DESIGNING SOCIETY AND EVALUATION

May 2, 2018

This podcast is a rambly continuation of some previous considerations of value. In this case, I claim that calls for designing society around resources available [rather than money], though inspiring, need to make good a lacuna around value. [In particular, I consider the Zeitgeist project.] The question needs to be asked, 'What future should we value?'. Prior to that though, we need to figure out how to tackle that question and elucidate the process of evaluation. I also point out that we ourselves, with our desires, are at stake in any cogent appraoch to evaluation. [Free. 20 minutes.]

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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.]

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LAO TZU 11

February 19, 2018

This podcast deals with Chapters 16 and 17 of the Tao Te Ching. Lao Tzu revisits the character of the sagacious ruler who is rooted in contemplation, this time drawing on a metaphor of plant growth and nuture by deep roots. Not only is contemplation to be nurtured by our roots in the earth, but the sage should quietly nurture those around him. This leads on to considerations of styles of government of which a pure anarchism is evaluated as the most desirable. We suggest that this would only be possible for a population deeply rooted in contemplation of nature and its underpinning processes and cycles. [Free. 23 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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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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ON OPTIMISM

March 24, 2017

In this podcast, we take a look at optimism, invoking the help of Voltaire's satirical tale Candide (1759). We end up suggesting that the bouyancy that is the corollary of optimism might extract too high a price in the loss of realism that goes with wearing rose-coloured spectacles, and that dropping the half full- half empty binary might be what William Blake is suggesting we do when he tells us that 'energy is eternal delight'. [Free. 30 minutes.]

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THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART TWO: EXISTENTIALISM, CHOICE & FREEDOM

February 13, 2017

Part Two of our series on The Matrix attempts to characterise Neo's choice of the red pill in terms of the kind of human freedom posited by the existentialist philosophers. We draw particularly of Kierkegaard and Sartre. See the blue pill - red pill choice in this four minute clip: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 32 minutes.]

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CONSIDERING CULTS

December 11, 2016

In this podast we attempt to characterise 'cults' and identify psychological processes that sustain them. This broadens out a little into considerations of dominance and power dynamics in general. [Free. 30 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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