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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.]

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

LOOKING BACK OVER 2020 AND FORWARD TO 2021 - INTERESTING TIMES 19

January 1, 2021

On New Year's Day 2021, we pause to look both backwards and forwards. We identify and discuss four themes: the defeat of Trump and what that means for the global right Internationale, the fragmentation of the left and signs in movements around the world of its incipient re-emergence, the intensifying struggle to control information and particularly the internet, the impact of certain technological developments such as AI and CRISPR. We indicate how these developments are interlocked and how that points towards what is to be done. [Free.  47 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.]

LAO TZU 26

LAO TZU 26

August 10, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 39 of the Tao Te Ching. Once again, we see Lao Tzu moving from cosmology to the character of the ideal leader who has qualities arising out of meditation. Lao Tzu discerns forces of both disintegration and integration as aspects of 'the One', or the whole. Out of this discernment, we draw a characterisation of our own times. [Free. 37 minutes.]

BRITAIN-TRUMP, PORTLAND, YELLOW-HAMMER - INTERESTING TIMES 6

BRITAIN-TRUMP, PORTLAND, YELLOW-HAMMER - INTERESTING TIMES 6

July 24, 2020

This wide ranging podcast flows out of the  question of the influence of the USA on the UK and the rest of the world. We outline the nature of US hegemony and its roots in the dollar's status as world reserve currency, in military power, and in soft power. Trump's employment of federal military force in Portland and other US cities is analysed and its origins in the Right-Internationale play book is discussed. The wider significance of the Trump presidency and its symptomatic nature is thus bought into focus, particularly with regard to the decline of the hegemon and its desperate, rear-guard reliance on Goebellian propaganda techniques. In the context of UK current events, we re-visit the Yellow-Hammer report on the possible consequences of a no deal Brexit and picture how the added economic catastrophe of the COVID19 pandemic might well give rise to civil unrest. Despite this gloomy picture, we find reasons to hope, but they must entail  grassroots action which goes beyond protest into the practical building and defending of communities, whilst not abandoning the need to capture the state. [Free. 40 minutes.]

LAO TZU 24

LAO TZU 24

July 21, 2020

In this podcast, we reflect on Chapter 37 of the Tao Te Ching. In this chapter, Lao Tzu once again attempts to characterise the Tao. From a fresh perspective, he describes the Tao as the ultimate exemplar of wu-wei, (non-doing), and recommends that people, including leaders, emulate it in this respect. He then describes the character of a person who has managed this elusive meditative task. We relate this to a criticism of consumerism which, though careful with desire, nevertheless eschews asceticism. [Free. 12 minutes.]

LAO TZU 20

LAO TZU 20

May 31, 2020

In this episode of our Lao Tzu series, we explore themes of judgement, desire, non-violence, and longevity: all in the light of Lao Tzu's meditation 'method' of aligning with the Tao. [Free. 24 minutes.]

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

CONSPIRACY THEORIES: EPISTEMOLOGY, POLITICS & SELF-CARE

May 8, 2020

The plethora of conspiracy theories circulating in the public discourse attests to a time of real crisis. In this podcast we examine the epistemological issues that arise from this situation, particularly with reference to scepticism, the hermeneutics of suspicion, and the matter of trust. We also briefly look at the relevant politics and the role of elite money in promoting conspiracy theories and how these theories, though perhaps rightly suspicious of government, nevertheless come down on the side of the status quo. We finish with some recommendations for self-care in the face of the toxic sea of post-truth that public discourse has become. [Free. 28 minutes.]

LAOTZU 19

LAOTZU 19

May 3, 2020

In this podcast, we consider Chapter 32 of The Tao Te Ching. Here, Lao Tzu emphasises the ineffability of the Tao even whilst urging the sage/ruler to follow it if he is to be a good ruler who is able to care for the people well. The implications of the ineffability of the Tao for the nature of language, that it cannot exhaust the world with its names or propositions, is suggested in the text and we tease it out. [Free. 29 mins.]

LAO TZU 18

LAO TZU 18

May 2, 2020

In this podcast we reflect on Chapter 31 of The Tao Te Ching. This Chapter deals with the pity and tragedy of war and the terrible nature of weapons and how the sage does not celebrate them. The sage, instead, loves peace and quiet and recommends it to rulers and peoples. We relate this to our current situation in which over $1.7 trillion are spent per annum globally on the weapons of war and in which many senseless and highly destructive wars are fought. We conclude that Lao Tzu's lesson in this chapter is one we urgently need to hear. [Free. 21 minutes.]

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