WITTGENSTEIN 101

November 22, 2017

This podcast offers a broad summary of Wittgenstein's work, drawing mainly on the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus to describe the early Wittgenstain and the Philosophical Investigations for the later Wittgenstein. [Free. 24 minutes.]

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TIME TO STOP AND STARE

November 13, 2017

Misquoting W. H. Davies, I recommend taking time to stop and stare in this podcast. I draw attention to resonances between Davies' sentiment and the nature paintings of the Sung and Yuan dynasties which often feature tiny figures dwarved by vast landscapes. [Free. 21 minutes.]

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SELF-DECEPTION

October 27, 2017

In this podcast, I consider Wittgenstein's contention that "Nothing is more difficult that not deceiving oneself". I draw on resources from Heidegger, particularly the notion of "authenticity". I consider the role of projection in self-deception but temper that with Wittgenstein's and Heidegger's criticisms of Freudian psychoanalysis. I note that we can bullshit ourselves that we are not bullshitting ourselves and that this opens up an infinite regress. I suggest that Patanjali's practice of satya, truthful silence, may well cut through this problem, but that even if it doesn't, it is still a very great, emancipatory good. The discousre is clearer than I've made it sound! [Free. 29 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART EIGHT

October 20, 2017

In this podcast, we discuss Chapter Thirteen of The Tao Te Ching. In this chapter,  Lao Tzu recommends that we drop 'status anxiety' and reconsider our received notions of success and failure. We relate Lao Tzu's insights to modern life and recommend them for your consideration! [Free. 33 minutes.]

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“CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND”

October 17, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on Terence Mckenna's assertion that "culture is not your friend." I find that, indeed, culture as we know it today, frequently has ideological components, i.e. it plays a role in preserving and promoting social dominance hierarchies. However, it does have pragmatic possibilities, preserving ideas, crafts and technologies that have survival value. And, when not paralysed by conservatism, these possibilites can even develop beyond what can be achieved in a single generation, enhancing life. I argue also that culture has vital roles in entertainment and edification which can be usurped by ideology and which it is worth the effort to restitute. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART SEVEN

September 30, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Twelve of The Tao Te Ching. In this Chapter, Lao Tzu advises against sensory overload and excess in general. We contrast this approach with the Dionysian spirituality which uses excess, intoxication and the senses. We find that these seemingly contradictory approaches to living are not stark opposites and that Lao Tzu's advice, that we use a honed intuition to help us to know how and when to use the different modes of being available to us, is good. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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TRUST

September 23, 2017

This podcast is a meandering analysis of trust, starting with the question 'What does it mean when I say, "I trust you."?'. It covers considerations of character, predictability, and behaviour which lead on to a criticism of behaviourism and a phenomenological analysis of the ways we appraise character. The role of trust in exchange, promising and social organisation is outlined with a nod towards Nietzsche's polemical considerations of 'the mnemotechnics of pain'. A picture of our culture as a culture of mistrust emerges and this is illuminated by a tiny story conncocted by Wittgenstein. I also consider the atom of trust which is a possible relationship between two individuals. I conclude that trust takes a leap of faith, and though it might be irrational, life without it is barren. [Free. 35 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART SIX

September 16, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Eleven of The Tao Te Ching. This chapter deals with the uses of emptyness, not only in the sphere of practical life but also for meditation. [Free. 17 minutes.]

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LEFT-RIGHT: PART TWO [COSMOPOLITANISM, ETHNO-NATIONALISM, HEIDEGGER, NIETZSCHE]

September 9, 2017

In this podcast I compare and contrast cosmopolitanism with ethno-nationalism. I discuss the use of Heidegarian tropes by alt-right ideologues to justify their stance which regards cosmopolitanism as the cause of all the ills of the modern world. I show how this move is easily countered and that Heidegger's view of 'the self' can actually be used to counter the notion that cosmopoitanism leads to the modern carelessness with the environment and 'rootlessness'. What is missing from the alt-right reading of the Heideggarian human 'self', I argue, is the questioning nature of this 'self' which in turn leads to the yoga questions: 'Who and what am I?'. At the very least, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is that of Diogenes the Cynic: 'I am a citizen of the world'. At the same time, the beauty of one's particularity is revealed, even as one might rhapsodically experience oneness with everything. I trace some of this path of thought through a brief discussion of Heidegger's relationship to Nietzsche, to whom he dedicated four thick volumes of reflection and criticism. [Free. 43 minutes.]

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LEFT-RIGHT: PART ONE [CHARLOTTESVILLE & THE OLD MAN’S VICE OF BIG PICTURE THINKING]

September 1, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on recent events that took place in Charlotteville, Virginia. The discussion inevitably ranges far and wide and covers such issues as the role of violence in politics, the nature of the left-right binary, the question of the moral equivalence that President Trump et al seem to draw between neo-fascists and their anti-fascist detractors, the natures of free speech and propoganda, the significance of history and future thinking for politics, the nature of the symbolic universe inhabited by some activists, and the phenomenon of meme wars. The question of how far we can, and should, extend our sympathies is once again brought to the fore. [Free. 47 minutes.]

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