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.]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

December 31, 2018

In this podcast, I elucidate Embracing the Human, one of the Songs of No and Yes. The discourse mostly takes the form of a recommendation against espousing asceticism and passive nihilism in the name of 'spirituality'. [Free. 27 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.]

LAOTZU 13

June 22, 2018

This podcast deals with Chapters 21 and 22 of The Tao Te Ching. Chapter 21 is poetry impelled by Lao Tzu's encounter with the ineffable and Chapter 22 outlines the non-doing doings that can allow us to experience a similar encounter. [Free. 29 minutes.]

LAO TZU 10

January 30, 2018

In this podcast, we discuss Chapter 15 of the Tao Te Ching in which Lao Tzu delineates the character of an ideal ruler. For Lao Tzu, this ruler, though a politician, is deeply grounded in meditation and oneness with the Tao. [Free. 29 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.]

LANGUAGE AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE

November 26, 2017

In this podcast, I consider the attempts of Lao Tzu and Wittgenstein to urge upon us that the ineffable cannot be spoken of whilst themselves continuing to speak of it. This can be made sense of if we inderstand that language has many more possibilities than just fact-stating and indeed that it can point us in the direction of 'spiritual experience'. [Free. 24 minutes.]

TIME TO STOP AND STARE

November 13, 2017

Misquoting W. H. Davies, I recommend taking time to stop and stare in this podcast. I draw attention to resonances between Davies' sentiment and the nature paintings of the Sung and Yuan dynasties which often feature tiny figures dwarved by vast landscapes. [Free. 21 minutes.]

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.]

LAO TZU: PART FOUR

May 31, 2017

This podcast deals with Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of the Tao Te Ching. Themes covered include breath and the pulsation of the universe, poetry and the attempt to eff the ineffable, up and down mysticisms and letting be, water and flow, the sage, confucianism, politics, desires and political manipulation, maternal nurturing, compassion and strategies for living, etc. [Free. 40 minutes.]