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

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.]

THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

THE BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL? PART ONE: INTRODUCTION

February 8, 2017

This is the first of a series devoted to the philosophical resonances of the film The Matrix [1999]. We take it that many of the philosophical issues brought up in The Matrix boil down to the consequences of presupposing the binary 'real-apparent'. We outline how this is so in this introduction in preparation for forthcoming podcasts on the real-apparanet binary's entanglement with existentialism, metaphysics and politics. If you can't see the film, at least watch this brilliant four minute clip in which the hero Neo is given the choice between the red pill which will open him up to the reality of his situation and the blue pill which will keep him in a state of delusion: https://youtu.be/zQ1_IbFFbzA. [Free. 22 minutes.]

YOGA REGULATION? NO THANKS

YOGA REGULATION? NO THANKS

September 13, 2016

This podcast addresses a situation current on planet Yoga in the UK and will be of special interest to UK Yoga teachers and teacher trainers. The situation I allude to is the decision made by a government licensed body [Skills Active]  in conjunction with the British Wheel of Yoga to institute a 'National Occupational Standard' [NOS] for a Yoga teacher. This was attempted 12 years ago and didn't succeed, most likely because of considerable opposition from the Yoga Community. I give an outline of the history and the players in this mad game and then demonstrate that Yoga should not be regulated by any governmental agency or narrow interest. Rather, I contend, it is necessarily diverse and therefore beyond the scope of regulation. I then give an account of the Independent Yoga Network which was set up 12 years ago in the face of the first attempt at NOS to defend freedom and diversity and promote Yoga.  [Free. 44 minutes.]

VIOLENCE, AHIMSA, SELF-STUDY

VIOLENCE, AHIMSA, SELF-STUDY

September 10, 2016

This is a bit of a ramble, starting with a general description of violence and non-violence and the various religious commandments to be non-violent. As always, we find ourselves with no choice but to return to considering suffering and flourishing, Buddha and Socrates. We then consider violence against the self  which manifests as physical and psychological asceticism and tease out its nature. This leads to a fairly in-depth consideration of Patanjali's practice of ahimsa and Buddha's 'middle way' and how they wonderfully help to open up the yoga being state as well as illuminating the otherwise dark territories of violence as it operates within the psyche. [Free. 56 minutes.]

CHAOS AND COSMOS PART FOUR

CHAOS AND COSMOS PART FOUR

May 17, 2016

Here, somewhat belatedly, is the final part of Chaos and Cosmos, a talk given at Parkdale in 2015. The main thrust of this part of the talk is to abstract the practicalities implicit in the discourse thus far for practitioners of meditation and creativity. We also hear about Taliesin's shit-or-bust attempt to win the high priestess.

For the sake of intelligibility, I've pruned some labyrinthine Q and A and ribald interaction. The other three episodes are still on this site as you'll find if you go back a bit. [Free. 30 minutes.]
THE ROLE OF THE ‘SPIRITUAL MASTER’?

THE ROLE OF THE ‘SPIRITUAL MASTER’?

April 26, 2016

In this podcast a specific instance of the authoritarianism that often accompanies spiritual culture is treated critically. Listeners are urged to value their autonomy and hone, not repress, their critical faculties because both of these are conditions for spiritual inquiry to take place at all. [Free. 15 minutes.]

ON THE BODY [PART FOUR]: THE BODY DIES

ON THE BODY [PART FOUR]: THE BODY DIES

March 17, 2016

The body dies. In this podcast we critically reflect on the existential and cultural consequences of the fact of life that the body dies. [Free. 36 minutes.]

ON THE BODY [PART TWO]: THE EMBODIMENT OF THOUGHT

ON THE BODY [PART TWO]: THE EMBODIMENT OF THOUGHT

March 6, 2016

We start this podcast with a discussion of the way that walking affects thought and how this significantly draws our attention to the physiological, biological correlation between thought and the living body. We go on to take issue with a variety of dualisms and fragmentary accounts of the human being that all inevitably end up dis-valuing the body. We point out the longevity and ubiquity of contempt for the body, encouraged by religious asceticism, and outline the joyous possibilities that open up when it is dropped. Dramatis Personae: Nietzsche, Robert Graves, Arjuna, Simon the Stylite. [Free. 25 mins.]

ON RUTS: REPETITIVE PATTERNS OF THOUGHT, FEELING AND BEHAVIOUR & THEIR RAMIFICATIONS

ON RUTS: REPETITIVE PATTERNS OF THOUGHT, FEELING AND BEHAVIOUR & THEIR RAMIFICATIONS

March 1, 2016

This short ramble investigates 'ruts' or repetitive patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour and how some are necessary and others cause us to suffer and to be discontected from the glory of life. I make the observation that in many cases, such patterns are held in place by our very own expenditure of energy to the extent that they become a part of our identity. Refraining from this expenditure, i.e. relaxing and forgetting, is often sufficient to rlease us from the suffering of endless circling. [Free. 19 minutes.]

HEALTHY THOUGHT? WHAT IS IT, IF ANYTHING?

HEALTHY THOUGHT? WHAT IS IT, IF ANYTHING?

February 21, 2016

In this podcast we chew on the notion of 'healthy thought'. Whilst seeing that the notion can be used ideologically as a conformist moral cudgel, we consider the idea that certain patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour can cause unnecessary suffering to self and others. [Free. 38 minutes.]