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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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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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART FIVE: DISSOLUTION OF THE BINARIES

March 12, 2017

In this podcast the epilogue to our series on The Matrix, we consider attempts to dissolve the binaries which have structured much thought for millenia. These binaries are real-apparent, subject-object and inside-outside [of the human psyche.] The attempts at dissolution invoked are Wittgenstein's private language argument which is found in Philosophical Investigations, and Nietzsche's account of the fate of the 'real world' as a concept over time as elucidated in Twilgth of the Idols. We argue that this doesn't sideline the political issues raised in the previous podcast in this series, as might first seem to be the case. [Free. 41 minutes.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART THREE: METAPHYSICS

February 22, 2017

In this podcast, we outline some of the resonances of The Matrix with metaphysics which we take to be the philosophical effort to characterise the being of beings as a whole. We particularly focus on Plato's myth of the cave and Descartes' radical doubt, regarding both of these as utilising the metaphor of human being as camera obscura and the real-apparent and subject-object distinctions. This is not as obscure as it sounds! [Free. 35 minutes.]

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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.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

February 8, 2017

This is the first of a series devoted to the philosophical resonances of the film The Matrix [1999]. We take it that many of the philosophical issues brought up in The Matrix boil down to the consequences of presupposing the binary 'real-apparent'. We outline how this is so in this introduction in preparation for forthcoming podcasts on the real-apparanet binary's entanglement with existentialism, metaphysics and politics. If you can't see the film, at least watch this brilliant four minute clip in which the hero Neo is given the choice between the red pill which will open him up to the reality of his situation and the blue pill which will keep him in a state of delusion: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 22 minutes.]

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YOGA REGULATION? NO THANKS

September 13, 2016

This podcast addresses a situation current on planet Yoga in the UK and will be of special interest to UK Yoga teachers and teacher trainers. The situation I allude to is the decision made by a government licensed body [Skills Active]  in conjunction with the British Wheel of Yoga to institute a 'National Occupational Standard' [NOS] for a Yoga teacher. This was attempted 12 years ago and didn't succeed, most likely because of considerable opposition from the Yoga Community. I give an outline of the history and the players in this mad game and then demonstrate that Yoga should not be regulated by any governmental agency or narrow interest. Rather, I contend, it is necessarily diverse and therefore beyond the scope of regulation. I then give an account of the Independent Yoga Network which was set up 12 years ago in the face of the first attempt at NOS to defend freedom and diversity and promote Yoga.  [Free. 44 minutes.]

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VIOLENCE, AHIMSA, SELF-STUDY

September 10, 2016

This is a bit of a ramble, starting with a general description of violence and non-violence and the various religious commandments to be non-violent. As always, we find ourselves with no choice but to return to considering suffering and flourishing, Buddha and Socrates. We then consider violence against the self  which manifests as physical and psychological asceticism and tease out its nature. This leads to a fairly in-depth consideration of Patanjali's practice of ahimsa and Buddha's 'middle way' and how they wonderfully help to open up the yoga being state as well as illuminating the otherwise dark territories of violence as it operates within the psyche. [Free. 56 minutes.]

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CHAOS AND COSMOS PART FOUR

May 17, 2016

Here, somewhat belatedly, is the final part of Chaos and Cosmos, a talk given at Parkdale in 2015. The main thrust of this part of the talk is to abstract the practicalities implicit in the discourse thus far for practitioners of meditation and creativity. We also hear about Taliesin's shit-or-bust attempt to win the high priestess.

For the sake of intelligibility, I've pruned some labyrinthine Q and A and ribald interaction. The other three episodes are still on this site as you'll find if you go back a bit. [Free. 30 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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