ŠUM#9 interview with R. Scott Bakker

There comes a time when “theory” just stops working. The one thing that was once seen (and used) as a weapon against the crushing stupidity of common sense (or ideology, dominant discourse, whatever you wanna call it) turns out to be a form of bigotry and prejudice against ordinary ways of thinking and speaking. To make matters worse, theory turns out to be not science (except in its self-aggrandizing delusions), but a form of commonish sense that is no less stereotypical, thought-inhibiting and philistine than anything we used to despise as ideology. Theory is just shit (literally) theoreticians say.
So what now? Exiting endless and soul-destroying discussions on Althusser or Lacan is the easy part, but if one does not wish to relinquish reading, learning and thinking about things at all, finding something new might be the hard part.
In this sense, discovering R. Scott Bakker’s blog Three Pound Brain had a therapeutic function for us: his entry point into problems that we still obsess about was one of a convert that saw through theory and found new ways to approach the problems of ideology, linguistics, human cognition in general as well as their transformations through the encounters with new technologies; ways that at the same time do not shy away from traditional taboos theory imposes on itself (like its characteristically dismissive attitudes towards biology, evolution, empirical science and “techne”).
So our intention (yeah) going into this interview was to stop pretending that everything we need to know about what’s going on with artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies and the way we ourselves operate cognitively was somehow already solved in this or that tome of German classical philosophy.
Scott Bakker lives and writes in London, Ontario. Allegedly Baudrillard’s America should be called Canada. Besides his blog and theoretical essays Bakker is best known for his epic fantasy series The Second Apocalypse, psychothriller Neuropath and short story Crash Space.


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