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John Zerzan on anarchy, alienation, COVID, and TERFs [transcript]

When We Are Human: Notes from the Age of Pandemics
When-We-Are-Human

Is the United States collapsing, or is all of civilization collapsing? To explore that question we bring you John Zerzan, an anarchist and primitivist author whose work has been compared to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, of all people. His books offer an alternative vision of history that focuses on the destructive nature of technology. And more importantly — and this is why we spoke to him — his work suggests a possible future free of the alienation and control of capitalism-run-amok.

John Zerzan's most recent book is When We Are Human: Notes from the Age of Pandemics (Feral House). 

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This is a rush transcript. Please refer to the podcast audio when quoting.

FSU: When I first heard of you, it was, I guess, '99, 2000. And I heard from anarchists in Pittsburgh here, there's this guy, a rich college professor who's sitting in his cabin, sipping wine, and then like sending his minions out to torch SUVs. Stay away from this guy. How does this rumor start? 

JZ: I don't know, I was never a professor, not here, not anywhere for one thing. And I don't actually live in a cabin either. There's all kinds of crazy. I remember reading back at a Wikipedia thing and I just haven't bothered to try to correct these things. One of these stories was when I was living in San Francisco, I was living in this punk household and we took all the furniture out in the middle of the street and set fire to it, that never happened. That never happened. I mean, just crazy stuff. I could give you more interesting stories than that, but I mean, people just make up SHIT and then if it's posted somewhere, then it passes for truth. If you talk to people here, even the parents of these younger anarchists here, during the late nineties, I think 20 years ago here in Eugene, I got a good standing.

I was worried about that. I was very worried about that. Here I'm kind of a veteran. I don't want to lead people into going to prison. They don't have the experience, maybe to deal with it. They don't have the judgment because they're very young. I worried about that all the time, but that really wasn't the case. And that's why I was standing with the parents that I knew or that I knew about, or who had some idea about me. Not that it matters, but that was good to know. I mean, it's kind of the opposite picture.

There was the Wall Street journal thing. If I could go off on that for a second, the longest piece about the scene here, whatever you want to call it. Somebody from the Wall Street journal came out, spent like a week. He talked to everybody, including everybody's parents, all over the place. He would sit in a coffee shop all day long, talking to people. And he wrote the worst possible piece, just amazing stuff. I was this [04:31 inaudible] who had lured all these kids in and had them under my spell. And then they would get into serious trouble while I'd sit back in comfort. And it was the worst piece. 

The people, even in the New York Times or whatever, who just sort of dialed it in, never came out here, never talked to anybody, their stuff wasn't bad. It really wasn't. It was fairly decent objective journalism. But this guy who was here, he could have not come at all and written the same kind of garbage. So you just never know about that. I mean, sorry to go way off on a tangent about journalism, but it was kind of crazy the stuff that was put out.

FSU: I mean, do you think that shows us how threatening these ideas are, the fact that Wall Street Journal, the brain, the communications organ of capital, would send somebody out for a week and spend all that time and all those column inches and all that money on a hit piece on somebody who, if you ask most people, they wouldn't know who you are.

JZ: That's the point, isn't it? That's the way media works too. If you've never heard of somebody, they create the image, they create the importance of the celebrity or whatever you want to call it. Not that I was a celebrity, but you know what I mean. We have this creation that didn't exist before, but they take it up. Again, it was more surprising to me that they did that, whereas the other corporate mainstream journalism really didn't do that. Not that they were friends of ours or anything, or on our side, but it really wasn't so bad. And this argument has gone on all the time among anarchists. Well, you don't deal with the media. You don't speak to journalists, you just do not, that's fucked up.

Well, I don't agree with that. I think there are practical needs of any kind of potential movement. And you got to get the word out. You've got to say what you have to say. And I've talked to just about anyone, not Nazis of course, but I mean, I don't see how that's so contaminating if they do a hit job and again, they didn't do that very often. Well, that's part of it, you just deal with it, just keep going forward, trying to speak the truth about what's going on. And if you don't, then you're not part of the picture, you know what I mean? I think that's something. And I respect people who have other opinion about it, that you just don't have anything to do with it. Okay. I don't see it that way.

FSU: I think with the George Floyd protests, were the first time really, I've been in a situation as a journalist where I go to drop in a protest or go to an event and no one will talk to me. I felt like the enemy and it's strange because I completely sympathize with that. But it's like A, this is what I am. I can't help it, but also it's like the whole reason to have protests is to create environments where the news media has to pay attention to you and has to broadcast your ideas no matter how flawed in a way that they do that. 

I think I'm looking at your stuff and it's like your books, I've reacquainted myself with future primitive and I've read your new one. And I don't think I would approach that stuff and see kind of like a manual. It seems more descriptive than pre prescriptive, it's not like a how-to manual.

JZ: No, I think we share that. I think we have a very similar outlook in that regard. 

FSU: And it seems interesting to me that I guess it's a testament to your ideas that people have taken it and run with it and become more active because I could easily see an alternate universe where people are reading your stuff and they're like perhaps profoundly moved, but then they go back to work the next day. 

JZ: Well sure. It's asking too much. If you have that idea, you're going to be some great lever to change everything. One person that I just heard about this commenting on [09:10 inaudible] about the new book, when we were human, she thought the main theme of it was resistance. And as you say, descriptive, you can see the resistance in a lot of situations, in a lot of places over the years and now it's good to be reminded of that for your own inspiration or whatever it is. It's a gloomy period in a lot of ways, but the fight goes on and that's worth talking about.

FSU: Yeah. And I mean, that must just really speak to how the time is right for ideas like yours, the fact that people are so fired up.

JZ: I think you're right. This book has done a little better too. I do find encouragement there. It's not some big best seller of course, but it's done fairly well relatively and it's such a struggle that my publisher Ferrell House is small and Adam died a couple of years ago now the main originator of that project, but it goes on. His widow is carrying on and couple of friends keep it going. And it's great working with them.

FSU: Was your first real moment of national recognition when the uni bomber, either when Ted Kaczynski was captured or maybe right before that, when you were commenting on his work, is that the first time kind of the wider world took notice?

JZ: Yeah, yeah. That would be so, yeah, that's true. There was a review in our paper here, Eugene weekly. And it's strangely enough, there's nothing about the Uni Bomber in the book at all, as far as I know, as far as I can recall. And yet they brought that in, that often happens and that's okay. I mean, I did have a serious correspondence with him and I did visit him in jail. I was the only one I think that did, leading up to the trial or the end game of that whole thing. And then that came out. We were keeping that as secret, but it came out and I got some, I guess you called notoriety because of that. 

I'll tell you back then in the mid-nineties, what disappointed me a lot was there was a [11:36 inaudible] circle of sort of luddite people, a considerable sort of little faction, but they all ran for cover when Ted was captured, just really distanced themselves. And again, getting back to sort of the media question, I took that up. I was quite willing to talk about it on the level of ideas, here's our chance, whatever you think about sending bombs in the mail, and I've never endorsed that. What is he talking about? What's going on here? Why did he do that? And everybody else was just parroting the ridiculous mainstream thing, he's a psychotic mass murderer and all this scarless stuff.

But aside from that, you could talk about what it's all about, what did motivate it? What's the analysis there, what's industrial society in its future? What does it say? Is it persuasive? Is it worth reading? And I didn't hesitate, so then I became somewhat well-known because of that. The New York Times called me and this was before he was captured and the guy said he want me to talk about the uni bomber deal. And I said, I'm not interested. I don't know who it is. If I knew who it was, I wouldn't tell you. He said, no, no, no. I want to write about the ideas. And he did, there was a front page piece about the ideas. A conversation I had with this guy, he flew out the same day from New York. 

And he got here and in the evening we sat around and talked about it and the piece was quite decent. It was about what is the critique of technology? Why is this important? So if you think that's heavy weather, you are afraid to say anything. Well, what are you about, when is it going to be time to pick it up and, and try to run with it?

FSU: Well it's interesting looking back at the kind of news clippings from that time, because you had end of the cold war and at least for those on the top, you had prosperity. And the end of history, and it's like, a lot of the news coverage is really what's wrong with this Ted Kaczynski guy or what's wrong with this John Zerzan guy, because everything's great. It's just amazing looking back what a brief sliver in time it was where everything was great and we've solved all the world's problems.

JZ: There was something like that. I think you're accurate there, Joseph, but then what starts to happen, like the wave of school shootings. Well, we used to call them school shootings, now that's small shootings or church shootings or workplace shootings. It all started to slide as the technology increased. And I think that underlined the validity of what Kaczynski was trying to say. But you're right, things weren't so bad. But then it starts to cloud up in a big way, in so many, many ways. I know you've thought about these things in terms of what you're doing with the failed state update. What is failing and why? That's the question. 

One thing, if I could throw this in here, this Adam Lanza deal, the kid who murdered all those school children, grade school kids. Well, as you may know, he called the radio show a year before that happened. And then that came out and the guy in Connecticut who unearths the story. He didn't use his own name, not that I would've recognized it a year before the shooting. But he called the show and the guy tipped me off, he said, this could be a big old media explosion about this when it comes out. And you'll probably get a lot of heat that you talk to this guy in a friendly manner on your show. And that's true. He said, if I could go on for a minute about that. He talked about, at the time, especially back east, the big story about this chimpanzee, that was a pet or a subject of this woman put, put human clothes and human food and everything. And then it just flipped out and very savagely attacked the keeper, the owner, this woman in a pretty terrible way. 

And this kid said, and you can tell he was pretty young, a kind of timid kid at the time. He said, this is exactly what we're up against here. This is such an unnatural way of living the chimp couldn't stand being subjected to that kind of domesticating abuse. And we're in that condition too. This is the crazy way to live. And we both, my cousin Katrine, we co-host the show once a month and we both agreed, good point, thanks for calling. And that was it. We weren't arguing or even really talking about it. We just thought that's a hell of a good point you're making. And yeah, I appreciate the call. And that was that. And then a year later he annexed the very thing he was talking about or worried about, it is incredible.

FSU: It's not just that people are depressed or people are anxious or people are alienated. It's like civilization, as it stands now, life in America circa 2021 is literally crazy-making, maddening in the sense that it brings out madness.

JZ: Exactly. Well put, that's such a powerful stark reality now. And when it did hit and I didn't think much, I thanked him for telling me that this might come out. And then it did, like a day or so later. There was an incredible media thing all day long for like 12 hours, nonstop phone calls and TV and everything else, it was over, just like the typical sort of media splash. And then I tried to use that to bring up that very question, what does this say about society, when you get this craziness, what account for it? There's nobody that's really explaining it or even trying to. There are too many guns say the liberals, too much mental illness stay the right.

That doesn't account for anything, there was always a lot of guns. There was a lot of mental illness prior to that. When did crazy people started killing in mass numbers? So that doesn't, you're not explaining anything. So I tried to say that, the only question very typically was how did it make you feel, when you realized after the fact that this was Adam Lanzo who called your show? What does it matter how I felt. What kind of people magazine question is that, who cares? Nobody cares how I felt, what does that have to do with anything? 

So I tried to unsuccessfully almost totally unsuccessfully move the question to, what does it say about society? The depth of that horrible stuff. And the only one who did give me a little time was the CNN guy, the evening anchor, black guy. Don lemon. We talked a little bit, especially off air during a commercial break. And he thought that was a very important question, meaning I didn't get my fair time on that. But he was thoughtful, virtually the only one all day long in terms of media.

FSU: I mean, speaking of these, I think we can point towards these school shooters or workplace shooters or whomever as the shooters, the American shooters, as just this outrageous manifestation and reaction to culture, American culture now, just the way America is now. And another group that you get kind of lumped in with unfairly would be like eco fascists or accelerationism. It's like that kind of weird, right wing, violent strain, violent ideology that adopts from, I think your work and also takes stuff from just environmentalism in general. Do you see that as an manifestation of something or is that more kind of cynically like the right using these ideas just as another causal or another way to get their point across or their agenda?

JZ: Well I personally think it's more the latter. I'm so sort of glad that it isn't more of a substantial thing. At least it doesn't seem to me that it is. You get all kinds of stuff that can spin off. I'm a little bit surprised that it hasn't been taken further. A little bit of that. Like if I quote say Spangler or Heeger or somebody, see that, he's in bed with these two facets or [21:15 inaudible]. Well, of course I'm not. And I think I make that plane enough, so that doesn't go very far. That really doesn't fortunately get off the ground much because, even people who don't agree with me at all have a hard time making that case. So I don't think there's too much of that. I hope so anyway. 

And one last thing on the shootings, just to mention, you see this starting to spread to other countries, it is an American thing you're right to point that out. But I think we can see it spreading to other countries and that's pretty darn scary too. It isn't just an American cultural horrible thing. Countries that never had this before are starting to have these mass shootings.

FSU: Sure. And that's how it goes, it's like in this contemporary time where in, this era of mass communication. I've seen that with other social ills. It's like they get exported and it's only a matter of time. I look at conspiracy theorists a lot and kind of analyzing misinformation and from a perspective that like, if you're living in this society that puts a premium on propaganda that kind of backs up society over the truth. It's like conspiracy theory is like the most natural outcome of that. And it's interesting to see specific things like flat earth, flat earth beliefs, spread across the country or from across the globe from America to Europe and like the English speaking countries and then non-English speaking Europe and it's frightening to see, it happened in the case of the shootings.

JZ: It spreads because it is a pretty integrated system, even culturally, there are different cultures, but they're being erased too, Pico [23:22 inaudible] written about that. How every airport looks the same and every prison, every apartment building, anywhere in the world you go that's, you can sort of just see it in the topography or the actual architecture and so on. And it's kind of bound to be sharing all these other things as well.

FSU: So many people have been influenced by you, have decided to go off the grid and go into the woods and live off things they forged or whatever, like literally why are you living in a house and talking to me on the phone?

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JZ: Yeah, well it puts me in mind of talking to Art Bell when he was still alive doing the all night show. And he actually had me for all three hours and I really enjoyed it. I mean, he did too, even though he completely disagreed, he just couldn't believe it. He said, well, I've got computers in every room in my house and you should be living in a cave. Why don't you live in a cave if you really believe what you're talking about, you should be living in a cave. And the only thing I could really come up with was, well, I'm trying to contribute to the dialogue. I'm trying to see if this can be changed, this whole trajectory. And that's what I'm trying to tackle through my speaking or writing or whatever.

If I was sitting in a cave I wouldn't be playing any role at all, would I? So that's while it would be a more authentic life to be off the grid and so forth. I mean, that's not the role. That's not what I'm doing. I find an importance in trying to do what I'm doing. And so that's why I don't sit in a cave somewhere. And I said to him also, plus there aren't too many caves left, are there? I mean why don't you go join the native Americans? Well, that's silly. That's kind of a racist idea. I mean, who am I to them? I mean, that's just kind of nutty on the face of it. I'm not saying everybody's stuck here because as you refer, out west there is a fair amount of that. 

I have a good friend who's doing her dissertation on people who have opted out, trying to carve out a way of living that is off the grid, that is out there and connecting with the earth and trying to learn from the indigenous dimension and all of that. And I totally respect that. It's amazing the stuff she's finding out. And of course that's what we don't know that much about, in general. And specifically, those are not the people who write, I write. I'm not doing it, they're doing it. And they're really not the ones who write to generalize about it.

FSU: It's hard. And people say that, and I think people think it's hard in the sense that like, oh, that's a lot of effort, but no, I mean like human society and culture has trained us and exists to keep people out of the caves and to keep people from being hun hunter gatherers. We don't know how to do it. And it's easy for Art Bell to say, why aren't you living in a cave? Maybe you would prefer to have been born in a cave, but you're not.

JZ: I didn't have that choice really. I mean in most respects, there is that draw. I think's very important you mentioned that and there were a couple of NPR programs, 10 years ago and more. I don't know if you caught any of that. One was set in, I think it was 1870s Montana and the other one was set in pre-colonial or colonial New England. And the whole pitch was they took a bunch of people, random contemporary modern people and put them in this supposed context. And they were given some months to live that way in those conditions, pre-modern conditions. And then they were judged as to whether they would survive the winter, the upcoming winner. 

So you got all these, kind of normal people, kids who are used to hanging out at the mall and all cross section of people and the programs were very, very interesting in this respect. Pretty much everybody complained all the time. I'm bored, I'm tired, I'm dirty. I'm tired of chopping wood. This is misery. I can't wait to get back to civilization. They all wind and grown. And every one of them, as I recall it anyway, when it was over, they missed it like crazy. It just was so striking. Even these kids, these were young girls who just lived at the mall, who were the parx salons photo consumers. When they got back home, they were mostly kind of suburban folks, they had no interest in going to the mall, none. 

And the people that failed the test like this one straight couple I was thinking about, they got the results in the mail later on, you would've not survived the winter. You didn't have enough wood or whatever it was. And they just went crazy. They just were so upset and you'd think well, who cares? It was a TV show. I mean what's the deal? It was just powerful and I don't think they expected this at all that this cross section of so-called straight people when immersed in a pre-modern situation just found it so authentic to come back to normalcy in a way unthinkable. I mean, of course, I'm sure it didn't last. They had to get back to real life. They got their lives, the inertia of everyday life and so forth, but that really stuck with me. I used to bring it up all the time in talks like 10 years ago. And that's pretty interesting, I thought.

FSU: Yeah, it just really strikes me as like, I've heard somebody describing their cat once, as like, it retains the instinct to kill birds, but it doesn't know what to do with them. And it's your story kind of like, makes me think of human beings as this like half domesticated kind of like hybrid, you know, it's uncomfortable in both worlds it sounds like, because when they're bored to death in a more natural world and then now they're back in the plastic world and it's like, they just miss it so much.

JZ: I think you've stated that really well. I think you impact that very well. Kind of a hybrid deal. You're drawn both ways and it's interesting by the way, the literature usually under the heading [30:39 inaudible] Croton the colonial people, absolutely only one way to deal. The white colonist went to live with native people, many, many cases. Nobody went the other way. The native people did not jump to join the colonists, the invaders, they never did. And the regular Europeans or whoever, really resisted coming back when they were rescued to put it that way. They often tried to escape and rejoin the native folks. There's an amazing literature about that. 

FSU: I always wondered about the people that actually made the Europeans that did go native, so to speak. Is there any record of like their experience, because I mean, I would assume stepping away from Western culture means that we wouldn't have access to their thoughts?

JZ: There's actually quite a literature there. It's not too hard to find, it maybe for obvious reasons. It isn't featured a lot. One book from kind of alternative sources is [31:51 inaudible], which was that sort of famous thing, supposedly etched on a side of a tree, whereas the colonist took off to join the Indians, but there is quite a bit of memoir kind of stuff by people who did have that experience and then were kind of forced back to iving the regular European life and how much they didn't dig it once they experienced the other. I dug into that and I was surprised to find quite a lot on the subject.

FSU: I'm just reminded of stories of when indigenous Americans were captured and taken to Europe, which get sick and die really or just suffer, like obviously they would be like any other creature taking out of their natural environment and putting in a strange environment. And for some reason I just kind of flashed on going ahead a few thousand years, this whole mania towards going into outer space. And I have to imagine that outer space is every bit as inhospitable to humans, those poor indigenous people who were made to European Kings or whatever.

JZ: That's a good one. And it's part of the general collapse, I think. And we're heading into those waters, where rats leaving a ship. Of course it's a concede of the very rich to be entertaining these notions. But that direction isn't too hard to imagine, everything is polluted and contaminated and endangered and the wreckage of social existence and fantastic amounts of anxiety, depression, suicide among the young, the opioid epidemic, on and on and on, well who wouldn't want to get away, even though it's a crazy way to look at it. 

I mean a crazy non-escape. You're just spreading the bad effects to other places. There's all kinds of, the roots of it too. These health reports on astronauts, find out how terrible it is on the human health system. A human ecosystem really undermine their health in so many ways and not just temporary, but permanently even [34:30 inaudible] to the space station for a few months or whatever it is. Good luck with that. The fantasy and it's all too telling, but it's just so unhealthy, it's up there with the general transhumanist fantasies about living forever. Yeah. It's sad.

FSU: Transhumanism is kind of like one of my favorite punching bags. I come from, my first journalism jobs where tech journalism. I was immediately struck, first of all, tech journalism is kind of like a internal contradiction because it's like, that field is so dependent on technology companies and video game companies and manufacturers for news and there's just a real incestuous relationship. And it just seems that there was no critical thought there, like what is this whole project of literally cramming computers into people's bodies. And I know a guy who had a magnet implanted in his fingertip. Have you heard about this?

JZ: Oh, to pass through like for entry, ID sort of thing.

FSU: Oh no. It's actually, they implant a small magnet in their fingertip and it gives them another sense because they can detect electricity and radio, any form of magnetism. You would think it's trivial. Oh, I have a magnet in my finger, I can pick up a paper clip. There's actually real, even just that, there's like a real psychological, I don't know if toll is the right word. But impact of your passing under power lines and you can feel them.

JZ: Yeah. The body doesn't lie, I guess. That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.

FSU: Yeah. Do you think that transhumanism is like kind of the ultimate goal of civilization?

JZ: Well, I think it's pretty much the logic of the technological impetus, there it is, it's certainly wacko in a sense, but it's kind of the logical next step. And now we supposedly will be entering the metaverse and all of that, but funny thing, I've noticed some of it doesn't seem to be very deep seated. I mean example, I don't know if any of this little bit of anecdotal stuff means anything, but I was invited to go to a weekend conference in Austin. This was a couple of years ago, two, three years ago. And they called to invite me and I said, I think you got the wrong number. 

You got the wrong person here and they go, oh no, no, no we know what you think. But we want you to come and be part of this debate and we'll pay you, we'll fly you out here. And and they did. And I said, sure. And man, I just lit into them with both feet. I really just didn't let up. They weren't exactly totally eating it up. Some of them were, some of them actually were, but I didn't get thrown out or anything. They were very friendly to me. In fact, I ran into one of the main organizers at the airport when I was leaving. And he said that was terrific. We're so glad you came. And one other thing, I had a debate at Stanford. Even less recent, this was maybe, I don't know what it was five, seven, years ago with a guy who happened to be running for president. 

FSU: Zolton something. 

Zerzan: And so some group at Stanford featured that, set it up and everything. So that's where I went to school. So once in a great while I get to give a talk down there, but anyway, I really, if I'm not petting myself in the back too much, I think I just destroyed, everything he said, I just shreded it. I mean, rather easy to do looking at the foundations of it. I'm just saying, I think I really did demolish the guy. He wasn't that good, in terms of backing up his stuff. Anyway, at the end of it. There were some friends of mine there and we were just chatting, standing around and he comes over to me and he shakes my hand and thank you, that was really good. I really appreciate it. 

I'm thinking to myself, I just humiliated the out of you, buddy. I mean, I didn't say that. I was so surprised that he was so nice and friendly. That's good. I didn't want it to be abusive or personally, or put down, it was on the level of ideas. And I thought to myself now if this is your baseline stuff, this is your core shit that you're peddling. And I just really ripped it up and down and sideways. And then you come over and you're all thrilled about how nice it went. I mean, it just blew my mind. So then again, I thought they don't really believe this stuff, do they? Otherwise, how could he have such equanimity? And I think everybody there, frankly thought I just really did hand him his hat or eat his lunch.

FSU: My first thought is, because I definitely detect a lack of self-awareness in a lot of these wealthy celebrity, transhumanists like Elon Musk and this guy, it's like, do they really think this stuff through, but also he was running for president. So maybe that was his politician act or something.

JZ: Yeah, there was that in there too. He would want any chance to spout off in support of your thing.

FSU: But that guy is real scary. He toned his act way down for when he was running for president I remember. I mean, you're basically talking about eugenic with that guy. He was very extreme figure. I see transhumanism as the fairy tale that they get people working towards and then they never achieve their singularity, but they do achieve a lot of damaging "progress" in the pursuit of singularity.

JZ: Yeah, I guess so. They contribute even though ultimately that stuff is kind of crazy, but it contributes. It's part of the wave of all that. And you could sort of say, if it didn't exist, they'd have to invent it because it's just a function, in a way of the larger tendency to make it a qualitatively technological society in every aspect.

FSU: Yeah. And like coming to the present day, I'm not the first to note this, but COVID 19 and the response to it has really shown the flaws in the system.

JZ: I've been sort of shocked really to see how much abuse I've gotten, how much pretty much hate bail and stuff for not being anti vex. It just kind of astounds me. And I'm talking about people who ostensibly have been anti civilization. I contribute to Oak Journal and there was a guy named, I think his name is James Allen. Now I'm not even sure of the name. I think he was in issue number one. He is one of the leading people who just thought, man I'm just a traitor. I've copped out. I don't see how totalitarian it is, the vaccines. And I'm just shocked by that. I'm fairly old and my wife isn't in perfect health and frankly I'd rather stay alive. I mean, I feel strong. I'm 78, but I go to the gym every other day.

I'm in good health. I'm not old and shaky and frail or anything like that, but it's part of the picture. I mean, I know that more older people die of it than not. But just on a regular basis. So you are against just this vaccine or that vaccine, small pox vaccine goes back. That goes back hundreds of years. I think it started in China. That's nothing new with vaccines. Going to the service, going to the military. I think they give you something like 14 different vaccines for everything possible, yellow fever and malaria and way down the list, vaccines like crazy. And now you're putting all your eggs in being anti-vax. So let me get this straight. Is everybody lying? All the health people all over the world and thousands and thousands, they're all lying?

People really aren't dying of this? I mean, what the hell are you talking about? So this has just become a huge. My close buddy, my cousin Kathlyn is a nurse and she came out of retirement to vaccinate people up in Portland. And one way to put it is, if she says, go for it, I'll go for it, just on that level alone pretty much. But I do know more about it than that, but I just am shocked by this. It's just part of the wider sort of deforming force of a collapsing civilization. It's starting to go into its end days where you get this crazy stuff. I mean, that's just another variation of conspiracy thinking if you ask me. It's not as bad as [44:47 inaudible], to be anti-vax. 

I don't see how it's not conspiracy shit. I've gotten tons of stuff about this. And it's not all totally abusive or hostile. Some of it can be sort of sensible argument back and forth. You marshal this data or that data or this evidence or so forth, that doesn't have to be nasty but a lot of it is.

FSU: A lot of the arguments I'm hearing from [45:18inaudible] and from conspiracy theorist is that like, it's a social control mechanism. We're going to make you wear masks and we're going to make you get vaccinated. And it's just like another arm of the surveillance state. What are the main arguments you're getting against vaccination?

JZ: Well, yeah, I think a lot of it is on the level of my personal freedom, my sacred liberty. You can't infringe on it, don't tread on me and stuff, which completely overlooks public health. This is a plague, this is a worldwide plague. Are you overlooking that somehow? Is that your personal ego thing is way more important than the deaths of millions of people? Is that it? I think that's very distasteful, is one word and I don't see how that's making a great virtue out of how selfish you can be is the answer to anything that just doesn't cut it in my view. You bring up something that connects to other parts of the picture, which is being disputed, take the trans thing.

The TERF people, very, very hostile to trans folks, to a great degree, and to even putting them in danger, I would say even, because to some people, it is an anti-tech argument. If you have to resort to surgery and drug technology and all that, to be who you supposedly really are, the other gender for example, then you can't do that without being all high tech. That's one argument. But the way I look at it though, we're all held hostage to technology in so many ways. Nobody is outside of that, including me, of course. I mean, I had surgery for prostate cancer and I'd be dead if I didn't have that, if I didn't go that way. 

So you can say, oh, I wouldn't touch that or blah, blah, but how much can you be outside of it? None of us are. It's too bad. It's not the world we wanted to be in but really, how do you have this privileged place, where then you can just transcend all that. I'm sorry, but you can't. We're in it and we got to navigate the best we can. And I think that's where it's at. I don't know. How do you feel about that?

FSU: We live in a technological world. It's like, the people that are complaining to you about these things are emailing you, they're calling you or whatever. I guess it comes down to the question of like, if it's not even possible to turn back the clock, which I don't believe it is, how do we use the lessons of our pre-civilize state and what it is when we are human? How do we use those lessons to create a world and a life for ourselves now that is more authentic and more healthy and just more true to what humans are fundamentally.

JZ: Yeah. Bottom line. That's, that's a very fun way to put it. And that's the whole problem too. I mean, when people say, well, what I want to know is how does [48:50 inaudible], how does it help me in this world? How does it give the answers in a practical sense in this world? And the answer is sadly, it doesn't, you have to get rid of this world for that to exist. If it could coexist with this world, we wouldn't have to overturn everything, would we? I mean, it would be, you could just say, it's just fine. We could just adjust things a little bit or something and make room for primitivism, but it doesn't work that way. In my view, it just doesn't, it's a totalizing thing. And if you want the freedom and the authenticity and whatever you want to call it way of life, the only way to get it is to put an end to this raining nightmare, it's worsening every hour. Otherwise you're dreaming and don't look for some practical answer from [49:43 inaudible] because you're missing the point.