Long before there was writing, there was literature. In any civilization of which we have record, the way that you remembered stuff was to put it into a song. And if you didn't put it into a song, it's almost like it wasn't real yet. It wasn't the official version until it takes on those rhythmic characteristics that make it repeatable. When you have a song that tells you how stuff goes, it has a certain rhythm to it, you remember it, it sticks in your mind.
You're listening to the Still Curious Podcast with me, Danu Poyner.
My guest today is Nathan Dufour Oglesby, also known as 'Nathanology', who is a philosopher and rapper, that is, a philoso-rapper, based in Brooklyn, New York, who uses the forms of hip hop and folk music to produce didactic YouTube songs and TikTok videos that explore concepts drawn from philosophy, history and the physical sciences.
In today's episode, we discuss Nathan's creative process, musical influences and the kinds of responses some of his videos can get.
It's divisive in some ways. There's a lot of people who are like, "I'm all about this!" And there's a lot of people who are like, "this is too much internet for today"
We go into the use of philosophy and etymology and why it's useful to look at the history of words and ideas.
Like finding out the history of a person, you find out what their traumas are and their experiences are, and it makes it a lot easier to embrace those parts of it that deserve embrace and dismiss and dissolve those parts of it that are overdue for dissolution.
And we talk about Nathan's experiences with institutionalized education, both as a student and a teacher, and how he reconciles that with his desire to be an artist.
My plan A has always been to succeed as an artist and or writer. It's all I've ever cared about, it's always mattered more to me than happiness, you know? The teaching was supposed to be temporary while I got the art off the ground. But I really loved the teaching and I could sense that I was really good at it. So it turned out that the solution was a synthesis. It's not about being authoritative, it's about the joy of losing the self in being a conduit for something that transcends you.