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LAO TZU 17

LAO TZU 17

April 27, 2020

In this podcast, we return to our long project of commenting on the Tao Te Ching. This time we comment on Chapters 29 and 30 which speak out against hubris in leaders. The character types of typical leaders is taxonomised and contrasted with that of 'the sage'. The sage, we are told, is without pride, false charm and greed and leads with a light touch. Consequently, his leading style avoids environmental destruction. Lao Tzu also speaks out against warlike behaviour in leaders and spells out the destructive consequences such as famine. We suggest that these lessons are very relevant  to our current political situation. [Free. 22 minutes.]

PANDEMIC TRAUMAS

PANDEMIC TRAUMAS

March 26, 2020

In this podcast we identify four types of trauma that the global CORVID19 pandemic is inflicting on individuals and societies. They are to do with isolation and restriction due to lock-down, fear, anxiety and panic, increased awareness of death, and political / economic disillusionment. In the second half we attempt to discern how these traumas will continue to act in the future when the pandemic has subsided. [Free. 38 minutes.]

THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR: REVOLUTION?

THE YOGI AND THE COMMISSAR: REVOLUTION?

January 25, 2020

In this podcast I question the nature of revolution, particularly as to its ultimate ground, which for some should be consciousness, and for others, the power structures of society, particularly materialistically understood. I outline the thought that both must be involved as it is found in the ongoing historical conversation. This includes Freudian Marxism, and the existentialism of Simone de Beauvoir, who gives us the figures of the yogi and the commissar to imagine. [Free.  28 minutes.]

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

RESILIENCE: INTERVIEW WITH GODFREY DEVEREUX

January 25, 2020

In this interview renowned Yoga Teacher Godfrey Devereux about a recent turn his work has taken. Godfrey has dropped the language surrounding contemporary Yoga to talk instead about resilience and how it is a consequence of a certain meditative self-enquiry. I ask Godfrey to elucidate this and particularly in the context of impending ecological catastrophe. I give my own take on these matters which is more inclined to speak up for activism. Listen to the following podcast, The Yogi and the Commissar, in which I explore some of the themes that emerged and in the light of Simone de Beauvoir's existentialism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

DESIRE & THE FUTURE [YES & NO 6]

June 9, 2019

This podcast, recorded in November 2018, continues with commentary on the Songs of No and Yes, and explores the theme of desire further. As well as asking if determinism universally applies, I ask what would be the existential consequences if it did. I conclude that metaphysical issues, like free will  - determinism are probably undecidable, and, in this case, of no existential consequence. The upshot for meditation practitioners is that they are well-advised to be engaged with the world and to make efforts to make a future of flourishing for self and others, rather than repudiating creativity, politics and altruism because "what will be, will be." (If such is their bent.) The practice of letting be with bright awareness, I argue, should be understood as applicable to all aspects of lived experience, including the active, creative and passive. The role of determinism in the scientific method is briefly considered. [Free. 18 minutes.]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

DESIRE, ACTION, TIME [YES & NO 5]

May 26, 2019

In this podcast, I continue to explore the matter of human desire. I relate it to our embeddedness in time, to suffering and to our motivations to act. [Free. 26 minutes.]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

DESIRING TRUTH [YES & NO 4]

February 16, 2019

This podcast is a commentary on the poem Desiring Truth from Songs of No and Yes. The poem outlines the enormous philosophical difficulties encountered in the quest for the truth about truth and contrasts them with the ease with which we employ our ordinary, common sense, adequationist notion of truth very effectively in everyday life. In the commentary, I draw on Patanjali's account of truth and knowledge in the Yoga Sutra, finding nothing problematic in our ordinary truth telling whilst suggesting that our various encounters with the ineffable, samadhi, have a valuable but unstateable truth content. I also note Patanjali's method of uncompromising truthfulness as an approach to the ineffable as encountered in the microcosm in the practice of self-study. [Free. 28 minutes.]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

EMBRACING THE HUMAN [YES & NO 3]

December 31, 2018

In this podcast, I elucidate Embracing the Human, one of the Songs of No and Yes. The discourse mostly takes the form of a recommendation against espousing asceticism and passive nihilism in the name of 'spirituality'. [Free. 27 minutes.]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

EXPERIENCE [NO & YES 2]

December 10, 2018

This podcast is the second in the series Songs of No and Yes. It revisits the theme of the previous one, that of sitting meditation. The perspective is a little different and there is a strong 'no', or sealing off of escape routes which we are likely to attempt when the rawness of sitting is encountered. It also repudiates metaphysical speculation, grand-narratives, and other such hubris, seeking to point towards the ineffable rather than attempt to 'eff' it. [Free. 17 minutes.]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

SITTING [NO & YES 1]

November 30, 2018

This podcast is the first in a series of commentaries on my own poems in Songs of No and Yes. These are primarily for yoga people, particularly those who would 'teach' others. The first one deals with sitting practice and the productive dialectical tension between self-study and the call of the world. It deals with the suffering of self and others and the temptations to let 'spirituality' settle into escapism. [Free. 32 minutes.]

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