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LAO TZU 38

LAO TZU 38

June 6, 2021

This podcast deals with Chapter 53 of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching. We draw out resonances between this chapter and our current state of affairs and explain Lao Tzu's contemplative communism. [Free. 17 minutes.]

REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

REASON ON REASON 3 - QUESTIONING IN THE AGE OF REASON

January 13, 2021

In this third podcast in the series Reason on Reason, I investigate the rise of questioning during the Enlightenment and the accompanying scepticism towards ecclesiastical, theological and political authority. The main part of the podcast is analysis and comment on Kant's newspaper article of 1784, What is Enlightenment? This article exposes a tension between the promise of the new questioning for knowledge and it application and the possible impacts this movement could have on social cohesion. Other dramatis personae include Voltaire, Hume, per-cursor, Locke, and Blake for the ensuing Romantic back-lash. [Free. 32 minutes.]

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

REASON ON REASON 2 - THE ANTECEDENTS TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT

December 17, 2020

In this second episode of our series on reason, I take a broad brush to outline 

some of the main antecedents to the so-called European Enlightenment, also know as 'The Age of Reason'. I focus on the rise of experimental science in the contexts of church power and violence against those who contradict its doctrines, the rise of the bourgeoisie, and advances in mathematics. The figures of Descartes, Galileo and Newton loom large but Aristotle, Aquinas, Copernicus, Kepler and others also have parts. [Free. 44 minutes.]

DESIRE & ULTIMATES [YES & NO 7]

DESIRE & ULTIMATES [YES & NO 7]

October 20, 2019

This podcast was recorded earlier this year in February [2019]. It continues with considerations of the matter of desire, in this case focusing on our appetite for achievement. I suggest that our 'spiritual endeavours' almost inevitably fall into the same pattern as our ordinary acquisitiveness and can have a self-defeating tendency. I recommend a light touch with these drives and indicate what this approach opens up. [Free. 17 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.]

LAO TZU 15

LAO TZU 15

September 7, 2018

In this podcast, we comment on Chapters 25 and 26 of The Tao Te Ching. In the first part, we elucidate Lao Tzu's cosmology and the categories of earth, heaven, the human and the Tao. We particularly highlight how, for Lao Tzu, the transcendent and the immanent are mutually dependent and how this precludes life-negation. Lao Tzu, we take it, arrives at this tremendous vision through his own contemplation and goes on to point out to us how we might do the same and how simple that task is. We flesh out Lao Tzu's contemplative [non] method, hopefully with some practical pointers. [Free. 37 minutes.]

LAOTZU 14

LAOTZU 14

July 9, 2018

In this podcast, we consider Chapters 23 and 24 of The Tao Te Ching. We tease out Lao Tzu's advice that meditation is best approached with a light touch. [Free. 21 minutes.]

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