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LAO TZU 26

LAO TZU 26

August 10, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 39 of the Tao Te Ching. Once again, we see Lao Tzu moving from cosmology to the character of the ideal leader who has qualities arising out of meditation. Lao Tzu discerns forces of both disintegration and integration as aspects of 'the One', or the whole. Out of this discernment, we draw a characterisation of our own times. [Free. 37 minutes.]

BRITAIN-TRUMP, PORTLAND, YELLOW-HAMMER - INTERESTING TIMES 6

BRITAIN-TRUMP, PORTLAND, YELLOW-HAMMER - INTERESTING TIMES 6

July 24, 2020

This wide ranging podcast flows out of the  question of the influence of the USA on the UK and the rest of the world. We outline the nature of US hegemony and its roots in the dollar's status as world reserve currency, in military power, and in soft power. Trump's employment of federal military force in Portland and other US cities is analysed and its origins in the Right-Internationale play book is discussed. The wider significance of the Trump presidency and its symptomatic nature is thus bought into focus, particularly with regard to the decline of the hegemon and its desperate, rear-guard reliance on Goebellian propaganda techniques. In the context of UK current events, we re-visit the Yellow-Hammer report on the possible consequences of a no deal Brexit and picture how the added economic catastrophe of the COVID19 pandemic might well give rise to civil unrest. Despite this gloomy picture, we find reasons to hope, but they must entail  grassroots action which goes beyond protest into the practical building and defending of communities, whilst not abandoning the need to capture the state. [Free. 40 minutes.]

LAO TZU 24

LAO TZU 24

July 21, 2020

In this podcast, we reflect on Chapter 37 of the Tao Te Ching. In this chapter, Lao Tzu once again attempts to characterise the Tao. From a fresh perspective, he describes the Tao as the ultimate exemplar of wu-wei, (non-doing), and recommends that people, including leaders, emulate it in this respect. He then describes the character of a person who has managed this elusive meditative task. We relate this to a criticism of consumerism which, though careful with desire, nevertheless eschews asceticism. [Free. 12 minutes.]

LAO TZU 20

LAO TZU 20

May 31, 2020

In this episode of our Lao Tzu series, we explore themes of judgement, desire, non-violence, and longevity: all in the light of Lao Tzu's meditation 'method' of aligning with the Tao. [Free. 24 minutes.]

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

May 8, 2020

The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 minutes.]

LAOTZU 19

LAOTZU 19

May 3, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 32 of The Tao Te Ching. Here, Lao Tzu emphasises the ineffability of the Tao even whilst urging the sage/ruler to follow it if he is to be a good ruler who is able to care for the people well. The implications of the ineffability of the Tao for the nature of language, that it cannot exhaust the world with its names or propositions, is suggested in the text and we tease it out. [Free. 29 mins.]

LAO TZU 18

LAO TZU 18

May 2, 2020

In this podcast we reflect on Chapter 31 of The Tao Te Ching. This Chapter deals with the pity and tragedy of war and the terrible nature of weapons and how the sage does not celebrate them. The sage, instead, loves peace and quiet and recommends it to rulers and peoples. We relate this to our current situation in which over $1.7 trillion are spent per annum globally on the weapons of war and in which many senseless and highly destructive wars are fought. We conclude that Lao Tzu's lesson in this chapter is one we urgently need to hear. [Free. 21 minutes.]

LAO TZU 17

LAO TZU 17

April 27, 2020

In this podcast, we return to our long project of commenting on the Tao Te Ching. This time we comment on Chapters 29 and 30 which speak out against hubris in leaders. The character types of typical leaders is taxonomised and contrasted with that of 'the sage'. The sage, we are told, is without pride, false charm and greed and leads with a light touch. Consequently, his leading style avoids environmental destruction. Lao Tzu also speaks out against warlike behaviour in leaders and spells out the destructive consequences such as famine. We suggest that these lessons are very relevant  to our current political situation. [Free. 22 minutes.]

ON APOCALYPSE

ON APOCALYPSE

March 6, 2020

In this podcast, I distinguish between rational and irrational apocalyptic fears. I discuss the Cuba missile crisis of 1962 and the subsequent retreat from the brink through various treaties and weapons inspection regimes. I also outline briefly how an incipient new cold war / arms race seems to be on the horizon. I also consider the eco-apocalypse in the light of a real-life encounter with militant climate deniers. My conclusion is not entirely pessimistic and underscores the role of human agency. [Free. 28 minutes.]

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

January 25, 2020

In this interview renowned Yoga Teacher Godfrey Devereux about a recent turn his work has taken. Godfrey has dropped the language surrounding contemporary Yoga to talk instead about resilience and how it is a consequence of a certain meditative self-enquiry. I ask Godfrey to elucidate this and particularly in the context of impending ecological catastrophe. I give my own take on these matters which is more inclined to speak up for activism. Listen to the following podcast, The Yogi and the Commissar, in which I explore some of the themes that emerged and in the light of Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

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