Digital Capitalism to Acid Communism

Last month I was interviewed for the Musing Mind podcast; the episode went live on Saturday. Copy-pasting the following from the website — this was written by Oshan Jarow, the founder and host of Musing Mind:


Our conversation explores the relationship between data capitalism & consciousness, using psychedelic science as a way of illuminating those aspects of consciousness that cannot be rendered via data’s language. We also discuss:

  • How psychedelics provide an “empirical refutation of digital positivism”
  • Whether consciousness exists on a spectrum from ‘less to more’
  • What data capitalism is, what psychopower is, and how this new paradigm might impact consciousness


Time Map

6:30 — What role do technology and data play in the centuries-long dynamic between consciousness and capitalism? How are digital technologies ushering in a new era of how capitalism interacts with subjectivity?

18:00 — What is “digital” capitalism? What makes it different from previous forms of capitalism?

29:40 — What can psychedelic drug research tell us about the consequences of digitization?

33:00 — What is “digital positivism”?

36:30 — Can we measure the ‘vitality’ of consciousness, and represent it in data format?

41:40 — On the ‘reducing valve theory of consciousness’

48:50 — The relationship between data capitalism and psychedelic consciousness — how algorithmic determinism mirrors hyper-priors in predictive processing models of cognition.

56:00 — Why capitalism is a fundamentally ‘conservative’ system, and how algorithms reinforce this conservatism.

58:15 — On acid communism.

1:24:48 — What is “psychopower” in the context of digital capitalism?

Links from Conversation

Emma’s website / Twitter / Essay for Commune Magazine on Acid Communism

Emma’s talk, “The Data-Image: Thought as Currency in the Age of Datafication.”

Mark Fisher’s writing on Acid Communism / his book Capitalist Realism

Byung-Chul Han’s Psychopolitics

This Machine Kills Podcast

My conversation with the philosopher of cognitive and psychedelic science, Chris Letheby



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