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.]

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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.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART TWO: FRAGMENTATION]

July 23, 2018

This wide-ranging podcast draws on the same sources as Part One and is similarly stimulated by current affairs. This time, the thesis that the current historical unfoldings of the mutually entangled economic, cultural and ecological systems are characterised by fragmentation is defended and a variety of possible material antecedents of this tendency are considered. We identify environmental degradation, technological developments, contradictions in capitalism in its current phase, cultural fragmentation, the enmeshment of state and corporate power, gross inequalities of wealth and power and movements of populations as mutually dependent factors giving rise to fragmentation, amongst others. [Free. 54 minutes.]

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TRUMP, MAY, PUTIN AND MEN IN FUNNY HATS [PART ONE: POLITICAL SCOUNDRELS]

July 23, 2018

This podcast is a wide-ranging commentary on the Trump charm offensive on Nato, the UK Prime Minister and Vladimir Putin of last week [13/7/18 ff]. It draws on the relevant press conferences, the film The Vietnam War [Ken Burns and Lynn Novick], the film An Inconvenient Sequel [Al Gore] and broadcasts of the UK Parliament. I consider the thesis that the political class are largely scoundrels. [Free. 37 minutes.]

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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.]

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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.]

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ON BOUNDARIES

December 11, 2017

In this podcast I discuss the boundaries that demark the concepts we use and the 'things' that we perceive. I draw on the chapter entitled 'The Will to Power as Knowledge' from Nietzsche's Will to Power. I suggest that a certain moveability of boudaries provides us with analytic and hermeneutical tools. Other philosophers I draw on are Smullyan and Kolakowski. I also suggest that this discussion underscores the significance of the Dionysian. This podcast provides some of the background for Lao Tzu: Part Nine which is to be released shortly. [Free. 28 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART EIGHT

October 20, 2017

In this podcast, we discuss Chapter Thirteen of The Tao Te Ching. In this chapter,  Lao Tzu recommends that we drop 'status anxiety' and reconsider our received notions of success and failure. We relate Lao Tzu's insights to modern life and recommend them for your consideration! [Free. 33 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART SEVEN

September 30, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Twelve of The Tao Te Ching. In this Chapter, Lao Tzu advises against sensory overload and excess in general. We contrast this approach with the Dionysian spirituality which uses excess, intoxication and the senses. We find that these seemingly contradictory approaches to living are not stark opposites and that Lao Tzu's advice, that we use a honed intuition to help us to know how and when to use the different modes of being available to us, is good. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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LEFT-RIGHT: PART ONE [CHARLOTTESVILLE & THE OLD MAN’S VICE OF BIG PICTURE THINKING]

September 1, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on recent events that took place in Charlotteville, Virginia. The discussion inevitably ranges far and wide and covers such issues as the role of violence in politics, the nature of the left-right binary, the question of the moral equivalence that President Trump et al seem to draw between neo-fascists and their anti-fascist detractors, the natures of free speech and propoganda, the significance of history and future thinking for politics, the nature of the symbolic universe inhabited by some activists, and the phenomenon of meme wars. The question of how far we can, and should, extend our sympathies is once again brought to the fore. [Free. 47 minutes.]

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