LAOTZU 12

April 28, 2018

This podcast deals with Chapters 18, 19 and 20 of The Tao Te Ching. In these chapters, Lao Tzu extols the virtue of alignment with the Tao for individuals and society. Simplicity is the way, he says, to come into that alignment. Instances of misalignment are consumerism, over-sophistication and acquisitiveness. Again, the character of the sage-leader is explored. [Free. 42 minutes.]

00:0000:00

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.]

00:0000:00

SELF-DECEPTION

October 27, 2017

In this podcast, I consider Wittgenstein's contention that "Nothing is more difficult that not deceiving oneself". I draw on resources from Heidegger, particularly the notion of "authenticity". I consider the role of projection in self-deception but temper that with Wittgenstein's and Heidegger's criticisms of Freudian psychoanalysis. I note that we can bullshit ourselves that we are not bullshitting ourselves and that this opens up an infinite regress. I suggest that Patanjali's practice of satya, truthful silence, may well cut through this problem, but that even if it doesn't, it is still a very great, emancipatory good. The discousre is clearer than I've made it sound! [Free. 29 minutes.]

00:0000:00

LEFT-RIGHT: PART TWO [COSMOPOLITANISM, ETHNO-NATIONALISM, HEIDEGGER, NIETZSCHE]

September 9, 2017

In this podcast I compare and contrast cosmopolitanism with ethno-nationalism. I discuss the use of Heidegarian tropes by alt-right ideologues to justify their stance which regards cosmopolitanism as the cause of all the ills of the modern world. I show how this move is easily countered and that Heidegger's view of 'the self' can actually be used to counter the notion that cosmopoitanism leads to the modern carelessness with the environment and 'rootlessness'. What is missing from the alt-right reading of the Heideggarian human 'self', I argue, is the questioning nature of this 'self' which in turn leads to the yoga questions: 'Who and what am I?'. At the very least, if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is that of Diogenes the Cynic: 'I am a citizen of the world'. At the same time, the beauty of one's particularity is revealed, even as one might rhapsodically experience oneness with everything. I trace some of this path of thought through a brief discussion of Heidegger's relationship to Nietzsche, to whom he dedicated four thick volumes of reflection and criticism. [Free. 43 minutes.]

00:0000:00

SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS [?]

September 3, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on the currently prominent self-description of "spiritual but not religious".  Underpinning the possibility of such a notion, I argue, is a crucial difference between two ways of encountering our interiority. The first does so from a perspective that espouses this or that set of dogmas belonging to this or that institutional religion. The practices associated with this orientation are likely to entail moral cultivation and to proscibe certain lines of enquiry. The second does so from a perspective that takes it that everything whatsoever is up for questioning, including the dogmas of religion. I argue that Patanjali's Yoga belongs in the second category and is cosmopolitan in character, and that equations of Yoga with nationalism, such as that made by Baba Ramdev, are nonsensical. [Patrons only. 33 minutes.]

00:0000:00

PARENTS

July 25, 2017

This podcast considers "making your peace with your parents" and why, if possible, it's a good idea. [Free. 20 ,minutes.]

00:0000:00

TALK ON PATANJALI’S YOGA SUTRA AT CHORELY

May 29, 2017

A talk I gave at Chorley on the first few aphorisms of the Yoga Sutra. [Patrons only. 2 hours 11 minutes.]

00:0000:00

LEGS ON A SNAKE

March 17, 2017

In this podcast we ask if consciousness is in need of improvement through 'spiritual cultivation' or if such games are 'legs on a snake'. [Free. 18 minutes.]

00:0000:00

SYNCHRONICITY

January 15, 2017

Synchronicity is the phenomenon in which we encounter meaningful coincidences. It tends to occur if we are in dialogue with our unconscious mind, whether through meditation or psychoanalytic types of engagement. In this podcast we consider the nature of this phenomenon and its possible use  for self-enquiry. The book Synchonicity [1952] by C G Jung and Wolfgang Pauli is drawn upon as is Jung's approach to the I Ching. [Free. 25 minutes.]

00:0000:00

CARLOS CASTANEDA’S PATH WITH HEART

December 21, 2016

This podcast takes its inspiration from the following quotation from Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan (1968): "Therefore you must keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions ... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, the path is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you." [Free. 18 minutes.]

00:0000:00