This is what podcasts are all about - I got to have a conversation with the author of one the best essays I’ve read in a long time. Erik Hoel studies consciousness and emergence as a research assistant professor at Tufts University. Since growing up in his family-owned bookstore, he’s also a writer.
Erik was recently included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list - it’s pretty exciting that somebody studying consciousness makes it into that kind of light.
We discuss consciousness, two of his essays - Fiction in the Age of Screens, and Enter the Supersensorium - why Freud was the best thing to ever happen to television, meditation, and why rediscovering a sense of snobbery might define the meta-modern move.
Erik also makes a really elegant case for fiction, and literature on the whole, as an interior technology that offers us something screens never can. We talk about his concept of ‘extrinsic drift’, where our culture has so far drifted towards the extrinsic perspective on everything from biology to entertainment that we’re marginalizing consciousness as an entity worthy of consideration - which might be way so many of our cultural systems are eroding sentience and deteriorating the subjective experience of being alive.