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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.]

THE CASE FOR JEREMY CORBYN

THE CASE FOR JEREMY CORBYN

July 22, 2019

This engagement with current affairs has already been over-taken by events. However, it may contain some enduring points. I consider the billionaire-owned media attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist project, including but not exclusively, the charges of anti-semitism. I note the presence of neo-liberal apologists within the UK Labour Party. In the light of my contention that 'business as usual is not an option', given economic, ecological and cultural instability on a global scale, I elucidate and evaluate the idea of a 'Green New Deal' as is being considered by Labour as well as Justice Democrats in the USA, particularly Bernie Sanders. I argue that a glimmer of hope is contained by this movement. [Free. 42 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.]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

May 26, 2019

In this podcast, I continue to explore the matter of human desire. I relate it to our embeddedness in time, to suffering and to our motivations to act. [Free. 26 minutes.]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

February 16, 2019

This podcast is a commentary on the poem Desiring Truth from Songs of No and Yes. The poem outlines the enormous philosophical difficulties encountered in the quest for the truth about truth and contrasts them with the ease with which we employ our ordinary, common sense, adequationist notion of truth very effectively in everyday life. In the commentary, I draw on Patanjali's account of truth and knowledge in the Yoga Sutra, finding nothing problematic in our ordinary truth telling whilst suggesting that our various encounters with the ineffable, samadhi, have a valuable but unstateable truth content. I also note Patanjali's method of uncompromising truthfulness as an approach to the ineffable as encountered in the microcosm in the practice of self-study. [Free. 28 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.]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

November 30, 2018

This podcast is the first in a series of commentaries on my own poems in Songs of No and Yes. These are primarily for yoga people, particularly those who would 'teach' others. The first one deals with sitting practice and the productive dialectical tension between self-study and the call of the world. It deals with the suffering of self and others and the temptations to let 'spirituality' settle into escapism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

LAO TZU 15

LAO TZU 15

September 7, 2018

In this podcast, we comment on Chapters 25 and 26 of The Tao Te Ching. In the first part, we elucidate Lao Tzu's cosmology and the categories of earth, heaven, the human and the Tao. We particularly highlight how, for Lao Tzu, the transcendent and the immanent are mutually dependent and how this precludes life-negation. Lao Tzu, we take it, arrives at this tremendous vision through his own contemplation and goes on to point out to us how we might do the same and how simple that task is. We flesh out Lao Tzu's contemplative [non] method, hopefully with some practical pointers. [Free. 37 minutes.]

IS SMALL BEAUTIFUL?

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.]

INTOXICATION AND THE WILL TO POWER

INTOXICATION AND THE WILL TO POWER

August 1, 2018

In this podcast I consider Nietzsche's accounts of promise-making, bad conscience, ressentiment, the mnemo-technics of pain and the rise of Christianity understood as the spiritual revenge of slaves as outlined in On the Genealogy of Morals [1886]. I offer a riposte to Judith Butler's objection to Nietzsche's account of the development of a continuous will which seems to be in contradiction to Nietzsche's account of language as a 'moving army of metaphors'. [Butler, 1997 - The Psychic Life of Power.] From there, I move on to consider how the concept of ressentiment can be utilised to understand the current populism in conjuction with the notion of ideology. To the Freudian-Marxists question 'Why do slaves aquiesece in their slavery?', the Nietzschean might answer, 'They don't always. Sometimes they seek subterranean means of revenge in order to experience the intoxication of exerting their will to power over others.'  [Free. 39 minutes.]