All posts tagged money

As a part of my alt-ac career, I do a lot of thinking and writing in a lot of diverse areas. I write about human augmentation, artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, and the occult, and I work with great people to put together conferences on pop culture and academia, all while trying to make a clear case for how important it is to look at the intersection of all of those things. As a result of my wide array of interests, there are always numerous conferences happening in my fields, every year, to which I should be submitting and which I should anyways attempt to attend. Conferences are places to make friends, develop contacts, and hear and respond to new perspectives within our fields. And I would really love to attend even a fraction of these conferences, but the fact is that I am not able to afford them. The cruel irony of most University System structures is that they offer the least travel funding assistance to those faculty members who need it most.

To my mind, the equation should be pretty simple: Full-Time Pay > Part-Time Pay. The fact that someone with a full time position at an institution makes more money means that while any travel assistance they receive is nice, they are less likely to need it as much as someone who is barely subsisting as an adjunct. For adjuncts who are working on at least two revenue streams, a little extra assistance in the form of the University System arranging their rules to provide adjuncts with the necessary funding for conference and research travel, could make all the difference between that conference being attended or that research being completed, and… not. But if it does get done, then the work done by those adjuncts would more likely be attributed to their funding institutions.

Think: If my paper is good enough to get accepted to a long-running international and peer-reviewed conference, don’t you want me thanking one of your University System’s Institutions for getting me there? Wouldn’t that do more to raise the profile of the University System than my calling myself an “Independent Scholar,” or “Unaffiliated?” Because, for an adjunct with minimal support from the University System, scrabbling to find a way to make registration, plane tickets, and accommodations like childcare, there is really no incentive whatsoever to thank a University System that didn’t do much at all to help with those costs. Why should they even mention them in their submission, at all?

But if an adjunct gets that assistance… Well then they’d feel welcome, wouldn’t they? Then they’d feel appreciated, wouldn’t they? And from that point on, they’re probably much more willing and likely to want everyone they talk to at that conference or research institution to know the name of the institution and system that took care of them. Aren’t They?

My job is great, by the way, and the faculty and administrative staff in my department are wonderful. They have contributed to my professional development in every way they possibly can, and I have seen them do the same for many other adjuncts. Opportunities like temporary full-time positions provide extra income every so often, as well as a view to the workings (and benefits) of full-time faculty life. But at the end of the day we are adjuncts, and there is, in every institution where I’ve studied or worked, a stark dichotomy between what rules and allowances are made for full time employees (many) and those which are made for adjuncts (few). This dichotomy isn’t down to any one department, or any one college, or even in fact any one University. It’s down the University System; it is down to how that system is administered; and it is down to the culture of University Systems Administration, Worldwide.

So if you’re reading this, and you’re a part of that culture, let me just say to you, right now: There are a lot of good people toiling away in poverty, people doing work that is of a high enough quality to get them into conferences or get them published or get them interviewed for comment in national publications. There are good people working for you who can’t (or who are simply disinclined to) raise the profile of your universities, because the funding system has never been arranged to even the playing field for them. They would be far more inclined to sing your praises, if you would just give them a little boost into the choir box.

Simply put, by not valuing and helping your adjuncts, you are actively hurting yourselves.

If you are an administrator or a tenured or tenure-track professor, do know that there is something that you can do: Use your position and power as leverage to fight for greater equality of University System support. Recognize that your adjunct faculty is no longer only focused on teaching, without the responsibilities and requirements of a research-oriented career. Many of them are trying to write, to speak, to teach, and to engage our wider cultural discourse, and they are trying to do it while working for you.

If you like what you read, here, and want to see more like it, then please consider becoming either a recurring Patreon subscriber or making a one-time donation to the Tip Jar, it would be greatly appreciated. A large part of how I support myself in the endeavor to think in public is via those mechanisms.
And thank you.


I’ve been trying to take a little time, these past few days, to talk about money. To talk about the framework and architecture of where A Future Worth Thinking About is going and what we will be doing as we integrate with There was even going to be this whole thing about how I literally don’t know how to juggle. But after losing the post (twice), I’ve decided that the tone of that post just wasn’t the way to go.

I know we’re usually encouraged to not discuss anything as gauche as cash, in Western Society, but since we’re somehow still using a system of psychologically transferred and collectively-agreed-upon value to determine who gets to eat food, I say fuck it. Let’s talk it out. So let’s just get to it:

When I started A Future Worth Thinking About, last year, I wanted it to be the main face of my major writing projects. I wanted it to be the place where I could host podcasts and vlogs. I wanted it to be the project name that people thought of when they were looking for my large nonacademic essays. In short, I wanted it to be the umbrella under which I could do everything that mattered to me. Thing is, I only ever saw it being this in addition to everything else I had on my plate.

For those of you just meeting me, this isn’t my only gig. I write, I teach, I guest blog, I appear on podcasts, I organize conventions and book signings, I consult on projects, I edit, I research, and a part of me has always seen these as separate actions, all being done in the service of keeping me moving, interested, fed, clothed, sheltered, alive. I somehow couldn’t see them as a single (intricate, complex, balanced) process, each component acting as input into, modulation condition upon, and output of the collective workings of the others with itself. Which is weird, right? Because that’s basically a really broad description of a cybernetic system.

It’s taken me this long, but I’m seeing that all of these things can all be one thing. This thing, right here. And so, as this has come together I’ve noticed, as I noted elsewhere this week, that I keep catching myself running the calculation in my head of how much money these projects—this project—needs to net me on a monthly basis, before it can be my primary source of income. And it’s a number I can actually wrap my head around.

Now, it’s usually considered impolite, gauche, boorish, whatever, to talk about money, but if you’re even here, reading this particular sentence, then chances are pretty good that you know that this venture is A) my life’s work, and B) supported in largest part by Patreon subscriptions. Which is nice because Patreon’s architecture has built-in milestones, to make everyone involved feel like they’re doing really great work, and can have some sort of immediate gratification, because we all like that. But the thing of it is, I also work retail. I do so because have a gap in my income, between AFWTA and teaching. But I think this has also reflected a gap in my thinking, because my Patreon milestone goals previously topped out at $400 per month.

USD$400 per month is the level at which felt I could cut down on retail work enough—enough—to focus on teaching and the kinds of audio visual work I want to do on this site. But I’ve realised that that’s intermediate thinking and that, ultimately, I want to be able to do only this.

In order to work only on AFWTA (and probably teach one or two classes a semester, because I love teaching)—that is, in order to have time to research, make, edit, and transcribe (or record) essays, podcasts, video chats, and interviews—I need to be making at least USD$2,000 per month, or roughly ten times what I’m making, right now. So do I expect that this will happen, tomorrow? No. It’d be super nice, but it’s just not going to be that soon. But I think it is attainable in the near future, if we work together: You engaging the material and telling people about how much you love what we do on this site, and me doing the work of writing and talking with you and everything else I listed.

Building a multimedia empire is no small task, so, lest you think I’m flying totally chartless, here’s my foregrounding for what I want this to become:

  • AFWTA will be the overarching linchpin, with radial arms of Writing, Podcasting, Video Chats, Interviews, etc.
  • Video and audio conversations about the intersection of philosophy, technology, religion, the occult, and pop culture will appear on
  • Longer essays will appear here.
  • There will be an email newsletter that goes out on a regular basis from Technoccult.
  • Patreon Subscribers will receive first sends of the newsletter, with extras, in addition to other subscriber benefits.
  • If the newsletter contains more than just a series of ruminations, anything like a longer essay will be refined and posted here.
  • Links to external appearances (essays, podcasts, etc.) will appear in the same order as newsletters, with a shorter interval in between.
  • There may or may not be short-form ruminations on links and small bits of news, here, or we might save that for Tumblr. We’ll play that by ear.

There are some specifics I’m leaving out, like exactly what the various podcasts and guest interviews will look like, and where else I’ll be writing but trust me: It all interlocks. But, again, I need your help to get to the point where I can do this as well as I possibly can. You’ve all entrusted me with your attention and some of you have done so with your funds, and I appreciate that more than you may yet understand. It’s because of all of you—Widgett and Grumpyhawk and Debbie and Ingrid and Klint and Warren and House DeFraction and so many othersthat I can even think about this project in this way.

And now I’m asking that we trust each other a little further, so that we can make this the best possible creation we can imagine. If you’re already a subscriber, then thank you for doing everything you can. If you’re a reader but not a subscriber, then i would like to ask you to please consider a monthly subscription at Any of these levels:

$1.00+ Reward: Access to all written, audio, or video updates, and my thanks.

$5.00+ Reward: All $1 rewards, but my thanks to you is done in a special audio message for folks to hear.

$10.00+ Reward: All $1 and $5 rewards, plus: Suggest a topic of research and investigation. Your name and suggestion go in the hat and we pull them out, at random.

$20.00+ Reward: Every other reward level, access to behind the scenes process work (including excerpts from drafts of the book(s) that may eventually come of this) and who knows what else?! Maybe a special thank you, maybe a Twitter shoutout from someone or other. Who. Even. Knows. It’s a mystery!

The Technoccult Tumblr is here.

Twitter handles are @Wolven and @Techn0ccult

The Perfunctory Facebook Page is here.

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

And as always, the Patreon is here.

That’s enough, for now. I need to go get back to work on some more substantive posts. See you next time. And thanks.