LAO TZU 16

January 12, 2019

In this podcast, we elucidate Chapters 27 and 28 of the Tao Te Ching. Both chapters deal with the character of the sage and how s/he might operate as a ruler who can bring about harmonious social organisation. The wisdom of the sage is considered to be different from what is ordinarily understood as goodness. In Chapter 28, the meditative approach that is associated with sagacity is outlined. It's emphasis is on receptivity, letting be, yin energy, flow and oneness whilst not denying the value of creativity, practical activity and taking care of people. [Free. 29 minutes.]

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.]

ART, FREUD, LACAN

September 28, 2018

In this podcast, I return to the matter of art - what is it? I draw critically on arguments from Freud and Lacan, both of whom return to art again and again. [Free. 22 minutes.]

IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

August 12, 2018

This meander was stimulated by a recent repudiation by Zizek of the possible role of small communities in any future human flourishing. In this context, I revisit E. F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful (1973). I discuss some of the core ideas from that seminal work. In particular, I focus on the treatement of raw materials as [inexhaustible]  income and the treatement of the environment as a free dump by capitalism and the economic theories that act as its ideological justification. I touch upon intermediate technology, the role of 'spirituality' in the good life, the way in which economic theories and political practice often treat people as numbers on a spreadsheet, the 1984-5 UK Miners' Strike and the persistence of alienation in nationalised industries. I do this by discerning Zizek's 'inner Schumacher' and Schumacher's 'inner Zizek' and recounting instances of their expression. In both cases these inner others are mostly repressed, but vigorous enough to surface now and then in brilliant insight. [Free. 47 minutes.]

THE INTERNET AS COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS

June 27, 2018

This playful ramble likens the internet to the unconscious of the whole of humanity. If we let it, the internet rubs our noses in our being as a species, warts, wonders and all. However, we argue, it is now possible to avoid this stark and partly painful self-revelation by retreating into echo chambers. The monetisation of the internet through advertising is partly responsible. We touch on the desirability of a de-centralised internet which encourages and rewards good content creators. [Free. 25 minutes.]

HOW TO MEANDER

May 30, 2018

In this podcast, we outline our top ten [or thereabouts] tips for honing your meandering skills. [Free. 60 minutes.]

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.]

VIKING INTENSITY

March 11, 2018

This podcast is a mischevious engagament with a fagment from the TV series Vikings in which a protagonist confesses his desire to live each moment with the maximum possible intensity. [Free. 25 minutes.]

ON TABOOS

January 26, 2018

This podcast is a rambling discussion which seeks to elucidate the nature of taboos. This involves considering law, superstition, transgression, the unconscious and Freud's metapsychology. We find ourselves questioning the coherence of the notion of the unconscious whilst at the same time finding it almost indispensible. Do we have to have taboos? We conclude that theoretically a society could be without taboos but that it is unlikely in the near future. However, minimising the play of irrational forces is thought to be desirable. The one thing that taboos have in their favour is their connection with the transgressive element in erotic jouissance. Contains a discussion of swearing and an account of a tantric exorcism. [Free. 38 minutes.]

THE USES AND ABUSES OF THE CONCEPT OF NATURE

January 22, 2018

In this podcast, I consider the concept of nature and its ideological uses in justifying inequalities of wealth and power in ordinary discourse. I find that its use in the form of 'state of nature' arguments in political philosophy is also ideological as is the idea of human nature in most of its articulations. I suggest the concept can have a less ideological use for helping us picture our situation. In this positive use, nature is understood as a complex system which embeds the human being and culture which are themselves systems. [Free. 33 minutes.]