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.]

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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.]

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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.]

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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.]

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LAO TZU: PART FIVE

August 25, 2017

In this podcast we consider Chapters 9 and 10 of The Tao Te Ching. Amongst themes we draw out are Lao Tzu's advice on meditation and how it is deeply practical and has ramifications for social organisation and politics, and the value of un-acquisitiveness, quietism and psychological balance for living a good life. [Free. 38 minutes.]

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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.]

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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.]

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LAO TZU: PART ONE

April 10, 2017

In this podcast, we comment on the first chapter of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. Though it is very short, this chapter covers an immense amount of ground, including the paradoxical nature of talk about the ineffable, the creativity of nothingness and the character of 'the sage'. We intend to comment on the entire text over time. [Free. 41 minutes.] 

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UTOPIA - HOW & WHY DOES IT HAUNT THOUGHT?

September 22, 2016

In this podcast, we run with the the observation that 'thought is haunted by utopia'. In passing we discuss literary utopias and dystopias, revolutions, and the effect of intimations of vulnerability and mortality on human future thinking. [Free. 53 minutes.]

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IMAGINATION, SKEPTICISM & WONDER

August 5, 2016

This is an account of the philosophical imagination and how it is both freed and rendered circumspect by skepticism. [Free. 42 minutes.]

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