“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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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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NIETZSCHE 101

July 21, 2017

An introduction to Nietzsche's thought in which I discuss Nietzsche's "great task" and his ludic, artistic method of persuing it. I touch on Nietzsche's anti-Platonism, anti-systematic approach to philosophy, notions of life-affirmation and life-negation amongst other things. The shifting concept of the will to power is elucidated, showing its various guises. [Free. 32 minutes.]

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COMMENTARY ON 2017 SNAP GENERAL ELECTION RESULTS

June 28, 2017

This short squib deals with the paradoxical euphoria of the Corbynistas, who did not get to form a government as a result of the election, and asks if the euphoria is justified. I conclude that it is and that a number of important transformations have taken place in the political landscape. [Free. 29 minutes.]

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YOGA AND THE FUTURE

June 23, 2017

In this podcast we discuss the future of Yoga both in a broad historical context and in the local UK context in which Yoga is being 'claimed' by the corporate fitness industry. The discussion naturally elides into a discussion of the potential roles that Yoga and Yoga practitioners should play in the unfolding of events as economic, cultural and ecological instabilities play out. We conclude that the fitness industry has to be strongly resisted by authentic yogis if Yoga is to be able to do its good work to maximum effect. An extended version of this talk was given at the IYN Yoga Festival on 2nd June 2017. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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HOMO ECONOMICUS: COMMENTARY ON ROB URIE’S ‘ZEN ECONOMICS’

May 29, 2017

This podcast is almost a review of Rob Urie's Zen Economics (2016). The thesis of Urie's book is that contemporary economic theory is a pseudo science which functions as an ideological mystification of consumer capitalism and bases itself on a spurious metaphysical conceptualisation of the human being along Cartesian lines. Urie marshals Zen and the work of Heidegger to mount his criticism with interesting results. [Free. 44 minutes.]

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FEMINISM 101

April 1, 2017

In this podcast, we roughly sketch out types of feminism including liberal, socialist, marxist and essentialist varients. We try to draw out the theoretical and practical difficulties encountered by these various approaches in the hope that a view of the terrain thus exposed might be useful to anybody currently struggling with the widespread and pathological back-lash to all emancipatory aspirations. [Free. 55 minutes.]

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ON OPTIMISM

March 24, 2017

In this podcast, we take a look at optimism, invoking the help of Voltaire's satirical tale Candide (1759). We end up suggesting that the bouyancy that is the corollary of optimism might extract too high a price in the loss of realism that goes with wearing rose-coloured spectacles, and that dropping the half full- half empty binary might be what William Blake is suggesting we do when he tells us that 'energy is eternal delight'. [Free. 30 minutes.]

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CONTRA NOS: TALK GIVEN IN LONDON AGAINST THE NATIONAL OCCUPATION STANDARD FOR A YOGA TEACHER

January 23, 2017

This is my contribution to a public meeting put on by the Independent Yoga Network [IYN] to clarify the attempt being made by BWY and Skillsactive to institute a National Occupational Standard for a Yoga Teacher in the face of concerted and reasoned opposition from key players in the UK Yoga Community.  The meeting was held on the 14th January 2017. I am introduce by Ellen Lee, Chair of the IYN. Other presenters were Swami Ambikananda Saraswati [Traditional Yoga Association], Jim Gough [IYN Treasurer], Nick Elwell [BGi Insurance], and Satish K Sharma [General Secretary, National Council of Hindu Temple (UK)]. The complete proceedings, which run to over 3 hours, will be available from the IYN online magazine, namaskaram, shortly. [Free. 22 minutes.]

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CONSIDERING CULTS

December 11, 2016

In this podast we attempt to characterise 'cults' and identify psychological processes that sustain them. This broadens out a little into considerations of dominance and power dynamics in general. [Free. 30 minutes.]

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