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DESIRE & ULTIMATES [YES & NO 7]

DESIRE & ULTIMATES [YES & NO 7]

October 20, 2019

This podcast was recorded earlier this year in February [2019]. It continues with considerations of the matter of desire, in this case focusing on our appetite for achievement. I suggest that our 'spiritual endeavours' almost inevitably fall into the same pattern as our ordinary acquisitiveness and can have a self-defeating tendency. I recommend a light touch with these drives and indicate what this approach opens up. [Free. 17 minutes.]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

June 9, 2019

This podcast, recorded in November 2018, continues with commentary on the Songs of No and Yes, and explores the theme of desire further. As well as asking if determinism universally applies, I ask what would be the existential consequences if it did. I conclude that metaphysical issues, like free will  - determinism are probably undecidable, and, in this case, of no existential consequence. The upshot for meditation practitioners is that they are well-advised to be engaged with the world and to make efforts to make a future of flourishing for self and others, rather than repudiating creativity, politics and altruism because "what will be, will be." (If such is their bent.) The practice of letting be with bright awareness, I argue, should be understood as applicable to all aspects of lived experience, including the active, creative and passive. The role of determinism in the scientific method is briefly considered. [Free. 18 minutes.]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

December 10, 2018

This podcast is the second in the series Songs of No and Yes. It revisits the theme of the previous one, that of sitting meditation. The perspective is a little different and there is a strong 'no', or sealing off of escape routes which we are likely to attempt when the rawness of sitting is encountered. It also repudiates metaphysical speculation, grand-narratives, and other such hubris, seeking to point towards the ineffable rather than attempt to 'eff' it. [Free. 17 minutes.]

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

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.]

NUMBERS ONE: SEDUCTIONS OF THE ALGORITHM

NUMBERS ONE: SEDUCTIONS OF THE ALGORITHM

March 14, 2018

In this podcast, I consider the mysticism of numbers of the Pythagoreans and its influence down the ages on Plato, Aristotle, Kepler, Newton and on to the scientism of the modern age. I contrast this with a mysticism of endless, unfathomable mystery and tease out the ramifications for the Socratic question of how life is to be lived. [Free. 38 minutes.]

POSTMODERNISM: A FEW REMARKS

POSTMODERNISM: A FEW REMARKS

February 11, 2018

In this podcast, I draw attention to the way in which the term 'postmodernism' has become a derogatory term. I attempt to clarify and rehabilitate it by unpacking J. F. Lyotard's addage that 'postmodernism is suspicion towards grand narratives'. [Free. 27 minutes.]

WITTGENSTEIN 101

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.]

KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, WISDOM

KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, WISDOM

August 10, 2017

Why do we have these three cognitive terms? What do they denote and how are they distinct from each other? This podcast is a preliminary investigation of these difficult questions. [Free. 43 minutes.]

ON OPTIMISM

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.]

THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART TWO: EXISTENTIALISM, CHOICE & FREEDOM

THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART TWO: EXISTENTIALISM, CHOICE & FREEDOM

February 13, 2017

Part Two of our series on The Matrix attempts to characterise Neo's choice of the red pill in terms of the kind of human freedom posited by the existentialist philosophers. We draw particularly of Kierkegaard and Sartre. See the blue pill - red pill choice in this four minute clip: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 32 minutes.]