces about a lifetime of cultural embassy and inquiry with Native Peoples from around the world, from New Zealand to Taiwan and even Korea. He touches on a controversial paper he wrote a few years back about "the McDonaldisation of Indigenous research". McDonaldisation occurs when an institution adopts the characteristics of fast food chains - efficiency, calculability, predictability and standardization, and control. Foley once made the case that a lot of Indigenous research has come to reflect these traits, and revisits this critique. Turns out there's more to Indigenous Standpoint Theory than simply claiming an Indigenous standpoint...
September 17, 2022
The Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab team in our third yarn about impact investing in land-based systems of bio-cultural integrity. We're still struggling with this, but we know this is far more useful than struggling against it. John Davis sings us in - Chels Marshall, Josh Waters, Jack Manning Bancroft and Tyson Yunkaporta.
September 09, 2022
Surviving Dunbar at Scale
Jack and I, fresh from the lab, yarn with renowned evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar. We figure out why, if Robyn arrived on a donkey, Jack would of course assist Robyn (as Jack's senior) off the donkey. But then, if the roles were reversed, would Robyn be obliged to help Jack off a donkey? Stick around for all these ancient lessons and more, from why a reputation-based economy might be a bad idea, to how come I cried when Dolph Lundgren passed away, when I hadn't seen the fella since Rocky 4? And of course, the ultimate question of civilisation - can anything ever be good again after being scaled beyond the local? It's all in the numbers.
September 06, 2022
Liberty vs Sovereignty
Fresh yarn with Ferananda Ibarra from The Commons Engine, which sits in the Holochain 'ecosystem'. Is it possible to live by the patterns of creation in land, community and online all at once? Ferananda works in economics, governance and the commons, informed by living systems, the feminine and indigenous wisdom. Can truly distributed wealth and governance stand against imperialism and 'the mother of all DAOs?"
August 31, 2022
Villages Under The Sea
Lucky dip yarn this week where I close my eyes and pick a random stranger from my inbox. Jackpot! We pulled Martin Henke who is working on human marine habitats. We coin together an interesting term - 'The Underview Effect', and wonder about how learning from this project might inform change on the shore.
August 23, 2022
Surveillance, Policing and Empire
In the tradition of cultural exchange and embassy between Ireland and Aboriginal Australia ('proper deadly!'), here is a very exciting yarn with criminologist and surveillance expert Diarmaid Harkin about our shared experiences of colonial violence. The yarn follows a through-line of historical surveillance and oppression under English rule to today's post-covid escalation of dodgy tech applications in policing globally. There is also a bit of a book review of Irvine Welsh's Filth. Dr Diarmaid Harkin is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Deakin University in Australia. He is the author of the book Private Security and Domestic Violence: The Risks and Benefits of Private Security Companies Working with Victims of Domestic Violence. He has also researched the Consumer Spyware Industry and worked with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on a project examining National responses to technology-facilitated abuse in the context of domestic and family violence.
August 09, 2022
No Revolution without Education
A great yarn with one of Australia’s most respected Aboriginal educationalists. Professor Lester Irabinna Rigney is a Narungga / Kaurna / Ngarrindjeri man who has been generous enough to sing my family into country around Adelaide over the past few weeks while I complete a residency at The University of South Australia. He is Professor of Education in the Centre for Research in Educational and Social Inclusion, and was previously a Distinguished Fellow at Kings College, London. Mostly, he's one of the holy trinity in Indigenous scholarship that you always cite when justifying using an Indigenous Standpoint in your research. I'm privileged to be writing a paper with him now on education futures, and here we share some of the foundational thinking and yarning we've been doing, the collective sense-making that always must be taken care of before you even begin identifying a specific research question in our field.
August 04, 2022
Stories All The Way Down
A different kind of string theory here, with two geniuses Siena Stubbs and David Turnbull, running some thought experiments and yarns to answer the question, 'What is real?' Siena Mayutu Wurmarri Stubbs is a photographer, a young Yolŋu woman of the Gumatj clan of the Yirritja moiety. Her homeland is Buwaka. David Turnbull is a retired scholar whose work has been an inspiration for a lot of thinking around spatial cognition in our lab. He says that science is an Atlas. Yeah, it's like that. Get ready for a fast ride around the universe. If you want more of David's work, check out this generous online publication: http://territories.indigenousknowledge.org/
July 06, 2022
Second public sharing of an Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab think-tank session, in which we grapple with our ongoing thought experiment about Extinction Offsets.
July 01, 2022
Journey without Heroes
Strange, strange yarn with Aboriginal thinkers Lily McKnight and Claire G Coleman (sci fi author of Terra Nullius and The Old Lie) about whether stories without heroes are possible or even desirable, science fiction, and a deep dive into some thought experiments about the metaphysics of identity.
June 20, 2022
Aboriginal Mutual Aid
Naomi Moran and Ella Bancroft from the Koori Mail yarn about the emergency response to massive flooding in coastal New South Wales, a rescue operation led by Indigenous women who continue to organise community around ongoing management of the greatest disaster of all - settlements that have been built in the wrong bloody place. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/koori-mail-rebuild
June 02, 2022
Star Thrower Story
We play with a fable, that might become Story if enough people and place can work on it, with Daniel Schmachtenberger, founding member of The Consilience Project. https://consilienceproject.org/ Daniel is a thinker/doer who works on catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.
June 01, 2022
Wahled Fortresses for Armageddon
Big yarn with Daniel Christian Wahl, the expert of experts when it comes to intentional communities and cultural systems emergence. We talk about our discomfort when people use our work for purposes we're not really aligned with, why intentional communities fail and why so many people are into it at this moment in history.
May 18, 2022
The Subtle Fascism of Feedback
A beautiful unlikely connection - Carol Sanford doesn't like introductions - all the books, all the MIT's and the rest. If you Google her you'll find a lot of promo material on her work in regenerative entrepreneurship, corporate consultancy and a misleading headshot. She's calling in from an aged care facility where she lives, and she is wonderful. She has written a great book on the toxicity of feedback, and is currently working on a new one about the horrors of behavioural psychology.
May 05, 2022
Death by Wellbeing
Nicholas Gruen from Lateral Economics joins us to discuss his latest essays exposing the pseudo-science of wellbeing indexes in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
May 02, 2022
Dead air warning - sometimes we need a few moments to think before we speak. Those silences are not dead, but full of life, so we didn't edit them out. Also some explicit language so earmuffs for the bubs. A 'think tank' session with some of the mob at the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab, beginning the process of how we might engage with financial instruments, how we might navigate the economic system in our work while maintaining a firm grounding in Lore and Law, and what The Big Lebowski might have to do with all this, because Nanna Davis was watching the movie in the background throughout. Also some interesting robot translations of JD singing in Aboriginal language at the start. Our first public sharing of our yarns and opening protocols when we begin exploring a potential research topic. Rough as guts, but right as rain.
April 30, 2022
Don't Drop That!
Arlo Davis, our Native Alaskan conscience regulator, calls in to growl me ('scolding' they call it there) about avoiding the colonial trap of vicarious trauma. He has good story from an Elder for 'taking that out of you'. We also devote a lot of time to applying Indigenous methods of inquiry to solving the riddle of steel. Speaking as Conan the Barbarian fanboys, we feel it's appropriate for us to do that.
April 27, 2022
Negative Entropy is a Team Sport
Jeremy Lent, recovering tech start-up whizz and author of books including "The Web of Meaning" joins us for a true mad deep yarn, and we connect in authentic relation, in a really beautiful way. He makes me begin to waver in my assertion that there is no way Indigenous Knowledge can save the world. This fella is magic - if he can make me happy, he can make anyone happy. Get some. It's good.
April 01, 2022
Hyperstition and Hyperobjects
Michael Garfield is the host of 'Complexity', the Santa Fe Institute's podcast, as well as his own podcast 'Future Fossils'. In this yarn he's off the leash in a yarn without boundaries, in which we cover consciousness studies, psi research, discarnate entities in cyberspace, psycheldelics, Jurassic Park, hubris, hormones, rage, the contagion of conspiracy logic and truckloads of other wild ideas that might be described as speculative non-fiction.
March 31, 2022
Native Languages in AI
Prof Michael Running Wolf is a software engineer and artificial intelligence ethicist who is deeply committed to Indigenous data sovereignty and cultural revitalistion. We yarn about his work at the intersection between Indigenous languages and AI.
March 28, 2022
AI and Info Warfare
Leonard Hoon is a senior research fellow at Deakin University and we did a few AI projects together before Covid. Been trying to get him on for a yarn for ages, and today he finally gave in. He has some great insight into the way the landscape has changed in Artificial Intelligence over the last couple of years, so we take a brief but deep dive into human agency and the best take I've heard about "signal and noise" which offers a more sober and useful way of navigating the theatre of information warfare.
March 24, 2022
What Doesn't Kill You
Vanessa Lemm, Executive Dean at Deakin University and secret Nietzsche scholar, explains how Will to Power is really Will to Relation, and how a 'return to nature' is not evolutionary regression. And how she tells my knife-fighting stories to her children as bed-time stories. Prepare to knock the misogyny and fascism off your Friedrich fetish.
March 03, 2022
Ukraine, CRT, Mal Meninga
We want Nicholas Gruen to make a killing on his substack, so we continue with our marketing strategy of trying to get him cancelled to drive more traffic his way. A mixed bag yarning up everything from Russian disinformation to the shortest (and greatest) political career in history. Lots of provocations to try and get Nicholas to say something terrible, but he can't quite shake off his decency and intelligence to get the job done.
February 22, 2022
Gamilaroi Feedback Loops
Josh Waters, the Kid Laroi of Indigenous complexity science, is one to watch over the next five years. He's doing his post-grad and has remarkable insight into systems and complexity, drawing on his traditional Lore to bring competing narratives together. We talk about scale, co-evolutionary fitness, positive and negative feedback loops, and the maximum power principle. And emus.
February 17, 2022
The Sky Disciplines
Associate Professor Duane Hamacher, astronomer and co-author of the new book The First Astronomers, in a yarn about why dialogue between Indigenous Knowledge and Western science is not cross-cultural, but interdisciplinary. We also explore the difficulties of writing and scholarship in an era of global information warfare.
February 10, 2022
Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
Two hefty fellas yarning about canoes and heretical notions of prehistorical ocean-going travelers and trade in Asia. Messing with some pivotal timelines. Victor Briggs is an Aboriginal scholar whose book on this topic is coming out in June - my hot pick for 2022 in igniting the next round of culture wars. He also gives us a bit of shake-spear from that time he played Othello.
February 09, 2022
Nice yarn with a Mum, Kylie Cooper, who is embarking on the increasingly perilous journey of homeschooling her son. She asked if we could help out with some advice on how to develop her curriculum to be responsive to her context, which includes relationships with land and community, but also inevitably with government, marketplace and institutions.
February 08, 2022
Indigenous Covid Narratives
Big yarn with Prof Des Gorman, Maori thinker in public health systems and more, former Head of the School of Medicine at Auckland university. A former Naval Officer (submariner and diving officer), he has a no-nonsense approach that gets people clutching pearls and running sobbing from conference rooms from time to time. A challenging yarn about James Bond, large-scale public health interventions, the Indigenous response and the future of Covid.
February 03, 2022
Platypus, Love Magic & Teams
An honor to check in with Aunty Munya Andrews - Aboriginal Elder, barrister and author. Nice free-range organic yarn on totems, kinship, the hero's journey and optimal team size (we agree with Bezos' 2 pizza formula).
February 01, 2022
Alaskan Relational Rapture
Arlo Davis is a Native Alaskan living through the big thaw. He has journeyed through university life and even tried his hand at being a guru for a while. He eventually went down a three-year YouTube rabbit hole starting with Jordan Peterson (with some occasional Joe-caine from Rogan's show) and then touring all the usual suspects, trying to sense-make the apocalypse. He arrived at the conclusion that there's nothing much to be done except focusing on our relationships, and contacted me to try and convince me to quit my work, because nothing will turn this crisis of civilisation around. True community connectedness is the the only Ark that will float, and the only prepping that matters is coming into good relation with people and land.
January 31, 2022
Jack's back! Jack Manning-Bancroft from AIME, Indigenous CEO (a real one, not just one of these people who start a dog-washing business and put CEO on their LinkedIn profile) has the hard yarns about taking the woo-woo out of innovation, creativity and imagination, while still retaining a shred of hope and wonder.
January 21, 2022
Reverse-anthropologist Goes Native
Deen Sanders OAM has been assigned the cultural role of mitigating the risks that come with my work - the damage I might do the world and the damage the world might do to me. Culturally this is like a HR meeting, a bit personal too, but we decided to record it after half an hour because there were good governance messages that might benefit a lot of people. We deal with my problematic encounters with the Californian ideology and my addiction to yarning with Americans, and above all the slow untethering of my spirit from land and community in the inquiry role I've taken on in the last couple of years, while examining global systems of influence during the anthropocene.
January 14, 2022
Web 3.0 Xmas Special
Jordan Hall is our Christmas gift for 2021 - tech entrepreneur and sense-making guru in the lab with a high level briefing on Web 3, bringing that xmas spirit with tales of Moloch, Mammon, Satan and Steve Jobs. Mind blowing yarn. Seriously. Best Christmas ever.
December 24, 2021
Conceptually Flaccid Theory
This is pretty much Nicholas Gruen's podcast now, he's in here so regular. The episode is named after one of his glorious rhetorical arrows aimed at somebody who isn't me, so I'm loving it. We still have business with the dialectic, so we finally put that to bed today, as well as reconciling our troubled relationship with the Age of Reason and the problem of where to keep a Magna Carta message stick.
December 22, 2021
Invention of the Wheal
Jamie Wheal helps me work through my issues with the Age of Reason, as I complete my audit of the Enlightenment. He is a peak performance expert and founder of the Flow Genome Project. His latest book Recapture the Rapture will probably not sell as much as his famous Pulitzer-nominated bestseller Stealing Fire, because it says a lot of things that are quite upsetting to oligarchs. Jamie knows the old narratives and institutions are finished, and is looking toward what comes next, as well as wondering what is worth retrieving forward from the grand experiment of the Enlightenment. As usual, we attempt dialogue without romanticizing our respective cultural traditions and seeking moral high ground, and we almost succeed this time.
December 21, 2021
The Liminal Web
Joe Lightfoot is the author of the 2020 game changer, A Collective Blooming: The Rise Of The Mutual Aid Community. He recently dubbed the complexity/sense-making/meta-modern/decentralised tech community "The Liminal Web" and the idea has had quite an impact in the space. We talk through our misgivings and excitement about being liminally involved with this community that seems to be gaining influence and leverage in the world. And about our fear of losing the most unspeakable parts of our male privilege. And we do speak it. And it helps us get to the heart of why change-making has never worked yet.
December 16, 2021
After the Bleed
This is not a comfortable yarn, but Felicity Chapman says it's a healing one. I don't like to "go there" but there we go. Felicity is an Aboriginal woman who uses weaving to facilitate neuroplasticity in her own recovery following a brain aneurysm. I'm interested in this cultural practice of memory that occurs in the objects that we make. She refers to her life post-aneurysm as "after the bleed" and this comes to mean much more in our yarn, which mostly explores loss, particularly loss of memory at the personal and community level following historical trauma and the greater bleed of genocide. Lost ancestral memory, lost story, lost family memory. And the darker side of colonial amnesia. And how to "look after yourself" in the fallout, after the bleed.
December 07, 2021
Processes of Emergence
Fritjof Capra in dialogue with fellows from the IK Systems Lab, Jack Manning Bancroft and Tyson Yunkaporta. Fritjof shares his accessible translation of a systems view of life - a four-part logic sequence that sits well in dynamic relation with Indigenous Knowledge. Creation is not just about patterns and replication, but the inevitable pattern-breakers that give rise to mutation, elaboration and emergence. What is intelligence, sentience, creativity and imagination? And magic? Well, that is simply what science might refer to as non-linearity. Wonderful yarn.
December 02, 2021
Disequilibrium and Musical Chairs
Friend of the pod, Nicholas Gruen, tries to help me get to the bottom of my theories about supply and demand. Turns out economics as a discipline is so opaque that it's turtles all the way down and there's no proof to be found - just interesting perspectives through stories about property auction smoking ceremonies and Mafia internships.
November 25, 2021
Afrorithms vs Algorithms
Ahmed Best and Dr Lonny Brooks yarn about everything from Civil Rights to democratizing the future through radical gaming, while my 4 year old daughter gets busy wrecking the house around me. We don't talk about Star Wars, because I figure Ahmed must be sick of answering Jar Jar questions by now. In the AfroRithms Futures group, Lonny and Ahmed are doing some time-traveling magic as they seek not to change the future from a point in the past, but instead ground themselves in a preferred future to change the present.
November 17, 2021
Hegel, Fidelio and Emu
Nicholas Gruen is a white Kant philosopher who keeps talking to me about Western philosophers when I'm supposed to be working. We kick this one off with a Fidelio monologue I wrote for the Opera House this season, while I try to finish a chapter on the Enlightenment and Nicholas tells me the best bits of the Age of Reason that will be worth keeping after the global economic system collapses. And I get schooled on my "vulgar Marxist interpretation" of Hegel, which I completely deserve.
November 10, 2021
Ego, Gurus and Sorcery
Precarious yarn with recovering comedian Nick Sun about the psychedelics community and its dodgy origins and deep influence across the interrelated fields of tech, coaching, business, sense-making, complexity science, design and more. Appropriation and dispossession. Civilisation and imperialism. This is a deep dark dive. Indigenous listeners are advised that this episode contains references to the effects of community spiritual violence and colonial desecration of sacred sites.
November 05, 2021
Monika Bielskyte the protopian futurist trickster is back, the second wokest person I know, to audit the yarns in our complex field here for everything from eugenics to Russian disinformation. She kills a couple of my babies here, including any lingering attachment I may have had to Gaddafi nostalgia, problematic sci fi and the weird genealogy of this podcast’s title.
November 04, 2021
Talk Jokes to Power
Brother Deen Sanders preps me for a writing retreat as we yarn through the sticks we've made each other for Story about governance. He is on Country where the Tiddalik Lore resides, an old Story that provides a template for bloodless revolution that involves multiple truths, zero murder and lots of laughter.
November 02, 2021
Bees, Growth and Moral Panic
Best yarn ever with Katherine Collins who is a sustainable investment guru and chair of the Santa Fe Institute. We mostly talk about bees, and the weird way people project the best and worst fantasies about reality onto those insects, and then spend the second half of the yarn trying not to do exactly the same as we riff on economics and complexity.
November 02, 2021
Will to Relation
A sedate and deep river of a yarn, no rapids today I'm afraid. Kianga Ford, a healer working with the walking wounded from gender skirmishes in the culture wars, yarns with me about cults, settler sexualities, relatedness, masculinity and femininity. We work together on the notion of "Will to Relation" as an Indigenous alternative to Nietzsche's "Will to Power".
October 15, 2021
Policy, and Other Illusions
Australian economist Nicholas Gruen, working at the dangerous space in between economics and policy, puts my pop-science brain through boot camp, which I always appreciate, and tells me why complexity science and systems thinking are policy fads that won't last beyond the next election cycle. He talks me through a paper of his that I really love. Only problem is he hasn't published it yet, so if you want to get a preview, you have to ask him nicely like I did. The password is "We need the eggs". firstname.lastname@example.org
October 11, 2021
Adah Parris is a cyborg shaman who will redefine what you mean when you say "technology". I won't spoil it. Except - The Matrix, Wonder Woman, gurus and cults. And what kind of ancestor do you want to be?
October 11, 2021
Complexity Myths and Gurus
Luke Craven, complexitorian and Design Director at the Australian Taxation Office, yarns up about the fallacies and pitfalls of complexity theory and systems thinking. We decide the biggest fallacy is that it is culturally neutral, and take a deep dive into the dominant culture of the discipline. We talk about the ecosystem of the complexity community, and the particular niche that gurus occupy there. We agree that there is nothing natural about the psycho-technology that is systems thinking - you can't just magically arrive there through un-schooling. We discuss how to move from the feels and the thinks and into the more difficult sphere of action. https://pigontracks.substack.com/p/35-system-effects-update
October 05, 2021
Tech Bros and Violence
Helluva yarn with Arpad Maksay, Hungarian/Tamil marketing, tech and Kendo guru, on rule governed violence, gendered violence and the weird intersection of martial arts, finance and tech. We give our cold-takes on NFT's and wonder about how crypto can be called a currency when it's obviously just another class of digital asset. We also come up with an unlikely marketing angle for girls in STEM programs. And of course, lots of stories about fighting with sticks...
October 01, 2021
Return of the Viking Yarns
Picking up the thread again of our most viral episode "Yarning with Vikings" with Rune Hjarno Rasmussen, a Danish animist who is flirting with the idea of a Nordic resurgence and revitalisation of land-based Scandinavian cultures. Some great yarns here, but also a lot of laughs and an unlikely bromance that is always entertaining.
September 21, 2021
Space-time and Schwarzenegger
Latest in a yarn that's been going for four years with Danie Mellor, an Indigenous artist from the volcanic jungle soil of far north Queensland. He might be called a landscape artist except he's also a time-traveller, which is tricky when your culture's view of time is indistinguishable from space (especially when you're interacting with a marketplace and society grounded in real estate and the arrow of time). We talk about the haptics of ancestral objects and archival images, and apply a snake-eye lens to rain forest country to see what might be revealed about the physics of our reality through infrared viewpoints. And of course, this means we have to spend at least half an hour talking about the film Predator and Big Arnie's rumble in the jungle with an alien who sees in infrared...
September 21, 2021
Friend of the pod, Frisian Indigenous man from the Netherlands, Michel Grobbe, returns for his third yarn with IKSLab. He shares Frisian burning practices and we find some startling parallels across hemispheres of experience.
September 09, 2021
China is a Thing
Fionn Wright used to be Irish, then married in to a Chinese family in Shanghai, where he is an executive coach, World 2.0 & China Dream Advocate, Media Personality, Meditation Teacher, Metamodern and Integral theorist. Some really nuanced perspectives here on China's future and global systems. A lot to learn here and think on.
September 09, 2021
What does decolonisation even mean today, here in the master's nephew's house, and what will we do with the tools we find here? Motaung Thomas Mofolo is a futurist, a proud Mosotho, digital content creator, decolonial activist and media theorist leveraging the creative economy for social impact and sustainable development across the Afrikan continent. Our yarn here was authentically our first communication, and I think you'll like it. Particularly when we start whipping out our knobkerries...
September 08, 2021
Psycho-technologies of Memory
Lynne Kelly, the 'memory whisperer' in beautiful dialogue with Tyson Yunkaporta (the 'settler whisperer') about embodied, place-based, storied memorisation techniques used the world over by cultures retaining pre-industrial traditions. Lynne is the author of The Memory Code and Memory Craft, and if you're interested in how your entire life and community of relations might be transformed by engaging with and recovering ancestral psycho-technologies, this yarn will blow you away.
August 23, 2021
The Science of Relationality
Torres Webb is a proud Erubam man born on Darnley Island, who advocates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing through culture, language, music and education. He is an advisor at CSIRO and is establishing a national First Peoples' Science Centre. We talk about power laws and economies of scale, science as embassy, our historical contribution to the enlightenment (and global finance), seasonal knowledge cycles and more.
August 17, 2021
The Weird Complexity Community
Dr Jason Fox, red-bearded, waistcoat-wearing, Melbourne settler-squatting complex systems hedge wizard, tries to help me make sense of the complexity theory community globally. We're both on the wrong side of the equator for this, and we struggle to understand our vigorous, confident US counterparts and our conflicted responses to them. I begin to unpack my racism towards orange people and Jason explores that annoying trope about westerners being uncomfortable with silences. Unfortunately I do way too much talking here and fall into my bad habit of indigi-splaining everything, so I will have to get Jason on again and try to honor my commitment to centering orange voices.
August 11, 2021
IK Systems and Climate
Chels Marshall is a Gumbayngiirr woman, a marine biologist who works across multiple disciplines with Indigenous Knowledge Systems applied through a complexity/systems thinking lens. Her PhD was on Indigenous Knowledge Systems and climate change. We've worked together on the Regenerative Songlines project and will soon be working together in the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab at Deakin University.
August 06, 2021
Beckett Carmody is a Bundjalung/Lama Lama fella who is one of the most exciting thinkers I've met in a long time. His Indigenous process of inquiry is uncut, undomesticated, but he employs these oldways processes with complete rigor and integrity, utilising a kind of natural experimentation methodology, in which you can see him verifying and falsifying findings and running complex simulations that are non-digital and involve mapping data sets onto naturally occurring cyclic processes and then observing them in real time. His thinking and practice blow my mind.
August 05, 2021
A yarn from a couple of lockdowns ago (important to know about time lag because of the seasonal knowledge in the yarn). Victor Steffensen is an Indigenous musician, film-maker and expert in the ancient tradition of caring for land through the use of fire. He is the founder of the Firesticks Alliance and author of the book Fire Country: how Indigenous fire management could help save Australia. A very interesting idea to emerge from this yarn is Vic's notion of 'allowances' as opposed to the idea of 'affordances', based on the way plant species share resources with each other. I'm interested to frame future cybernetics yarns around how things change if we say 'allowance' instead of 'affordance'.
July 23, 2021
Ethical Investing Can Be Fun
Yarning with Johny Mair, one of those rare beasts - an actual self-made man. An Australian ex-pat who went from casual labor in Brisbane for six dollars an hour to banking and investment magic in the US. He's the co-founder at Ethic - Sustainable & Impact Investing. I'm often rolling my eyes at the idea of sustainable finance gurus, but not this time. We yarn up about billionaires in space, our cold takes on Gamestop, and whether shareholder-centric market ideologies can be used to leverage change in the world. And Johny catches me stealing a joke from Bill Burr.
July 20, 2021
Slow Protocol Indigenous Tech
Angie Abdilla (Palawa), Megan Kelleher (Baradah), Rick Shaw (Gamilaroi) and Tyson Yunkaporta (Wik) tell the story of our work so far for Oldways New, in the IPAI (Indigenous Protocols in Artificial Intelligence) group. We share this work as part of our protocol of transparency and open collaboration, and invite suggestions as we reach a very sticky point in our project. We know how to develop something that could be groundbreaking, but now we must ask - should we do it? Is it even possible to be accountable for the externalities and knock-on effects of a new innovation?
July 08, 2021
Long on Trust for 2030
Bruce Pascoe and I yarn up the blackfellas' futures market, the prisoner's dilemma, trust dynamics and the thinly veiled Daddy issues of settlement. We absolutely don't mention the culture war. Well, maybe once, but I think we get away with it. Bruce refuses to advise me on a writing project in which I need to make torture and dark ops just a little more up-beat to fit with a jolly musical score. But that's always been Bruce's problem, no moral flexibility.
June 29, 2021
The Bezosian Power Principle
I was in a bad mood so my mentor, Worimi man Deen Sanders, threw me a bone and ran a bit of a thought experiment on how the maximum power principle and pos/neg feedback loops apply to billionaires who own the supply chains. Is there potential for equilibrium? We didn't arrive at a solution, but we did come up with a kickass name for one. And we had a good laugh, too.
June 24, 2021
Free range research yarn with Dr John Davis, head of the Stronger Smarter Institute for many years, now moving into our Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab as a leader. We talk about Bunya nut story and interspecies communication as a methodology and economy, ranging through many topics, from solar panels in the Sahara to how to honor two conflicting conclusions at once and still remain productive. We'll figure out how Indigenous thinking can save the world yet!
June 17, 2021
Dr David Reser and I talk about our inter-cultural bromance that has grown out of memory science experiments over the last few years, starting with our initial meet-cute nerding out over cranial nerves, 3d printing, dot paintings and Hannibal Lecter. This bromance has survived two culture wars and a recent controversy in which our experimental research paper (comparing the Ancient Greek Memory Palace technique with Aboriginal memorisation techniques) was turned into divisive click-bait for culture warriors.
June 08, 2021
Beyond Critique - Wot Now?
Prof Yin Paradies talks about his evolving research moving from anti-racism to a deeper intervention into the true causes of structural inequality. We also look into the usefulness of intentional communities as safe-to-fail experiments in generating distributed governance patterns that might be replicated fractally over time, as The Wheel grinds slowly to a halt. Yes, we talk about Game of Thrones too...
June 04, 2021
What Can I Do?
Outsourcing our biggest FAQ here. Maya Ward, author of "The Comfort of Water" is now receiving queries from settlers who are calling themselves "white" and asking how to come back into the spirit of place in rigorous and respectful ways that are not in extractive relation, not overstepping or appropriating. It is a space of nuance and intense discomfort and danger there, but it is generative, so Maya and I talk up Kingfisher ceremony on Wurundjeri land, in a feedback loop of crazy. It may be crazy, but both of us agree that if settlers cannot come back under the Law of the land soon, everything and everyone will die. No pressure.
June 04, 2021
Frisian Tracking Methodology
Michel Grobbe (friend of the pod) is a Frisian Indigenous scholar from the Netherlands, and we yarn here about our complementary universes of tracking game, a pattern-thinking skill set that we believe is transferable across many disciplines and domains.
May 30, 2021
Violence and Chivalry
The uncancelable Dr Kelly Menzel, Indigenous thinker from the Adelaide Hills, jumps in with me through our ongoing research project that demands innovation of new methodologies just to grapple with the horrendous complexities of our topic.
May 25, 2021
Going Commando in Leadership
Ben Ford from Commando Development applies his knowledge from the Royal Marines and a decade of software development to the tragedy of the commons, the scalability issues of distributed governance, what Waterloo and Gettysburg have in common, and the questionable impact of Vegemite on the Middle East.
May 24, 2021
Consciousness and AI
Jim Rutt, former Director of the Santa Fe Institute and general complexity and tech guru, shares knowledge of his favourite field – consciousness research. We examine embodiment, external cognition, implications for AI and AGI, and even psi research. Then we apply his knowledge of neural nets and genetic algorithms to a project I have underway with Oldways New (Angie Abdilla) in which we are attempting to apply marriage Law in Aboriginal kinship systems as an algorithm to solve the biggest problem in genetic computing.
May 18, 2021
Executive coach, corporate trainer and Systema instructor Glenn Murphy yarns with me about distributed cognition, the utility of fluid self-other boundaries, how to connect with place when you are displaced and the possibility of generative violence in right relation, with right story. But first, you must get through 4 minutes of a Viking Metal song about Rasputin to light up your limbic system!
May 17, 2021
Positivity meets Complexity
Jack Manning Bancroft is an Indigenous Australian change-maker who built the juggernaut organisation AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) on the power of hope, trust falls, high fives and "follow your dream!" tropes. It worked. Many individuals were uplifted and empowered. But the one thing it didn't change was the system producing inequality in the first place. Jack is somebody who can talk his way into any room on the planet, so what happens when a man like this takes a deep dive into complexity science and decides to tackle global power systems in non-linear ways?
May 05, 2021
Queering Dignitas with Mana
Best podcast yet. Maori complexity voyager Guy Ritani explains Queering as a generative praxis rather than a mere instrument of critique. It is not even a lens, but a relational embodiment within a landscape rich with Mana. Guy inhabits this way of being perfectly while sparking innovation in science, permaculture, and many other fields, leaving those fields richer from the encounter.
May 04, 2021
Jason Twill is an expert in sustainable urbanism, creative city making, housing affordability and green building economics. I know he's from the US, but I'm not sure where his home is. Right now he's on lockdown in Qatar as four different Covid mutations ravage the population there. Jason applies training he received from Gumbayngirr people in Australia to systems thinking approaches in all his projects, and he has a very different take on First Principles thinking.
April 28, 2021
IK in a Post-Truth World
Greg Morris is a Samoan knowledge industry professional who takes a deep dive with me into the relational nature of knowledge, the joys and dangers of intercultural knowledge translation/production, and the thousand-year-long tail/tale each of us is dragging. We examine the vital role of Indigenous Knowledge processes (not content) in forming collective thinking practices for truth-seeking, rather than arguing over which facts represent truth.
April 23, 2021
First Law and Songlines
Australian Indigenous Elders Anne Poelina and Mary Graham share with Megan Kelleher (my spouse) and I, about the Law of the land and First Peoples, as well as Songlines. Megs had to leave half way through for family biz, so we didn't get to some of the big stuff she was bringing about spatial relation and cognition, but we will come back to that yarn later. This is a good example of how messy and vibrant yarns can be - these Aunties hit the ground running and left no space for the niceties of introductions or explanations! Just try and keep up.
April 22, 2021
Red-pilling the Margins
Listen through for one of the finest Jordan Peterson impressions you'll ever hear. Sound for this episode isn't great, but you know what? Stop being such an audio snob! When I was a kid we only had cassette tapes recorded off the radio and it was fine. Suck it up and have a listen. This is an intimate yarn reflecting on personal experiences of online radicalisation and the old rabbit-hole, with Jordan Price, a young Gunditjmara fella who has lived with chronic pain all his life and sought agency through self-reliance philosophies, largely curated through a YouTube algorithm. I've known him since he was a kid, watching him struggle bravely through his pain during hours of hard dancing in corroboree. He's found a defiant kind of inspiration in his culture, but also in Nietzche, Macchiavelli, Jesse Ventura, 9-11 truthers and Jordan Peterson. I haven't seen him in a few years, and we reflect on the carnage of the last decade, since our first innocent online encounters with big foot, the Kennedy assassination, flat earth theory and the Mayan calendar. There is a universe of raw and troubling stories to unravel in this hour.
April 15, 2021
AI Origins Story
What happens when you put two middle aged Aboriginal nerds with adult ADHD together on one zoom call? Nothing good. Rick Shaw is a Gamilaroi mathematician who works on algorithms for Deloitte, and spends quite a bit of his remaining hours slapping my brain around the room like a cat with a half-dead rat. He used to model and monitor extreme events like terrorism and hurricanes. Now he's monitoring me. Our yarn was interrupted by his daughter charging round on a horse and my spouse panic-buying ethereum in the background. According to Rick's bush-physicist's unified field theory, that's good chaos and we need to embrace it.
April 14, 2021
Indigenous Venture Capital?
Jacqueline Jennings, mixed heritage Cree, Anishinaabe, Métis and settler descent, is 2nd generation residential school survivor from Canada - a self-made woman who started out with nothing but a turkey feather (not even an emerald mine to get the ball rolling). She has found herself in a very unique position as an entrepreneur and investor who is now navigating the world of Indigenous finance at Raven Capital, where her team brings the traditional role and protocols of The Intermediary to bear in a way that is seeding some interesting disruptive innovations, seeds intended to grow over seven generations. I was heartened to see that her work is neither Indigenised finance nor financialised indigeneity, but something else entirely. I gained some helpful clues about risk management and the issue of trading beyond spheres of trust at scale, but also some troubling wake-up calls about the impossibilities of allowing land to be anything but capital without sparking a global catastrophe. In the end, it's your body or your land as collateral, and you can have skin in the game or be somebody else's skin in the game. Maybe. As long as we remember that the house always wins.
April 14, 2021
Indigenous Systems Thinking
Melanie Goodchild, Moose Clan, Anishinaabe (Ojibway or Chippewa) from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Ketegaunseebee, co-founder of the Turtle Island Institute, talks about her group's work in conducting traditional processes of inquiry in dialogue with Systems Thinking and Complexity science, mediated through a council of Elders. My family and I have been sitting in ritual yarns with Melanie and her family for a while now, and we are ready to share some of the knowledge that lives in the relational connection between us.
April 08, 2021
The Original Augmented Reality
Heir to the silent fallout of multiple genocides, Monika Bielskyte is one of those ordinary people who has fallen through the cracks of industrial identities, gone through the fire, evolved some salamander traits and emerged to do extraordinary things. A denizen of liminal country, Monika's medium is cybernetics and intensive pluralist praxis in this area has produced some high level insights about global imperialism and its incursions into the realms of AR and VR. I once did a ceremony with Ainu people and I put myself in that headspace for this interview, to better connect with Monika's grandmother's people. Trigger warning - anti-woke folk might hear some things in here they won't like much. More on Monika's protopian future visioning here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAZLLW2y4eo
April 06, 2021
Wrong Story - Bad Faith, Disinfo
Prof. Deen Sanders OAM is a Worimi man who has wandered the intrepid space between Western systems of corporate life, law, academia, psychology and government; and the Indigenous culture and knowledge systems that shape his relationship with the world. Brother Deen always has a nuanced analysis of wicked problems, to which he applies an Indigenous complexity lens and a mastery of many disciplines. We point that weapon today at disinformation and bad faith discourse, which have migrated from the digital world and into our lives. Parts of this interview also appear in another podcast I do called Disconnect, a show about Indigenous engagement with IT.
April 01, 2021
Story as Currency
This is startling and spontaneous yarn about economic transitions, imperialism, re-imagining value, colonial script, and much more. It's good and long, as yarns are when they're worth having. Join Mike New, founder of Smart Enterprise Villages and intentional community economy guru, his libertarian operative mate Frank (who might be Satoshi Nakamoto), and my spouse Megan Kelleher (Indigenous blockchain savant) in a free range and sometimes dangerous yarn about money and value. And Jack and the Beanstalk. And about how knocking someone out in a pub can be considered "proof of work" in a relational credit economy! We also perform a live lab experiment on the effects of microwaves on the Zoom signal.
March 31, 2021
Tina Ngata is a Maori activist, community legend and writer who has her finger on the pulse of a problem almost nobody is talking about - the radicalization of Indigenous communities through disinformation online. The thing is though, whose problem is this? Is disinformation a new thing or just a digital version of the classic colonial toolkit for nation-building on the lands of others? Is it becoming a self-organizing system that has achieved something of a singularity and decided to turn on its masters?
March 30, 2021
Yarning with Vikings
Non-Indigenous people are always wondering how (a) they can get access to Indigenous culture and knowledge, and (b) whether it is possible for them to return to this way of being. Well, yes and yes, but not in the way you think. The way into this world is through your own door. I talk to Frisian (Netherlands Indigenous) scholar Michel Gruber and Nordic animist Rune Hjarno Rasmussen, about the ancient Viking practice of Finnfaring - studying under Indigenous masters to increase knowledge of land and spirit, sustainable economies and governance, while remaining firmly planted in your own culture of origin and appropriating nothing. It's all in the yarns.
March 23, 2021