MORTALITY, INSECURITY, MEDITATION

May 5, 2018

This short squib deals with the insecurity of life, particularly mortality and suffering, and how these invite and potentiate meditation whilst not precluding the perennial human endeavours to secure and enhance life practically. I jump off from Alan Watts' The Wisdom of Insecurity, but thereafter go my own way. [Free. 15 minutes.]

 

 

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LAOTZU 12

April 28, 2018

This podcast deals with Chapters 18, 19 and 20 of The Tao Te Ching. In these chapters, Lao Tzu extols the virtue of alignment with the Tao for individuals and society. Simplicity is the way, he says, to come into that alignment. Instances of misalignment are consumerism, over-sophistication and acquisitiveness. Again, the character of the sage-leader is explored. [Free. 42 minutes.]

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ON BREATH

March 16, 2018

In this podcast I give a brief outline of breath disciplines described by Patanjali and Svatmarama and discuss their practicality and significance. I draw attention to the common tendency to manipulate the mind-body complex and endow the resultant effects with significance derived from received models of the human being and metaphysical narratives. I ask, 'how do these fit in with the fact that this is it?' [Free. 26 minutes.]

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MUSIC AND THE BELOVED

January 19, 2018

In this podcast I elucidate devotional music which a great sufi called "Nothing other than the portrait of our beloved". It covers modal music and raga, the role of culture in our experience of music, and improvisation as an expression and communication of immediate emotions, particularly of love. [Free. 29 minutes.]

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LANGUAGE AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

November 26, 2017

In this podcast, I consider the attempts of Lao Tzu and Wittgenstein to urge upon us that the ineffable cannot be spoken of whilst themselves continuing to speak of it. This can be made sense of if we inderstand that language has many more possibilities than just fact-stating and indeed that it can point us in the direction of 'spiritual experience'. [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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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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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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CONSCIOUSNESS [THOUGHT LABORATORY PREAMBLE]

April 10, 2017

This podcast is an entirely extempore survey of 'the hard problem of consciousness' which was undertaken as a preliminary to a proposed series on this matter. It is by no means exhaustive and rather rough but I offer it to patrons in the hope of wetting their appetite. [Patrons only. 46 minutes.]

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