“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.]

00:0000:00

LAO TZU: PART SEVEN

September 30, 2017

In this podcast, we consider Chapter Twelve of The Tao Te Ching. In this Chapter, Lao Tzu advises against sensory overload and excess in general. We contrast this approach with the Dionysian spirituality which uses excess, intoxication and the senses. We find that these seemingly contradictory approaches to living are not stark opposites and that Lao Tzu's advice, that we use a honed intuition to help us to know how and when to use the different modes of being available to us, is good. [Free. 25 minutes.]

00:0000:00

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.]

00:0000:00

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.]

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

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.]

00:0000:00

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.]

00:0000:00

KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, WISDOM

August 10, 2017

Why do we have these three cognitive terms? What do they denote and how are they distinct from each other? This podcast is a preliminary investigation of these difficult questions. [Free. 43 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

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.]

00:0000:00