FREE SPEECH

August 27, 2018

In this podcast, I take it that free speech, as an instance of freedom per se, is a very great good. However, this stance is not unproblematic in that free speech and freedom can subvert themselves as well as eroding other goods, e.g. equality. The obvious and often proposed notion that this can be overcome by policing or regulation raises the problem that any claim to the right to do the policing is impossible to legitimate and will therefore ultimately be authoritarian in nature. There is some hope in the possibility of general eduction based on ecouraging questioning rather than on inculcating dogma but this project also encounters a legitimation problem in that curricula are likely to be determined by some authority. [Free. 33 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

July 23, 2018

This wide-ranging podcast draws on the same sources as Part One and is similarly stimulated by current affairs. This time, the thesis that the current historical unfoldings of the mutually entangled economic, cultural and ecological systems are characterised by fragmentation is defended and a variety of possible material antecedents of this tendency are considered. We identify environmental degradation, technological developments, contradictions in capitalism in its current phase, cultural fragmentation, the enmeshment of state and corporate power, gross inequalities of wealth and power and movements of populations as mutually dependent factors giving rise to fragmentation, amongst others. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART ONE: POLITICAL SCOUNDRELS]

July 23, 2018

This podcast is a wide-ranging commentary on the Trump charm offensive on Nato, the UK Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin of last week [13/7/18 ff]. It draws on the relevant press conferences, the film The Vietnam War [Ken Burns and Lynn Novick], the film An Inconvenient Sequel [Al Gore] and broadcasts of the UK Parliament. I consider the thesis that the political class are largely scoundrels. [Free. 37 minutes.]

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ON INVENTION: THE CASE OF DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY

January 12, 2018

In this podcast, I draw attention to the question of the role of technological innovation in social, cultural and economic change. This leads to a consideration of various aspects of distributed ledger technology, including the internet of things, crypto-currency and blockchain. [Free. 40 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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THE MYTH OF THE YOGA TEACHER

October 1, 2016

In this podcast, we examine some of the identifiable modes of yoga teaching. In particular, we talk about parroting, missionary activity, dominance games and meeting in openness. [Free. 22 minutes.] 

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GETTING INFORMED IN THE INFORMATION AGE

July 27, 2016

In his podcast, we consider the problems of negotiating the unprecedented access to information that characterises the modern age. We note that too much information becomes no information unless we have the means to evaluate what is relevant to our questions, to discern what is reliable and what not, and unless we have some grasp of interpretation and how it relates to states of affairs in the world. We go on to consider the struggle for the internet and the broad shape of the power which tries to determine and exploit our lives. [Free. 60 minutes.]

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TRAVELLING LIGHT

June 1, 2016

We started this podcast with no topic in mind. Consequently it meanders from a consideration of the plasticity of mind through the matter of the historical variety of cultures and the character formations they produce and require, on through a story about our current situation in which consumerist capitalism requires hyper-individualism as the preferred human character, on through a narrative connecting discomfort with this plasticity with social conservatism and the metaphysics of stasis. Somewhere amongst this, we remember childhood and celebrate and recommend travelling light. [Free. 51 minutes.]

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THE ROLE OF THE ‘SPIRITUAL MASTER’?

April 26, 2016

In this podcast a specific instance of the authoritarianism that often accompanies spiritual culture is treated critically. Listeners are urged to value their autonomy and hone, not repress, their critical faculties because both of these are conditions for spiritual inquiry to take place at all. [Free. 15 minutes.]

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HEALTHY THOUGHT? WHAT IS IT, IF ANYTHING?

February 21, 2016

In this podcast we chew on the notion of 'healthy thought'. Whilst seeing that the notion can be used ideologically as a conformist moral cudgel, we consider the idea that certain patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour can cause unnecessary suffering to self and others. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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