ON BREATH

March 16, 2018

In this podcast I give a brief outline of breath disciplines described by Patanjali and Svatmarama and discuss their practicality and significance. I draw attention to the common tendency to manipulate the mind-body complex and endow the resultant effects with significance derived from received models of the human being and metaphysical narratives. I ask, 'how do these fit in with the fact that this is it?' [Free. 26 minutes.]

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ORGANIC, FREE-RANGE [MYSTERY AND BELIEF]

December 25, 2017

This one was impomptu. Consequently, it was free-range, across questions of mystery, knowability, certainty, belief and faith. As always, the matter of living well presses itself into the picture, as does the matter of the puzzling limits of language. Thanks for your continued patronage. I'm planning some good stuff for patrons in 2018. [Patrons only. 23 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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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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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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“CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND”

October 17, 2017

In this podcast, I reflect on Terence Mckenna's assertion that "culture is not your friend." I find that, indeed, culture as we know it today, frequently has ideological components, i.e. it plays a role in preserving and promoting social dominance hierarchies. However, it does have pragmatic possibilities, preserving ideas, crafts and technologies that have survival value. And, when not paralysed by conservatism, these possibilites can even develop beyond what can be achieved in a single generation, enhancing life. I argue also that culture has vital roles in entertainment and edification which can be usurped by ideology and which it is worth the effort to restitute. [Free. 25 minutes.]

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TRUST

September 23, 2017

This podcast is a meandering analysis of trust, starting with the question 'What does it mean when I say, "I trust you."?'. It covers considerations of character, predictability, and behaviour which lead on to a criticism of behaviourism and a phenomenological analysis of the ways we appraise character. The role of trust in exchange, promising and social organisation is outlined with a nod towards Nietzsche's polemical considerations of 'the mnemotechnics of pain'. A picture of our culture as a culture of mistrust emerges and this is illuminated by a tiny story conncocted by Wittgenstein. I also consider the atom of trust which is a possible relationship between two individuals. I conclude that trust takes a leap of faith, and though it might be irrational, life without it is barren. [Free. 35 minutes.]

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LAO TZU: PART SIX

September 16, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Eleven of The Tao Te Ching. This chapter deals with the uses of emptyness, not only in the sphere of practical life but also for meditation. [Free. 17 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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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.]

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